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It's hard for me to believe, but Richard "Dick" Radatz was in the major leagues for only seven seasons, yet his spirit lingered for at least 20 years. Radatz was one of the best relief pitchers of all time, an overpowering force who was an American League All-Star in 1963 and 1964 when he played for the Boston Red Sox.

Unlike most of today's closers, Radatz averaged almost two innings per appearance, and in his two best seasons picked up many more decisions than your average relief pitcher, going 15-6 in 1963, and 16-9 in '64.

And because he played before the dreaded designated hitter rule came into being, Radatz had 145 at bats in his major league career, though he managed only 19 hits, including one home run. He bounced from Boston to Cleveland to the Chicago Cubs to Detroit, then Montreal from 1966 until he made his last major league appearance in 1969.

Radatz died in 2005 after he fell down the stairs at his home in Easton, Massachusetts, two weeks shy of his 68th birthday.

HERE ARE other characters in our baseball horror movie:

It was obvious why Jayson Werth became known as "Werewolf." The photo tells it all. Werth, an outfielder for 15 major league seasons with Toronto, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia and Washington, announced his retirement this summer (2018) after batting just .206 in 36 games with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. Werth turned 39 this year.

His career batting average in the majors was .267, and he hit 229 home runs, with a career high of 36 in 2009. And as you can tell, when Werth keeps his mane and facial hair under control, he's a good-looking guy, certainly no werewolf.

James Emory Foxx was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Like Ted Kluszewski, a later first baseman, Foxx had muscles on top of his muscles, and to intimidate pitchers, he cut off his sleeves to put those muscles on display.

One of the famous stories about Foxx involves how he was discovered. The truth of this tale is much in doubt — Frank "Home Run" Baker supposedly was on a scouting trip through Maryland in 1924, got lost, and asked directions of a teenager who was walking a plow behind a mule. That boy was Foxx, and instead of pointing the way with his finger, he did it by lifting the plow. Foxx was so strong that a lot of people believed the story.

Another player nicknamed "The Beast" was Mike Morse, outfielder-first baseman who played for six teams — Seattle, Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Miami and Baltimore — from 2005 to 2017. Only three times did he appear in more than 100 games, having his best season with Washington in 2011 when he played 146 games, batted .303, with 31 home runs.

He battled injuries for several years, and retired in 2017 with a lifetime batting average of .274.

Standing on the mound, staring at batters, six-foot-four-inch pitcher Jim Coates reminded his New York Yankee teammates of "The Mummy." Thus another nickname was born. Coates also played for the California Angels, Washington and Cincinnati during a career that began in 1956 and ended in 1967. There were return trips to the minor leagues along the way.

Coates' best seasons were with the Yankees. In 1960, he was 13-3 and an American League all star; a season later, when his team won 109 games, Coates was 11-4. Those two seasons represented more than half of his victories. His lifetime record was 43-22, with 37 of those wins coming with the Yankees.

Slim, swift New York Giant left fielder Joseph Gregg "Jo-Jo" Moore might simply have been called "The Ghost" for the way he appeared from out of nowhere to rob opponents of hits, but Moore was born in Gause, Texas, and the appeal of an alliterative nickname was too great to resist. Sever folks probably had the impression his nickname was actually "The Gauze Ghost."

At five-feet-eleven, 155 pounds, Moore also was called "The Thin Man." He was a major leaguer from 1930 to 1941, and batted .298 in 1,335 games. He had 200-plus hits in two seasons, scored more than 100 runs three times. I read that Moore was such a notorious first-pitch hitter that some managers fined their pitchers if they threw their first pitch to Moore anywhere near the strike zone.

Stephen "Steve" Lyons played major league baseball for nine seasons, including three tours with the Boston Red Sox. He seemed to keep going back to Boston after stints with the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Montreal Expos.

Lyons' strength was his versatility. At one time or another, he played every position. His weaknesses — a .252 lifetime batting average and only 19 career home runs.

After his playing days were finished, Lyons did some broadcasting, but often ran into trouble over his insensitive remarks, solidifying his nickname, which originated from some bizarre behavior on the field.

A perfect name for a creature in a horror movie, baseball's "Igor" was James Dalton Command, who played briefly with Phils (1954-55) and is listed as third baseman, though I saw him catch when he was with the International League Syracuse Chiefs, also in 1954 and 1955. And he remained a catcher after that, never returning to the majors.

He got into only 14 games with the Phillies and picked up all of his career runs batted in during a double-header against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. He hit a grand slam home run off Carl Erskine in the first game, then drove in two more runs in the second.

When and why he became known as Igor remains a mystery.

