Quiz – Mystery Ballplayers

Here is a list of well-known ballplayers, all connected by a common seasonal batting achievement.

Your job: find that common batting feat, and identify the missing ballplayers needed to complete this list.

Note: there is no significance to the multi-column list; a single column list would have worked just as well

Congratulations to Ed on identifying these hitters as the record holders for home runs in a season at a specific age. After that, it was a true team effort to identify the remaining mystery players, shown in red above. So, thanks to everyone for playing.

Interestingly, there is a single HR  record-holder for every age – no ties. See the complete list of these record HR seasons after the jump.

Player HR Year Age Tm
Tommy Brown 2 1945 17 BRO
Phil Cavarretta 8 1935 18 CHC
Tony Conigliaro 24 1964 19 BOS
Mel Ott 42 1929 20 NYG
Eddie Mathews 47 1953 21 MLN
Joe DiMaggio 46 1937 22 NYY
Prince Fielder 50 2007 23 MIL
Jimmie Foxx 58 1932 24 PHA
Babe Ruth 54 1920 25 NYY
Roger Maris 61 1961 26 NYY
Hank Greenberg 58 1938 27 DET
Ken Griffey 56 1998 28 SEA
Sammy Sosa 66 1998 29 CHC
Sammy Sosa 63 1999 30 CHC
Alex Rodriguez 54 2007 31 NYY
Sammy Sosa 64 2001 32 CHC
Mark McGwire 58 1997 33 TOT
Mark McGwire 70 1998 34 STL
Mark McGwire 65 1999 35 STL
Barry Bonds 73 2001 36 SFG
Hank Aaron 47 1971 37 ATL
Barry Bonds 45 2003 38 SFG
Barry Bonds 45 2004 39 SFG
Darrell Evans 34 1987 40 DET
Ted Williams 29 1960 41 BOS
Barry Bonds 28 2007 42 SFG
Carlton Fisk 18 1991 43 CHW
Julio Franco 5 2003 44 ATL
Julio Franco 6 2004 45 ATL
Julio Franco 9 2005 46 ATL
Julio Franco 2 2006 47 NYM
Julio Franco 1 2007 48 TOT
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/18/2013.

49 thoughts on “Quiz – Mystery Ballplayers

  1. 1
    Richard Chester says:

    I’ll take a stab at the Sosa-Maris line: Those two and Mark McGwire are the only players with a season of 60+ HR, fewer than 30 doubles and less than a .300 BA.

    • 2
      Insert Name Here says:

      It’s my understanding that this is not 7 mini-quizzes together; it’s one large quiz in which there are 7 mystery players and 14 given that share the same feat. It’s outlined as such in that bottom paragraph.

    • 6
      Doug says:

      So, since those are the only three to do that, that must not be the answer. 🙂

      Note that there is also no significance to the rows. I could as easily have shown a single column list of 21 rows, 14 filled in, and 7 not. I just did it this way to save screen space.

  2. 4
    Insert Name Here says:

    Okay, so I noticed immediately that these are all sluggers, particularly HR sluggers, all having at least one 40-HR season, and all but Teddy Ballgame having at least one 45-HR season. Also, they all have stretches of consecutive seasons of 150+ OPS+, and all of them but Maris and Fielder have stretches of 3+ such consecutive seasons. Also, Maris is the only one not to have an OPS of at least 1.000.

    Just some things I noticed, no guesses yet. I’m also curious as to if this is a single-season or career accomplishment (or perhaps both, as we saw in the most recent quiz). The presence of active players, however, leads to me to presume that this is a single-season accomplishment.

  3. 7
    cubbies says:

    well, i dont know if im on the right track, but everyone here has at least one season with RBI > 130 and runs > 100 and HR > 43.

    not sure if this is significant, or just a coincidence because everyone on this list is so accomplished.

    • 8
      Doug says:

      Interesting that you mention that little factoid.

      Here’s another clue: none of the mystery players have a season matching those criteria

      • 9
        Insert Name Here says:

        So it’s a single-season batting accomplishment that meets NONE of those criteria and includes ALL of these 14 players?

        Wow, this one’s difficult.

      • 10
        Doug says:

        To clarify:
        – none of the mystery players has a season matching ALL three of those criteria (HR >= 43, RBI >= 130, Runs >= 100)
        – two have no seasons matching any of those three criteria
        – the other five each have at least one season matching at least one of those criteria

  4. 14
    Josh says:

    Is the achievement most home runs without hitting a triple?

  5. 16
    RJ says:

    I’ve got to imagine Pujols is on the list.

  6. 17
    Luis Gomez says:

    All those players are former HR leaders. Other than that, I have nada.

    • 27
      Doug says:

      Three of the mystery players also were league-leaders in HR.

      But, the other four never were.

      • 28
        Richard Chester says:

        So by using the PI we can identify all HR league leaders who never had more than 42 HR, 129 RBI and 99 runs scored in a particular season. It would involve manual searching of the list. Three of those players are the mystery players. I’m hitting the sack now, maybe I’ll try tomorrow.

        • 29
          Doug says:

          Good thought, Richard.

          Maybe tomorrow, I’ll reveal one of the names, or maybe two. Any more than that would give it away, I think.

        • 36
          Richard Chester says:

          My procedure in post 28 won’t work well, there are too many players to choose from. Now we know that Ott is one of the three mystery players who led in HR and also is one of the five players who met your last criterion of post 10. Still a long way from the answer.

