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20 Questions: Which player am I?

Posted by Andy on February 19, 2011

Let's do another puzzle, but this time I'll take questions in the form of yes/no questions, as follows:

  • Valid questions must be answerable by a simple yes or no answer.
  • I will answer the first valid question posted in the comments after each answer I give.
  • You (the readers) have 20 questions to get to the right answer.
  • I will ignore any questions that are either invalid or come after valid questions that I haven't answered yet.

This first puzzle is fairly easy. I'm thinking of a major-league baseball player. Get us started with your first question.

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 19th, 2011 at 11:36 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

132 Responses to “20 Questions: Which player am I?”

  1. Are you an active player?

  2. Answer #1: No, I am not an active player.

  3. Question 2: Were you mainly a pitcher (as opposed to being a fielder)?

  4. Answer #2: No, I was not mainly a pitcher.

  5. Are you still alive?

  6. I'll answer Paul's question but I'd like to give other readers a chance...wait an hour before asking another one, Paul :)

    Answer #3: Yes, I am still alive.

  7. Are you a left handed batter ?

  8. have you ever won a batting title?

  9. Are you in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame?

  10. I am ignoring post #7 because it's problematic to answer.

    Here's what I mean....let's suppose that the guy I have in mind DID bad left-handed in MLB. The way the question is phrased, if I answered "Yes", it could mean that he batted solely LH, or that he was a switch-hitter, or that he was a righty who happened to have a couple of LH at-bats. The question would better be phrase like #3 above, such as "Were the vast majority of your at-bats made while batting left-handed?". That would make a "yes" answer very clear.

    Answer #4: No, I have never won a batting title. (I am assuming that the question refers to major-league baseball only, which is not to say that this player necessarily won a batting title in any other league.)

  11. I am ignoring #9 because the question was posted BEFORE I gave my answer to the previous question. But if Subtle or anybody reposts that question in the next comment, then I'll answer it.

  12. Dude, it's 1 AM in China....give me a break. ;)

    OK,

    Were the vast majority of your at bats left handed ?

  13. Did you ever make an all-star roster?

  14. Did you primarily play in the American League?

  15. David Hughes Says:

    Did you play for more than one major league team?

  16. What decades or years did you play?

  17. Did you ever lead the league in home runs?

  18. Richard Chester Says:

    Are you Herb Washington?

  19. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Are you a foreign-born player?

  20. Have you guys ever tried the 20Q website? It got Vin Scully in 17 questions and Russell Martin in 18 questions.

    (Choose 20Q sports).

  21. Did you ever have a plate appearance as a DH?

  22. Morten Jonsson Says:

    Are you Sibby Sisti?

  23. "Are you a man?"

    "Yes."

    "Are you alive?"

    "No."

    "Evel Knievel."

  24. Answer #5: no, the vast majority of my at-bats were not left-handed.

  25. Did you play the majority of your career in the American League?

  26. Richard Chester Says:

    My guess in post #19 was not answered probably because it was posted before you answered a previous question.

    I will ask again, is it Herb Washington? He was not mainly a pitcher, is still alive and had no at bats. That would explain why it is problematic to answer did he bat left-handed. He was strictly a pinch-runner.

  27. Morten Jonsson Says:

    Are you Monty Stratton's wooden leg?

  28. This is the single all-time stupidest post ever.

    Do you get paid for this shit?

  29. For the record--Rick Dempsey and Paul Blair were primarily right-handed batters who experimented briefly with some left-handed batting at the major league level.There have been others,but none that come to mind.

  30. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I'm not going to ask a question here because there's a backlog that haven't been answered yet. But to help me (and maybe others, too) sort out what we have so far, here's a summary:

    #1
    Q - Are you an active player?
    A - No, I am not an active player.

    #2
    Q - Were you mainly a pitcher (as opposed to being a fielder)?
    A - No, I was not mainly a pitcher.

    #3
    Q - Are you still alive?
    A - Yes, I am still alive.

