Can You Recognize These MLB Legends From Their Hall of Fame Plaques?

SPORTS

Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: HSW / jimkruger/E+/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Plaques are used to commemorate accomplishments across all sports at a variety of levels. To get a plaque with your face on it, though, your achievements have to be significant, and even more so if you want that plaque to end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Hall of Famers, of course, sit at the top of the baseball world. They have set themselves apart from even the greatest players in the game, as only athletes of the highest level actually make it into the Majors. That makes MLB a competitive league, and only the hardest working and most gifted talents rise to the top of that league.

Some Hall of Fame players led their teams to championship after championship, while others set records that held for years or have never been broken. There's no one way to make it into the Hall of Fame, after all, but it's usually pretty clear that a player has Hall of Fame potential soon after they take the field. 

Are you ready to see if you can make out the faces of these all-world athletes from their Hall of Fame plaques? You might recognize some of the recent entries, but what about the players who starred in the league over a century ago? Get started and find out for yourself.

This player changed the way baseball was played when he started swinging for the fences. Who is he?

The Boston Red Sox probably made the worst decision in franchise history when they traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, following the 1919 season. The Red Sox went 86 years without winning another title in what became known as "The Curse of the Bambino."

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The first African American to play in MLB, who is this Hall of Famer?

Jackie Robinson was clearly meant to play in the Majors, evidenced by the Rookie of the Year Award he won in 1947. He topped that honor in 1949 when he was named the NL MVP after winning the NL batting title and leading the National League in stolen bases.

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A player who spent his entire MLB career with the Chicago Cubs, who is this Hall of Famer?

Making his MLB debut in 1953, Ernie Banks was the first African American to play for the Chicago Cubs. Fans in Chicago fell in love with Banks from the start, eventually honoring him with the nickname "Mr. Cub."

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An influential figure both on and off the field, which player is this?

With speed that allowed him to cover the field and a rocket arm, Roberto Clemente was one of the best fielders in baseball during his prime. His fielding skills earned him 12 straight Gold Glove Awards, from 1961 until 1972.

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You'd be hard-pressed to find a hitter who could hammer a ball out of the park like which slugger, depicted on this plaque?

Hank Aaron was the first person to surpass Babe Ruth's career home run record of 714 home runs. Aaron finished his career with 755 homers but has since been passed by Barry Bonds, though Bonds' record is controversial because of his association with steroids.

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Carrying the nickname "The Georgia Peach," this player stole bases like a criminal. Can you name him?

Excellent on both sides of the field, Ty Cobb really shined while at bat, recording 4,191 hits in his career. Even though he retired in 1928, he still holds the MLB record for career batting average at .367.

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Can you identify this outfielder who was born to be an All-Star in MLB?

As with most Hall of Fame players, Willie Mays had many talents on the field, including hitting home runs. In a game against the Milwaukee Braves in 1961, Mays hit four home runs, which puts him in a category with only 17 other players.

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Even though he never won a World Series, which player depicted here is considered one of the greatest players to take the field?

With the ability to knock the ball out the park or place it in the field, Ted Williams might've been the greatest hitter the game has ever seen. He finished his career with 521 home runs and 2,654 hits, while recording an outstanding .344 batting average.

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Are you familiar with this pitcher whose career spanned four decades?

Nolan Ryan played for four teams throughout his lengthy MLB career. Of those four teams, three retired his number: the Los Angeles Angels, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers.

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Are you familiar with this pitcher, known for his size and dominant fastball?

Though he was drafted in 1982, Randy Johnson decided to skip out on the minors to attend college at USC, where he played both baseball and basketball. By his sophomore year, he gave up on basketball and focused on the sport that would turn him into a legend.

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Few Hall of Fame pitchers were as skilled during the height of their career as which player, shown here?

Sandy Koufax is one of the rare pitchers in MLB to pitch a perfect game, which he accomplished on September 9, 1965. The impressive thing about the timing of this event was that Koufax was already in decline as injuries racked up. He played one more season before retiring.

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Have you done enough research on the greatest players in baseball history to name this three-time AL MVP?

Mickey Mantle was a great New York Yankees players who helped establish the franchise as one of the best in professional sports. Mantle won seven World Series while playing for the Yankees, with his first title coming during his debut season.

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Would you consider yourself enough of a baseball historian to identify this legend, considered to be one of the best offensive threats in the game?

Though he won nine World Series and was elected to 13 All-Star Games, Joe DiMaggio's greatest accomplishment might be his 56-game hitting streak, a record that stands today. He recorded this streak in the 1941 season.

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This player helped invigorate the Twins franchise in the '80s and '90s. What's his name?

