One-fifth of the way through the nascent baseball season, the San Francisco Giants find themselves near the top of a competitive division. It's a dogged start to what promises to be a dogfight of a season.
There is one category, however, in which the team's supremacy is undisputed: San Francisco leads the league in Brandons.
The Giants' first baseman, second baseman, and shortstop — Belt, Hicks, and Crawford — all have the same name; a double-play ball induces a Brandon to Brandon to Brandon transaction.
Baseball is a game of numbers, and the odds of three men with the same name sharing the right side of the infield rivals the chances of Duane Kuiper popping a home run. If only the 77,826 Americans named Brandon born in the years Hicks, Crawford, and the now-injured Belt came into this world — 1985, '87, and '88 — were gunning for a spot on any Major League roster, fewer than 1 in 100 would get the call.
In reality, people with other names, birthdates, and hailing from other nations also get a shot at the big leagues. And there are 29 teams other than the Giants.
Of course, on Sept. 15, 1963, the team managed to have three outfielders with the same name. Their first names were Felipe, Jesus, and Matty.
And they were the Alou brothers.