August 28, 2012

Hall of Fame Brain Teaser

When I'm bored or trying to fall asleep, I like coming up with baseball brain teasers. Here's one that I haven't figured out yet:

Name a current Hall of Famer who never played on a team with another Hall of Famer.

I thought I had this figured out. I thought that George Brett was an answer, but then I remembered that Gaylord Perry was on the Royals in 1983, and Harmon Killebrew in 1975.

Another potential answer was Tony Gwynn, but he played with Roberto Alomar back in the late 1980s. Or how about the newly inducted Barry Larkin? Well, Tony Perez was on the 1986 Cincinnati squad, the year Larkin was called up.

It's sort of like a reverse Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and harder than you think. I'll post a list of the permutations later in the week, but in the meantime, post your responses as comments on this post.


Justin said...
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Justin said...

Is this a trick question? Are you sure there's an answer? By "current Hall of Famer" do you mean one that is still alive?

Ben Henry said...

Justin: By "current Hall of Famer" I mean members, not future shoo-ins like Ken Griffey Jr or Trevor Hoffman. And no, I'm not sure there's an answer, though if it were to have an answer, I'm guessing the player is from the years before World War II.

lifetimetopps said...

Candy Cummings

Also - I assume the question excludes guys like Kennesaw Mountain Landis who were inducted as commissioners, owners, etc., but never played MLB.

Justin said...

By the way, love the blog, but the new design is nearly impossible to browse. I can't see any comments on posts and you can't really browse the listing of posts.

Travis M. Nelson said...

Not sure you'll find any at all. It would seem that those who played the shortest times in the majors, especially those who made the HoF as managers or executives or whatever, would be most likely to avoid all intersections with other Hall of famers, but even Tommy Lasorda (3 years) played with Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson. Jocko Conlan, an umpire who played portions of 2 seasons with the ChiSox in the mid 1930's, had Ted Lyons, Al Simmons and Luke Appling for teammates. Satchel Paige played only 6 seasons in the majors, but was teammates with five or six HoFers in MLB alone, not to mention the Negro Leagues.

If you want to play really cheap, you can say Negro Leaguer Willard Brown, who played briefly for the 1947 St Louis Browns, didn't have a fellow HoF teammate in MLB. He played his last game for them in mid-August, and the only other future member of the Hall to play for them was Dizzy Dean, in one game on 9/28. But of course he played with numerous hall of famers in his days as a KC Monarch (Paige, Bullet Rogan, Turkey Stearnes, Hilton Smith, etc.)

Another one-year guy, Sparky Anderson, played only part of a season in the majors, with the 1959 Phillies...who also had Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn.

Even Walter Alston, who had only one major league plate appearance to his credit, managed to be teammates with Dizzy Dean, Frankie Frisch, Jesse Haines, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize and another future HoF manager, Leo Durocher. In fact, all but Haines and Durocher even played in his one game.

The other approach I took was to look at good players who played for famously bad teams, like Ernie Banks (no good: Ralph Kiner, Billy Williams, Ron Santo) or Chuck Klein (Gabby Hartnett, Pete Alexander) and they don't work either. Any player who was good enough to eventually be voted into Cooperstown would, presumably, either encourage the team owners to get better players to support him or fetch such a high price in trade that the team would invariably ship him off to some place with better players, some of whom would be HoF caliber.

It still possible of course, but I doubt it. Curious to see if anyone comes up with a legit case.

Travis M. Nelson said...

Yes, Candy Cummings, but that's sorta cheating, since he was really inducted as a pioneer, for the legend that he invented the curveball, not because of his playing career. I don't think you'll find a real player to meet those criteria.

Ben Henry said...

Travis, your arguments and reasoning are sound. I agree with you on your point about great players enticing ownership to bring in other great players. Also, I didn't intend to include Hall of Fame managers in this exercise, but it's interesting to include them as you've done. And I didn't intend to include Negro League stars, either.

So if this is a question with no definitive answer (besides Candy Cummings, perhaps), here's a bookend trivia question: Which current or former Major League player was Major-League teammate to the most Hall of Fame players? This would be over the course of their careers. Not sure if it should include All-Star Games. My first reaction would be someone like Ty Cobb, Don Sutton, or Rich Gossage.

Ben Henry said...

Justin, thanks for the feedback. We'll add your thoughts to the list of concerns when we plan our next redesign.

Ben Henry said...

Here's a warmup answer: Juan Beniquez was teammates with 17 different Hall of Famers over his career:
Carlton Fisk
Jim Rice
Orlando Cepeda
Juan Marichal
Carl Yastrzemski
Don Sutton
Reggie Jackson
Catfish Hunter
Eddie Murray
Cal Ripken
Goose Gossage
George Brett
Gaylord Perry
Bert Blyleven
Ferguson Jenkins
Phil Niekro
Rod Carew

Jeff said...

The 1930s are ridiculously over-represented in the Hall. and since it was before expansion, I would assume it would be somebody from that era.