I was a rightfielder who bore a presidential last name (one of six major leaguers to own this last name). However, I was not much of a crook, having stolen only 30 bases in 1092 career games. My name actually has a (99%) pointless entry on Urban Dictionary dot com, which befuddles our esteemed trivia master and master researcher. I bet his Wikipedia page is full of shit, too. I played in one World Series, won a historically momentous ring, and slashed .357/.400/.571 in that Fall Classic’s small sample size. I once sported a handlebar mustache that rivals the beauty of the author’s glorious mustache. I also once replaced renowned team scientist Carl Everett in center field when he went down with a sprained T-Rex ankle. By the close of my career, I was worth 21.3 WAR, hit 137 dingers, and hit the finish line with a 112 OPS+. Who is this dirty muthafucka?
This outfielder’s father was a star first baseman with the Chicago American Giants and Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues, playing alongside Willie Mays for a time. As a child, growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, his family gifted him with the silly nickname of “Red Bone,” apparently for his propensity to turn a reddish hue when out in the summer sun. Versatile in the field, he played significant time at all three outfield spots. He played 57% of his career innings in center field with a .988 fielding percentage, but produced a mildly uninspiring -4 Total Zone rating (per FanGraphs). Sadly, his life was cut drastically short when he was murdered at just 27 years young. During his four major league seasons, his primary value on the diamond was from the left-handed batter’s box. In just 526 career games (2214 PAs) he produced a healthy 13.1 WAR based on a well-balanced slash line of .311/.365/.427 and 123 OPS+. His age-26 season was by far his best, as he had 199 hits (.336 AVG), which included 36 doubles, 12 triples, and 14 home runs. He scored 104 runs (roughly 12% of his team’s total runs scored for the season) and drove in 90. All that to be crunched into a WAR of 5.8 – 3.9 WAR behind his Hall of Fame teammate. One last peculiar hint: he shares the record for putouts in a 9 inning game buy a centerfielder with Jacoby Ellsbury at 12 putouts. Got any idea who this is?
PS – Acknowledgement to the SABR Bio Project, FanGraphs, and Baseball Reference for data and historical information.
Despite a career .313 batting average, this first baseman has surprisingly never won a batting title, even in an era of lower averages and soaring strikeouts. Six times he’s led his league in on-base percentage, half of those seasons leading all of baseball in OBP. Five times he’s led his league in walks, three of those leading the majors. During the current run of his career, he has the sixth most intentional walks (132). He has a single MVP award to his name (with five more top-10 voting finishes), is a five-time All-Star, and has a Gold Glove to his name. As of the time of this writing, he has 55.3 WAR spanning 10 full seasons and a cup of coffee. Name this cat with the high socks and keen batting eye.
This catcher and first baseman is one of six major leaguers born in New Ulm, Minnesota. He was a three-time All-Star, an All-Star Game MVP, and has a World Series ring. He hit a home run and drove in seven runs in the World Series he earned a ring in. Spanning 14 years of major league service he slashed .271/.326/.420 with an OPS+ of 102. After his retirement, he continued to play in amateur baseball leagues until he was almost 50. A college teammate of Paul Molitor, this backstop racked up a respectable 28.0 WAR in 5905 Plate Appearances. Got any idea who he is?
As of this writing – February 9th, 2018 – this career bullpen arm has played for one more team than Edwin Jackson. He has won one World Series ring and pitched 23.1 career postseason innings, relatively impressive for never starting and pitching in 10 different series, amounting to a little less than an inning per appearance. In 951.0 regular season IP, he amassed 15.4 WAR, striking out 10.8 hitters per 9 with a 1.238 WHIP. Despite a lack of eye-popping traditional stats – 59-50 W-L, 3.78 ERA – his 119 ERA+ suggests he was a valuable weapon, validating his long and winding career with numerous teams. Amongst his myriad of different teams, he has worn six uniform numbers. This righty had a three-pitch repertoire comprised of a fourseam fastball, slider, and curve, relying heavily on his fastball at a bit over 81% usage for his career. You have multiple guesses if needed; half as many guesses as teams he played for.
This player’s nickname is a lunar occurrence of about once every 2.7 years. His last name is also relatively rare and he shares it – no blood relation I’m aware of – with a left-handed power forward who played 13 seasons in the NBA. Working as a clerk at a liquor store in the offseason, he was shot twice by burglars fleeing from a nearby crime scene, but recovered in time to make it to Spring Training. That year he went 15-6 as a starter for the Oakland A’s – his best single season record – while only striking out 86 of the 804 batters he faced over 194.1 innings. That season initially looked like his best by traditional stats, but only his third best by the Wins Above Replacement metric at 1.9 (according to Baseball Reference). That season and the next two following seasons he made it to the World Series, and won a ring, with those Athletics. After 13 seasons (fun bit of synchronicity with his NBA name “kin”), he had a career ERA+ of 89. Can you name him?
In the Integration Era of Major League Baseball – 1947 to the present – only five players have amassed 400 or more home runs, 300+ stolen bases, and driven in more than 1500 runners. Aside from our mystery man, the other four players are Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, and Andre Dawson. Of the five, this switch-hitter is the only one from Puerto Rico. He has the fewest hits (2725) on that short list, but the second most doubles (565). Name him in 15 seconds flat or I pour your beer out on the floor before you can drink it all.