Pete Ladd, a six-feet-three-inch, 240-pound relief pitcher, played for three teams — Houston, Milwaukee and Seattle — during his six seasons in the major leagues. His best year was 1983 when he had 25 saves for the Brewers.

He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1977 out of the University of Mississippi. While his major league won-lost record was 17-23, his minor league record was an impressive 47-20. In 1982, with the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League, he had 10 wins, two losses, in 34 relief appearances.

Ross Grimsley was a bit of a character, and his nickname was due to the effect of his turquoise-colored contact lenses. The six-feet-three-inch left-hander was a pitcher who showed a lot of promise, despite his inconsistent performances.

His father, also named Ross, was a minor league pitcher for 16 years, reaching the major leagues in 1951 only long enough to make seven relief appearances for the Chicago White Sox.

"Crazy Eyes," however, was around long enough to win 124 games between 1971 and 1982 with Cincinnati, Montreal, Baltimore and Cleveland. In 1978, Grimsley was a 20-game winner with the Montreal Expos. His major league career ended four years later, and then he became a pitching coach, working with several minor league teams for 30 years.

Pitcher Tim Lincecum seemed on his way to a Hall of Fame career. He was the National League's Cy Young Award winner in 2008, at the age of 24. He came back to win the award again the next season. In 2010, he won two games in the World Series. He led the National League in strike outs all three seasons.

Then came three losing seasons in a row for the San Francisco Giants right-hander. Granted free agency after the 2015 season, he signed with the Los Angeles Angels,, but won only two games for them in 2016, losing six, in an injury shortened season.

He missed the entire 2017 season, but attempted a comeback in 2018 with the Texas Rangers, but they released him after he made 10 brief appearances with the Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League. At the point he was only 34 years old, so perhaps he isn't quite finished yet.

As for his nickname, that came from the long, free-flying hair he wore during his early years with the Giants, and the expressions on his face as he pitched.

The most popular theory about why Frank Angelo Joseph Crespi became known as "Creepy" is that many folks thought Crespi resembled actor Rondo Hatton (below, right), who'd created a movie character named The Creeper.

Primarily a second baseman, Crespi played a few games at shortstop and third base for the St. Louis Cardinals (1938-42). He was the team's regular second baseman in 1941, batting .279. In 1942, he lost his job as a starter to Jimmy Brown, who was the Cardinals third baseman until White Kurowski emerged, and bumped Brown over to second base.

Crespi qualified for a deferment from service in World War Two because he provided the sole support for his mother, but he entered the Army, anyway, saying, "I don't think I'm too good to fight for the things I've always enjoyed."

Then came an incredible series of accidents. He suffered a compound fracture of his left leg in an Army baseball game, then broke the same leg during a training accident. While recovering, he broke it once more during a wheelchair race. His problems were far from over, because an Army nurse misused boric acid on his bandages, severely burning Crespi's leg, which underwent more than 20 operations.

Though only 27, Crespi was unable to return to baseball, and he became a budget analyst for McDonnell Douglas. Crespi died of a heart attack in 1990.

Forrest Vandergrift Jacobs qualifies for my As Is Name Team, but his nickname earned him this spot. Why "Spook"? Explanations cite his speed and alleged ability to hit the ball to open spaces, but he didn't steal many bases and his batting average was .247. I may be off-base, but I think he just looked spooky.

In 1954, Jacobs became the first player to have four hits in his major league debut. It was downhill from there. The second baseman returned to the minors in 1955, with short visits to the majors that season and the next. The "H" on his cap in the photo stands for Hollywood, which is appropriate here. Jacobs played for the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1956, batting .341 in 81 games. (That season he also played with the Kansas City Athletic, Pittsburgh Pirates and Columbus Jets of the American Association.) He spent the all of 1957 with Hollywood, batting .295.

He remained in the minor leagues until 1960, finishing his playing career when he hit .306 with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association.

Walter "Wally" Gerber picked up "Spooks" as his nickname as a youngster because he was all skin and bones. As a young man, he carried 150 pounds on his five-feet-ten-inch frame, which he put to good use as a fine-fielding shortstop in the major leagues, mostly with the St. Louis Browns. All in all, he was in the big leagues for 15 seasons before he went back to the minor leagues — St. Paul of the American Association — for one last season in 1930.
Wiltse was born in Hamilton, New York, not far from where I lived (Hamilton is the home of Colgate University). Somewhere along the line my father had seen him pitch, probably in the International League when Wiltse was in his 40s. And by the time I was born, Wiltse was a resident of Syracuse, a local celebrity.

His nickname stemmed not from a curve ball, but from his fielding ability. There are two stories – one was that his New York Giants battery mate, catcher Frank Bowerman, exclaimed, "That's hooking them!" after Wiltse caught a ball that had been hit up the middle; the other (and the version I prefer) is that the manager of the Syracuse Stars, watching Wiltse play first base in 1902, said the player had hooks for hands.

