Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 World Series Trivia: Best Active Players Without a World Series

Once again, it's time for my yearly post-World Series Sporcle Quiz, "Can You Name the Best Active Players Without a World Series", now updated to account for the newly-crowned champs, the 2018 Red Sox. If you want to play the quiz blind, follow that link. I have a few mildly spoiler-filled comments after the break once you're finished.







If you read my pre-playoffs Trivia Article, you'll know that the Red Sox actually had more players on this list than any other team playing in October. Despite winning just five seasons prior, the whole roster has basically turned over. Xander Bogaerts was on both postseason rosters, Dustin Pedroia played a little this year but basically missed the whole season with injury, a few 2018 players were just getting their start in 2013 and saw cups of coffee but didn't get a playoff roster spot (like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt), but otherwise, it was a totally different roster.

Mookie Betts, who debuted in 2014 and just got onto the list last year, now has a Championship. Chris Sale and David Price, two of the best pitchers in modern times, both crossed their names off the list, as did Ian Kinsler, who's still sneakily building a borderline Hall of Fame case. A few potential future names also prevented themselves from appearing a few seasons down the line; most notably, J.D. Martinez , Rick Porcello, and Craig Kimbrel were all poised to qualify in the next season or two had they not won.

The two most difficult ones to count are Brandon Phillips and Hanley Ramirez. Neither was on the postseason roster, Hanley being released earlier in the year and Phillips coming aboard as a late-season depth pick-up. I'm never sure whether to count these kinds of players; while they weren't officially on the roster, they're probably still getting World Series rings either way (players are famously pretty generous in voting to give rings to shorter-term teammates). Officially, I went with a dryer, technical distinction to dodge this issue ("Players must have been active at some point in the 2018 season and not played on a World Series-winning team"), but I'm sure one day I'll have an even harder call to make that technically follows that language, like a player who's traded away from the eventual World Series winner mid-season. I'll worry about that bridge when I get to it, though.

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