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July 25, 2009

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Calvin Massey

Guesswork: Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth

Tim Zinnecker

Calvin, two of your picks are correct.

anon

Barry Lamar Bonds.

Tim Zinnecker

Barry Bonds is indeed one of the nine. He has led the league in average twice (2002 and 2004), homers twice (1993 and 2001), and RBI's once (1993). In 1993, when he led the league in homers and RBI's, he hit a very respectable .336 -- but that was good only for fourth place (significantly behind the .370 posted by the league leader).

Brad Smith

Joe DiMaggio; Alex Rodriguez

David

Alex Rodriguez, Joe DiMaggio? (Not Willie Mays--don't think he ever led in RBIs)

David

And Manny Ramirez.

Tim Zinnecker

Eliminate Willie Mays. He led the league in homers on four occasions and batting average once. But the best he could do in the RBI race was finish second (twice).

Calvin's other two picks are correct. Aaron led the league in homers in 1957, 1963, 1966, and 1967. He led the league in RBI's in 1957, 1960, 1963, and 1966. And he led the league in batting average in 1956 and 1959.

Ruth led the league in homers in 12 seasons and RBI's in six seasons. He led the league in batting average only once, in 1924 (when he led the league in homers but finished second in the RBI race, finishing eight behind Goose Goslin).

Also, picks by Brad and David are correct. DiMaggio led the league in each of the three stats on two occasions. In 1948 he won the homer and RBI title, but his .320 batting average placed him seventh.

Alex Rodriguez has won the batting title once (1996), the RBI race twice (2002 and 2007), and the home run title five times (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007). FYI -- in 2002 and 2007 his batting averages placed him 19th and 13th in the league.

Manny Ramirez won the home run title in 2004, captured the RBI race in 1999, and had the highest batting average in 2002.

In summary, then, readers have identified six of the nine (Ruth, DiMaggio, Aaron, Bonds, Rodriguez, and Ramirez).

Here are the initials of the other three: HZ, JM, and AG.

Dave

Hm. I know there was a player named Heinie Zimmerman, so that may be "HZ". I am guessing "JM" is Joe "Ducky" Medwick. Drawing a blank on "AG".

Tim Zinnecker

HZ -- Heinie Zimmerman -- led the league in homers and batting average in 1912. He finished third in the RBI race that year, but he had the most RBI's in both 1916 and 1917.

No, JM is not Joe Medwick.

Here's another hint: JM and AG share the same nickname.

Andrew Siegel

I believe you are lookking for the two "big cats": Johnny Mize and Andres Galaraga. Would never have guess Galaraga without the nickname hint.

Tim Zinnecker

Andrew is indeed correct!

Johnny Mize was the home run king in 1939, 1940, 1947, and 1948. He led the league in RBI's in 1940, 1942, and 1947. And his batting average was the league high in 1939. So he captured two legs of the single-season triple crown in 1939 (finishing third in RBI's), 1940 (finishing second in batting average --- .314 to Stan Hack's .317), and 1947 (coming in at #12 in batting average).

Andres Galarraga led the league in 1993 with a .370 batting average. He led the league in homers in 1996, and he captured the RBI title in both 1996 and 1997.


MANY THANKS TO READERS WHO POSTED COMMENTS! MUCH APPRECIATED!

Send along your baseball trivia questions to me at tzinnecker@stcl.edu . Once I have a handful, I'll post them on a Saturday (with proper attribution.)

Term Papers

It is good to see that information, really like to share this, this database really helps, Thanks for the information.

Ben

Fun game. If Albert Pujols keeps his RBI lead over Votto and Gonzalez this season, he will join this club (batting title 2003, HR title 2009 and maybe again this year).

Ben

It's kind of fun to look for "almosts" too. For example, I thought Frank Thomas would fall short on the batting title, but he actually won one (1997). But he never led in either HRs or RBIs, despite coming close multiple times. And Stan Musial had 6 batting titles and 2 RBI titles, but never won the HR title, despite hitting 475 for his career. The closest he came was 1948, when his 39 trailed Kiner and Mize's 40. (This also denied him the single-season triple crown for that year.) Tris Speaker won a batting title and HR crown (with 10 in 1912), but missed out on RBIs. His closest season was 1923, when his 130 was one short of Ruth at 131. And Josh Hamilton looks like he'll pick up the batting title this year to go with his 2008 RBI title. He has many years left to look for that HR crown...

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