But it was Wiltse's pitching that earned him a place on the New York Giants roster in 1904. He won his first 12 games, a major league record for a rookie. He'd go on to win 139 games in the majors, with two 20-win seasons.

On May 6, 1906, Wiltse struck out seven men in two innings, a feat made possible by his catcher Roger Bresnahan, who dropped the third strike on one of the hitters.

Wiltse's most memorable game came on the Fourth of July in 1908 when he took a perfect game into the ninth innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. He retired the first two batters, then faced opposing pitcher George McQuillen, still in the game because it was a scoreless tie. Wiltse threw two strikes past McQuillen, then followed it with a pitch that appeared to be strike three, but the umpire thought otherwise. Wiltse's next pitch ruined his perfect game when it hit McQuillen, who was awarded first base. Wiltse kept the no-hitter going, retiring the next four batters as the Giants won the game in the tenth inning.

Wiltse's most unusual day was Game Two of the 1913 World Series when injuries to other players forced manager John McGraw to use Wiltse at his second-best position, first base. Wiltse's fielding highlighted the game as he made two excellent plays that prevented the Philadelphia Athletics from scoring, preserving a shutout for Christy Mathewson. The game remained scoreless until the tenth inning; the Giants won, 3-0. It was their only victory of the Series.

After he left the major leagues Wiltse played and managed in the minors, mostly with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League. Later George LeRoy Wiltse spent some time as pitching coach for the New York Yankees, before settling down in Syracuse where he sold real estate and served a term as a city alderman.

Clarence Eugene Iott, aka Hooks Iott, was a left-handed pitcher from Mountain Grove, Missouri, who went a couple of innings for the St. Louis Browns in 1941, then returned in 1947, splitting the season between the Browns and the New York Giants. He won three games, lost nine.

However, Iott did amazing things in the minors. At six-foot-two, 200 pounds, he was an overpowering pitcher against competition in the lower minors. In 1941, Iott struck out 25 batters in a nine-inning game in the Northeast Arkansas League, and later struck out 30 batters in a 16-inning game. Iott pitched until 1957, recording 175 minor league wins, with 2,561 strike outs.

 

Thomas Henry Bond was 20 years old when the National League was born. He'd turned professional two years before, pitching for Brooklyn of the National Association in 1874. A year later he pitched for the Hartford Dark Blues, also of the National Association, then remained with Hartford when the team joined the new National League in 1876. Bond won 31 games that season.

Then he did something that hasn't been done since, and almost certainly will never be duplicated. Switching to the Boston Red Stockings, he won 40 games or more for three consecutive seasons. By the time he was 23, Tommy Bond had won 195 games, but would win only 39 more before his major league career was over at the age of 28.

Bond was born in Ireland in 1856, and died in Boston in 1941, The right-handed pitcher stood five-foot-seven, and weighed 160 pounds, and would be dwarfed by the next man on our list.

Ill-fated Walter Franklin Bond, who died of leukemia a month before what would have been his 30th birthday, enjoyed one 12-game streak that made him a hot topic in 1962.

The six-feet-seven-inch outfielder-first baseman had been given two previous opportunities with the Cleveland Indians and failed to impress anyone, but in 1962, at the age of 24, Bond batted .320 with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League, earning another shot as the major leagues. In those 12 games with the Indians, Bond had 19 hits, including six home runs, batted .380 and drove in 17 runs.

Yet, when the 1963 season began, Bond was back in the minors, playing for Jacksonville of the International League. He batted just .276 with Jacksonville, but hit a career-high 25 home runs, and in 1964 was back in the major leagues, this time with the Houston Colt .45s, then a National League team in the third year of its existence. Bond was primarily a first baseman with Houston, and led the '64 team in home runs (20) and runs batted in (85). His .254 batting average was nothing to shout about, but it was higher than most of his teammates.

The team moved into the Astrodome in 1965, changed its nickname to the Astros, and Bond, perhaps because of the spaciousness of the stadium, perhaps weakened by changes in his health, hit only seven home runs, though he slightly improved his batting average to .263.

He returned to the minors, and in 1966 batted .318 with Denver of the Pacific Coast League, hitting 18 home runs. But Bond's days were numbered, and in 1967 he played just 13 games, three with Jacksonville, 10 with the Minnesota Twins. And on September 14, Bond passed away.

James Emory Foxx was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He also had two nicknames that earned him spots in two of our films. Besides "Double X," he was known as "The Beast." I suppose, in spy film terms, "Double X" would make him a villain, but Jimmie Foxx was one of the good guys.