    #4
    Q - have you ever won a batting title?
    A - No, I have never won a batting title. [in the major leagues]

    #5
    Q - Were the vast majority of your at bats left handed ?
    A - no, the vast majority of my at-bats were not left-handed.

  31. Did you play your entire career in the National League?

  32. This post clearly shows that the MLB season can't come soon enough...

  33. Did he play baseball?

  34. I'm waiting for someone to ask what his career WAR is.

  35. This wouldn't be bad if people understood the concept of 20 questions.

    If you read this, and someone else already asked a question, wait for the answer to be posted before you ask your own...

  36. "This is the single all-time stupidest post ever.
    Do you get paid for this shit?"

    There are 14 bazillion websites in the world and I do not care about almost all of them. But I have never felt the need to use up any amount of time going to any of them and leaving a comment saying "you guys are stupid for liking/reading/writing this". What is the point? I don't necessarily think that the stuff I do is inherently better or more worthy of being done. I like the stuff I like and I let other people like the stuff they like.

  37. #25 has the oldest valid question..

    Answer #6: Yes, I played the majority of my career in the AL

  38. For the record, this is a lazy weekend post...dumb indeed, but apparently lots of people feel like participating.

  39. Richard Chester Says:

    I'll try again.

    Herb Washington.

  40. Answer #7: No I am not Herb Washington.

  41. Did I play ten seasons or more?

  42. Juan sin Miedo Says:

    Is the ML player you are thinking of Bobby Cox ?
    You Said he did not bat left handed and that he did not win a batting title and you high lighted "Not in the Majors"
    I can not be sure but looking at his minor league records back in the 60s he had a couple seasons where he batted better then 330 ? Where he might have won a batting title in the minors ?
    FYI : Bobby did play for the Yankees in the late 60's, 68 and 69 to be specific. and due to his week knees did not play after 69, but went on the become a HoF Manager. On a side note Bobby did play on the same team as Mickey Mantle in his last season, and in the first season of another well known Yankee Thurman Munson.

  43. Did you ever win a batting title in the minors or foreign league play ?

  44. Spartan Bill Says:

    Have you ever hit 15 or more HR in a single season?

  45. "I'm waiting for someone to ask what his career WAR is."

    Haha.

  46. If the answer wasn't Herb Washington, then the answer must be Danny Ainge.

  47. #41

    Answer #8: Yes, I played 10 seasons or more.

  48. If you were not mainly a pitcher... did you ever pitch,and if you did ,did you register a win,as such at any time doing so ?

  49. did you hit 600 or more career major league homeruns?

  50. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Asking again...were you American-born?

  51. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Did your career have the momentum of a runaway freight train?

  52. @51
    Your question reminds me of Ed Delahanty. :-) Its not him though as he was mostly NL.

    Wasting questions here. We have a 10+ mostly AL, mostly RHB who didn't win a batting title and we're waiting to see if he ever made a cameo appearance on the mound. Someone should ask if he played OF or IF.

  53. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Summary again:

    #1
    Q - Are you an active player?
    A - No, I am not an active player.

    #2
    Q - Were you mainly a pitcher (as opposed to being a fielder)?
    A - No, I was not mainly a pitcher.

    #3
    Q - Are you still alive?
    A - Yes, I am still alive.

    #4
    Q - have you ever won a batting title?
    A - No, I have never won a batting title. [in the major leagues]

    #5
    Q - Were the vast majority of your at bats left handed ?
    A - no, the vast majority of my at-bats were not left-handed.

    #6
    Q - Did you play the majority of your career in the American League?
    A - Yes, I played the majority of my career in the AL

    #7
    Q - Are you Herb Washington?
    A - No I am not Herb Washington.
    (Personal comment - we should not have been wasting a question guessing a specific player this early in the game.)

    #8
    Q - Did I play ten seasons or more?
    A - Yes, I played 10 seasons or more.

  54. Did you play both with the NY Yankees and LA Dodgers during your career?

  55. #48

    Answer #9 Yes I appeared as a pitcher.

    You piggybacked a second question on there that I am ignoring.

    Some of you need to re-read the rules. I answer only one question at a time.

