February 6, 2012

I get a big bang out of Mel Solomon's baseball trivia questions

New Jersey attorney Mel Solomon is an old friend from the baseball card hobby and a contributor to our blog. Over the years, first at baseball card shows and now via email, we share trivia questions and other baseball related topics.

We have conversions that only true baseball aficionados would appreciate, several of whom read our blog. They are the ones who complain when non-baseball topics, for example slot machines and travel, are posted here.


On MLB Network's current Baseball IQ series, there was a question to name all of the Hall of Famers who were teammates of Willie Mays. It was around 10 and I knew them all although I did not immediately think of Hoyt Wilhelm, but I would have gotten him with time.

It got me thinking about what Hall of Famer played with the most other Hall of Famers? I spoke to our mutual friend Rich Klein and we agreed that it would be hard to find out about the pre WWII players, but we came up with one post-war player who was at one time or another a teammate of over 15 Hall of Famers. Any idea who he is?

After that I got thinking and I discovered a player who amazingly in a four-year period was a teammate of 17-18 Hall of Famers. This person is not a Hall of Famer but a well known player. Any idea as to the answer to these two questions -- It should give you and Vivian pause to think.


Well, this is just a wild guess, but how about Andy Pafko or Vern Stephens?


Frank, no. Andy Pafko only played with the Cubs, Dodgers and Braves. Vern Stephens played with very few Hall of Famers as he was on bad teams, especially the St. Louis Browns. The Hall of Famer is Orlando Cepeda.

The other player is Sal Maglie. From 1955 to 1958, Maglie went from the Giants to the Indians to the Dodgers to the Yankees to the Cardinals. Remember his 1957 Topps as a Dodger, 1958 as a Yankee with the gold orange background and his 1959 card as a Cardinal.

He played with Mays, Irvin, Wilhelm (New York Giants), then Doby, Feller, Wynn, Lemon and Kiner (Cleveland), then Snider, Robinson, Reese, Campanella, Koufax and Drysdale (Brooklyn Dodgers), then Mantle, Berra, Ford and Slaughter (Yankees) and then Musial (St. Louis Cardinals). Quite a group.


I'm a big fan of the TV show, "Big Bang Theory". At times, the program's dialog reminds me of the baseball card shows of years ago and the people with whom Vivian and I hung out. And that was a good thing.

A perfect example of what Mel Solomon and I share that is so "Big Bang Theory", is his comment concerning Sal Maglie's 1958 Topps card, ". . . as a Yankee with the gold orange background." I can see the card, even feel it in my hands.

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