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Contest: Twenty-One Grains of Rice

So, I’ve been thinking about my problem with letting Jim Rice into the Hall of Fame. And I’ve been thinking about my book. The two have nothing to do with each other, which sounds like a good excuse for a contest.

Here’s the deal. Listed below are 21 outfielders who are or were at one point eligible for enshrinement in Cooperstown. All have played within the last 50 years and two are in the Hall of Fame.

Your task, should you decide to accept it, is to identify — in the comments — a) the two HOFers and b) all 21 players. The first person to do so correctly will receive a copy of the Ducksnorts 2009 Baseball Annual. Your bosses can thank me later for killing your productivity on a Friday.

I’ll give you a couple hints to help get you started: a) Three of these guys patrolled the same outfield together for many years. b) Two had sons who went onto become big-league outfielders.

Bonus question: How do you choose just two of these guys for the Hall of Fame without slapping a brand name on ‘em? Finally, to be absolutely clear, none of this is meant as a knock against Rice; it’s a knock against the people who voted him into an institution that should be held to the highest possible standards.

Twenty-One Outfielders, Two in the Hall of Fame
  Pos PA BA OBP SLG H HR RBI OPS+ WS WS/162
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.
A RF 10769 .279 .323 .482 2774 438 1591 119 340 20.96
B RF 10184 .290 .339 .471 2712 339 1493 121 327 21.48
C RF 11229 .279 .362 .431 2716 292 1466 124 358 19.65
D LF 9058 .298 .352 .502 2452 382 1451 128 282 21.86
E RF 10569 .272 .370 .470 2446 385 1384 127 347 21.57
F CF 9778 .303 .344 .451 2743 219 1326 121 305 20.86
G CF 9040 .265 .346 .469 2111 398 1266 121 294 21.84
H LF 6673 .295 .369 .564 1726 381 1239 143 245 25.78
I RF 8225 .267 .379 .476 1826 340 1180 137 316 25.67
J CF 7923 .283 .360 .484 1960 306 1111 129 280 23.03
K RF 8050 .287 .366 .489 2020 314 1092 137 325 26.49
L CF 7831 .318 .360 .477 2304 207 1085 124 281 25.53
M LF 8931 .284 .354 .420 2251 165 1077 120 313 21.54
N RF 8558 .282 .388 .436 2029 246 1065 132 302 23.49
O RF 7718 .277 .357 .445 1862 252 1043 124 277 23.51
P RF 8090 .268 .353 .471 1886 332 1024 129 302 26.45
Q CF 8246 .277 .343 .425 2020 193 1007 114 286 23.18
R CF 8133 .285 .347 .443 2087 199 976 123 296 23.88
S CF 8010 .250 .366 .436 1665 291 964 128 305 25.73
T RF 6879 .304 .353 .476 1917 220 947 131 245 23.68
U LF 7735 .271 .360 .404 1803 160 758 121 263 22.65

The position listed is the one most frequently played. The list is sorted by RBI in descending order because voting types seem to like RBI.

Leave your guesses in the comments. Use the format “letter designation in table, player name, HOF yes or no,” with each player on a separate line, e.g.:

A, Shawn Abner, no
B, Randell Byers, yes
C, Jerald Clark, no

Good luck!

Update: We have a winner. Congratulations to Lance Richardson, who will receive a copy of the book, due out in early March!

Check out the winning answers if you are so inclined. And feel free to let me know in the comments what mechanism dictates which of these guys “belong” in the Hall of Fame.

