American League All-Time Hits Leaders by Team Trivia Contest

I was watching the Rays-Rangers game the other night when I heard an interesting statistic.

As Michael Young stepped to the plate for the first time, the local announcers referred to him as the Texas Rangers’ all-time hits leader.  Really?  Michael Young?  Who knew?  I certainly didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong.  Young’s had a perfectly respectable, yet seemingly non-descript, career: .301 lifetime batter, five consecutive 200-hit seasons.  But if I was asked that question at a trivia contest at my local sports pub, I would have definitely swung and missed.  In fact, I’m not even sure I could pick Young out of a lineup.  I guess a better question is how many in Arlington could.

That got me thinking though.  How many all-time hit leaders, by team, could I actually name?  I was miles off on Young.  How would I fare among the rest of the teams in the league?  I haven’t memorized the back of a baseball card in about twenty-five years but I do run a sports website and like to pretend I know a thing or two about baseball.

So I looked them all up, team by team, and to be perfectly honest, I fell flat on my face, at least with the American League.  Naming the National League leaders, as you will see, was considerably easier.

Now it’s your turn to step to the plate.  No cheating, folks.  Hands over one eye and scroll down carefully.  I only scored 6-out-of-14 in the A.L.  See if you can do any better.

Baltimore Orioles:  No-brainer.  Cal Ripken at 3184.  There, I started you off with a meatball.  If you didn’t get that one right, you probably have no business continuing.

Boston Red Sox:  Another pretty easy one.  Carl Yastrzemski with 3419.  And as a friend  recently reminded me, Ted Williams does NOT have 3000 hits.  In fact, he’s nearly 800 hits behind Yaz.  We have world-wide conflict to thank for that.

Chicago White Sox: Okay, here’s where things get a little dicey.  Chicago’s all-time hits leader is none other than Luke Appling with 2749.  He played in the 30s and 40s, kids.  Nellie Fox is second on the list and Frank Thomas is third.  For the record, over the past few seasons, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has dropped nearly as many F-Bombs in considerably fewer plate appearances.

Cleveland Indians:  My source for all things Cleveland, Richie G., would probably be upset with me for missing this one but I haven’t given him this quiz yet, so we’ll see if he gets it right.  Technically, Cleveland’s all-time hit leader is Nap Lajoie, who played for the Naps at the turn of the century.  And by turn of the century, I mean the turn of LAST century.  Lajoie, one of the greatest hitters of all-time, finished with 2046 hits over the 12 years he played, and managed, in Cleveland.  The Indians all-time hit leader?  Tris Speaker with 1965.

Detroit Tigers: Ty Cobb.  Pretty easy one here considering it was Cobb’s all-time hit record (4191, 3902 of them with Detroit) that Pete Rose broke.  Whoops, I just gave one away.  Like most of these guys were over their career, I’m currently 3-for-5.

Kansas City Royals: Another no-brainer.  George Brett is the Royals all-time hits leader with 3154.  Amazingly, Brett is still better known for one of the greatest on-field tirades in sports history.  Pine tar anyone?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:  Okay, I struggled here.  The first name that came to mind was Rod Carew but I knew he played most of his career in Minnesota.  (Carew is still 10th on California’s all-time hit list).  Believe it or not, Garrett Anderson is the Angels’ all-time hit king.  Another Michael Young-like surprise.

Minnesota Twins:  Okay, I’m giving myself a pass on this one.  I guessed Kirby Puckett (2304).  The correct answer is actually Sam Rice with 2889, but Rice played for the Washington Senators between 1915-1933.  The Senators eventually became the Minnesota Twins.  Considering Rice probably never imagined playing baseball indoors or that he likely never even knew what a Hefty bag was, if you also guessed Puckett, feel good about yourself and take a point for your efforts.

