Can You Identify the MLB Team If We Give You 3 of Its Greatest Pitchers?

SPORTS

By: Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Eltiempo10 / Wiki Commons by OlympianX, Andrew Klein / Wiki Commons by Bain News Service

About This Quiz

Baseball is a metronome in American culture, ticking away at a constant pace as time passes. Some years may feel fast or slow as the history of the world washes over us, but baseball remains itself, played at its stately pace, one of the few sports not played against a clock. Fans of baseball mark time with the subtle changes to the game, such as uniform changes, the beginning of the designated hitter era in the American League, the mound being changed and the "year of the juiced ball."

Above all, fans love their players. Players are more than just their stats. Players are stories. To the fans, players are all heroes or villains. Players come from the same world as the fans, some from farms in middle America, some from major American cities and some from far-flung corners of the world like Panama or Japan. Each has a compelling narrative about how they came to baseball, attained the greatness needed to play in the majors, and made their mark on their team. Some stand above the rest, inscribed into legend. These players define the identity of the team and form the mold to which new players are expected to conform. Can you recognize the team from its legendary players? Just to keep things interesting, let's limit it to just three of their best pitchers!

Mike Foltynewicz, Greg Maddux and Craig Kimbrel all wore the same uniform. Which team's was it?

Leaving aside the Boston Braves era, in which a whole different constellation of stars emerged, the Braves' best pitchers include the mighty Maddux with a career WAR of 106.6, Kimbrel with 186 saves and Foltynewicz with 8.648 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

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Jordan Zimmermann, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg pitched for one fabulous team. Which team is it?

The fairly new Washington Nationals are a reincarnated franchise with a new identity and some fresh faces to found the team's legend. Zimmermann started his career with the Nats before leaving for Detroit, whereas Max Scherzer came the other way, having begun in Arizona. Strasburg is, of course, a freak of nature and a major coup for the team's drafting committee.

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Can you guess which team's best pitchers included Jim Palmer, Gregg Olson and Dick Hall?

Baltimore has suffered plenty of disappointing seasons, but the team has its stars. Palmer is one of the greatest Hall of Fame pitchers and needs no introduction. Hall, who played with the Os for his final contract, leads the team in base on balls and walks per nine innings pitched, and Gregg Olson leads the team in saves.

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One lucky team had Johnny Allen, Whitey Ford and Mariano Rivera. Can you name that team?

While The Chairman of The Board and The Panama Express need no introduction, Johnny Allen might not be a name you are familiar with. Allen was a pitcher who began his career with the Yankees but was released with he fell short in the postseason. He came back with Cleveland and moved around for his career, carving up batters like Thanksgiving turkeys and posting the best win/loss ratio of any pitcher ever to pitch for the Yankees.

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What team's best pitchers included Roger Clemens, Cy Young and Chris Sale?

The Red Sox have had a lot of great pitchers over the years, but these three share some important stats. Young and Sale share the same stats for hits per innings pitched at 0.97, and Clemens and Young share the most career wins, at 192.

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How does Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom sound for a rotation? Better yet, what kind of team does that sound like?

The Mets are a study in highs and lows. They developed Nolan Ryan but lost him. They reaped the fruits of Tom Seaver. Jacob deGrom, who currently leads in several career stats despite his young age, could be one of the greatest Met legends of all time. Time will tell.

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Kazuhiro Sasaki, Felix Hernandez and Randy Johnson played in the same clubhouse. Whose clubhouse was it?

Founded only in 1977, the Mariners' best talent has been in the recent past, with The Big Unit hurling for them less than twenty years ago. Sasaki collected 129 saves in 4 years, and of course, Hernandez stands alone, with 139 wins, 3.42 ERA and a WAR of 50.2.

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Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Appier and Dan Quisenberry played for which MLB team?

The Royals have suffered from the reputation of being the Yankees' other farm team, with so many players pulled away by richer teams, but the Royals have greats they can call their own. Dan Quisenberry owns the team's best ERA, at .276, Kevin Appier with a WAR of 47.1 and Bret Saberhagen was the team's control master, with the fewest walks per innings pitched and the best fielding.

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Pitching greats Charlie Hough, Kenny Rogers and John Wetteland threw hard for an MLB team. Do you know which one it was?

The Rangers benefitted from plenty of superstars, but only John Wetteland can claim to be the early closing mentor of Mariano Rivera and to lead the team with 150 saves. Rogers's numbers don't set the world on fire except for his WAR, which ranks high among his teammates. Then there's Hough, who owns the best records in WAR, wins, complete games and many other categories.

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What team had Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Madison Bumgarner?