After debuting in 1984, it took Kirby Puckett only four years to help the Minnesota Twins win a World Series. He didn't have to wait long to win another title, which he was able to do in 1991.

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Can you name this Hall of Fame player who won a record eight NL batting titles?

Honus Wagner was so skilled in defense that he played just about every position on that side. That doesn't mean he couldn't play offense, though, as the man known as "The Flying Dutchman" could also do everything from batting to stealing bases.

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What's the name of this player who entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite never playing in MLB?

Much of Josh Gibson's legacy is left to legend because he played in the Negro League, where statistics weren't as well kept. However, one thing is certain — Gibson is one of the greatest power hitters of any era, a fact recognized by many of the greats from the time he played.

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Is this nine-time All-Star a player you're familiar with?

Ron Santo retired from baseball in 1974, having nine All-Star appearances and five Gold Gloves under his belt. He reentered the Chicago Cubs' organization in 1990 as a broadcaster, where he was known for giving his honest opinion, whether it was good or bad.

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Name this star player who batted a .312 average throughout his Hall of Fame career?

Though he played third base at times in his career, Edgar Martinez had the most success as a designated hitter because his true talent was on the offensive side of the ball. His hitting prowess was evidenced by his five Silver Slugger Awards and two AL batting championships.

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How well do you know this player who was considered a five tool All-Star during his prime?

The first overall draft pick in 1987, Ken Griffey Jr. came into the league with the expectation that he was going to be a star. Griffey lived up to the hype, earning a place in 13 All-Star Games and winning the AL MVP in 1997.

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Do you recognize this player, one of the best fielding pitchers to ever take the mound?

In recognition of his greatness, Greg Maddux won four straight Cy Young Awards, from 1992 through 1995, with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. This made him the first player to win the award four consecutive years.

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This Hall of Fame pitcher has an MLB award named after him. Who is he?

A hard thrower who was also crafty with the ball, Cy Young holds numerous pitching records, including career wins and career completed games. One of his greatest accomplishments came in 1901 when he won a Triple Crown by leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA.

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Are you familiar with this star, one of the original five players to enter the Hall of Fame?

Early in his career, Walter Johnson relied on his fastball, which rivaled that of anyone who ever played the game and earned him the nickname "The Big Train." However, once he added a curveball to his arsenal, Johnson was almost unstoppable, recording at least 20 wins for 10 straight seasons.

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Are you familiar with this star who carried the New York Yankees as Babe Ruth declined and retired?

Lou Gehrig, a player who was known for his durability and effort on the field, had a tragic ending to his life after he was diagnosed with ALS, now commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The disease took his life only two years after he retired. Gehrig was only 37 years old.

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Do you know this pitcher who racked up 2,502 strikeouts in his career?

Christy Mathewson spent most of his 17-year career as a pitcher for the New York Giants. While playing in New York, Mathewson won the 1905 World Series by defeating the Philadelphia Athletics in five games. Mathewson was the starting pitcher for three of those five games.

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Name this pitcher who spent his entire career with the New York Giants?

It took Carl Hubbell two innings during the 1934 All-Star Game to establish himself as a legend on the mound. During those two innings, Hubbell struck out five Hall of Fame sluggers: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.

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How well do you know this Triple Crown winner from the 19th century, nicknamed "Old Hoss"?

Charles Radbourn had the greatest season of his career and one of the greatest seasons of all time in 1884, when he won 60 games, leading the MLB in wins for the year. He was also the ERA leader and strikeout leader, earning him the Triple Crown for the season.

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A two time NL MVP, what's the name of this second baseman who knocked in 301 home runs in his career?

Rogers Hornsby won the only World Series championship of his career in 1926, with the St. Louis Cardinals. That season, his team, which he also managed, defeated a loaded New York Yankees squad in seven games.

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You might recognize this Hall of Famer for winning two AL batting championships in the '20s. Who is he?

Recording a batting average over .400 for a season is rare for any player, but George Sisler, also known as "Gorgeous George," was able to do it twice in his career. The second time he accomplished the feat, in 1922, Sisler was named the AL MVP.

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Do you recognize this player, one of the greatest hitters during the early years of the game?

Willie Keeler played in an era when home runs were extremely rare, and he only finished with 33 of them. However, his ability to make contact with the ball was unmatched, recording 2,932 hits with a .341 batting average.

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Can you identify this catcher who also served as a manger during the latter years of his career?

Buck Ewing played every year of his career in the 19th century, finally retiring in 1897. He continued to serve as a manager for the Cincinnati Reds and later the New York Giants until the turn of the century, leaving the game after the 1900 season.

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