Baseball player or British Nobleman?

Warren Little

Because some baseball players sound like they should play polo instead.

If you have been around for any game threads from this season, then you will probably be aware of the jokes about Preston Claiborne and his British Nobility/fox hunting champion-sounding name. While his Twitter gives the impression that he's nothing like that, as long as Claiborne's around, the jokes will be too. I mean, his name does make him sound like someone who was Prince William's fencing partner at Eton.

Thanks to my often strange and wandering mind and the wonderful website known as Baseball-Reference, I've found nine real players who sound like they should be the Earl of Kent even more than Claiborne. So, I now present the British Nobility All-Stars.

Shortstop: Arthur Irwin

Over the course of his life Irwin was a player, manager, scout, owner and umpire. After his death, it was discovered that he had two different wives and two different families. Despite all that, my favorite fact about him is that one of the teams he played for in his career was the Worcester Worcesters.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Baron of Durham

Left Field: Emmett Seery

A 1887 Detroit Free Press article said Seery was so good at drawing walks that he "is a good enough waiter to preside at a restaurant." What a phenomenally 1880s analogy to make.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Viscount of Swansea

Catcher: Art Twineham

Nicknamed "Old Hoss" (like someone else), Twineham was a catcher, whose major league career lasted 52 games across two season with the St. Louis Browns in 1893 and 94.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Minister of Foreign Relations to the Queen

Right Field: Delos Drake

Drake played one season for the Detroit Tigers and two for the St. Louis Terriers in the Federal League. According to this obituary for him, Drake worked for Marathon Oil for 30 years after his retirement. Unless he was the owner, that doesn't sound like the job of a British nobleman. The name, however.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Retired Naval commander knighted after his heroics in the French and Indian War

Second Base: Bruno Betzel

Betzel had an unspectacular MLB career but went on to manage several minor league teams (including Yankees' affiliates). He managed against Jackie Robinson in Robinson's only season in the minors. Betzel said of him "I don’t care if he is polka-dotted, he will be a big league player", and "I’d tuck him into bed at night if necessary to have him play for me in the big leagues".

Fictional British Nobility Title: Bavarian Ambassador to Great Britain

First Base: Wally Pipp

I'm guessing most of you know who this is. And if you don't, you should.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Queen Victoria's favorite chimney sweep

Third Base: Lave Cross

In doing the research for this article, I noticed a couple players had the nickname Germany. I understand why Germany Schaefer was given that. But then there was someone named Germany Smith. His first name was George. I don't know. Anyway, "Lave" was short for Lafayette, apparently.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Evil Disney Prince

Center Field: Ollie Pickering

Oliver Pickering played from 1892 to 1922 for a whole bunch of teams in a whole bunch of leagues. He was only in the major leagues for eight of those seasons. Most notably, Pickering is said to be the first batter in American League history while playing for the Cleveland Blues in 1901. It is also thought that the term "Texas Leaguer" was coined because of Pickering's run of bloop hits after he was called up from the Texas League.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Sixth, lesser known "One Direction" member

Pitcher: Lady Baldwin

Charles B. Baldwin was the biggest no-brainer on this list. I have no idea why he was called "Lady", but his Wikipedia includes a sentence that says Baldwin "should not be confused with the wife of British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin who informally went by 'Lady Baldwin'." So, yeah. He wins.

Fictional British Nobility Title: Princess of Wales

Ormond Butler will manage the team and their home stadium will, of course, be the Polo Grounds. They might have to postpone opening day because the dressage event they have to attend the same day, however.

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