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17 Responses »

  1. a, andre dawson, no
    b, dave parker, no
    c, rusty staub, no
    d, jim rice, yes
    e, dwight evans, no
    f, al oliver, no
    g, dale murphy, no
    h, albert belle, no
    i, jack clark, no
    j, george hendrick, no
    k, reggie smith, no
    l, kirby puckett, yes
    m, jose cruz, no
    n, ken singleton, no
    o, bobby murcer, no
    p, bobby bonds, no
    q, amos otis, no
    r, cesar cedeno, no
    s, jimmy wynn, no
    t, tony oliva, no
    u, roy white, no

  2. also, how do you feel about david eckstein? I think I’m glad we could get a major league player for cheap and he seems like the Brian Giles of infielders from what I’ve read…

  3. A. Andre Dawson, no
    B. Dave Parker, no
    C. Rusty Staub, no
    D. Jim Rice, yes
    E. Dwight Evans, no
    F. Al Oliver, no
    G. Dale Murhy, no
    H. Albert Belle, no
    I. Jack Clark, no
    J. Fred Lynn, no
    K. Reggie Smith, no
    L. Kirby Puckett, yes
    M. Jose Cruz, no
    N. Ken Singleton, no
    O. Bobby Murcer, no
    P. Bobby Bonds, no
    Q. Amos Otis, no
    R. Cesar Cedeno, no
    S. Jimmy Wynn, no
    T. Tony Olive, no
    U. Roy White, no

  4. Hooray for me! Johnny Utah, replace former Padre Hendrick with former Padre Lynn, and you’d be the winner.

    According to Ken Rosenthal, my agent has entered into discussions with the Padres regarding the possibility of me starting at shortstop and batting leadoff in ’09. Unlike Michael Young, I will NEVER agree to play third base.

  5. Good job, Geoff.

    “Finally, to be absolutely clear, none of this is meant as a knock against Rice; it’s a knock against the people who voted him into an institution that should be held to the highest possible standards.”

    Spot on.

  6. Changing the subject, Baseball Prospectus rated the Padres Top 11 prospects (subscription required). Here’s the list:

    Four-Star Prospects
    1. Mat Latos, RHP
    2. Kellen Kulbacki, RF
    3. Adys Portillo, RHP
    Three-Star Prospects
    4. Kyle Blanks, 1B
    5. Jaff Decker, OF
    6. Cedric Hunter, CF
    7. Allan Dykstra, 1B
    8. James Darnell, 3B
    9. Matt Antonelli, 2B
    10. Jeremy McBride, RHP
    Two-Star Prospects
    11. Drew Cumberland, SS

  7. re: mechanism … simple … >.500 SLG in over 9000 PAs … or have a big smile to go along with World Series highlights …

  8. OT: KG @ BP … Padres Top 11 prospects … http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8419

    Summary: The Padres system remains weak overall, but it’s on the way up due to some good recent drafts and a new-found commitment to Latin America.

    … which seems fair enough. I like that he’s got James Darnell @ #8 … he’s my “sleeper pick”.

  9. David Eckstein: FTW!!! I’ve admired him his whole career. I’m so glad he’s on our team. Even if we suck balls, he gives a great reason to watch.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to order an Eckstein Padres T-shirt.

    Not sure what number he’ll wear yet. I’ll just guess. I’m sure everything will work out fine.

  10. Hey, a comment from Rich Lederer… cool!

  11. #7@Schlom: Wow what does Blanks have to do to be a 4 star prospect? Be Texas league player of the year at age 20? oh wait he already did that!

  12. #12@Steve C: Wasn’t Kila Kaaihue the Texas League player of the year? I might have misread something.

    To be a four-star prospect at 1b you need to really stand out, because almost all of your value is in the bat. Goldstein admits he’s not a big fan of 1b-only prospects.

  13. #13@Tom Waits: Bleh, you’re right; didn’t he win some kind of texas league honors this year?

  14. Do the same comparison with Joe Morgan/Lou Whitaker. They’re virtually the same player – Morgan was a 1st ballot HoF, Whitaker fell off the ballot after 1 year.

  15. And feel free to let me know in the comments what mechanism dictates which of these guys “belong” in the Hall of Fame.

    “Degree Feared.”

  16. #15@Bill:

    This isn’t a serious comment is it?
    2 MVP’s, 3 other Top 10′s vs 1 Top 10 MVP
    10 AS games vs 5
    689 SB (80%) vs 163 SB (66%)
    132 OPS+ vs 116 OPS+
    5 Gold Gloves vs 3 Gold Gloves

    Sweet Lou was a quality player who deserved more of a look for the Hall then he got, but he isn’t in the same ballpark as Joe Morgan.