Quiz – HOF Sluggers … and some other guys (solved)

What do three HOFers have in common with several other less celebrated players? In fact, all of them share the distinction of a certain seasonal batting accomplishment of which no others can boast. What is it?

Congratulations to Voomo Zanzibar! He knew that these players have hit the most home runs in a season from each of the nine batting order positions.

The list of players is after the jump.

  1. Del Crandall
  2. Kevin Elster
  3. Jimmie Foxx
  4. Troy Glaus
  5. Howard Johnson
  6. Eddie Mathews
  7. Mark McGwire
  8. Alfonso Soriano
  9. Hack Wilson

Here are those record home run seasons.

Rk Player Split Year G HR GS PA AB R H RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Alfonso Soriano Batting 1st 2006 131 39 131 610 541 102 159 81 58 130 .294 .368 .588 .956
1 Eddie Mathews Batting 2nd 1959 145 46 145 668 582 117 180 114 78 70 .309 .392 .601 .994
1 Mark McGwire Batting 3rd 1998 152 69 152 678 506 128 150 145 162 155 .296 .469 .745 1.214
1 Hack Wilson Batting 4th 1930 155 56 155 709 585 148 207 191 105 84 .354 .453 .721 1.174
1 Jimmie Foxx Batting 5th 1932 154 58 154 702 585 151 213 168 117 96 .364 .470 .749 1.219
1 Troy Glaus Batting 6th 2000 134 39 134 567 473 102 135 85 93 143 .285 .404 .605 1.009
1 Howard Johnson Batting 7th 1987 124 28 123 505 437 68 117 81 61 90 .268 .362 .503 .866
1 Del Crandall Batting 8th 1955 114 22 109 428 384 48 93 55 33 50 .242 .300 .464 .764
1 Kevin Elster Batting 9th 1996 146 21 145 557 479 72 123 92 50 130 .257 .323 .459 .782
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/21/2016.

The seasons by Mathews, McGwire and Foxx figured prominently in the team records below.

Rk Team Split Year HR PA R H 2B 3B RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
1 BAL Batting 1st 1996 45 794 149 192 42 3 103 98 106 .288 .390 .562 .953 375
1 MLN Batting 2nd 1959 47 721 126 193 19 8 117 81 75 .306 .386 .586 .972 369
1 STL Batting 3rd 1998 71 742 136 164 22 0 154 176 167 .295 .466 .718 1.184 399
1 OAK Batting 4th 1996 61 720 137 173 31 1 142 123 141 .296 .424 .666 1.090 389
1 PHA Batting 5th 1932 58 705 152 214 33 9 168 117 96 .364 .470 .747 1.216 439
1 CIN Batting 6th 1956 47 655 88 165 20 0 115 54 88 .282 .348 .556 .904 326
1 OAK Batting 7th 1996 37 678 88 155 25 1 101 66 127 .260 .341 .491 .832 293
1 TOR Batting 8th 2010 34 624 74 137 26 1 90 40 134 .242 .297 .471 .768 267
1 BAL Batting 9th 1987 24 618 79 129 21 2 58 54 110 .233 .303 .409 .711 226
1 BOS Batting 9th 2003 24 657 89 167 37 1 93 48 119 .284 .338 .472 .810 278
1 CLE Batting 9th 2005 24 627 82 160 36 3 69 45 133 .282 .338 .483 .821 274
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/1/2016.

Big Mac, with 52 home runs in only 130 games, was also a primary contributor for the 1996 Athletics in claiming two spots in the above table.

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33 Comments on "Quiz – HOF Sluggers … and some other guys (solved)"

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Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Stabbing at what could be a swerve of a piece of it:

They all had season in which they batted no higher than .212 with no more than 74 PA.

David P
Guest

Is it something that was done during a qualified batting season? Crandall only had 3 of those so that might help narrow things down.

no statistician but
Guest

Doug:

This quiz is a stinker. The odd men out here are are Crandall and Elster. Crandall didn’t strike out much and had three or at most four qualifying seasons which look almost identical to one another. Elster showed no power except in one of his two qualifying seasons, but at least he struck out quite a bit. You ought to be able to compare their few qualifying seasons and come up with some idea, but it’s beyond me. Looks like a Richard Chester special.

Richard Chester
Guest

Thanks for the compliment but in recent months I have not been doing well on Doug’s quizzes.

Doug
Guest

Here’s a hint. The number of players in the list is a clue.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Most HR in a season from each batting order position.

Elster in the 9-hole in 1996:
21 HR

Crandall from the 8-hole in 1955:
22 HR

HoJo from the 7-hole in 1987:
28 HR

Glaus from the 6-hole in 2000:
39 HR

Foxx from the 5-hole in 1932
58 HR

Hack from the 4-hole in 1930:
56 HR

McGwire from the 3-hole in 1998
69 HR (happy birthday today)

Mathews from the 2-hole in 1959
46 HR

Soriano had 1-hole in 2006.
39 HR

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Soriano had one hole?
Way to double check your work, buddy.

no statistician but
Guest

Voomo:

Do we call you Richard Chester II from now on?

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Well, I wasn’t likely to get there without Doug’s hint.