There's been a lot written about Josh Gibson and Babe Ruth, with whom Gibson was compared (he was often referred to as "the black Babe Ruth"). However, Gibson probably was more like Foxx. Both were right-handed hitters; Foxx also was a catcher for awhile; both were famous for tape-measure home runs, and both played in the shadow of Ruth.

Interestingly, Foxx originally had wanted to pitch or play third base, but when he signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, he put his future in the hands of manager Connie Mack, who turned the 17-year-old prospect into a catcher. "Double XX" had a 10-game tryout with the A's in 1925 and had six hits in nine at bats. He played several games for Philadelphia in 1926 and 1927, but it wasn't until 1928 that he became an A's regular, playing many of his games at third base. However, Mack decided that from then on Foxx would be his first baseman.

For the next several seasons Foxx terrorized American League pitchers. Twice he hit 50 or more home runs on his way to a lifetime total of 534. He led the league in home runs four times and twice had the highest batting average, .356 in 1933 and .349 in 1938, by which time Foxx had been sold to the Boston Red Sox for $150,000 when Mack went on one of his infamous budget-cutting binges.

Foxx was an imposing physical specimen, intimidating pitchers by cutting off most of his sleeves to reveal his bulging muscles (something imitated years later by Cincinnati slugger Ted Kluszewski). New York Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez, who, like Foxx, was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, contributed to the "Double XX" legend with some memorable quotes.

When asked how to pitch to Foxx, Gomez replied, "I'd rather not throw the ball at all." About Foxx's physique, Gomez said, "He has muscles in his hair."

In 1937, Foxx hit a ball off Gomez that went into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. Many years later, Gomez said, "When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, he and all the space scientists were puzzled by an unidentifiable white object. I knew immediately what it was. It was a home run ball hit off me in 1937 by Jimmie Foxx."

Foxx managed the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Supposedly the character Tom Hanks played in 'A League of Their Own' was based on Foxx.

Foxx was 59 when he died in Miami, apparently choking to death on a bone. It was a tragic end for a player who might have been baseball's best right-handed hitter, or second-best, after Rogers Hornsby.

I couldn't ignore a player whose name was Henry "Harry" Spies. He played only one season (1895) in the major leagues, 14 games with Cincinnati, 72 with Louisville, both National League teams. He was a catcher and first baseman, batting .261 in 326 at bats. However his professional career spanned 19 seasons (1889-1907), with multi-year stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles and St. Paul.

According to statistics available on baseball-reference.com, only once did Spies bat higher than .268, and that was in 1894 with Grand Rapids of the Western League when he hit .330 with 23 home runs, about half of his lifetime total. There must have been something in the air that season — or in the baseballs — especially in Minneapolis, where another Western League team, the Minnies, hit 196 home runs, with three players — Buster Burrell, Hunkey Hines and Perry Warden — each belting more than 30. Hines batted .427 for the season, Warden .417.

What better name for someone who works for an espionage organization? However, it's a bit of a tipoff that you don't want to tell him any secrets.

Fenton LeRoy Mole was a first baseman who played just 10 games for the New York Yankees, all in 1949. I remember him from his stint with the Syracuse Chiefs in the International League. Mole sometimes went by the nickname "Muscles," which certainly was appropriate. He looked strong enough to knock the cover off the ball, but that batting stance of his drove me nuts — his feet seemed a mile apart, his right foot in a bucket, pointed toward first base. It didn't surprise me that he never returned to the majors. I was surprised, however, that he retired at the end of that season. It was 1952 and he was only 27.

Mole had power. He hit 22 home runs for Syracuse, but batted only .219. He returned to the San Francisco area where he was born, dying in 2017 at the age of 91.

When he comes to espionage, Moe Berg was the real deal. A catcher with Brooklyn, the Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox, Morris Berg was one of baseball's brightest and most popular players. 

Berg graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and spoke several languages, but as some players pointed out, Berg's education was lacking in one important area: He never learned how to hit a curve ball. His lifetime batting average was .243. He was in his eighth year of major league baseball before he hit the first of his six home runs.

Moe Berg is now remembered for his work as a United States spy who gathered information during a baseball trip to Japan in the 1930s, and for his dangerous espionage work behind Nazi lines during World War Two. Paul Rudd stars as Berg in "The Catcher Was a Spy," a film based on the catcher's days during the war.

Imagine Shirley Bassey singing, "Goldsberry, he's the man, the man with a fielder's touch, but don't hit much ... "

He played four seasons (1949-52) in the American League, three with the Chicago White Sox, one with the St. Louis Browns, and batted .241 with six home runs in 510 at bats. Except for a couple of seasons in the low minors, the six-foot first baseman didn't hit for a high average. One exception was 1946 when the 18-year-old Goldsberry, playing for Albuquerque of the West Texas-New Mexico League, a notorious hitters paradise, batted .372 and had 21 triples.