New York Yankees:  Derek Jeter.  2884.  Yea, yea, yea, we know, we know.  He’s also slept with nearly that many women.  I still find it amazing that no Yankee has ended his career with 3000 hits.  Well, one is about to.

Oakland Athletics:  If you guessed Rickey Henderson, you’d be wrong.  I was.  Not a bad guess as he’s third on their all-time hit list.  But the correct answer is Bert Campaneris, who finished his A’s career with 1882 hits.

Seattle Mariners:  If the first name that popped into your head was Ichiro Suzuki, don’t feel bad.  He’s not far off.  The actual Mariners hits leader is Edgar Martinez with 2247, but with 2181 career hits, Ichiro should pass him in a week or so.

Tampa Bay Rays:  Ah, an expansion franchise.  I live in Tampa and even I got this one wrong despite the fact that I’ve been following them quite a bit lately.  Any guesses?  I’ll give you a hint.  The area fears they’re about to lose this guy to free agency.  That’s right, after nine seasons in Tampa, Carl Crawford has 1426 hits and counting.  We’ll see if he continues to rack them up in the same uniform next season.

Texas Rangers:  As we discussed earlier, Michael Young is the Rangers all-time hit leader (1801) followed by Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez and Ruben Sierra, at least two of whom took steroids.

Toronto Blue Jays:  Another tough one that’s also likely to fall next year.  I’ll admit I kept thinking of John Olerud (10th) and Joe Carter (7th) but the correct answer is Tony Fernandez with 1583.  Vernon Wells is on his heels with 1484 and should pass him early next season.  Think anyone outside of Canada will notice?

So how’d you do?  Did you get more than half of them right?  If not, don’t feel bad.  I run a sports website and only nailed six and that’s giving myself Kirby Puckett.

Stay tuned for the National League version which, as I promised is considerably easier.

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34 Replies to “American League All-Time Hits Leaders by Team Trivia Contest”

  1. I had a few right, but was thrown off by a couple of guys that changed teams. I thought Carew was a lock for the Twins.
    I forgot that he also played for the Angels. With the way teams deal players these days I would imagine a lot of these team records will never be broken.

  2. Chris

    Never been much for the stats in this context albeit that it means a lot to the fantasy geeks. That being said asides from the hits it’s been the HR’s and no hitters that I feel has the fans in awe the large majority of the time.

    But in light of this also in the era of the steroids how will we actually look back at some of these stats in their true context ?

    Rays put a world of hurt on the Rangers last night once again with that 10-1 shellacking of the team.

    Let’s now see what the remainder of their schedule has in store for the fans at the Trop .


    tophatal ………. 🙂

  3. Chris

    It looks as if “Magic” will be leaving the Lakers to possibly become an owner in his own right in some capacity with the Detroit Pistons ?

    Let me know what you think as to the merits of the following ? Click on the link shown to view .

    Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow But Sometimes It’s For The Best ……..

    Another Bucs’ game to be blacked out and the Glazers are now saying that they’re not to blame. However last season they made sure that none of the preseason games were blacked out at all . Now what ?


    tophatal … 🙂

  4. Aer…

    That’s why I tried to list who was also close to becoming an all-time hit leader for their particular team.

    You’re right. The sport has changed and guys like Jeter are probably a thing of the past. Sure, Chipper’s been with the Braves forever but Hammerin’ Hank’s record is nearly unattainable.

    Whoops, I just gave another one away.

  5. Yea, but Al, prior to the steroid era, baseball’s home run list was the most hallowed of all sports records. We knew numbers like Maris’ 61 and Aaron’s 755 because they were part of our history.

    Now we don’t hold those numbers in such high regard. But what we, as Americans, DO hold in high regard is one man’s ability to stay with a team for so long and consistently get the job done.

    That’s what the guys on this list have accomplished.

