Quiz: Junior-sized All-Star (stumped)
Ken Griffey Jr. a first ballot inductee last week into the Circle of Greats, is the only player of the past 35 years (since 1979) with four consecutive seasons (1996-99) of 40 HR, 120 Runs and 120 RBI (actually, Babe Ruth, with 7 consecutive seasons from 1926 to 1932, is the only other player to do this).
But, another Junior, rather less well-known, is the subject of today’s quiz. Like Griffey, Junior Spivey was an All-Star who also was the only retired position player active in the past 35 years to accomplish a certain feat. What is it?
Hint: among retired position players to play their entire careers since 1901, Spivey is the 13th to accomplish this feat.
Doesn’t happen often, but looks like I’ve stumped our HHS readers. The secret to this quiz was in noticing that Junior Spivey compiled a pretty fair WAR total of 8.2 in only 457 career games. That is the most since 1978 for retired players with careers of 500 or fewer games, and only the 13th time with WAR over 8 since 1901. Those careers are after the jump.
Here are those 13 players.
Why the lack of recent players on the list? Just a hunch but I’m guessing it has to do with a couple of factors: firstly, the huge sums invested in players today; and secondly, the short benches resulting from those 12 man pitching staffs. The players want to stick around to partake of those riches, and no longer can they do so as a pinch-hitting specialist (as did several of the players on this list).
Finally, for some holiday fun, here’s the All-Junior All-Star team, for players with a given name of Junior, or nicknamed Junior, or commonly known by that generational suffix.
- Pitcher: Cloyd Boyer, Gene Thompson
- Catcher: John Roseboro, Junior Ortiz
- 1st Base: Champ Summers
- 2nd: Base: Jim Gilliam
- 3rd Base: Vern Stephens
- Shortstop: Cal Ripken
- Left Field: Otis Nixon
- Ceneter Field: Ken Griffey
- Right Field: Jose Cardenal
Merry Christmas everyone!
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