After his playing career ended, Goldsberry worked as a scout for the Chicago Cubs, and was the Cubs' director of player development from 1982 to 1985, and scouting director from 1986 to 1988. He moved to the Baltimore Orioles, and was a special assistant to the general manager from 1989 to 1996.

Charles Alston Tebeau certainly was no Pussy Galore, but because of his nickname, he'll have to do. The interesting theory about that nickname is it seemed to originate with his initials, which spell CAT.

Well, I can imagine a situation in which teammates notice Tebeau's monogrammed luggage. Everyone is bored, or silly, and the next thing you know, someone is calling Tebeau "Pussy."

He played two games with the Cleveland Spiders of the National League in 1895, probably because his name was Tebeau. The team was managed by Pasty Tebeau, and one of the other players was George "White Wings" Tebeau. Apparently Pussy was not related, however.

He had three singles in six at bats, and retired from the big leagues with a .500 batting average. According to baseball-reference.com, Tebeau had signed a contract with another team, which resulted in a complaint when it was discovered he was playing for Cleveland.

After that, Tebeau had a run of bad luck. In 1896, he was hit in the head by a pitch, and the injury convinced him to retire from playing. He was promised a job as a manager in a new league in 1897, but the league never materialized.

He settled in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he died in 1950 at the age of 80.

Alfred Holmes "Fritz" Von Kolnitz is one of an unusually large group of players born in South Carolina. He came out of Charleston and was graduated from the University of South Carolina law school. He was a certified attorney at 21, but went directly from college to the Cincinnati Reds where he played five different positions, but primarily third base. 

He wasn't much of a hitter, something he realized early on. He retired at 23, then joined the Army, serving as a major in World War One.

He would later serve again in World War Two, as a lieutenant colonel. When he died in 1948, he was vice president of a Charleston real estate company.

The brothers were cast because of the way their last name is pronounced. It does not, as you might expect, rhyme with "luge," but with "boogie." Otto and Ossie Blueg-ee sound like Bond villains. I can hear Sean Connery making a joke about shaking a Bluege. And think of the fun he would have with the younger brother, who was nicknamed "Squeaky."

Otto Bluege, aka "Squeaky," was a shortstop for Cincinnati in 1933, batting .213 in 109 games. No surprise, he fared much better during his long minor league career. He managed in the minors for two season, and worked as a scout for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins for 26 years.

His brother, Ossie, enjoyed a long major league career with the Washington Senators, and was considered one of the best third basemen in baseball in the 1920s and '30s.

Oswald Bluege worked as an accountant during the off-season, earning him the nickname — what else? — "The Accountant." In retirement, he'd eventually become the Washington Senators' comptroller, then executive secretary. Before that, he was a coach for the team, later manager for five seasons.

Ossie Bluege never batted .300, but did hit .290 or better three seasons in a row. The All-Star Game didn't come along until Bluege was in his early 30s, but he made the American League team three years in a row.

He was born John Paul Bonser in 1981, but twenty years later legally changed his name to Boof. Bonser was a pitcher who began his career in the San Francisco Giants' farm system, and had a 16-4 record with Hagerstown, Maryland, of the South Atlantic League, a Class A team, in 2001.

He reached the majors in 2006, but with the Minnesota Twins. Bonser was 7-6 as a Twins rookie. Several people thought he had the potential to become a very good major league pitcher. However, in 2007, he had an 8-10 won-lost record with the Twins and a poor 5.10 earned run average.

Injuries upset his career, and his last season in the majors was 2010, which he split between Oakland and Boston. He went back to the minors, but after the 2014 season with Bridgeport, of the Atlantic League, he retired.

As for the origin of his nickname ... perhaps some day an interviewer finally will ask him. Then perhaps Bonser will explain that, in his case, Boof doesn't refer to such things as bad drugs, having sex with a fat woman, masturbating, or mooning people in a public place, though my favorite definition of the word is "the last stroke a kayaker makes before going over a waterfall."

On the other hand, maybe Bonser was a chubby kid often described as "beefy." Or maybe the kid loved triple-decker hamburgers. Which would mean Boof comes from the French word boeuf, which (among other things) means "beef."

Appropriately, the other half of this combo is a former catcher — Biff Benedict Pocoroba. Yes, that's the name he was given when he was born in 1953.

The name Biff conjures up several images — he's one of the sons in 'Death of a Salesman', right? And the villain in the 'Back to the Future' movies. Also sounds like a name that would roll dramatically off the lips of a ring announcer, either in wrestling or boxing.