  7. 18
    Luis Gomez says:

    Are the mystery players still active?

  8. 19
    GrandyMan says:

    Is one of the criteria leading your league in home runs?

  9. 20
    Paul E says:

    How about they all led their league in homers AND had a team mate who led the league as well….Gehrig, Canseco, Mantle, kiner, Matt Williams, Sandberg, and Cabrera

  10. 21
    Paul E says:

    …with at least 40

  11. 22
    Paul E says:

    ….but, then again, where are Mays and McCovey?….and Doug, too late for cookies and milk?

  12. 30
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    I have no idea what the answer is.
    Just wanted to mentioned this morsel that I just read:

    next year, the Mets’ two highest paid outfielders will be…

    Jason Bay and
    Bobby Bonilla

    • 32
      Doug says:

      Some things are priceless. For everything else, there are the Mets.

    • 34
      Doug says:

      Bobby Bonilla turns 50 this Saturday.

      He last donned the orange and blue in the last century.

      And, the Mets are really still paying him!!!

    • 37
      Paul E says:

      Supposedly, the Wilpons approached Bonilla about paying out the last year of his contract over 10 years with like 8% interest. He didn’t want to do it…his ex-wife said he was a fool not to take the offer. So he took Freddie up on the idea.

      Now, if the US Dept of Justice doesn’t think the Wilpons knew that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme to THEIR benefit as earlier investors, Eric Holder must have the IQ of a retarded mosquito. Guaranteeing Bonilla those kind of returns is evidence enough to cast suspicion that Wilpon knew he could do better with those funds invested with Madoff

  13. 35
    Mike L says:

    This is a really interesting list. Obviously not the answer, but take a look at how many of these players began their careers when they were 20 or younger.

    • 39
      Insert Name Here says:

      In fact, the oldest any of these players was in his first season was 22 (Maris and McGwire… funny how that works out, huh?)

      • 40
        Ed says:

        Is it most home runs for each age? For example, Ott has the most homeruns at age 20. Mathews has the most at age 21. Etc.

        • 41
          Insert Name Here says:

          Yes, this would explain why some of the mystery players don’t sound like the biggest sluggers (based on how Doug has described them).

          Following with that, I can identify Tony Conigliaro as one of the mystery players, for having the most HRs at age 19, although Bryce Harper came pretty close in 2012.

        • 43
          Jeff J. Snider says:

          That seems like the right answer, although I can only find five of the missing six. You have Tony Conigliaro at 19, Darrell Evans at 40, Carlton Fisk at 43, Julio Franco at 44 & 45 & 48, and Jack Quinn at 46. Maybe I’m missing someone?

          • 45
            Ed says:

            I assume it would be Phil Cavarretta with 8 home runs at age 18.

          • 48
            Insert Name Here says:

            Except Jack Quinn’s not an answer; Franco hit 9 dingers at age 46, while Quinn hit only one. Instead, you should list Tommy Brown, who hit 2 HRs at age 17.

            Additionally, nobody 16 or younger has hit a HR, so the six mystery players are Brown, Cavarretta, Conigliaro, Evans, Fisk, and Franco.

        • 44
          Hartvig says:

          Prince Fielder has the most home runs in a season for a 23 year old.
          Jimmy Foxx for a 24 year old
          Babe Ruth for a 25 year old
          Roger Maris for a 26 year old
          Hank Greenberg for a 27 year old
          Ken Griffey Jr for a 28 year old
          Sammy Sosa for a 29 year old
          Sosa again at 30
          ARod at 31
          Sosa again at 32
          McGwire at 33, 34 and 35
          Bonds at 36
          Aaron at 37
          Bonds again at 38 & 39
          Darrell Evans at 40
          Williams at 41
          Bonds at 42
          Fisk at 43
          going back
          Phil Cavarretta at age 18
          Conigliaro at 19
          You mentioned Ott at 20 and Mathews at 21
          DiMaggio at 23

          Now it’s just a matter of putting them in their proper place

  14. 42
    Insert Name Here says:

    If Ed is correct, then the players line up as so:

    Most HRs at age 19 — Tony Conigliaro (24) (one of the “mystery” players)
    Most HRs at age 20 — Ott (42)
    Most HRs at age 21 — Mathews (47)
    Most HRs at age 22 — DiMaggio (46)
    At age 23 — Fielder (50)
    At age 24 — Foxx (58)
    At age 25 — Ruth (54)
    At age 26 — Maris (61)
    At age 27 — Greenberg (58)
    At age 28 — Griffey (56)
    At age 29 — Sosa (66)
    At age 30 — Sosa again (63)
    At age 31 — A-Rod (54)
    At age 32 — Sosa again (64)
    At age 33 — McGwire (58)
    At age 34 — McGwire again (70)
    At age 35 — McGwire again (65)
    At age 36 — Bonds (73)
    At age 37 — Aaron (47)
    At age 38 — Bonds again (45)
    At age 39 — Bonds again (45)
    At age 40 — Darrell Evans (34) (“mystery” player)
    At age 41 — Teddy Ballgame (29)
    At age 42 — Bonds again (28)
    At age 43 — Carlton Fisk (18) (“mystery” player)

  15. 49
    mosc says:

    So if it’s true that Franco was in fact several years older than he said he was (common guess is 3 or 4 years), that’s an even more impressive end to a career then.

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