Wednesday, May 29, 2024
MLBTrivia

Baseball Trivia: Bombs Away, Beards Astray

In the seasons spanning from 2005 to 2020, 17 players hit between 300 and 400 home runs. Ryan Howard hit 380 bombs in that span, besting Ryan Braun by 28 to lead the pack. The subject of this trivia post hit every single one of his 344 career homers in that time, tying him with Curtis Granderson and Adam Dunn for fourth on this list.

Of that total, 97 dingers came in back-to-back years when he led the entire Major Leagues; his reward would be a 4th– and 3rd-place MVP finish in those years, respectively. Of this group, he (currently) has the most walks (1025), passing Dunn by 56 free trips to first base. In his rookie season, he played for four teams – the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates — and was even traded twice in one day. It was the day before Nomar Garciaparra was sent away from the Boston Red Sox, so that might cloud your memory a bit.

via GIPHY

Obviously, one of the teams involved in those two trades that day never saw him suit up in their colors…until 14 seasons later when he slashed .204/.351/.367 in 83 games for the Mets. Four seasons after he and Nomar were both traded – unrelated, aside from time – this (primarily) right-fielder and (occasionally) utility infielder was traded again.

At the time, he had a career bWAR of -2.9 in 462 games. He was traded for Robinzon Díaz, who would be out of the big leagues 125 ABs later (0.6 bWAR), but our very-soon-to-be slugger would end up with a career 36.7 bWAR. In the process of amassing that value, he was named to six All-Star teams and won three Silver Slugger Awards. His career AB/HR of 17.6 is 72nd all-time and his 26 double plays as a right-fielder are currently 46th all-time.

His .228 career ISO ranks 105th all-time – not too shabby – and was a pleasant surprise compared to his .151 ISO in Triple-A ball. Clearly, it took him a few big-league seasons to round into form. During his peak, he was twice selected as the cover athlete for MLB: The Show on an International Edition. His career OPS of .8361 just barely eclipses Eddie Murray’s .8355.

They never crossed paths, but he and Julio Borbón went to the same high school. He is famously tight with a number of members of the Texas Rangers organization and he has earned an unofficial varsity letter in bat flips.

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