But Biff Pocoroba was a catcher with the Atlanta Braves for 10 seasons. The best of those was 1977, the only year Pocoroba played more than 100 games with Atlanta, and he responded with a .290 batting average and walked twice as often as he struck out.

 

Henry Louis Gehrig was one of the baseball greats, the so-called "Iron Horse," who played 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees before taking himself out of the line-up. Along the way he had 2,721 hits, a .340 lifetime batting average, 493 home runs, 1,995 runs batted in, and victories in six World Series. He was the subject of a memorable movie, 1942's "The Pride of the Yankees," starring Gary Cooper, and while he was dying of the disease that now bears his name, told a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of this earth."

He also was known as Larrupin' Lou, and at least once led a team called "The Larrupin' Lous" on a post-season barnstorming tour playing "The Bustin' Babes" led by Babe Ruth. It's also pretty well remembered that in 1938 he went to Hollywood and made a Western, called "Rawhide." Well, I've rounded up supporting players for a sequel.

Unlike Gabby Hartnett, a catcher whose nickname was facetious (because he was so quiet), another catcher, Charles Evard "Gabby" Street, truly had the gift of gab. His most famous battery mate, Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, said Street never stopped talking.

Street was a good catcher, but a poor hitter, with a lifetime batting average of .208. He played most of his games for the Washington Senators, but also spent time with Cincinnati, the Boston Braves, and New York Yankees.

After he retired, he managed in the minor leagues, then went to work with the St. Louis Cardinals, first as coach, later as manager. He did some more managing in the minors, before going back to St. Louis, this time to manage the Browns. He then became the Cardinals radio broadcaster for six seasons.

He may be best remembered for a silly stunt in 1908 when he agreed to catch a baseball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument by journalist Preston Gibson. Street missed his first 12 attempts to catch the ball, but finally succeeded on the 13th try.

I've selected him as Larrupin' Lou's sidekick to follow the tradition of Gabby Hayes, who played the role in more movies than I can count.

James Otto Carleton was born in Comanche, Texas, in 1906. Standing six-feet tall, the right-handed pitcher (who was a switch hitter) broke into professional baseball in 1925 with the Texarkana Twins. He had several good seasons in the minors, but didn't reach the majors until 1932, with the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a losing record as a rookie (10-13), but won 17 games in 1933, and 16 in 1934. Dizzy Dean was the ace of the Cardinals' pitching staff. For some reason, he and Carleton didn't get along. Carleton was traded to the Chicago in 1935, and would play four seasons with the Cubs. (In 1936. when he was 14-10 with the Cubs, Carleton helped his own cause by hitting three home runs.)

In 1939, Carleton was back in the minors, pitching for Milwaukee of the American Association. His 11-9 record earned him a return trip to the majors, and he pitched for Brooklyn in 1940. Highlight of the season was his no-hitter against the first place Cincinnati Reds, but Carleton won only five other games that year. He finished his career in 1941, back in the minors, with Montreal of the International League.

Carleton won 100 games in both the majors and the minor, and also threw a no-hitter in the minors.

Cecil Carlton Hughson was born in Buda, Texas, and attracted attention while pitching for the University of Texas, turning pro upon graduation. A year later, in 1938, he won 22 games for the Canton Terriers of the Middle Atlantic League, and three years later he was playing for the Boston Red Sox. In 1942, he emerged as one of the best pitchers in the American League, posting a 22-6 record. He was an all-star that season, and for the next two as well.

After spending 1945 in the Army, Hughson was a 20-game winner again in 1946, as the Red Sox won the pennant, only to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Hughson had arm problems after the '46 season, and was forced to retire three years later. His eight-season major league record was 96-54, but he won 72 of those games in four consecutive seasons.

There are a whole bunch of other baseball players nicknamed "Tex" — enough to form a posse — but I'm going with the two who were the most successful in the major leagues.

William Waterfield Widner was a pitcher who did most of his work for Columbus of the American Association, classified as a major league in the 1880s. In 1889 he won 12 games, lost 20, and hit 18 batters with his wild pitches. Perhaps that was the origin of his nickname.

There were three other "Bills" in the major leagues whose nicknames were "Wild Bill" — Bill Donovan, Bill Hallahan and Bill Everitt, but only Widner has "Wild Bill" appear as part of his name on his pages on baseball-reference.com. Donovan won 185 games in the majors, Hallahan 102. Everitt was an infielder, who batted left-handed and hit over .300 for his first five seasons, then slumped, and was back in the minors three years later.

