Quiz – all-time greats … and one other guy

Here is a list of all-time greats, plus one player who presumably doesn’t belong with this group. Except that he does belong.

These are the only players since 1901 to accomplish what feat.

Hint: the feat is in multiple parts.

I have managed to stump our esteemed panel here (a pretty rare feat). The answer is that the above players are the only ones with a season since 1901 of 120 runs, .600 slugging, and HRs of less than one-third of extra-base hits.


Comments

Quiz – all-time greats … and one other guy — 45 Comments

  1. All of them have more walks than strikeouts. Is that part of it? Or is that simply an artifact of the era when most of them played?

  2. I don’t know, but I did find it fascinating that, in 1930, he tied (with Jimmy Foxx) for the AL lead in strikeouts with 66. That’s the lowest since the end of the Dead Ball Era, and the third lowest in league history. Now, you have players K’ing 66 times by June

  3. Obviously Ed Morgan is the odd one out. I doubt very much that it could be a career accomplishment since his career was so much shorter. (Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and many others have had BB > K.) So it is most likely either a seasonal feat or game level, or a combination. Morgan, in 1930, had 6 games with 4+ hits. (And a PI search shows that that isn’t it. It probably isn’t something that would show up in a game level PI search, since those only go back to 1918, after Lajoie had retired.)

  4. They all appear on a list with BA>.349, 2B>43, 3B>11 and BB<100 along with a bunch of other players. The trick now is to eliminate that bunch.

  5. I thought I may have had it searching OPS > 1.000, hits > 200, and SH > 19. The players to do that are Morgan, Heilmann, Cobb, Hornsby, Speaker, Terry, Gehrig. No Lajoie, Musial, or Sisler though. Musial’s high in sacrifice hits was 10.

  6. How about more doubles than triples and home runs in a season with OPS of over 1.000? That would be two out of three.

      • I came up with this but it’s more than three parts and it’s not round. I sorted by OPS and set R>121, HR<27, BB103. The top 13 on the list included the ten guys on the list (two guys appeared twice) and Al Simmons. All the OPS’s were above 1.000. Maybe someone else can proceed from that point, I have run out of patience.

    • Can’t be runs and doubles, because in #9 Doug says only one of those in a parameter. This has proven to be a stumper up to this point.

      • Actually, Doug didn’t say that “only” one of those was a parameter. But I don’t think he would deliberately mislead us with a statement that is true by logic but false by common understanding.

  7. I’ve no idea of the answer, but I’m focusing on why Ruth and Williams don’t make the list.

    For a minute I thought that was a definite sign that doubles was a key factor, since neither Ruth nor Williams ever had more than 45 in a season (44 was the high for Ted). However, Terry made the list, and his high was 43 doubles.

    Assuming that Morgan’s 1930 season has to be the one involved in the feat, and comparing that to Ruth’s 1921, the Babe wins or ties in every Standard Batting category except AB and SH.

    Also interesting is the positional breakdown of the list: 4 OFs, 4 1Bs, 2 2Bs. No SS, 3B or C.

  8. Looks like I have stumped you, so here is the answer. The listed players are the only ones since 1901 with a season of:
    – 120 runs
    – 600 slugging percentage
    – HRs of less than one-third of XBH

    I was intrigued by the high slugging percentage with modest HR totals, a feat requiring a very healthy batting average, as suggested by the heavy concentration of 1920s and 1930s hitters here:

    Rk Player HR R SLG XBH Year Age Tm G PA AB H 2B 3B RBI BA OBP OPS Pos
    1 Stan Musial 30 127 .609 92 1953 32 STL 157 698 593 200 53 9 113 .337 .437 1.046 *79/8
    2 Lou Gehrig 27 139 .648 87 1928 25 NYY 154 677 562 210 47 13 142 .374 .467 1.115 *3
    3 Ed Morgan 26 122 .601 84 1930 26 CLE 150 666 584 204 47 11 136 .349 .413 1.014 *39
    4 Rogers Hornsby 25 121 .696 82 1924 28 STL 143 642 536 227 43 14 94 .424 .507 1.203 *4
    5 Bill Terry 23 139 .619 77 1930 31 NYG 154 708 633 254 39 15 129 .401 .452 1.071 *3
    6 Rogers Hornsby 21 131 .639 83 1921 25 STL 154 674 592 235 44 18 126 .397 .458 1.097 *4/7653
    7 George Sisler 19 137 .632 86 1920 27 SLB 154 692 631 257 49 18 122 .407 .449 1.082 *3/1
    8 Harry Heilmann 18 121 .632 73 1923 28 DET 144 627 524 211 44 11 115 .403 .481 1.113 *93
    9 Tris Speaker 17 133 .610 87 1923 35 CLE 150 695 574 218 59 11 130 .380 .469 1.079 *8
    10 Nap Lajoie 14 145 .643 76 1901 26 PHA 131 582 544 232 48 14 125 .426 .463 1.106 *46
    11 Ty Cobb 8 147 .621 79 1911 24 DET 146 654 591 248 47 24 127 .420 .467 1.088 *8
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 11/7/2012.

    No player has done this since Stan Musial in 1953. The closest are these guys who each had the other two of the three requirements.
    – 113 runs, Larry Walker, 1998
    – 0.595 slugging, Edgar Martinez, 1996
    – 35.8% of XBH are HRs, Edgar Martinez, 1995

    BTW, Ed Morgan (whom I’d never heard of before) has the shortest career of any career .300 hitter scoring 500 runs, and the second-shortest career among .300 hitters with 400 RBI. He had 139 OPS+ through his first four seasons to age 27, and then sputtered just when he should have been entering his prime, compiling just 321 games and 91 OPS+ from age 28-30. That OPS+ is the lowest for age 28-30 among the 85 players with OPS+ >= 139 in 450+ games through age 27. Only 4 others (Kal Daniels, Eric Davis, Don Mattingly, Bobby Murcer) of those 85 players had an OPS+ below 120 for ages 28-30 (median OPS+ was 152).

    • Nice one, Doug!

      P.S. Of all players since 1901, I think Jim Bottomley (1928) and Lefty O’Doul (1930) came the closest without making the list. Both qualified on R and SLG, but their HRs were exactly 1/3 of their XBH (not less than 1/3, as stipulated). Also, Al Simmons (1925) missed by 1 point of SLG.

      • Thanks, John.

        Those extra names make Ed Morgan stand out all the more. No slouches there.

        Lefty O’Doul, BTW, had a 5-year slash of .365/.428/.555 for 147 OPS+. At age 31-35, no less. For age 32-36, his OPS+ was 149. Too bad, he couldn’t get a chance earlier (played only 76 games before age 30).

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