  56. I hate to waste a question, but are you Jose Canseco?

  57. Juan sin Miedo Says:

    Did i play during the DH era? 1974 to Present

  58. Did you ever win a World Series?

  59. Joe Garrison Says:

    Ugh...

    Where's Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, and Arlene Francis when you really need them?

  60. Were you ever traded for a MLB batting champion ?

  61. @DoubleDiamond, all .... I think the person is a switch-hitter. So, primarily American League switch-hitters, still alive, not batting title winners, made at least one official appearance as a pitcher.

  62. Andy .... are you CHILI DAVIS?

  63. Andy @38 -- I hope you weren't discouraged by that moronic post @28. And I hope you don't feel any need to defend this theme.

    It's sad that so many people think that every conversation has to appeal to them, and sadder that they think it's perfectly fine for them to post their rude opinions about things other people are doing which have absolutely no bearing on them.

    And Redsock @36, that was very eloquently said -- thanks.

  64. #56

    Answer #10: No, I am not Jose Canseco.

  65. #63, no I wasn't offended.

  66. Did you play in the Kingdome?

  67. Did you ever play in the World Series?

  68. Were you primarily an infielder?

  69. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Was your clubhouse presence nonpareil?

  70. Andy, dunno if you saw my question yet ... are you Chili Davis?

  71. I don't think it's a switch hitter because switch hitters bat left handed most of the time......example, Chili Davis had almost 7000 PA's batting Left Handed and 3000 PA's batting right handed.

    It's a primarily right handed batter.

  72. @71 Shoewizard ... I was thinking it was a switcher precisely because of Andy's answer @10. Chili fits otherwise ... more than 10 years, mainly AL, and one official appearance on the mound.

  73. Yeah, it was a good deke/callout by Andy, but he was kind enough to respond in #24 after I rephrased my question in the correct manner.

    We have a living, inactive, right handed position player who played most of his career in the AL and never won a batting title.....Oh...and who is not Herb Washington. (ugh...)

  74. Shoewizard ... unless I'm misreading Andy otherwise ... the person also has to have at least one official appearance as a pitcher, since Andy said the person was not **primarily** a pitcher.

  75. Is it a baseball player?

  76. Are you in the MLB Hall of Fame ?

  77. Are you Kevin Seitzer?

  78. Are you Bert Campaneris?

  79. Also a four-decade player: Rick Dempsey.

  80. Are you Rick Dempsey ?

  81. Are you Sal Bando ?

  82. Are you Rocky Colovito ?

  83. did the majority of your major league career, take place, in the "divisional era" (1969 onward) of Major League Baseball?

  84. Wait a minute, what was the answer to one from yesterday?

  85. #66

    Answer #11: Yes, I played in the Kingdome.

    At first I thought this was a foolish question until I realized that it narrowed down the possible years I played quite a bit.

  86. Regarding batting lefty, the question asked if the "vast majority" of batting was done lefty. I would consider "vast majority" to be 80-90%. The answer to this is no for the player in question. That means he could be a righty batter or a switch-hitter.

    And to clarify, yes, he also had at least one real official major-league pitching appearance but had more appearances as a non-pitcher.

  87. Are you Dan Gladden?

  88. Answer #12: no, not Dan Gladden.

    Anybody out there frustrated by some of these questions?

  89. Did he have over 1,000 hits in the Majors?

  90. Did he spend a majority of his time in the AL in the West Division?

  91. And yes, asking specific players that early is frustrating.

  92. Are you John Moses?

  93. Or, are you Loen Roberts?

  94. Sorry to disappoint those who don't want a guess for a specific player just yet, but I feel we might have enough info at this point.

  95. #89

    Answer #13: no I did not have at least 1000 major league hits.

  96. Did you appear as a pitcher in a major league game more than once?

  97. Seriously, why just randomly throw names out this early? What a waste of two or three questions that could have actually, you know, *helped* to figure out who the player was.

    Anyway: Have you managed a major league game?

