Sunday, July 13, 2008

Off-Day Puzzle #5: Picking Teams, Part I

Another off-day means another seemingly non-sensical concoction from which logic and structure are to be drawn. It also means another chance to improve your PCS ranking. Here's today's puzzle:

Legend has it that in a place and time and for reasons unknown, eight former major leaguers got together to form a team. Nobody knows exactly how it came to be that this particular collection of players were there that day, but there they were. And what a varied collection it was: the group included long-deceased turn-of-the-century guys like Art Weaver, as well as steroid-era guys like Dave Berg. Hall-of-Famers like Red Faber were present, as were guys with 5 career at-bats like Fred Graf. Even Steve Sax showed up. Here's the full list of the eight that were there, in chronological order of their MLB debut:

Player
MLB Career
Art Weaver
1902-1908
Fred Graf
1913
Red Faber
1933
Ted Beard
1948-51,58-58
Ted Savage
1962-1971
Dave Edwards
1978-1982
Steve Sax
1981-1994
Dave Berg
1998-2004

And despite their differences, once the eclectic eight gathered, the chemistry among them was evident. They swapped stories about former teammates (a group that collectively included, among others, Roberto Clemente, Luis Aparicio, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Tony Gwynn), compared the virtues and vices of their respective eras, and had a heated discussion about player salaries (suffice it to say that career bench-warmer Berg - with a little help from Sax - bought the beer). But finally they got down to the business of assigning positions.

As it turned out, the group was even compatible in that among the eight, their major league experience was such that they could each fill eight distinct positions, as follows:

But, of course, there are nine positions on a baseball team. How, the group wondered, would they fill the open first base spot? Just then they heard some rumbling in the nearby brush, and to their surprise, the following six rag-tag characters emerged:

Once the six newcomers see what is going on, they are each eager to fill the remaining position on the team (despite having no idea what baseball was). The eight ballplayers looked at one another skeptically, but realized that if they wanted to field a complete team, they had no choice but to pick one of the six newcomers. Since none of the six newbies had any baseball skills whatsoever, the ballplayers realized it was a matter of selecting the one who would be most compatible with them. That, dear readers, is the puzzle to be solved.

Which of the six newcomers would fit in best with the eight major leaguers?

  A) Solo
  B) Leia
  C) Luke
  D) Chewie
  E) R2D2
  F) C3PO

HINT #1 (10:04am PT): The group would pick Drew Brees over Peyton Manning or Tom Brady (if they were options).

HINT #2 (12:29pm PT): All the information you need is in the post. There's no need for external research on baseball-reference.com, wookieepedia.com, or anywhere else.

HINT #3 (12:46pm PT): Neither Fred Andrews (1976-1977) nor Al Mattern (1908-1912) would fit with the group, even if they played 1st base (this hint inspired by some of the wrong guesses).

HINT #4 (2:12pm PT): Years played and positions are irrelevant.

HINT #5 (2:50pm PT): Like many teams, this one would be happy with a 'left-handed' 1st baseman (no, this doesn't conflict with any other hint).

HINT #6 (4:41pm PT): Ok, one last hint, but this time I mean it. What's in a name? With this puzzle, everything. And I subtly altered Hint #5...

HINT #7 (5:49pm PT): Ok, this is the real last hint, I'm not messing around this time: Think about that in which reader Erin reigns supreme (granted, there may be several such things), and in it you will find a clue...

SOLUTION: click here.

Puzzle Note: Please comment freely, but if you think you have the solution, please don't give away the answer to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

  • Email us your solution explanation, and
  • Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt (otherwise I probably won't check our email).

Solutions accepted until 11am PT July 15, no later. Thanks, and good luck!

29 comments:

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

I'm pretty sure you're the first people to EVER link Dave Berg to being part of the steroid era.

QuadSevens said...

I have a solution that I will be emailing you shortly.

Jose said...

Just sent my solution.

Eric Karros said...

Thanks Quad, Jose. I'll check your emails shortly and let you know -

Loney Fan said...

I have submitted an answer.

Eric Karros said...

I've added another hint...

FYI, we have had at least one correct answer submitted (I won't say who) along with some incorrect ones. No other thoughts from anyone? Don't forget, you get points for participation too.

Orel said...

I'm trying to figure out if the table info relates to the field graphic.

Eric Karros said...

Orel - it doesn't, other than the fact that the same players are included in both.

Orel said...

"Is this heaven?"

"No, it's Endor."

Loney Fan said...

My brain hurts

Eric Karros said...

FYI, so far still only two correct answers...

Eric Karros said...

...and I don't plan on posting anymore hints.

Dusto Magnifico said...

Are we going to get another puzzle tomorrow. I just found out my boss will be out of town!

Eric Karros said...

Dusto - I wasn't planning on it. There are a flurry of off-days this week and don't want to overkill the puzzles. So there won't be one tomorrow or Wednesday - the next puzzle will be Thursday.

Dusto Magnifico said...

ok :(

fanerman said...

Does Hint #3 contain an extra "not" now? Back where there was only 1 example I thought I remember it saying "player x would not fit with the group." But the double negative is confusing me now.

Eric Karros said...

Sorry fanerman, that was just a typo. I've corrected it now.

karina said...

How long until we can email the answer?

Eric Karros said...

Karina, until how long would you like?

fanerman said...

Since it's sort of an off-couple-of-days, I would not mind another day of puzzling.

karina said...

Eric, your puzzle, your call.

Eric Karros said...

Ok, since tomorrow is a pseudo-off-day and there's no puzzle on Wednesday, I'll accept solutions for this one until 11am PT (2pm ET) tomorrow, July 15th. No exceptions!

QuadSevens said...

Sometimes a good night's sleep and a fresh look at a problem can make the solution easier to see. Good luck to all.

karina said...

Just e-mailed my answer. I hope i'm not late.

Eric Karros said...

Not too late karina, I might not get a chance to check it until tonite but I will get to it!

fanerman said...

I submitted my guess... hopefully not too late. I really need to devote more time to these. I should consider taking a vaaction day on these off days.

Erin said...

Just saw this today, because I was on the road. Thanks for using me as one of the hints.

Eric Karros said...

Hey Erin, no problem. Actually, Orel should thank you for being one of the hints.

Fanerman - you mean you haven't already been calling in sick on puzzle days? I question your dedication. Just FYI, others have not only quit their jobs entirely, but are now hiring small teams to help them on puzzle days. Just so you know what you're up against.

QuadSevens said...

Red 5 Research got a break on Monday. I was able to solve the puzzle before going crazy and calling them in for backup. They may get a call from me on Thursday though.