Stars known by three names accounted for all responses in a popular game show category last week, and I correctly identified three of them. Van Halen’s David Lee Roth was the musical answer, while Billy Bob Thornton and Joe Don Baker were the two actors I recognized.
For some reason I had anticipated that the category would include a sports figure that fit the description, but the other two responses were not athletes. Upon reflection, I understood why there were no sports stars listed, as I could only think of a handful that had three names.
These are the best examples in baseball, enough to complete a lineup.
First baseman Willie Mays Aikens
The slugger with the famous name helped propel the Kansas City Royals to a pennant and multiple playoff appearances.
Second baseman, Billy Jo Robidoux
Primarily a left fielder, Robidoux would be asked to fill in second for our three-name team.
Shortstop, Chin Leng Hu
Having spent most of his career with the Dodgers, this infielder had announcer Vin Scully call Hu at first when he got on base.
Third baseman Jim Ray Hart
With over a hundred career home runs, Hart was one of the San Francisco Giants’ power hitters of the 1960s.
Left field, Wily Mo Pena
He broke into the major leagues with Cincinnati, who a few years later traded the underperforming slugger to the New York Yankees.
Central Garden, Shin Soo Choo
After several breakout seasons in both Cleveland and Cincinnati, Choo signed a lucrative free agent deal to play for his current team, the Texas Rangers.
Right field, John Ford Griffin
Swinging sweetly with his left hand, Griffin hit over .300 in two different stints with the Toronto Blue Jays in the early 2000s.
Receiver, John Ryan Murphy
He backed Joe Mauer for one season with the Minnesota Twins, who sent him to the Arizona Diamondbacks several years later.
Starting pitcher, John Henry Johnson
Over a span of ten years, the left-hander spent time with Boston, Texas and Milwaukee, but his best season came when he had eleven wins for the Oakland Athletics.
Relief pitcher, Ryan Rowland Smith
Seattle relied on this guy to be the Mariners’ bullpen left-handed specialist for four years, and he returned in 2014 to enjoy a comeback year with the Arizona Diamondbacks.