Outfielder Walter Lloyd Carson, who was born in Colton, California, in 1912, was given a rather obvious nickname, inspired by one of our most famous frontiersmen. The ballplayer's stay in the major leagues was brief — 21 games over two seasons (1934-35) with the Cleveland Indians. He batted .250, which was 60 points lower than his lifetime average for nine seasons in the minor leagues.

He was just 27 years old when he realized his career was headed in the wrong direction. It was 1940 and he went from the Class B Jackson (Mississippi) Senators of the Southeastern League to the Class C Idaho Falls Russets of the Pioneer League to the Greenwood (Mississippi) Chocktaws of the Cotton States League. He returned to California, settled in Long Beach, and worked in the athletic department at Long Beach City College.

This is a perfect name for the town character, one that once upon a time would have been played by Walter Brennan. Our real-life Windy is John William McCall, who was a 19-year-old Marine in 1945, seeing action in Iwo Jima, then Okinawa. Two years later, he was a professional baseball player, pitching for Roanoke of the Piedmont League, property of the Boston Red Sox. The left-hander won 17 games, lost nine, and in 1948, despite a lackluster 9-12 record with Louisville of the American Association, McCall got the call from Boston and started one game for the Red Sox, being shelled for six hits and three runs in one and a third innings. He was charged with the loss.

In 1949 and '50, McCall bounced from the minors to the majors, and back again, first with the Red Sox, and then with Pittsburgh, though he did most of his pitching in Seattle of the Pacific Coast League, Louisville, and Indianapolis of the American Association.

After winning records with Birmingham of the Southern Association in 1952, and San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League in 1953, he joined the New York Giants in 1954, and remained with them until 1957, when he was demoted back to San Francisco. His best year in the majors was 1955 when he pitched 95 innings, and had a 6-5 record. Overall, McCall's record in the majors was 11-15.

He continued pitching until 1959, then retired at the age of 33. McCall said he was called "Windy" because he talked a lot.

"Windy" is a good name for a colorful character in a cowboy film. So is the next name on our list:

James Lamar Rhodes was destined to be nicknamed "Dusty," just like most men named Rhodes or Rhoades. This particular "Dusty" was a good-hitting outfielder who swung the bat from the left-side of the plate. He is remembered mostly for timely pinch hits.

He played for the New York Giants from 1952-57, and after a season with Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League, he returned to the Giants, who had moved to San Francisco, but Rhodes did not do well. It was in 1954 that Dusty Rhodes became a household name. He his .341 in 164 at bats for the Giants, including 15 home runs. In the World Series, Rhodes had four hits in six at bats, including two home runs, as the Giants swept the favored Cleveland Indians.

Baseball's best-known "Dusty" over the past 40 years has been Johnnie B. Baker, nicknamed by his mother when he was a youngster because he liked to play in dirt. Rather than call him "Dirty," she went with "Dusty."

He began as an outfielder who had a 19-season career in the majors, batting .278 and hitting 242 home runs. That led Dusty Baker to a 22-season career as manager, first of the San Francisco Giants, then the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Washington.

No nickname here, which accounts for the extra L at the end of Marshall, which was Bridges' given name. He was a pitcher-first baseman in the Negro Leagues, signed by the New York Giants in 1953. It was decided his future was on the mound, and in 1955 he began his rise to the majors, going 14-1 with Amarillo in the West Texas-New Mexico League, and following that with an 18-11 record with Topeka of the Western League.

After two seasons with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League, and 11 games with Rochester of the International League in 1959, the St. Louis Cardinals brought him up to the majors, and made him a relief pitcher. He played seven years in the majors, also pitching for Washington, Cincinnati and the New York Yankees.

His best season was 1962 with the Yankees. He appeared in 52 games, had 18 saves, eight wins, and four losses. For his career, he was 23-15. In the minors, where he was mostly a starting pitcher, Bridges was 75-57.

John Frederick Blake was a pitcher from West Virginia who owed his nickname to George Stallings, who was very good at coaching and managing, but a bit weak on names. Blake said years later that he thought Stallings called him "Sheriff" because he couldn't remember the pitcher's name, but knew he came from moonshine country, so he jokingly referred to him as "a moonshining sheriff." And "Sheriff" certainly was more colorful than "John."

Stallings, who'd managed the "Miracle Boston Braves" in 1914, took Blake under his wing in Rochester in 1921. Three seasons later, Blake joined the Chicago Cubs, for whom he played during most of his 10-season major league career. His best season was 1928 when he had a 17-11 record.

He spent most of the 1930s in the minor leagues, finishing his career with Birmingham of the Southern Association in 1939. His major league record was 87-102; his minor league record 131-125.

Left-handed pitcher Charles Cason Gassaway, a native of Tennessee, did not make much of an impression during his three-season visit to the major leagues (1944-46). He won just five games, lost nine, most of his decisions coming in 1945 with the Philadelphia Athletics.

