Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14- Arizona Diamondbacks

The idea for these numbers came during a night of drunkenness and tomfoolery three days after I had gotten the axe from the MLB Fan Cave. I was in an a rather cantankerous mood after I had been forced to move into a hotel for the remaining five days I’d be in New York before heading back to Portland with my tail between my legs. I had started drinking not too long after I got my stuff thrown into my hotel room as I had to walk ¾ of a mile with three ridiculously heavy bags since none of the cabs wanted to drive me as traffic was starting build in that area. I don’t usually complain about things, but “f--- that” popped into my head as my arms quivered, ready to drop everything on the sidewalk. I sucked it up and trekked between construction zones and narrow corridors. I passed actor Michael Fassbender on the streets and for some reason yelled, “Fassbender!” and gave him a high five after I shifted one of bags under my right arm. I checked into the Holiday Inn Express, which nestled right on the cusp of Chinatown, threw my stuff on my bed and hit the bricks for the closest public house. After a few rounds I made my way to downtown Manhattan to do some hat shopping and grab dinner as night was quickly approaching. Rather than going to a swanky restaurant I opted to hit up Foley’s Irish Pub. (For those of you who haven’t had the honor, go there. It is hands down, the premier baseball bar in New York.) After crushing a Caesar wrap and fries… along with 4 pints of Samuel Adams I leaned back in my chair and watched the Oakland A’s drop their third straight to the Minnesota Twins. My day just seemed to one punch in the nuts after another. The bartender who was working at the time and I got into a bit of a discussion, and while the details are still a bit hazy to me, somehow the conversation turned to the hardest baseball question he had ever been asked.

In order to set up the question, I have to tell you what was on the line when it was first proposed: A few moths prior, the owner of the pub, Shaun, threw out a proposal to the two bartenders on duty. (In a thick Irish accent) “Ok, here’s the deal. If you two can answer this question in 20 guesses, I will give you both the bar.” To my knowledge there wasn’t a consequence if the two got the answer wrong; however, both were champing at the bit to give it a go. The owner, confident the two wouldn’t get it correct, let it loose, “Name the seven players in MLB history who have hit 300 home runs and stolen 300 bases.”

Now, despite being a half case of beer deep on the day, three answers immediately came dribbling out: Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds. In the same breath I had also mustered out Carlos Beltran, but… I was wrong. Beltran at that time was still two stolen bases away from achieving this feat, something that Cardinals rep, and Cave Troll, Kyle Thompson didn’t even know. I then started firing names out that seemed like fitting answers, but were all wrong: Rickey Henderson, Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Ken Griffey, Jr. and like five others before I said Alex Rodriguez and Andre Dawson. Dawson and Rodriguez are in fact the fourth and fifth answers. Two to go. I burned through my other guesses without even coming close to the right answers. As it turns out, the bartended and his co-worker had fallen victim to the same enigma. We were all able to nail down five of the seven, but those last two killed us. Finally, I had to ask for a clue.

Clue- Both players were members of the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. I slowly nursed the lager in front of my face, barely hanging onto the bar when I fired out Luis Gonzalez. Apparently I had all ready guessed him and was equally as wrong on the first try. I sat there for a second, staring at the walls, hoping an answer would be right in front of my face. I then got up and peed for the first time on the day and popped out for a smoke to mull it over. About three drags into my smoke I had it. I tossed my cigarette out into an Escalade that was driving by and stumbled back into the bar. “Reggie Sanders and Steve Finley!” I yelled. The bartender looked at me amazed and bought me a beer as my reward. Pretty sure I didn’t need it, but I drank it anyway.

#12- Steve Finley made his debut for the Baltimore Orioles in 1989 and played for a very quiet 19 years. Most people remember the name and face, but few have looked at his accomplishments. .271 career average, 2548 hits, 304 home runs and 320 stolen bases, as well as having played on eight teams. He also racked up five Gold Gloves and made two All-Star Game appearances; quite possibly a borderline Hall of Famer.

#16- Reggie Sanders, like Finley, was a bit of a journeyman in his own right. Sanders donned a jersey for eight teams as well, most of which was spent with the Cincinnati Reds over his 17-year career. Despite only having 1666 base knocks in those 17 years, Sanders still clubbed 305 home runs and swiped 304 bags.

Since that night I have clearly never forgotten all seven, now eightanswers, as I imagine most of you won’t either. What’s really interesting; however, is that if Carlos Beltran’s numbers stay consistent for the next four to five years, he’ll probably have a better shot at making the Hall than Finley for the sake of a slightly better average and possibly 100 more home runs. But, after 15 years of playing, how many more years does Beltran have left in him? Finley has him beat by 500 currently. I guess we’ll wait and see.


  1. Great post! I still remember '89 as an O's fan. It was the "Why Not?" year, after the debacle of the 0-21 start in '88. The O's kept pace til the last weekend of the season. They had 2 young outfield prospects in Finley & Brady Anderson, who were seen as essentially the same player. I always preferred Finley, but the O's opted for Anderson, trading Finley to the Astros before the '91 season in probably the worst trade in O's history. In exchange for the "one player" they needed, Glenn Davis, they dealt "HOF discussion worthy" players Finley & Curt Schilling, as well as solid starter Pete Harnisch. Yeesh.

    Anderson was solid, and had that one fluky (and quite possibly steroid-fueled) 50-dinger season, but Finley would've been the better bet.

  2. Great question, but you lucked out on your pint. There are EIGHT players with 300/300, and the eighth is just next door. ARod is 647/318. I won't say no to a pint from Shaun my next trip to the city.

    1. I was duped! I honestly never gave it a second glance until I read your comment. I had always felt like AROD did it, just took the quiz master's word for it.