  6. Great post! Loved the graphics (good to see Yaz again :} )as well as the solid writing. And no, I didnt take (couldnt pass) the test but sure enjoyed the read.
    Wonder if baseball card sales are down now with all the new media (computers/websites/video games). Bet kids don’t flip ’em like they use to … a lost art.U were real good & have the foot-lockers to prove it! :} Who knew that was Sportschump in-training?
    Another quality read SC. Thx!

  7. Glad you enjoyed, M, and you knew a picture of Yaz was gonna make it up there, considering I was the only kid on my block who could spell Yastrzemski correctly.

    The card market dropped substantially for a few reasons a) because of the strike and b) because too many companies were overproducing cards, devaluing the worth of each individual card. Not even sure what the steroid scandal did to the market. I’m afraid to look.

    But I’m sure JJ would be able to tell us more, considering he cheated on the quiz above.

    2 wrong, my ass!

  8. Chris

    Prior to steroid era those stats were hallowed feats. But you tend to forget also the game was segregated also. So what’s your comeback on that then ?

    I look at records prior to the game’s full integration as being none relevant.

    tophatal ………. 🙂

  9. Very true, Al.

    We’ll never know how Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige would have fared in the record books.

    Or maybe we do.

    So what you’re suggesting is that baseball’s record book is just one big asterisk. Ironic, isn’t it?

  10. Chris

    Of course it is ! How else should one treat it ? Much like the sport of boxing before blacks (Jack Johnson – specifically) were allowed to enter the ring to fight Caucasian fighters . It’s all pie in the sky crap to think that Babe was the best there ever was !

    I mean before pennant races the deciding factor —- it was to have the two teams with the best record play for the World Series . Those who say they know about the game as rarely do — they actually delve into its history and the changes that’ve come about the along the way. Instead they’d rather fill our heads of bygone days when everything was lillie livered white pure and allegedly pristine ? In fact nothing could be further from the truth and that’s the “bs” that they’d rather still feed us with today ! The likes of Olney ,Kurkjian and Gammons would rather paint a picture of one great big cumbaya scenario for us all to consume .


    tophatal …….. 🙂

  11. Chris

    You’ll be pleased to know that Dr Laura will be ending her radio show. The woman is a charlatan and a hypocrite !


    tophatal … 🙂

  12. Chris
    In your poll about TO & Ocho , LBJ and DWade . How come no third option like should the Cowboys win the Superbowl will you wait to see the sex that tape that’ll no doubt go viral of Kim Kardian and ‘boys’ WR Mile Austin ? Could happen couldn’t it ?

    tophatal …… 🙂

  13. I actually guessed the TB one with Crawford because the other day I checked to see what year he was drafted and was amazed that it was 1999. 8 years in the pros? He seems like one of those infinitely young guys. It’s gonna suck to see him in pinstripes next year though.

  14. I missed four of them… I too think I know a lot about the records, but then make slight mis steps when I recall them. I guess it’s like seeing something live, you always remember things about it that made it better… Anyways, I wasn’t surprised about Young, probably because he’s been on many of my fantasy teams… Since we’re talking about records, when is the stolen base going to be cool again? I think it’s coming soon, now that we aren’t in the home run happy era! Will we see anyone steal 100 bases? I think we will in the next couple years…

  15. I just don’t know if guys run enough to get 100 stolen bases. Last time someone broke 100 was Vince Coleman in 1987. He was on base 254 times and stole 109 bases and got caught 22 times, so 51% of the time he ran. Reyes in 2007 stole 78 bases, caught 21 times, he ran 36% of the time. Ellsbury ran 33% of the time last year. Ellsbury, Reyes, some of those guys are definitely capable of getting on base (although a higher OBP wouldn’t hurt either) and stealing that many bases, but I just don’t know if there is that much running in baseball anymore.

  16. Al… one of my favorite Satchel Paige stories from back in the day was that he would intentionally walk the bases, then wave his outfield in.

    He would then proceed to strike out the side.

    Now that’s just bad ass!

  17. Al…

    Did you happen to catch Comedy Central’s latest roast of David Hasselhoff?

