Thursday March 17, 2016
Two Baseball Trivia Questions and a Stickler Proviso
Some baseball trivia for you. The first question is a little complicated but here we go.
There are 27 players who have hit 500 or more homeruns—the most being Barry Bonds at 762. His best single-season total is, of course, 73. Ruth's is 60, Foxx 58, A-Rod 57, Griffey 56.
So of the 27, whose single-season high is the lowest?
I don't know if this is a hint, but here we go: He's the only guy in the 500 club who never hit 40 homeruns in a season. He didn't even hit 35. His high is 33.
While you're pondering that (if you're pondering that)...
I came across the question after noticing that only eight players ever played in more than 3,000 games, and two of these were teammates. They weren't teammates for their entire careers, just for 7+ years. But those were good years for both of them. And they're both identified with that team: Each went into the Hall of Fame wearing that cap. So that's another, related trivia question: Who are the only two players with more than 3,000 career games who played on the same team?
The big three in games played are Rose (3,562 games), Yaz (3,308) and Aaron (3,298). The other five in the 3,000-game club are all between 3,000 and 3,100 games.
As for the teammates? Cal Ripken, Jr. (3,001 games) and Eddie Murray (3,026 games).
Murray is also the answer to the earlier trivia question. As a rookie in 1977 he hit 27 homeruns. For 20 years, from 1977 to 1996, he never hit more than 33 (in 1983) nor less than 16 (1992). In all but five of those years, he was within six of his rookie year total. That's pretty stunning consistency. He was on low simmer all the time.
The next lowest single-season high among the 500 HR guys? 42, from Mel Ott.
I should add, for the 3,000-game teammate question, there is a proviso, but it's for the stickiest of sticklers.
In his last season in the Majors, 1997 (in which he hit only three homers), Eddie Murray was playing for the Anaheim Angels until they released him on August 14. A week later, he signed with the LA Dodgers and finished his career there. But the day before his release, August 13, the Angels traded for Rickey Henderson, who also played in 3,000 career games (3,081). So technically these two were teammates, but just for an odd part of a day; and they never played together. Murray's last game with the Angels was on August 12 (he pinch-hit for Jack Howell and grounded to 3rd), while Rickey's first game for the Angels was on August 14 (he led off and went 0-5). Ships in the night more than teammates. But I thought I would raise it before someone else did.