Rodney Gnat on our All-Insect Team
Think back a few years ago to the insect-infested playoffs, in which Indians and Yankees swatted whatever winged creates migrated from the Lake to the Jake -- or maybe it was Progressive Field by then -- and took over October baseball. The creatures told us they weren't going away, and in the name of pacifying them and keeping them at bay -- or lake or ocean -- we present the All-Insect Team.
Bugs Bennett: Joseph Harley Bennett had to be bugged that he didn't get a few more opportunities to earn at least one big-league win. Instead, he is known as one of seven players to go winless with five or more decisions but 10 or fewer Major League appearances. He was 0-5 for the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox in 1918 and 1921.
Flea Clifton: Herman Earl Clifton had to feel pretty lucky in 1935. He played in only 43 of the Detroit Tigers' 151 games that season, but he was a starter in the World Series, replacing Hank Greenberg, against the Cubs. He went 0-for-16 in that series, but he got to celebrate a championship anyway, when Detroit dispatched Chicago in six games.
Rodney Gnat: In the Big East, that annoying sound offensive linemen hear out the ear hole just might be the biggest Gnat known to man. The Louisville Cardinals' defensive end has 6.5 sacks so far.
Skeeter Henry: Mosquitoes live worldwide, and so has Herman Henry, the former Oklahoma Sooner basketball player who sought a living with five teams in France, one each in Spain, Venezuela and Turkey, four in the CBA and the Phoenix Suns. The lifespan of his NBA career was even shorter than the time on earth for the average mosquito, which runs from four to eight weeks. Henry played in four Suns games in 1993-94.
Tony "The Mosquito" Ordenana: Waiter, there's a mosquito in my coffee. In this case, it's Ordenana, whose one-game Major League career means he's had a "cup of coffee" in the bigs. But what an eventful game it was for the native of pre-Castro Cuba. In history, 688 men have batted in exactly one MLB game, but Ordenana's one of only three who have driven in three runs with his chance. For the record, his one shot came in the last game of the 1943 season, the second game of an otherwise inconsequential doubleheader between his Pirates and the Phillies. Perhaps anxious to get out of there, the players completed the contest in 1 hour, 48 minutes. But the game gained significance when its winning pitcher was the Phillies' Rogers Hornsby McKee, who had turned 17 only a week earlier. The victory was the only one of McKee's career, but he was and still is the youngest player to earn a win in the Majors.
Buzz Peterson: What's the buzz? Better yet: Where's the Buzz? Robert Bower Peterson, most famous as a player for being one of Michael Jordan's best friends on the early 1980s North Carolina Tar Heels, has become a successful -- if itinerant -- coach. The 47-year-old Peterson has been a head coach at five colleges: Appalachian State (twice); Tulsa; Tennessee; Coastal Carolina; and now UNC Wilmington.
John "Spider" Salley: The long-armed fellow from Brooklyn migrated to Georgia Tech for college ball and into a professional career as a basketball player, actor, talk-show host, commercial pitchman and charitable benefactor. Salley was a part of four NBA championship teams, and he averaged 7.0 points over 748 NBA games.
Rob Daniels is a freelance writer for Sports Media Exchange, a national freelance writing network.