    One of the comedians said that Hasselhoff’s liver is so black, the Kardashian sisters are now sleeping with it.

    Now THAT’S comedy.

  18. Jon…

    I’ll be interested to see how far apart the Yankees’ and Rays’ offers for Crawford actually are… and whether another team will get into the mix just to bid up the price.

  19. Chap…

    I might agree with Jon. The art of the stolen base has past.

    I’m not sure why that is. Maybe catchers are that much better.

    But the seasons of 100-stolen bases appear long gone.

  20. Al and Chap…

    Just like the sport itself, baseball pretends to be holier-than-thou.

    Simmons’ suggestion is admirable but baseball isn’t doing anything to change itself.

  21. Jon…

    Let’s put it this way.

    As it stands right now at this point of the season, there are only SIX teams with over 100 SBs.

    By the way, the Rays lead the league. They actually run pretty efficiently… and often.

  22. Ok, maybe I jumped the gun on the stealing 100 bases, but at the same time the movement towards youth and small ball, I think that there’s a much better chance of it happening than in years past. I think that baseball went away from the SB, because teams were just waiting for someone to hit a homer. Now teams won’t be able to rely on that nearly as much…

    Nope, baseball isn’t helping itself these days. They really need to get with the times. I guess I already ranted about that last week…

  23. I’ve been watching a lots of Rays baseball these days and they are a terror on the base paths.

    Crawford and Upton both have over 35 SBs so I guess 40 is the new 100.

  24. Definitely agree the Rays run “well” in just about every way you cut it. I also agree that while 100 SBs seems like it may be far fetched, no doubt there is a lot more small ball happening now, even in the AL. Realistically you would think that movement would lead to faster players trying to get to 2nd more often so a single can drive them in but it just doesn’t equate to 100.

    Crawford seems like an innocent good guy, mainly because he suffered through the tough years in TB and is still there 8 years later. I’d hate to see him go to the Yankees and instantly become an a$$holes though.

  25. Jon…

    Without knowing Crawford, I get the impression he’d be totally cool with staying in Tampa Bay.

    But then again, money talks.

    If a team like the Yanks would be willing to spend ten mil a year more for a long term deal, that might be tough to turn down.

  26. If I can say it in here, much of the discussion about Tiger Woods will be forgotten now that his divorce, which we weren’t told about, is over and done with and he can continue with what he does best – playing golf. Go Tiger!

  27. Sophie…

    I’m not so sure about that.

    I think this is gonna stick with him forever.

    Will he win again? Sure. But this is something he’ll never be able to shake.

  28. enjoyed reading the column — which I came upon after googling Satch — and the comments.

    Here’s another one for you: The disappearance of the complete game. People don’t realize how radically the change has been since 1960. Then, when I first started watching and following baseball even BAD starting pitchers — the Phil Ortegas of the world (I was a Senators fan) — completed 10%-15% of their starts. Now if a TEAM hits 10% (17 complete games), it’ll(a) have Roy Halladay and (b) lead the league.

    Good starters were at 25-35% CG. Palmer, Seaver, Fergie, Lefty et al were in the high 30s to mid-40s. And Gibson and Marichal, alone, were throwbacks to the pre-World War II era, completing more than half of their starts.

  29. Mark…

    I actually have written about that. And thanks for checking in.

    Personally, I’m not really a fan of specialized pitching. I’m not hating on the bullpens, they have a job to do too, but I do enjoy seeing a starting pitcher duke it out for as long as he can.

    You’re spot on. Complete games and stacking up innings pitched are a thing of the past. Instead, we reward pitchers with “Quality Start” statistics which means we pat him on the back for going six innings. Last time I checked, I didn’t get a raise for leaving work at 2:30.

    I’ve been trying to find the link to that piece but as usual, I get lost on the internet.

    WAIT!!! I found it. Let me know if this link works.

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