What does a HOFer have in common with a bunch of journeymen? (Okay, maybe a few are more than just journeymen).
That’s the question for this quiz involving the only players since 1901 with a particular career quirk. Can you spot it?
Our HHS readers were all over this one. Kudos to Artie Z for being first to articulate the basic idea that the quiz players had all played st least twice on teams in their final season in a city before relocating. The additional criterion which the group expressed in various ways is that only these players have also played for at least 3 different franchises.
More on our peripatetic pros after the jump.
For those who may be wondering about Billy Gilbert, he played for the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers who moved to St. Louis to become the Browns in 1902, when Gilbert was playing in Baltimore for the Orioles, who moved to New York the next season to become the Highlanders, and later the Yankees. Gilbert showed up in New York in 1903, but playing for the Giants, where he was the unheralded star of the 1905 World Series, going 3 for 4 with a run in a game 1 win, and then driving in the first runs of games 4 and 5, won by the G-men by 1-0 and 2-0 scores (a shutout was pitched in all 5 games of that series).
Two of these players (Don Mincher – Senators/Pilots/Senators, and Elmer Valo – Athletics/Dodgers/Senators) were bad luck charms 3 times with Valo having the additional distinction of each time playing in the following season with the relocated team in its new city.
The following players had a particular attraction to a city, playing for a team that relocated and later playing for an expansion team in the same city. Except for the Seattle Mariners, that expansion team played initially in the same ballpark as the departed franchise.
Seattle (Pilots and Mariners)
Kansas City (Athletics and Royals)
Milwaukee (Braves and Brewers)
Washington (Senators and Senators)
New York (Giants and Mets)
More musings on players’ coming and goings.
- After becoming the only player to play for the same franchise in 3 different cities, Eddie Mathews played for his 2nd and 3rd franchises in the 1967 season, hitting his 500th HR as an Astro in a game against the Giants and fellow 500-HR club member, Willie Mays. Shortly afterwards, Mathews departed for Detroit where he appeared in a late September game against the Yankees and Mickey Mantle, who himself had joined the 500 HR club earlier that season. It was the first AL game with two 500-HR hitters and the second such pairing for the NL (the first was Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx, who appeared together in 3 games in 1945 after both had passed the 500 HR mark).
- Diego Segui appeared in the franchise-opening games of both Seattle teams, including getting the opening day start at home for the Mariners. It would be the final season for both Segui and Bill Singer, the franchise opening day starter for the other expansion team that year, the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Felipe Alou (on the Braves/Brewers list) famously appeared with both his brothers for the 1963 Giants, including one game where the three manned the San Francisco outfield. A decade later, they passed like ships in the night going to and from the cross-town Athletics where Felipe played in 1970-71, Matty in 1972 and Jesus in 1973-74.
- After having the misfortune to be traded away from the eventual AL West champion Athletics in 1971, Don Mincher happily returned to Oakland the following season. In the final PA of his major-league career, Mincher delivered one of only four World Series pinch-hits with a WPA above 0.500. With the Reds two outs away from squaring the series at two wins apiece, Mincher singled to drive in the game-tying run, and was on base when Angel Mangual followed with another pinch-hit RBI single for the win and a 3-1 series stranglehold. The Reds wanted no part of Mincher after that as two subsequent pinch-hit appearances prompted Cincinnati to change pitchers, with the As countering by pinch-hitting for their pinch-hitter.