Monday, February 6, 2012

Updated Re-Run: Name That Molina! Molina Mania Edition

This is a silly piece I did when I first started writing for Bleacher Report. I kind of liked it, so I decided to re-run it with some updates, which appear in italics.

And now, it’s time for America’s favorite game show, Name That Molina! I can tell you’re all thrilled.

Yes, since late 1998, the Amazing Molina Brothers have graced MLB with their golden catcher’s mitts, and, occasionally, with serviceable bats (with a grand combined total of one [now two] full year[s] with an OPS+ over 100). Despite coming from the same family, there are many distinguishing characteristics for each brother. For our quiz, we’ll start with an easy question: match each of the brothers to their position.



Okay, that was an easy one. But they won’t all be as easy as that warm-up. So, Question 1: Which one has a World Series Ring?

Correct Answer: All of the Above

Yes, any answer you could have picked would have been right. They are the only three brothers in baseball history to all win the World Series. Additionally, Yadier became only the third catcher in history to play in two World Series teams before the age of 25. (For reference, Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench are the only other two to do so.)

Bonus Question: How many World Series Rings does each one have?
Correct Answer: Two each.
As an extension of the original question, which is the only one that WASN’T a starter for the team he won with?

Correct Answer: Jose

Who, incidentally, was Bengie’s back-up one the 2002 Angels. He was also the 2009 Yankees’ back-up. Bengie might now sort of count, as he was on the Rangers when the Giants won, but he was their starter for part of the year. The wording is ambiguous enough to still be right.

How many Gold Gloves have the brothers combined for?

Correct Answer: 3
Actually, it's 6 now. I feel like leaving the original (now wrong) answer to give a sense of how things have changed.

Two from Bengie and his days with the Angels, and one from Yadier last season. I’d expect that number to go up, though.

Jose was the last to do what at old Yankee Stadium?

Correct Answer: That would be hit a home run. Yep. It wasn’t A-Rod, or Jeter, or someone who will be remembered for his incredible years as a Yankee. It was Jose Molina. You can use that bit of info to win friends and influence people.

How many All-Star selections have the Super Molina Bros. compiled?

What is 1, Alex? (Woo! Jeopardy!) Yes, Yadier’s selection as starter this year marked the first time anyone named Molina has made the All-Star team (and there have been several Molinas)
If you’re playing this in the 2012 off-season, you’re wrong if you picked 1. Also if you picked 2. Yadier is now up to 3 All-Star Games. If you’re playing this after the 2012 season, add however many more All-Star teams Yadier has made (yes, I’m not betting on Jose making any). If you’re playing this before 2012, congratulations on time travel.

Which brother holds the record for most homers in a season (just among them, of course)?

Correct Answer: That would be Bengie, with 19 in 2006, and then matched the following year. Surprisingly, this one is still accurate.

Okay then, how about highest seasonal-batting average?

Correct Answer: That would be Pride of the Cardinals, Yadier. His .304 average in 2008 topped all things Molina. Yadier one-upped himself this year, hitting .305.

Okay, who has the most stolen bases? And remember, we’re dealing with a trio of speed demons here.

Correct Answer: With a mind-boggling 5 (yes, five!) steals already this season, Yadier has already set a record for the Molina family. He would finish the 2009 season with 9. Watch out, Lou Brock. That’s more than Bengie had in his whole career, and just short of Jose’s 12 career steals. He’s yet to top it, though.
For what it’s worth, Jose has the best success rate, going 12 for 17 in his career, while Yadier is below average at 25 for 46. Bengie was an atrocious 3 for 10. This brings up the question: at what point did any manager look at Bengie and decide he needed the green light.

Moving to catching duties, which was has caught the highest percentage of attempted base-stealers in his career?

Correct Answer: That’s Yadier again, with 47% of runners caught, to Jose’s 40% and Bengie’s 32%.
Yadier’s percentage has dropped to 44%, which is still first. Bengie saw his rate drop to 31% before retiring, while Jose is still at 40%

And, lastly, which Molina has played for the most teams?

Correct Answer: Good news! No matter who you picked, you’re right! Unless you picked Yadier. Okay, so it’s only two out of three that were possible answers.
Still technically right, although the answer will change to just Jose in 2012.
Quick additional question: name every team the trio has played for.

Yadier has played his entire career (2004-) for the Cardinals. Bengie spent 1998-2005 with the Angels, left for the Blue Jays in 2006, and then for the Giants in 2007 on. The Giants traded him away to the Rangers in 2010, and he hasn’t played since. Jose was drafted by the Cubs, and joined the majors in 1999. He found his way to the Angels in 2001, where he stayed until he was traded to the Yankees in 2007. He left after their 2009 title run for the Blue Jays, and then signed with the Rays this off season.

For bonus points: now arrange them in order of games played between the three.

Correct Answer: Angels, Cardinals, Giants, Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers, Cubs. While Yadier has been with the Cardinals longer than Bengie and Jose were with any team, adding together their time with the Angels overcomes Yadier’s advantage.

Last new question: since I can use WAR now without it going over peoples’ heads, who has the best season of the three, and one year?

Correct Answer: Yadier’s 2011 was worth 4.1 WAR, going by Fangraphs.

So there you have it. For every correct answer, add 1 point. For every miss subtract 1. If you added the warm-up, your score probably desperately needed a boost. If you got 10 points [now 27], you’re either incredible, or you are skilled in the ways of Wikipedia (that was my source for a lot of this, by the way) [except for my edits, which used Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs]. If you got more than 10 [27], you cheated (like I said, the warm-up is just that; no points for answering it correctly).

If you didn’t realize this was actually a quiz and weren’t keeping score, I don’t blame you.

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