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Column

Fun MLB exercise

Major League Baseball’s Twitter page presented a fun exercise to its followers yesterday.

They asked fans to post their four core players using one outfielder, one infielder, one starting pitcher and one relief pitcher using the first letter of your first name.

A couple of these were easy. For me, I couldn’t find enough great infielders who start with T.

My team is the Cincinnati Reds so I went with Hall of Famer Tony Perez. All four of my players are Hall of Famers as I also went with Tony Gwynn, Tom Seaver and Trevor Hoffman.

I wish Gwynn or Ted Williams played infield because if that were the case, I might have the best four core players you can have.

Since I couldn’t pick both guys I went with Gwynn for no other reason than I saw him play as a child. Williams was great obviously, too, but I just never watched him and he’s way before my time.

Here’s the breakdown of Gwynn though.

He played 20 years and struck out just 434 times and never more than 40 in a season. Gwynn had a career batting average of .338 with 3,141 hits, 543 doubles and 85 triples.

Gwynn’s 135 home runs weren’t impressive at all, but he did everything else so well that it didn’t matter. He was a professional hitter. He also scored 1,383 runs, collected 1,138 RBIs and stole 388 bases.

Gwynn’s career OBP was .388 and his career OPS was .847. He walked 790 times in his career.

He was a 15-time all-star, including 11 straight from 1989 to 1999.

Perez played 23 years and even though I am a Reds fan, he was before my time, too. And he’s a borderline Hall of Famer. He might be one of those guys who got in because of longevity.

But he was still really good.

Perez batted .279 for his career. He collected 2,732 hits, 505 doubles, 79 triples and 379 home runs. He scored 1,272 runs, finished with 1,652 RBIs and stole 49 bases, which was about two per season. His career OBP was .344 and his OPS was .804. He was a 7-time all-star.

The first two starting pitchers that came to mind for me were Tom Glavine and Tom Seaver. My first instinct was to go with Glavine because he was in my time frame. I remember watching him pitch for those great Braves teams.

But when you look at the numbers, it’s really not close. Both guys are Hall of Famers and even though Seaver has just six more wins, he also had a better ERA and struck out around 1,000 more hitters.

Seaver was 311-205 in his career as a starting pitcher. His career ERA was 2.86 and he struck out 3,640 batters. Glavine only struck out 2,607 batters and his ERA was 3.54.

Seaver played 20 years in the league and won at least 20 games five times and struck out at least 200 batters 10 times. He led the league in strikeouts five times. And his best season as a Red came in 1981 when he went 14-2. He made the all-star team 12 times.

I didn’t do much research on relief pitchers. Trevor Hoffman is about as good as it gets with the first name that starts with T.

If you have another one, let me know. But I doubt he’s better than the man who marched to the mound to the song “Hells Bells” by AC/DC.

Hoffman played 18 years in the MLB and had a losing record at 61-75. But that didn’t matter at all when he had an NL-record 601 career saves.

His career ERA was 2.87 and he struck out 1,133. He averaged 39 saves per 162-game season in his career.

Hoffman holds several MLB records. Besides NL saves, he also has the record for most consecutive seasons with 40 saves with four, most seasons with 40 saves with nine and most career strikeouts per nine innings by a reliever with 9.36.

He also has the most games pitched for one team with 902. He is a San Diego Padre for life, playing 15.5 years of his 18-year career in San Diego. He was a 7-time all-star.

Put together your core four of MLB players using the first letter of your first name. And if it’s T, how would yours be different than mine?

Contact Troy Hyde at thyde@newtondailynews.com

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