Like many of you, I’m sure, I got up early today to get the kids off to the first day of school, always an exciting day. This year, one of ours is starting middle school, and one is starting high school, so it was especially meaningful day.
I was so inspired, in fact, that when I got home, I promptly came up with my All-School team, reminiscent of the All-Sleep squad I came up with after Ken Griffey Jr.’s napping incident.
Once again, I couldn’t have done it without the invaluable assistance of the greatest website I know, baseball-reference.com. I hope you enjoy, and I’d welcome any additions. I’m sure I missed someone obvious. If so, I’ll go sit in the corner.
(Click on each name to see their player page).
Schoolboy Rowe, RHP: Lynwood Thomas “Schoolboy” Rowe was a pretty good pitcher, mostly for the Detroit Tigers, winning 158 games in a 15-year career from 1933 to 1949. He helped pitch the Tigers to two World Series, and set an American League record with 16 straight wins in 1934. Asked the secret of his success, Rowe said he would “just eat a lot of vittles, climb on that mound, wrap my fingers around the ball and say to it, ‘Edna, honey, let’s go.'” Edna was his wife. He got the nickname “Schoolboy” when he played on an adult team when he was just 15 years old. Waite Hoyt, Hall of Fame Yankee pitcher, was also known as “Schoolboy,” but not as prominently as Rowe.
Mike Schooler, RHP: I could have gone with minor leaguers Aaron Schooler or Walter Schooler, or Thomas Schoolcraft, but of course I choose ex-Mariner Mike Schooler, who once complained of Lou Piniella, “All he cares about is winning.”
Learn, P: Definitely my favorite entry on this list. No first name is given. Indeed, we know virtually nothing about Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Learn, other than he pitched 31 games for Lakeland of the Florida State League in 1924 and went 16-11. OK, we also know he worked 221 innings, gave up 226 hits, and walked 41. Oddly, there are no strikeout totals or ERA. But the fact there’s a listing for “Learn” simply confirms the greatness of baseballreference.com.
Jeremy Book, RHP: I could have gone with Melvin Book, or any number of Bookers, but by gum, I settled on Jeremy Book. Apparently, he wasn’t too hard to read, compiling a 16-24 record and 5.45 ERA in five seasons, from 1998-2002 — two in the Cardinal farm system, and three jumping around independent ball, from Yuma to Catskill to Elmira to Duluth to Evansville. Now he’s out of print.
Reader: We know even less about Reader than we do about Learn. At least we knew Learn was a pitcher. All we know about Reader is that he played eight games for Wheeling of the Central League in 1907, going 1-for-23 at the plate (.043) and 2-4 on the mound. In 1908, pitching for Warren, PA of the Interstate League, he was 2-5 on the mound. Oddly, Reader didn’t reappear until 1920, when in 14 games for the Springfield (Illinois) Merchants, he showed that he had spent the previous 12 years working on his stroke. Reader upped his average from .043 all the way up to .111 (5-for-45).
Seth Binder: There have been six Binders in organized ball, but I chooe Seth because he is listed as playing for the Petach Tikva Pioneers of the Israel Baseball League in 2007. I’m floored but gratified Baseballreference.com has a record of him.
Bob Locker, RHP: He won a World Series ring with the A’s in 1972, but I prefer to remember him as a Seattle Pilot in 1969.
Ray Class: He kicked around the minors from 1924-28, hitting .319 in 567 games.
Sil Campusano, OF: I remember when people thought this guy was going to be a superstar. He wasn’t.
Frank Subb, 1B/3B: OK, now we’re stretching a little — Subb. But that’s what we do.
Craig Counsell, IF: Now we’re stretching a lot. That’s what we do even better.
Jerry Cram, RHP: See above. Claim to fame: Tim Lincecum’s first professional pitching coach at Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League.
Nick Testa, C: He played in one major league game, on April 23, 1958, for the San Francisco Giants. Technically, he played one inning of one major league game, never making a plate appearance. But he did commit an error. The Giants released him on May 17, and Testa never returned to the bigs. But guess who else played in that one game, an 8-7 Giants win over a Cardinals team managed by Seattle legend Fred Hutchinson? None other than Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and Stan Musial. So he’s got that.
Bill Hall, IF/OF: Obviously, there are innumerable Halls I could have chosen, but I picked Bill so I could point out that the same guy who hit .200 for the Mariners last year has 17 homers in 95 games for the Red Sox this year.
Curtis Mathe, OF: But there was this.
Charles Reading: And this.
Randy Johnson, LHP: Every class has a big unit, right?
Dave “Scissors” Foutz, RHP/1B/OF: Dude won 41 games in 1886, with 55 complete games. And they called him…Scissors!
Marek Deska, RHP. What a way to finish this list — with a guy who pitched two years (2007-08) in the Dutch Major League! For a team out of Heemstede called…The MediaMonks. Did I mention I love baseballreference.com?