Tue Aug 11, 2020

First and last MLB players by surname

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Two players stand alone from the rest of the 19,407 players who have played major league baseball. However, their positions could be challenged since both achieved their status in the last 16 years.

David Aardsma is the first player listed in the history of MLB when players are arranged alphabetically by last name. Aardsma pitched from 2004-2015 for San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, Boston, Seattle, the New York Yankees and Mets and Atlanta. 

His career record was 16-18 with 69 saves and an ERA of 4.27. Aardsma’s best year was 2006 with Seattle, when he had a 3-6 record with 38 saves and a 2.52 ERA.

Tony Zych earned the last spot on the alphabetical list Sept. 5, 2015, when he pitched two innings for the Seattle Mariners. Zych played from 2015-2017. His career mark is 7-3 with one save. Zych was 6-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 2016. 

Injuries hampered Zych’s career. He had biceps tendon transfer surgery on his shoulder prior to the 2017 season. Zych was the first MLB player to have this type of surgery.

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The Mariners released Zych in March of 2018. He signed a minor league contract with the Yankees in February of this year.

Two Hall Of Fame players who started and ended their baseball careers in Milwaukee start and end the alphabetical list of baseball’s Hall of Fame (HOF) members.

Hank Aaron was alphabetically first overall until Aardsma’s appearance in 2004. Aaron is still first on the HOF list. Aaron played from 1954-1976 and was a 21-time All-Star. He started his career with the Milwaukee Braves, and moved with the team to Atlanta, before playing his final two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. 

His 755 career home runs are second all-time, but some still consider him the “home run king” due to controversy surrounding Barry Bonds and performance enhancing drug use. Aaron’s 2,297 RBIs and 6,856 total bases still stand as the MLB all-time records.

Robin Yount played his entire 20-year career (1974-1993) with the Milwaukee Brewers. Yount was a two-time Most Valuable Player.  He had a lifetime batting average of .285 with 2511 home runs and 1,406 RBIs. No HOF player has a last name beginning with the letter Z, leaving Yount as the last player on the alphabetical list.

The longest surname in the history of MLB is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “Salty” played from 2007-2018, suiting up for Atlanta, Texas, Boston, Miami, Arizona, Detroit and Toronto. He was the Braves’ first round pick in the 2003 MLB draft. He batted .316 while playing for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2006.

It is highly unlikely the player with the shortest surname will ever be displaced. Detroit Tigers pitcher Fu-Te Ni pitched in a total of 58 games during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. The Taiwanese born player may be tied for the honor someday, but it’s doubtful he will be passed.

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