Presenting my musically-themed baseball team
Posted: Tuesday June 12, 2007 4:49PM; Updated: Tuesday June 12, 2007 5:36PM
Baseball fans -- or maybe just those of us who have too much time on our hands and are too easily amused -- have long embraced the challenging entertainment of concocting theme teams with the names of actual major leaguers. All you need is a copy of The Baseball Encyclopedia or access to Baseball Reference. A common example is the All-Food Team (Darryl Strawberry, Bob Lemon, Jim Rice, Bob Veal, etc.):
Recently, a colleague sent me a link to a web page that features a clever confluence of horsehide and music: baseball cards for noted punk and new wave musicians. Duly inspired, I sought out actual players who share the same names as famous musicians and came up with the following lineup. Feel free to fire up your Photoshop for hours of summer fun.
OF: Joe Jackson. Shoeless Joe did not come out of the Black Sox Scandal looking sharp, unlike the singer/songwriter of "Steppin' Out" fame, who is still the man if you like musical chameleons who handle new wave, pop and jazz with equal aplomb.
OF: Roy Wood. I'll bet there are as many people out there who recall the right-handed hitting Wood (who wasn't very good -- .231 during two seasons with the Pirates and Indians in 1913-15) -- as remember the wild-haired multi-instrumentalist who spearheaded the groups The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard in the 1960s and 70s.
OF: Jim Morrison. The late, iconic lead singer of the Doors fancied himself a poet, and his counterpart was versatile, too. That Jim Morrison played every position except catcher and even pitched in three games for five teams, including the White Sox and Pirates, from 1977-78. But did he ever come up with anything as cool as "Roadhouse Blues"?
1B: Tom Hamilton. It's fitting that someone with the same name as Aerosmith's bassist would play first base (for the Philadelphia A's; 1952-53). Aerosmith plays "Walk This Way." Coincidence? I think not.
2B: Jack White: Icky Thump is an apt description of the batting prowess of the Cincinnati Reds infielder of the same name as the White Stripes/Raconteurs singer-guitarist. Infielder White went 0-for-7 for his big league career, which lasted all of six games in 1927-28. Guitarist White is consistently delivering hits.
SS: Joe Walsh. Life's been good so far to The James Gang/Eagles fretmeister. It may have been slightly less so for the infielder who played only four games for the Boston Braves in 1938.
3B: Randy Jackson. If you grew up on Long Island in the late 70s and 80s, you surely know of the axeman for the Zeppelin-soundalike cult band Zebra.The other Randy Jackson had a respectable 10-year career with the Cubs, Dodgers and Indians (1950-59).
C: Mike Gordon. Phish aficionados will note that the bassist's namesake lasted behind the plate for 12 games with the Cubs in 1977-78 and assume that opponents ran like an antelope on him.
P: Steve Jones. The southpaw's big league career lasted slightly longer (three seasons) than the Sex Pistols, for whom that Jones played guitar.
P: Phil Collins. "In The Air Tonight" is probably an appropriate anthem for a right-hander who had a career ERA of 4.66 for the Phillies, Cubs and Cards (1923-35) and surrendered 30 home runs in 1934.
P: Ricky Wright: Pink Floyd's keyboardist -- who was listed as Ricky on the band's first album but usually went by the more dignified name Richard --vanished from the legendary band's lineup right around the time someone of the same name materialized with the Dodgers and Rangers, for whom he pitched from 1982-86.
P: David Gray. The man who recorded Life In Slow Motion could be describing the pitches thrown by the right-hander who allowed 13 runs in 13 innings for the Red Sox in 1964 before fading into the mists of time.
Closer: Michael Jackson. Okay, he went by Mike as he came out of the bullpen for nine teams from 1986 to 2004. And he wasn't bad in 1998, the year he was a 40-save thriller for the Indians. But he did wear a glove as did his Elizabeth Taylor-lookalike namesake.