Quiz – Pre-Expansion Pioneers (solved)

These are the only players who, in the 1901 to 1960 period, had a career accomplishment that has become rather more common since then. What is it?

Congratulations mostly to ATarwerdi96! And a nod to Richard Chester for getting the final detail. They teamed up to identify that these are the only players to compile 600 games from 1901 to 1960 at each of two positions, with at least one of them in the infield. With expansion has come expanded opportunities for versatile players to shine all over the ball field. More after the jump.

The list of 9 players has grown substantially. Here’s the roster today, showing players to play 600 games at any two positions. First, two infield positions.

1BPete Rose
Rod Carew
Pete Runnels
Dots Miller
Pete Rose
Tony Perez
Harmon Killebrew
Darrell Evans
Dick Allen
Enos Cabell
Ernie Banks
2BPete Rose
Jimmy Dykes
Jim Gilliam
Placido Polanco
Phil Garner
Marty McManus
Julio Franco
Mark Grudzielanek
Dick McAuliffe
Scott Fletcher
3BCal Ripken
Alex Rodriguez
Toby Harrah
Joe Sewell
Terry Turner
Rico Petrocelli

Now, an infield position and catcher or an outfield position or DH.

CJoe Torre
Gene Tenace
LFPete Rose
Carl Yastrzemski
Stan Musial
Willie Stargell
Jeff Conine
Roy Sievers
Ryan Klesko
Pete Rose
Alfonso Soriano
Pete Rose
CFAl OliverTommy LeachRobin Yount
RFStan Musial
Ron Fairly
Vic Wertz
Bobby Bonilla
Buddy Lewis
DHJim Thome
Frank Thomas
Andre Thornton
Paul Molitor

And, finally, any two positions from catcher, outfield or DH.

CBrian Downing
B.J. Surhoff
Brian Downing
LFJohnny Damon
Max Carey
Al Simmons
Willie Wilson
Juan Pierre
Brady Anderson
Stan Musial
Frank Robinson
Babe Ruth
Manny Ramirez
Joe Carter
Moises Alou
Brian Giles
Dante Bichette
Bobby Higginson
Brian Downing
Don Baylor
Willie Horton
Rico Carty
CFTy Cobb
Andre Dawson
Sam Rice
Dale Murphy
George Hendrick
Reggie Smith
Dave Martinez
Bobby Murcer
Kiki Cuyler
Gus Bell
Tony Armas
RFHarold Baines
Reggie Jackson
Jose Canseco

25 thoughts on “Quiz – Pre-Expansion Pioneers (solved)

  1. 1
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    All the players on the list played at least 600 games at two different positions, while Grantham and Lockman had 500+ at two.

  2. 3
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Well the caveat would have to be that outfield is counted as one position.

  3. 4
    Dr. Doom says:

    Is it 500+ games both as an IF and OF?

    • 12
      Doug says:


      600 games was the right qualifier. Just need to identify 600 games doing what to narrow it down to only the players in the list.

  4. 5
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Some notes:
    *Stan Javier and Randy Winn are the only (known) players with at least 450 games at each outfield position.
    *Shane Halter and Steve Lyons are the only two players to have played at least 2 career games at each position (including P and DH).

  5. 7
    John Autin says:

    Here’s a shock: No one from 1901-60 played 600+ games at both SS and 2B.

    Only four have done it since — and if you can name more than two off the top of your head, I’ll bet you’re a Tigers fan.

    • 11
      Doug says:

      At least 3 of the 4 are not names that would likely come immediately to mind.

    • 14
      Hartvig says:

      Ok, I knew Dick McAuliffe right off the bat and I was almost certain about Tony Phillips & Jay Bell- and wrong on both counts. A couple minutes of thinking got me Scott Fletcher. I figured the 1960 part eliminated Gil McDougald & Junior Gilliam didn’t play short.

      I’m totally stumped on the last 2.

      • 16
        John Autin says:

        McAuliffe, Fletcher, Julio Franco & Mark Grudzielanek.

        Jay Bell was also my first guess. I had no memory of Grudz playing SS, but his first 5 seasons were there. And I still can’t picture McAuliffe at SS — *just* before my time.

  6. 17
    John Autin says:

    Notable thresholds for “catcher plus ____,” going all the way back to 1871:

    — 700+ games at each: Joe Torre (903/787)
    — 600+: Gene Tenace (892/625)
    — 400+: Honest Jack Boyle (544/458)

    — 400+: Craig Biggio (428/1,989)
    — 300+: Tom Daly (1,058/308)
    — 100+: Dirty Jack Doyle (176/127; but he was mainly a 1B)

    — 500+: Joe Torre (903/515)
    — 400+: Deacon White (458/827)
    — 300+: Lave Cross (324/1,724), Brandon Inge (376/1,083), B.J. Surhoff (704/316),

    — 200+: Jack Rowe (298/657)
    — 100+: Bobby Bragan (140/415)
    Bragan is the only modern player with 30+ games at C and SS in the same season.