  98. Please clarify the Kingdome answer - did you play in the Kingdome as a Mariner? If that is the case, my two answers are the only 2 I could find who meet all criteria.

  99. Answer #14: no I did not appear as a pitcher more than once.

    My Kingdome answer is perfectly clear. The question didnt say anything about whether or not I played for the Mariners.

  100. Were you born in the 1960's?

  101. In your intial post you said that you would not answer invalid questions, how is guessing if it is this player or that player a valid question. Doesnt that defeat the purpose or game that is 20 Questions ?

  102. Because invalid means not a 'yes' or 'no' question.

  103. But isnt guessing a players name a Guess not a question for example look at it this way? Is the player who you are thinking of ? Kent Hrbek (My Guess) granted it can be answered with a yes or no question. But at the end of 20 questions there will be a lot of guesses. This is just an example and a response to Andy's post regarding frustration about guessing the answers.

  104. Answer #15: yes I was born in the 1960s.

  105. Were you primarily an outfielder?

  106. Answer #16: yes, I was primarily an outfielder.

  107. #1
    Q - Are you an active player?
    A - No, I am not an active player.

    #2
    Q - Were you mainly a pitcher (as opposed to being a fielder)?
    A - No, I was not mainly a pitcher.

    #3
    Q - Are you still alive?
    A - Yes, I am still alive.

    #4
    Q - have you ever won a batting title?
    A - No, I have never won a batting title. [in the major leagues]

    #5
    Q - Were the vast majority of your at bats left handed ?
    A - no, the vast majority of my at-bats were not left-handed.

    #6
    Q - Did you play the majority of your career in the American League?
    A - Yes, I played the majority of my career in the AL

    #7
    Q - Are you Herb Washington?
    A - No I am not Herb Washington.
    (Personal comment - we should not have been wasting a question guessing a specific player this early in the game.)

    #8
    Q - Did I play ten seasons or more?
    A - Yes, I played 10 seasons or more.

    #9
    Q - If you were not mainly a pitcher... did you ever pitch,and if you did ,did you register a win,as such at any time doing so ?
    A - Yes I appeared as a pitcher.

    #10
    Q - Are you Jose Canseco?
    A - No

    #11
    Q - Did you play in the Kingdom?
    A - Yes

    #12
    Q - Are you Dan Gladden?
    A - No

    #13
    Q - Did you have at least 1000 major league hits?
    A - No

    #14
    Q - Did you appear as a pitcher more than once?
    A - No

    #15
    Q - Were you born in the 1960s?
    A - Yes

  108. And add to the summary:

    #16
    Q - Were you primarily an outfielder?
    A - Yes

  109. Did you ever hit 4 home runs in a single major league game :)?

  110. Answer #17: yes, I once hit 4 homers in a game!

  111. Mark Whiten.

  112. Going out on a limb, but are you Mark Whiten?

  113. That's it.... Whiten!

  114. Apparently, the game of 20 questions is not as well known or understood as some of us might think. The rules of the game are simple:

    1. The moderator (Andy) thinks of something – in this case an MLB player.
    2. The players (us) can ask questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
    3. We get up to 20 questions to determine who Andy is thinking of.
    4. We “win” if we guess the player within the 20 questions.
    5. To win, you have to get a ‘yes’ Answer to a question phrased like, “Is the player you’re thinking of _____?”

    And yes, that last question counts as one of the 20 we get to ask.

    Since there have been thousands of MLB players, obviously asking “Is it Joe Schmoe?” early on will most likely not lead to a win for us. To win, we need to ask questions that narrow down the possibilities first (like the first 6 questions Andy answered). Once we’ve narrowed it down to just a few players – or possibly only one, we can ask, “Is it _____?” So let’s please try to focus on narrowing down the field, before we go wasting our limited number of questions on asking if it is Herb Washington, Jose Canseco, or Chili Davis.

    One final note, I think some of you are trying to read too much into Andy’s answers. A ‘yes’ simply means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ simply means ‘no’. If Andy adds a comment like “…in the Major Leagues”, it does not mean that the player necessarily won a batting title in some other league, it’s just that Andy is only looking at the player’s Major League stats, and doesn’t want someone to come back later and say, “But won a batting title in Little League – you’re saying that he didn’t win a batting title ever totally threw me off!”