Richard Chester
Guest

Voomo, you did a great job. Everybody else had the same hint. BTW if Foxx had been hitting third or fourth when he hit 58 HR he would have had an extra 18 to 36 or so PA and a much better chance for 60 HR.

David P
Guest

Yeah, I really don’t understand why Mack had Foxx batting 5th all year long. Weird.

John
Guest
Connie Mack was a very very strange dude. He gutted his 1914 AL Champs immediately, claiming he couldn’t afford to pay them what they wanted, and finished last 7 straight years. The Federal League went out of business after the 1915 season, and a lot of really good players were available very cheap, but he chose to stay in last place. At the end of that, he paid $100,000 (or whatever, a colossal sum now, all the moreso in the 1920’s) for Lefty Grove and some others, was the Series again, and gutted the team again. Again, claiming he couldn’t… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

In reply to #s 12, 15, 16:

The A’s lineup had Mickey Cochrane batting third, Al Simmons fourth, Jimmie Foxx fifth, not exactly a stupid or quirky arrangement when you consider that the previous year Cochrane batted .349, OPS .976; Simmons .390, OPS 1.085; Foxx .291, OPS .947. Foxx was only 24 years old in 1932, whereas the others were 29 and 30. The lineup had worked for three consecutive pennant winners, too. In ’32, despite Foxx’s 58 dingers, the team finished a distant second.

David P
Guest

NSB – I agree that it the beginning of the year, it made sense to have Foxx bat 5th but at some point during the season you’ve got to move him up in the lineup.

And look at the following year. In 1933, Foxx hit 4th for the first 17 games. He was then dropped to 5th for the next 60 games.

Who batted 4th during this time? Ed Coleman. Coleman was a 31 year old nobody who had about 40 games of MLB experience when Mack decided to bat him 4th and Foxx 5th. That’s very weird.

John
Guest

You make a good point, nsb, but I was not referring to his obvious talent as a manager. It was more his quirky psyche on how he obtained/retained his players. After the 1915 season, he could have gotten a large number of very good players cut loose by the FL cheaply, but he didn’t. That is all I was trying to say.

Dr. Doom
Guest
This answer is awesome, but got me thinking about some of the other big HR seasons, and why they weren’t on here. Bonds in ’01 hit 66 from the 3rd spot, 6th from the 4th spot hit 6, and his other came as a PH, batting 9th. McGwire is probably the weirdest. He batted 3rd all but three games in ’98. Once, he batting 9th (PH). But his lone HR from another spot came from batting FIRST. He actually led off the game twice for the Cards in ’98, once homering, and doubling the other time. Maybe the Cards could’ve… Read more »
oneblankspace
Guest

MCGwire’s appearances in the 1-hole were essentially first-inning pinch-hitting appearances on the road after he had hit #62. The crowds in the other cities wanted to see him, and LaRussa wanted to give him the day off. He might have DHed had that been an option.

Dr. Doom
Guest

That’s what it seemed like. It reminds me of how Lou Gehrig got a couple of “starts” at “shortstop” in order to keep his streak alive, batting in the first inning and then sitting down.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

On 7.13.34, Gehrig started at 1st, played one defensive inning, singled to lead off the 2nd, then came out.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET193407130.shtml

The following day, the 14th, was the “start at SS”.
He led off the game with a single, at was PR for by Rolfe.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET193407140.shtml

The following day, well rested, he went 4-4 with 3 doubles:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET193407150.shtml

Richard Chester
Guest

Gehrig had an episode of lumbago.

Luis Gomez
Guest

Does anyone know ho was hitting 6th for 1996 Athletics?

Luis Gomez
Guest

Check that, batting 7th.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Well, whether the question is 6th or 7th, the answer is the same: Terry Steinbach. He batted 6th 73 times, and 7th 26 times, both of which led the team. You can find the info here:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/1996-batting-orders.shtml
May I ask: what caused you to ask this question?

Luis Gomez
Guest

I ask because it was hard to believe that a batter could do so much damage from the 7th spot in the order, and not be moved up. That’s were I was wrong. I never imagined that all those homers were hit by so many batters.

By the way, DD, I’v been reading the MVP re-voting project, I haven’t voted yet but I will as soon as I make a full return to this site.

Richard Chester
Guest

Records for players hitting from the #7 spot (400 PA min.):

Stat…..#……Year……Player
R………83……..1933…..Pinky Higgins
H………177…..1933…..Pinky Higgins
2B…….34……..1933….Pinky Higgins
3B…….17……..1921…..Charlie Grimm
HR……28………1987…..Howard Johnson
RBI……111…….1938…..Ken Keltner
BB……..83……..1925…..Willie Kamm
BA……..361……1923…..Charlie Grimm
OBP……422……1930…..Gabby Hartnett
SLG…….636……1930…..Gabby Hartnett
OPS…….1.058….1930…..Gabby Hartnett
SB………28……….1913…..Jack Graney
SB……….28………1923…..Cliff Heathcote

Richard Chester
Guest

Here are the starting players who batted 7th for the 1996 A’s listed by number of games:

Steinbach-26
Plantier-25
Giambi-20
Brosius-15
Stairs-15
Williams-15
Young-9
Spiezio-7
Lovullo-7
Lesher-6

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