    — 200+: Biggio (428/255), Roger Bresnahan (974/unknown), Orator Jim O’Rourke (231/unknown)

    — 500+: King Kelly (583/unknown)
    — 300+: Charlie Moore (894/342)
    — 200+: Rowdy Jack O’Connor (861/unknown), Ed Kirkpatrick (306/291), O’Rourke (231/unknown)

    — 600+: B.J. Surhoff (704/904), Brian Downing (675/735)
    — 200+: Elston Howard (1,138/227), Kirkpatrick (306/240), O’Rourke (231/unknown)
    I’m surprised that Yogi played just 149 G in LF, with another 116 in RF.

    — 50+: Bollicky Billy Taylor (61/100), Fred Mitchell (62/97)

    Mitchell’s 62 games caught were all in 1910, when he returned to MLB after a 4-year absence. He later managed the Cubs to the 1918 pennant — the last Cubs team to play .650 or better. Mitchell took the reins in 1917, their 6th manager in 6 years; the previous 5 all reached the Hall of Fame, one way or another (Frank Chance, Johnny Evers, Hank O’Day, Roger Bresnahan, Joe Tinker).

    P.S. How does the Play Index identify old-time outfielders owning N games at a specific outfield position, when their OF games are mostly not broken out on their player pages? Tommy Leach with 600+ games in CF, Bresnahan with 200+ in CF, etc.

    • 19
      Doug says:

      They oldtimers’ outfield position data usually are broken out in the Fielding Stats area. Second column from the right, labeled “G”, will have a notation like 15-6-42, meaning that number of games in left, center and and right field.

    • 20
      Artie Z. says:

      JA apparently doesn’t consider DH as a position 🙂

      -600+: Brian Downing (675/824)
      -300+: Mickey Tettleton (872/361), Mike Stanley (751/321)
      -200+: Ted Simmons (1771/278), Mike Sweeney (201/608), Victor Martinez (856/285)

      I would guess that Martinez will crack the 300/300 barrier this year.

      And Smokey Burgess is the only player to catch in 500+ games and PH/PR in 500+ games (I’m assuming most of those are PH appearances). Burgess caught 1139 games and appeared as a PH 577 times (at least – records are marked as incomplete).

    • 23
      oneblankspace says:

      It seems like more because Yogi was in LF when Bill Mazeroski homered over his head.

      And it was from playing outfield in the World Series that he said “It gets late early out there.”

  7. 18
    JasonZ says:

    Joe Torre.

    500 games at C, 1B and 3B.


  8. 21
    Doug says:

    The juxtaposition of names in the LF-RF combination is kind of interesting.

    Good: Carter, Higginson
    Better: Alou, Giles
    Best: Ruth, Musial, Robinson, Ramirez
    The Rest: Bichette

  9. 22
    no statistician but says:

    Here’s a kind of related question that might be interesting to address if someone with more statistical knowhow wants to take it up:

    Average length of career in years per position, including pitcher, for full-time starters, at least 100 starts in the field, lets say, and 25 on the mound.

    Mean, median, and mode, anyone?

    • 24
      John Autin says:

      nsb, can you clarify what you’re after? Are you talking about actual careers of actual players? Would each player be assigned to only one position? Let’s firm up the proposal, and see if the funding comes through. 🙂

      • 25
        no statistician but says:

        The more I consider what I want to know, the more unlikely any chance of finding it out seems to become. But:

        My curiosity was piqued by a comment on another thread a few weeks ago concerning the short shelf life of starting pitchers. For every Nolan Ryan there’s a Mark Fidrych or maybe a couple—pitchers’ arms and psyches being fragile things, or so goes the conventional train of thought.

        I started wondering if this were really true in the overall context of the game. Do starting pitchers, on average, have shorter careers than starting catchers, for instance. Third basemen—so many of them seem not to last at the position, often becoming first basemen instead. Sparky Anderson—one year as a starter at second base. Jay Johnstone—19 seasons, only two as a definable starter.

        So, taking 100 games started per season as an arbitrary cutoff line for players in the field, and, well, lets make it 20 starts per season as an arbitrary cut-off line for a “full-time” hurler, how do the various positions line up, so to speak, in terms of average career length for, yes, actual players in genuine starting roles. Players like those Doug charts above, of course, complicate the picture, but are they that many? Doesn’t look like it to me.

        Anyway, I hope this explanation sufficiently obscures my meaning.

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