  115. My comments may have come a bit late, as we may have already solved this one by the time they got posted (I wrote them after @103), but worth noting for future 20 questions games.

    Andy - please do more of these, they're fun!

  116. Andy, that seemed to be a bit frustrating, I know. But there was a good response so it looks like we like this kind of stuff. Hopefully you can hone it a bit and make it less of a hassle. Great question. I'm a Cardinal fan in Europe, so needless to say, Whiten's day is well remembered.

  117. That's not a valid question. :)

  118. Yeah it's Mark Whiten. We'll do more of these.

  119. Whiten doesn't work with question #5

  120. Whiten had roughly 70% of his ABs as a LHB. I guess that's the danger in the vagueness of "vast majority". Andy said he considered vast majority to be 80-90%.

  121. mccombe35 @119: Read Andy's clarification of his interpretation of the phrase "vast majority" in @86.

  122. In the future, we might want to use wording like, "Were you considered a LHB" or "Are you listed on the b-r site as a LHB?"

  123. Hah, I knew I was right on switch-hitting. Andy said he didn't bat the **vast** majority LH. I was on the right track, but Chili Davis had more than 1,000 hits.

    @Greg...the 20Q website is horrible at times. I was playing animal/vegetable/mineral, and thinking of "wolverine." AFTER I said yes to "is it a mammal," the computer later guessed "osprey" then some fish, I think.

  124. I was going to say Whiten, but the left-handed thing had me wondering.

  125. "Are you an active player?" should always be the first question.

  126. Nobody bats left-handed 90% of the time, do they? They either bat left-handed 0%, 100%, or approx. 60-75%, right?

  127. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Thanks for this game. I would like to see it played again. I didn't ask any questions because I was following the rule of not putting in a new question until the last one is answered. However, some of the questions came fast and furiously because multiple people posted questions almost simultaneously, not realizing that others were posting questions at the same time. Even with Andy monitoring the questions, he couldn't get all of his answers in right away.

    Also, as I commented earlier, guessing a player, especially one like Herb Washington who was remembered mainly for being a very specialized player, so early in the process seemed to me to be a waste of a question.

    Some questions work better later but don't appear to be useful early on. Or if they are asked early in the process and generate a "yes" answer, it may spoil the fun for others.

    "Did he ever wear #22 for the Phillies?" is a question that would have generated a "yes" answer, and it would make for a good question #18, 19, or 20 if someone thought it could be Whiten but wasn't 100% sure. But asking it fairly early would take the fun away from some of the other players.

  128. sansho1 @126:

    I can't think of a real-life example off the top of my head, but if someone like a Curtis Granderson were a switch hitter (i.e. someone who is really bad at hitting lefties and thus is often platooned), I could see them getting 80% - 90% of their ABs left-handed. Unfortunately, I don't think that we can use the PI for this, as I don't think you can search based on splits (e.g. vs LHP or RHP).

  129. Danny Darwin

  130. 20 Questions: Which player am I? » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog ......

    [...]It's sad that so many people think that every conversation has to appeal to them, and sadder that they think it's perfectly fine for them to post their rude opinions about things other people are doing which have absolutely no bearing on them. ....

  131. [...] start an all-new 20 Questions game. See my last such game for the rules. Remember, I will only answer the first valid question posted in the comments after [...]

  132. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    The primary goal in twenty questions is to ask questions that will break the field of possibilities roughly in half at each question. So asking about specific players is obviously *stupid* unless the group of players for whom all previous answers are correct is already quite small.

    But beyond that, a lot of the questions asked were very poor strategically.

    Example, somebody asked about whether the vast majority of bats were left-handed. Well, first, we've already established that being specific would be a good idea, so we should choose a number like 60%. But more important, there are many fewer primarily lefty batters than primarily righty batters, so we should have asked about right handed, so we'd narrow the field to lefties + switch hitters, or righties.