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Digging into Baseball's Messrs.

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Mike Stobe

So here's a test of your baseball knowledge ...

How many legitimate baseball Misters can you name?

Okay, one of them is really easy; everyone knows (and loves!) Mr. Met. Another one's nearly as easy: Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub.

The other two are quite a bit tougher, though, so if you can identify Mr. Marlin and Mr. Mariner, you're entitled to both a kewpie doll and a no-prize.

Just the other night, it struck me as odd that there are only three players, and two of them relatively recent, who own a Mr. nicking-name. Well, it struck me as odd until five seconds later, when a colleague suggested that it's simply a matter of alliteration; only three players have Mr. nicknames because only two team names begin with M. If Jeff Conine had played for the Tarpons instead of the Marlins, and Alvin Davis for the Pilots instead of the Mariners, both would probably remain forever nicknameless.

There have, it should be said, been other attempts. Somebody tried to hang "Mr. Royal" on George Brett back in the 1980s, but it just didn't take. Maybe Brett would forever be known as "Mr. Monarch" if Kansas City's new American League franchise in 1969 had honored the city's legendary Negro League team. But it didn't.

And alas, there have been no other M teams of any real note, unless you count the Baltimore Monumentals (1884, Union Association), New York Mutuals (1876, National League), New York Metropolitans (1883-1887, American Association), St. Louis Maroons (1884-1886, Union Asssociation and National League) or Toledo Maumees (1890, American Association). Which you probably don't.

What about Minnesota and Milwaukee, though? Keeping in mind how Conine and Davis got their nicknames -- Conine was arguably the best young player on an expansion team, Davis the franchise's first real homegrown star (if only for a moment) -- it seems to me that we can come up with a pretty good Mr. Minnesota and a pretty good Mr. Milwaukee.

Mr. Minnesota, of course, would be Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who traveled with the franchise from Washington, D.C. to Minneapolis (well, actually Bloomington) and wound up hitting 475 home runs while a Twin. It's true that Killebrew already has a nickname, but "Killer" never really seemed to fit such a sweet man.

Mr. Milwaukee, of course, would be Hall of Famer Robin Yount. He was just 18 when he debuted with the Brewers in 1974, the franchise's fifth season in Milwaukee (after a lone season in Seattle). And Yount would spend his entire career with the club, during which he won two Most Valuable Player Awards.

Just off the top of my head and without the benefit of alliteration, other top candidates for the honorifics ...

Mr. Diamondback: Luis Gonzalez
Mr. Brave: Hank Aaron
Mr. Oriole: Brooks Robinson
Mr. Red Sox: Ted Williams
Mr. White Sox: Luke Appling
Mr. Red: Johnny Bench
Mr. Indian: Nap Lajoie
Mr. Rocky: Todd Helton
Mr. Tiger: Ty Cobb
Mr. Astro: Jim Wynn
Mr. Angel: Jim Fregosi
Mr. Dodger: Sandy Koufax
Mr. Yankee: Babe Ruth
Mr. Athletic: Connie Mack
Mr. Phillie: Mike Schmidt
Mr. Pirate: Honus Wagner
Mr. Padre: Tony Gwynn
Mr. Giant: Willie Mays
Mr. Cardinal: Stan Musial
Mr. Ray: Evan Longoria (provisional)
Mr. Ranger: Jim Sundberg
Mr. Blue Jay: Dave Stieb
Mr. National: Bryce Harper (provisional)

You'll quibble with some of those, I'm sure. I heartily encourage quibbling. But I gave extra credit to players who were there at (or near) the beginning of the franchise's current iteration, and to players who spent all or most of their career there.

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