Jayson Stark’s MLB Trivia Recap – September 3, 2013
Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Jayson Stark’s MLB Trivia Recap.”
Every week, for the rest of the baseball season, we will be recapping Jayson Stark’s “Mike and Mike” MLB trivia. For those unaware of this radio segment, how did you get to this website? I kid, I kid. Here is the deal, Jayson Stark, of ESPN, goes on to the “Mike and Mike” radio show most Tuesdays and presents a bit of MLB trivia. It is usually topical, playful with the definition of “active” player, and frustratingly close to having more possible answers than it does.
Without further ado…
September 3, 2013 Jayson Stark Trivia:
Today's @MikeAndMike trivia: 3 active players have gotten 2,000 hits for one team – but no longer play for that team. Can you name them?
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) September 3, 2013
Okay, let’s solve this thing.
Step 1: Wait!
This is vital. You must wait five minutes to see if there is a follow up tweet defining “active?” You wait? Great. No update? Fantastic.
Absence of a definition tells us a lot. It means Stark doesn’t feel the need to point us in the direction of players with a questionable “active” status. Basically, if you now have a question of somebody’s status, they aren’t the answer. If they were, there would be cries on Twitter about how his trivia was “unfair.” Stark knows this, and will feed you like little baby birds. He will drop a, “must have played a game in the majors this year” or “players currently suspended, but technically on a roster, count.” He didn’t. You can now rest assured that Manny Ramirez and Miguel Tejada aren’t answers.
Step 2: Focus On The Easy Stat
Don’t overcomplicate things. Trivia like this is tricky because of the curveballs, but starting with a base will make it easier to handle. Worry about the trivia-ee aspects of the trivia later.
For this question, that means focus on the 2,000 hits. This is a great stat for one of these. 2,000 hits is a lot of damn hits. There can’t be more than 20 people in baseball that have 2,000 hits. This should make the process of elimination later more straight forward than something like, “17 wins” in a year. 2,000 hits is 200 hits for 10 straight years. Barry Bonds never had 200 hits in a season. Manny Ramirez never had 200 hits in a season. This gives you a nice guideline. The answers probably have to have been in the league since 2000, at least. When we get to the curveball part, it also means they have to have been with a former team for a huge chunk of their career.
Step 3: Put Together A List
We like to get our possibilities out there by jumping around the league and seeing what teams trigger names. This particular trivia has some easy eliminations, but we can still name people, even if we know they are wrong. Hey, we know Jeter isn’t the answer, but so what? Now it becomes two trivia questions: 1. Name all the players with 2,000 hits. 2. Answer Stark’s question.
If you don’t like MORE baseball trivia, then you probably stopped reading this a long time ago. Let’s go through the teams – - usually might miss, or skip, some. That happens. We can name all 50 states, but when we put them on paper we always get stuck at 49. For this exercise, we will try to be as inclusive as possible. You should do the same. You can always eliminate later.
Mariners: Ichiro, ARod
Angels: Hunter, Wells, Pujols
White Sox: Konerko
Cleveland: Nope. Wait, Thome?
Red Sox: No. Fine, Ortiz, maybe.
Blue Jays: Reyes?
Miami: Juan Pierre
22. That sounds about right. Again, obviously some can be eliminated looking at the list, but we will keep them until their proper step. Berkman and Thome have questionable status in our head. Lance definitely played at some point this year, and we remember something about giving up his contract, but we don’t know. The “active” logic dance helps again though. Even IF they were active, they won’t be the answer. We are now at four possible answers eliminated based on simple logic: Berkman, Thome, Manny, and Tejada.
After two minutes, we have 24 “active” players that possibly have 2,000 hits. 4 are removed by “waiting” (though Thome probably is just flat out not active). That leaves us with 20 possibles.
Step 4: Pare Down
Here is our list after Step 3:
- Adrian Beltre
- Ichiro Suzuki
- Alex Rodriguez
- Torii Hunter
- Vernon Wells
- Albert Pujols
- Todd Helton
- Paul Konerko
- Joe Mauer
- Carlos Beltran
- Miguel Cabrera
- Alfonso Soriano
- Matt Holliday
- Justin Morneau
- David Ortiz
- Derek Jeter
- Jose Reyes
- Juan Pierre
- David Wright
- Michael Young
Step 3 is the most fun part of these things, in our opinions. Top 100 players since 1990, go. We could do that everyday. Sadly, that exuberance usually has one bad side effect; a good amount of clearly wrong answers. To address that, before we advance to the next proper step, we should take the opportunity to guffaw at our own free association list.
Though Mauer, Holliday, Wright, Cabrera, and Morneau spark thoughts in our head, it is highly unlikely they have 2,000 hits. Cabrera eats at us and Morneau poses an interesting thinking point, so we will keep them for now. The rest, we are going to ditch. Down to 17.
Step 5: Easiest Curveball
By “easiest” curveball, we mean “the curveball that eliminates people quickest.” Sometimes there isn’t a curveball. Sometimes there are many.
For this one, we identify the easiest curveball as “but no longer play for that team.” This takes the second part of the problem first, but the possibilities that have played a majority of their career for the team they are on, are super identifiable.
ARod, Helton, Konerko, Ortiz, and Jeter – - bye bye. 12 left.
Step 6: The Next Curveball
Lather, rinse, repeat at this point. Start attacking each of the remaining curveballs, one at a time. Here we only have one left, “2,000 hits on one team.”
