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posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 01:56 AM

Owen Wilson, an otherwise forgettable player, freakishly hit 36 triples in 1912, with his home games being played in the Pirates' then almost brand new Forbes Field, a cavernous park. (365 down the LF line; 408 to straightaway LF, where Maz hit the biggest HR in baseball history; 457 to deepest LCF; 436, I believe, to straightaway CF; well over 400 to deepest RCF; 375 to straightaway RF; and only the RF line was short, at 300 (but with a high screen going from there to the 375 mark). The Pirates led the NL in team triples more often than not, during the 61 full seasons they played in that park... as you might expect.

No player from 1900 to the present has come within a mile of Owen's 36 triples, causing some historians to question that stat's validity. The next highest is a three-way tie between two Hall of Famers (Sam Crawford, the all-time career triples leader, and Kiki Cuyler) and one woulda-been Hall member (Joe Jackson), at 26.

And as the freakishly shaped old parks became fewer; and the ones with preposterously enormous outfields (see earlier post about Braves Field and its 550' CF through 1928) changed; and the outfielders became faster (at least in the N.L.) after WWII, with the coming of desegregation; just getting 20 triples became a rare feat.

Since 1945:

Willie Wilson did it twice, playing in a ballpark made for triples. Dale Mitchell, a good outfielder with an otherwise empty career batting average of .312 (little power and a .368 career on-base percentage), hit 23 of his 61 career triples in 1949. In 1985, Wilson had one of the two aforementioned seasons and got 21 triples.

As for the 20-triple seasons, George Brett did it in 1979 (as noted in one of my previous trivia questions), Willie Mays did it in 1957 (ditto), and Stan Musial did it in 1946. How is that for one of the best trios of players you'll ever see in one of these weird trivia questions?


There have been two other players, neither of whom ever will be otherwise mentioned in the same breath with Mays, Musial and Brett, who have gotten 20 and 21 triples in a season, respectively, in the past 10 years.

So let me toss out just minor clues, since these are very modern guys and y'all do damn well with them and don't need much if any help:

(1) Player One, 21 triples, 1996: Remembered primarily as an American League player, and seen frequently on national TV while in the AL, but got the 21 triples in his first NL season. Played only 14 seasons, in only 8 of which he played more than 100 games, and in only 10 of which he played more than 50 games. Even so, he had 117 career triples. Had he played anything close to a long, full career, he obviously would have been the first player since Clemente to amass 150 or more career triples, and would have done so without the benefit of massive Forbes Field. Was an excellent baserunner, with 327 career steals and a career stolen base percentage of just over 75. Outstanding contact hitter, but terribly impatient and took very few walks.

(2) Player Two, 20 Triples, 2000: Here is your big clue: He is a SHORTSTOP, very average in both fielding percentage and range figures. Not a good offensive player. He has more career triples than home runs, has only 191 walks in 7 full seasons (an atrocious stat), has a mediocre stolen base percentage of 66, and a godawful strikeout-to-walk ratio of 567/191. Despite 7 full seasons of play, has never scored 90 runs or driven in 60 in one season.

But his 20 triples were no fluke. He hit 14 of them the next year, then 14 again 2 years after that. And he has 161 doubles, almost 4 times his number of career HR's.

As always, please do not use any research tools to find the answers, or, if you do, please do not post the answers.

With all of that said:


HOOTIE: No time limits on this one. Have at it.


posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 07:16 PM
OK. This question, unlike my past questions involving modern/current players, appears to be going nowhere fast. I will toss in some more info.

PLAYER ONE: Played the bulk of his career with the Chicago White Sox, but, as I said, hit his 21 triples in his first year in the N.L., and did so in one of the N.L.'s spacious parks. It was NOT Pac Bell, Coors Field or whatever they now call that grotesque park the Marlins play in. In a stat you are not likely to see replicated by any other modern player, he retired with 117 career triples and only 34 HR's, 19 of which he hit in his final year with the White Sox and his first year in the N.L. Except for his triples and excellent stolen base stats, was a completely forgettable offensive player--despite his empty .291 lifetime batting average, and his career high .333 average that got him named to the 1996 NL All-Star Team in his first year in the NL. On defense, however, he not only was good enough to play CF, but covered over 10% more ground, for his career, than the average CF. Once had back-to-back seasons with 11 assists.

From 1993 through 1997, he batted over .300 in 4 of 5 seasons, but never had over a .370 on-base percentage, which tells you all you need to know about how many pitches he swung at. To give credit where it is due, however, he was nonetheless VERY hard to strikeout, and had back-to-back seasons where he was the hardest person in the A.L. to strike out (in K/AB ratio). In 5,379 career at bats, he drew only 352 walks (which sucks), but struck out only 384 times (which is very impressive).

In addition to playing 8 years with the White Sox, he also played two and one-half years with the Cubs, toward the end.

PLAYER TWO: There is not nearly as much to write about this guy, so I'll give a huge hint--his two teams.

He has played seven years in the majors so far, THE FIRST SIX WITH THE MINNESOTA TWINS, then last year with WASHINGTON. On paper, he is an average defensive shortstop and a very weak hitter, with an on-base percentage below .300 and a slugging percentage of .374. Last year, in his first NL season, he batted .219, had an on-base percentage of .260 and slugged .314. His famously mercurial manager, Frank Robinson, must have just loved that, along with his almost exactly 3/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

He has led his league in triples 3 times, has been Top 10 in "sacrifice hits" three times, and somehow was sent to the All-Star Game and came in 16th in MVP voting in 2001--despite being far below average in SS fielding percentage, hitting all of 10 HR's, and having a mediocre .337 on-base percentage. Apparently the .302 batting average--which is meaningless, given that dismal on-base percentage--intoxicated a lot of people.


[Edited on 4/9/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]

posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 07:24 PM
Answer to Baseball Trivia Question #15

OK. I know an overwhelming sense of apathy when I see one, and Hootie obviously is not around right now.

The guy who long played with the White Sox, but hit his 21 triples with the Mets, and retired after a medium-length career with 117 triples, is LANCE JOHNSON.

The currently active player who is otherwise of no great note is CRISTIAN GUZMAN.

I'll try to come up with something more interesting for #16.



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