Leaving their New York giants in the past, the giants of the San Francisco Giants include Marichal's 243 wins, Perry 3,534 strikeouts and of course 2014 saw Madison Bumgarner's epic World Series performance.

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Bob Gibson. Ed Karger. Jason Isringhausen. What team?

The Cards have fostered some great talent, and some already great talent has come their way. The great closer Jason Isringhausen pitched for them in his prime. Ed Karger had a 2.46 ERA, which leads the team in all its history. Gibson, of course, leads in over a dozen basic metrics, including WAR, starts and base on balls.

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Fans cheered for Red Faber, Ted Lyons and Hoyt Wilhelm, all of whom played for what team?

The White Sox can lay claim to history glorious and tragic, but some pitchers stand above the rest. Hoyt Wilhelm is a legend, but considering that his ERA+ is 171 really puts him into perspective. Faber leads in WAR, games plaid and hit-by-pitch, and Lyons comes in with 260 wins.

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Which MLB team holds up Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Jose Valverde as legends?

The Diamondbacks' rotation is legendary, particularly the one from 2001, which defeated the Yankees at the height of their powers. Johnson provided sheer power and Schilling both power and finesse. Valverde's 288 saves is likewise impressive, despite his coming through the organization years later.

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What team boasts George McQuillan, Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts?

The fabulous Phillies can reach back to the early 20th century for some of their greats! McQuillan, whose career ended just over a century ago, had a minuscule 1.79 ERA! Carlton had a monstrous 241 wins in his career! Roberts owns the best WAR and pitched the most innings in the most complete games at 272!

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An MLB team hosted pitchers Teddy Higuera, Jim Slaton and Yovani Gallardo. Who was it?

The Brewers' best pitching weapons in their rivalry with the Cubs include pitching greats Teddy Higuera, who leads their pitchers in WAR, Jim Slaton with his 117 wins and of course Yovani Gallardo with his astonishing 8.558 strikeouts per inning.

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What team has Mickey Lolich, George Mullin and Hal Newhouser in common?

The Detroit Tigers have always been a danger to every team in their division, and these three pitching greats are a wonderful illustration as to why. Mickey Lolich owns the team records for shutouts (39) and strikeouts (2,679). Mullin pitched a stunning 3,394 innings, the most on the team. Of course, Newhouser's 62.5 WAR was the most on the team.

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Only one team can lay claim to Roy Oswalt, Billy Wagner and Joe Niekro, to name a few! Can you name the team?

Yes, the Astros also had someone named Ryan, but he's barely a blip when you read the stats. Niekro leads the team in wins with 144, Oswalt leads in WAR with a healthy 45.8, and freakish closer Wagner leads in hits per nine innings, strikeouts per nine innings, walks and hits per nine innings and of course, saves.

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Mel Harder, Bob Feller and Mel Harder threw for a team with a long history. Which one is it?

Cleveland has a wealth of great players in its history. Feller, a legendary Hall of Famer, leads in more than a dozen stats, including WAR. Feller comes in with the most wins at 266. Harder is also an extreme success, with 223 wins.

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Can you name the team whose greats include Trevor Hoffman, Jake Peavy and Andy Ashby?

Like other small-market teams in the majors, the Padres have always had trouble hanging onto talent, and the bulk of their legends played positions other than the pitcher. Their best pitchers, in order of WAR, are Hoffman, Peavy and Ashby.

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A very special MLB team has Dennis Eckersley, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito. Which team is so special?

The Oakland Athletics left some of their best pitchers, in terms of stats, in their former, Philadelphia incarnation. In the modern era, they can claim Tim Hudson for good starts, Dennis Eckersley for his strong finishes and Barry Zito for his flashes of brilliance.

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Johan Santana, Bert Blyleven and Jim Kaat should call to mind one team. Which is it?

The Twins left their past in Washington, and when they started anew, they had new players to call their best. Blyleven leads the modern team in WAR, Kaat in wins and Santana leads both old and new versions of the franchise in several categories, including win percentage.

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Hurlers Troy Percival, Chuck Finley and Jared Weaver all stand tall among this team. Which team is it?

The Los Angeles Angels (formerly the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) have hosted some great pitchers, most recently the wonderful Weaver, who navigated the juiced-up era with finesse and outwitted batters for the second-best wins on the Angels. Finley owns WAR, wins and shutouts, and Percival had the fewest hits and most strikeouts in the team's pitching staff.

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Walter Johnson, Stan Coveleski and Dutch Leonard played hard for what team?