I have no idea when or why he was nicknamed "Sheriff," though it's clear he was much better known as "Charlie," but the full name was too good to resist. ("Sheriff Gassaway? He went that-away!")

He fared well in the minors, winning 153 games (against 123 losses). After he retired, he managed for nine seasons in the minors.

Norman Elberfeld was considered one of the scrappiest, dirtiest, most cantankerous baseball players of his time. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, such players were often called "Kid." This shortstop became known as Kid Elberfeld, until a New York sportswriter dubbed him "The Tabasco Kid."

Elberfeld batted .271 in 14 major league seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati, New York Highlanders (later the Yankees), Detroit, Washington and Brooklyn. After his playing days, he was a successful minor league manager.

He had five daughters who were excellent athletes. For more, check out the Kid Elberfeld website.

Charles Augustus Nichols was one of the greatest pitchers during the early years of the National League. In 12 seasons with the Boston Beaneaters (1890-1901) he won 329 games, lost 183. He had seven 30-win seasons, and was the youngest pitcher to reach the 300-win mark.

In all, he had 361 career wins in the major leagues, 208 losses. Counting five seasons in minor leagues, he had 493 victories.

He got his nickname soon after he began his professional career with Kansas City in 1887, Nichols was a skinny boy who looked younger than his 17 years. Some teammates thought he was the bat boy, and started calling him, "Kid."

Oldtimers may remember the song, "Johnny Angel." Meet the flipside. If only James Paulus Outlaw were playing today. While presenting their web gems, ESPN's 'SportsCenter' and 'Baseball Tonight,' guys would keep a running tally of how many times the diminutive (5-feet-8) outfielder robbed someone of a hit.

Outlaw also played third base during his 10-year major league career, most of it with the Detroit Tigers. He had a .268 lifetime average and hit only six home runs.

He was a .300 hitter in the minors, and closed out his career as the player-manager of the Miami Beach Flamingos of the Florida International League in 1950.

Infielder James Cato Galloway played briefly with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1912, hitting .185 in 54 at bats. While "Bad News" was his nickname (reason unknown), he usually was called Jim. He was tall for his time (six-feet-three), but was a lot slimmer than today's players, weighing in at 187.

Appropriately, the native of Iredell, Texas, spent most of his baseball career in the Texas League where he had a lifetime average of .298. His best season was with Waco in 1925 when he batted .347 and hit 33 home runs.

He also was a Texas League umpire for three seasons and later was president of the Beaumont team. He was inducted into the Texas League Hall of Fame.

Drungo LaRue Hazewood sounds like a fast-draw hero in a spaghetti Western. Or an inept gunfighter played by Tim Conway.

Hazewood got into only six American League games, all in 1980. He'd looked great in spring training that year — reportedly hitting over .500 — but manager Earl Weaver cut him, jokingly saying it was because Hazewood was making the rest of the team look bad.

He hit 79 home runs during four years with the Charlotte O's of the Southern League, but batted just .249 and struck out 554 times.

Tragically, Hazewood died of cancer in 2013; he was just 53 years old.

It wouldn't be much exaggeration to say second baseman William "Bad Bill" Eagan drank himself to death at the age of 35.

An illiterate, Eagan was a highly regarded player, a crowd-pleaser for his eccentricities and volatile personality, but an alcoholic. After two major league tries, he was given a third in 1898, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but his drinking cost him his job, though he was hitting .328. Months later, he fired three shots at his wife, but in his drunken state, Eagan missed.

Free in 1899, he played for Detroit of the Western League, but soon was released. He kept drinking, and died in 1905.

Like "Gunsmoke," my Western would benefit from a folksy doctor called "Doc." There are several baseball "Docs" from which to choose —Dwight "Doc" Gooden, Doc Cramer, Doc Medich or the recently retired Doc Halladay, "Doc" being one of the most common baseball nicknames. (More than 60 players at last count.) Unfortunately, none is named "Doc" Adams.

I'll pass on the others and go with Guy Harris "Doc" White, a left-handed pitcher who went from Georgetown University to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1901, and two years later began an 11-season association with the Chicago White Sox. His family wanted White to study medicine — thus the nickname — and he dabbled a bit in dentistry, but established a name for himself in the American League. In 1904, he threw five consecutive shutouts; in 1907 he won 27 games. His lifetime won-lost record was 189-156.

Oh, that's right ... we don't have a leading lady, which gets us back to "Gunsmoke" and the inevitable Miss Kitty ... which is why we'll have to settle for Kitty Bransfield as the best choice among a handful of baseball names that were ambisextrous.

To give Miss Kitty some competition, we'll throw in Sadie McMahon.

 
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