Here are the peeps we haven’t gotten rid of: Beltre, Suzuki, Hunter, Wells, Pujols, Beltran, Cabrera, Soriano, Morneau, Reyes, Pierre, and Young.
We wouldn’t bet our lives that all these guys have 2,000 hits, but we know some can’t possibly have done it with one team. Hunter, Wells, Beltran, Soriano, and Pierre probably have combined to play on 30 different teams. We would be shocked if they were able to manage 2,000 on just one team. (fact check from after completion of post: 21 teams)
Step 7: Final Cuts and Submission
Final real step. We have successfully dwindled 1,000 or so players into 7. We have been hanging on to some players so we could talk about them more. Let’s cut them lose now:
Highly unlikely Morneau has anything near 2,000 hits. We probably didn’t have to list him in the first place. Always be aware of a topical player though. This is a trivia question about a good player currently not playing for the team he was good on. Morneau was just traded. Since we still have Michael Young here, we meet the topical standard. Morneau got an extra look for being related to the question.
Miggy might have 2,000 hits, but he definitely doesn’t have them on one specific team. He stuck around because he is awesome. Always remind yourselves of that.
Boom. On to the top 5. Reyes, Pujols, Beltre, Ichiro and Young.
At this point, messing around any further would just be excessive stalling. We are ditching Reyes (he doesn’t have 2,000 hits does he?) and Beltre (could he have 2,000 with the Dodgers?). We really don’t think these two are the answer. They just weren’t easily removed during the other steps.
After all that, we are confident that the answer is Pujols, Ichiro and Young. Usually, this isn’t the case. Lucked out and got an easy one for the first recap.
Step 8: Extra Credit
For “extra credit” we like to guess what the most common wrong answers will be. Mr. Stark always gives us this little bit of info. We carried Reyes and Beltre all the way through, so we have to add them. We also wonder if maybe we are underselling Torii Hunter with the Twins or Vernon Wells for Toronto. Then again, we also wonder if there is somebody we just flat out missed. Hunter, Wells, Beltre, and Reyes will be our submission for the extra points.
Step 9: Grade Your Paper – Part 1
Now it is time to get your results. We went with Ichiro, Pujols and Young….drum roll….
Here's that @MikeAndMike trivia answer: Pujols (2,073 hits in St. Louis), Ichiro (2,533 hits in Seattle) & Michael Young (2,230 hits in Tex)
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) September 3, 2013
Balloons let go, corks popped, 1 for 1. High five. High five.
And, how about for the most commonly wrong guesses?
Most common wrong trivia answers: Berkman (1,648 H in Houston), Crawford (1,480 in Tampa Bay), Reyes (1,300 in NY). Torii H (1,218 in Minn)
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) September 3, 2013
Yikes. Totally whiffed on Carl Crawford. We eliminated Berkman for not falling into a clear “active” category, but probably should have brought him back there at the end. Hunter and Reyes we nailed. All and all, not bad.
Step 10: Grade Your Paper – Part 2
Baseball-Reference is your grader. They are tough, but fair. Two things you can do here:
1. See how you did at getting the building blocks correct. In this case, how close did you get on the players with 2,000 hits?
2. Find the players Stark was trying to confuse you with. Usually, these show up in the most common wrong answers, but sometimes not. This Q was easy, so it is possible there just weren’t any other close results.
Sometimes this is a bit challenging to suss out. This one won’t have that problem. First stop:
BR – - Play Index – - Season Finder – - Player Batting – - Combined Seasons – - Active: Yes – - Hits >/= 2000 – - Sort by: H – - Get Report.
- Derek Jeter: 3,313
- Alex Rodriguez: 2,925
- Ichiro Suzuki: 2,729
- Manny Ramirez: 2,574
- Todd Helton: 2,500
- Miguel Tejada: 2,407
- Adrian Beltre: 2,401
- Michael Young: 2,359
- Albert Pujols: 2,347
- Paul Konerko: 2,279
- Carlos Beltran: 2,210
- Juan Pierre: 2,209
- Torii Hunter: 2,145
- Alfonso Soriano: 2,025
- David Ortiz: 1,998
- Miguel Cabrera: 1,975
- Vernon Wells: 1,787
- Matt Holliday: 1,653
- Jose Reyes: 1,566
- David Wright: 1,552
- Joe Mauer: 1,414
- Justin Morneau: 1,319
- Jim Thome: 2,328
- Lance Berkman: 1,905
- Jimmy Rollins: 2,150
- Placido Polanco: 2,127
- Aramis Ramirez: 2,024
We will take it. Thought Berkman and Reyes had more than they do. Thought Ortiz and Wells had less. If put to the test to name 100 players that MIGHT have 2,000 hits (even if we knew they didn’t), we still wouldn’t have made it down to Placido Polanco.
At the end the day was anybody even close to making there a fourth correct answer? Not really.
Most on team other than their own w/2,000+ hits total:
Aramis Ramirez/Cubs: 1,246
Manny Ramirez/Red Sox: 1,232
Torii Hunter/Minnesota: 1,218
Most on team other than their own w/around 2,000 hits total:
Berkman: 1,648 for Houston / 1,905 total
Vernon Wells: 1,529 for Toronto / 1,787 total
Carl Crawford: 1,480 for Tampa / 1,749 total
Jose Reyes: 1,300 for Mets / 1,566 total
Eric Chavez: 1,276 for A’s / 1,455 overall
Now, if you ever want to know how to turn a trivia question you answered in 30 seconds into a 1900 word blog post, you know where to come.