Washington fans were distraught when the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins, but while in D.C., the Senators treated fans to the total dominance of Walter Johnson, the 49 WAR of Dutch Leonard, and the winning percentage of Stan Coveleski, which has only been equaled by one of his Twins inheritors but not exceeded.

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This team's best pitchers included Jeff Reardon, Tim Burke and Steve Rogers, not to be confused with Captain America. Which team was this?

The Washington Nationals' fore bearer to the north had its own stars when some of the Nats weren't yet born. Roger won more games than any pitcher for the franchise, with career WAR was 45.1, better than any pitcher, even on the Nats. Tim Burke's ERA was a measly 2.61, and Jeff Reardon compiled 152 career saves.

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Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa and German Márquez rank among the finest pitchers for which team?

The Rockies' pitching has always been a bit ... rocky. They did manage to claw their way to the World Series in 2007, though, with a little magic from Francis and his 165 strikeouts. De La Rosa leads the team with 86 career wins, and Márquez has the best winning percentage.

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One of the 30 active MLB teams had Roy Halladay, Dave Stieb and Tom Henke. Which one was the one?

The Jays lost Halladay, but they wrung many good years out of him before he left, and even though his stats weren't the best on the team, they were legendary. Steib lead the team's pitchers in numerous categories, most notably in WAR, wins and games started. Henke had the best team ERA, with 2.48.

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Mordecai Brown played for them. So did Al Spalding and Fergie Jenkins. Who were they?

The ancient and storied Cubs' legends go back to the earliest days of baseball. Brown pitched 48 shutouts for the Cubbies, Spalding had an ERA of 1.78 among his amazing stats and Jenkins leads the team with strikeouts and games started.

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Noodles Hahn, Eppa Rixey and Danny Graves worked for one lucky team. Can you narrow it down to one?

The Reds have had not just some of the best pitchers but some of the best names in baseball. Take Noodles Hahn, who has the best WAR in team history, and was born in 1879! Take Eppa Rixey, who rode the team to 179 wins! Or Danny Graves, with 182 career saves!

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David Price, James Shields and Roberto Hernandez stand out for one team. Can you remember which team they played for?

In its short life, Tampa has produced some truly great players, some of whom actually stuck around. Hernandez leads with 101 saves, Shields in many categories, including wins and innings pitched and Price in WAR and well, just about everything else.

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There's an MLB team whose best-ever pitchers are Don Sutton, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Which team is it?

The Dodgers have had a lot of great players pass through their organization, with some sticking around for the fans to enjoy. The numbers don't lie: Sutton leads the Dodgers with 233 wins, Greinke with his 2.30 ERA and Kershaw with a WAR of 65.4!

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Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown should bring to mind one MLB team. Which one do you think it is?

The Marlins are not a perennial contender like some other teams on their side of the country, but they have twice won the World Series, and while those pitchers do not lead the team in stats, they are better remembered than any others. Sadly for the Marlins, all three left for greener pastures with richer teams, leaving the Marlins hollow.

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Which team lays claim to the legacy of Babe Adams, Wilbur Cooper and Vic Willis?

The Pirates produced some of the best talent ever, but in the pitching department, the best has no juice to worry about. Take Cooper, born in 1892, who cruised to 202 wins. Vic Willis, born in 1876, owned a 2.08 ERA and Babe Adams, born in 1882, had a 50.1 WAR.

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Cy Barger, Howie Camnitz and Elmer Knetzer played for a team whose fans no doubt appreciated them. What team was it?

The Rebels were in the Federal League, and when it folded, so did they. In their glory days, they had a few respectable players, though, including Elmer Knetzer, whose modest stats were the best in team history, Howie Camnitz, who would later take his nasty curve across town and to the World Series and Cy Barger, who would later pitch for the New York Highlanders, who journalists had dubbed "the Yankees" because they were the only New York-based American league team.

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Cy Young. Mike Sullivan. George Davies. For what team did these pitchers throw?

The Spiders were once a great team until their owners purchased the Browns and began moving all their best players to the new club, an action including Cy Young, who is the byword for great pitching. Though the Spiders eventually morphed into the Indians, its others pitching greats, both Sullivan and Davies, had short, unremarkable careers by comparison.

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One team lays claim to Ed Reulbach, Cy Falkenberg and Earl Moseley. Can you figure out which one?

Later renamed the Newark Peppers, the Federal League team was part of MLB for the life of that third league, but then folded. Earl Moseley had a respectable record despite a short, four year career. Cy Falkenberg was a noted master of the emery ball, and Cubs pitching legend Ed Reulbach threw for the Hoosiers in 1915, when they changed their name for their final year.

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