In 1904, the Boston Americans went 95-59 to finish a game-and-a-half ahead of the New York Highlanders, winning the American League pennant in the fourth year of the league’s existence. Here is a summary of the team’s pitchers:
Those aren’t the team’s leading pitchers, or its top starters. It’s their entire pitching staff. The team used only five pitchers all year. In 2017, teams used more than five pitchers in a game 701 times, i.e., more pitchers to get through the day than the Boston Americans used all year. So, yeah, the game’s changed in 113 years.
That means teams have to carry a lot more pitchers. Eleven years after the Americans used just five pitchers, the Philadelphia A’s used 27 in one of Connie Mack’s tear-down seasons (99-53, World Series winners via sweep in 1914, 43-109, last in the AL in 1915.) That was the most pitchers used in a season for almost the entire century, until the 1996 Angels became the first team to use 29 pitchers in a season.
The 2000 Indians broke that record, as they used 32 pitchers. In 2002, the Padres used 37. That record stood until 2014, when the Rangers used 40. That set a new standard. Until this year. The 2017 Mariners tied the record, using 40 pitchers. The Twins were second with 36. Those were the most in the majors.
So to celebrate their assault on the Rangers’ record, here’s a quiz. Below is a list of 25 names. Each person shown is one of the following:
- A pitcher who appeared for the 2017 Mariners
- A pitcher who appeared for the 2017 Twins
- An incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives
To make it (marginally) easier, every pitcher listed appeared in games prior to September 1. Nobody’s exclusively a September call-up.
Do your best! Answers below. No cheating. No looking at your neighbor’s answer sheet. And since our editing software automatically inserts hyperlinks for ballplayers, I’ve inserted hyperlinks to Representatives’ websites, so you can’t tell them apart by the presence or absence of the guy’s name in red.
- John Curtiss
- Mike Gallagher
- Ryan Garton
- Ryan Weber
- Ryan Costello
- Ryan Pressly
- Michael Freeman
- Michael Tonkin
- Mike Rogers
- Chris Heston
- Brad Sherman
- Jason Wheeler
- Dietrich Enns
- Cody Martin
- Jim Himes
- Dillon Overton
- Justin Haley
- Robert Whalen
- Robert Wittman
- Mike Johnson
- Alex Wimmers
- Evan Scribner
- Randy Rosario
- Vicente Gonzalez
- Marco Gonzales
- John Curtiss was drafted in the 30th round in 2011. He wears glasses. He compiled an 8.31 ERA over 8 2/3 innings for the Twins.
- Mike Gallagher is a freshman Republican representing Wisconsin’s eighth district. He has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton, two master’s, and a PhD from Georgetown, and served for seven years with the Marine Corps. Need a break from baseball to check out the House GOP’s Flickr gallery? Head over to his website, where you can see an entry criticizing President Obama for not having a plan to defeat ISIS. It was posted a year-and-a-half before Gallagher took office.
- Ryan Garton is a right-handed pitcher whom Jerry Dipoto acquired from the Rays on August 6. He pitched 11 2/3 innings for the Mariners.
- Ryan Weber pitched 3 2/3 innings for the Mariners in a 7-2 loss to the Blue Jays in May.
- Ryan Costello, a Republican, is a freshman representing the sixth district of Pennsylvania. His district isn’t the most gerrymandered that you’ll see, but it’s not the least, either. (The Mariners have a Ryan Costello in their farm system, but he’s not a pitcher.)
- This one’s a gimme. If you’ve been paying attention, you probably know Ryan Pressly, who appeared in 57 games for the Twins this year. All but 19 of his appearances occurred with Minnesota either ahead by five or more runs or trailing.
- Michael Freeman started the season with Seattle, got waived, signed with the Dodgers, got released, and signed with the Cubs. The catch is that he’s an infielder. He pitched the ninth inning in a 16-1 Mariners loss to the White Sox on May 20, allowing a run on three hits.
- Michael Tonkin appeared in 65 games for the Twins last year with a 4.40 ERA. Realizing that 4.40 is not a good ERA for a reliever, he spent most of 2017 at Triple-A Rochester, where he compiled a 1.73 ERA. It didn’t stick; his ERA in Minnesota was 5.14 in 21 innings this year.
- Mike Rogers, a Republican, has represented Alabama’s third district for 14 years. He shouldn’t be confused with Mike Rogers, a Republican, who represented Michigan’s eighth district for 14 years.
- OK, that’s a trick question. Chris Heston pitched for both the Mariners and the Twins, though more for Seattle (five innings) than Minnesota (one inning).
- Brad Sherman, a Democrat, has been in Congress for 20 years. He was elected a representative of the 24th district in California in 1996 and, following redistricting, the 30th district since 2012. His website has a link to a form you can use to set up a living will.
- Jason Wheeler made a couple appearances for the Twins in May. In three innings, he allowed six hits, five runs, four walks, one home run, and didn’t strike out anyone.
- Yes, that’s his real name. Enns is the only Dietrich in major-league history. He was born in Frankfort, after all. Illinois, though. He appeared in two August games for the Twins.
- In his second year in Seattle, Cody Martin got mop-up duty in the second game of doubleheader in August.
- Jim Himes, a Democrat, represents the fourth district in Connecticut. He was born in Peru and worked at Goldman Sachs. His website has a link to his official portrait and still has instructions for requesting a ticket to the 2017 inauguration.
- Dillon Overton has the best hair of anyone on this list. The Mariners acquired him a trade with the A’s, but they waived him in June, apparently not enamored of his 6.38 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. Don’t feel bad, Dillon. Dipoto does this kind of thing.
- The Twins selected Justin Haley from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. His 6.00 ERA in 18 innings of work in April and May resulted in the team returning him to Boston.
- Robert Whalen started a game for the Mariners in May, relieved in one in June, and was placed on Triple-A Tacoma’s restricted list in July.
- Robert Wittman (you can call him Rob), a Republican, has represented the first district in Virginia for a decade. He is co-chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, which you probably didn’t know existed until just now.
- Mike Johnson is a first-term Republican representative of the fourth district in Louisiana. He designed his own campaign logo.
- Alex Wimmers had seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings of work for the Twins in June. Unfortunately, he also allowed eight walks.
- This is Evan Scribner’s seventh year in the majors. Or, rather, the seventh consecutive year during which he appeared in some major-league games. This year, it was 7 1/3 innings and an 11.05 ERA with the Mariners.
- We know—doesn’t he sound like someone you should know? You probably shouldn’t. Randy Rosario got lit up (eight runs, 2 1/3 innings) in two June games for the Twins and spent most of the year at Double-A Chattanooga.
- Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat, represents the 15th district of Texas. Per his website: “One of the most important aspects of Congress is developing, making, and monitoring laws.” One of the most important? Isn’t Congress, you know, the legislative branch?
- Marco Gonzales came to Seattle via a trade from St. Louis prior to the trade deadline. Four years earlier, he was the Cardinals’s top pick in the draft, and we rated him the 52nd-best prospect in baseball prior to 2015. His 2017 ERA, like most of his career, didn’t live up to the billing: 5.40 ERA over 36 2/3 innings with the two clubs.
0-10: You and me both.
11-15: Sorry, I forgot to mention that farm directors aren’t eligible.
16-20: OK, you’re starting to scare me.
21-25: So what exactly do you do with your weekends?