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The Forgotten Five: Least-remembered Brewers with 400 hits

Here are some of the answers you likely knew and didn't know in last week's Sporcle quiz.

Leon Halip

On Thursday we brought back the Thursday Thinker for the 2014-15 offseason, asking you to name the 47 players in franchise history with more hits than Aramis Ramirez. If you haven't taken that quiz yet and don't want it spoiled for you, you should probably go take it now. The rest of this post is about the correct answers.

As of this writing about 250 of you have taken the quiz, giving us a pretty significant sample of results. Here are some things I found interesting:

  • Ryan Braun, not Robin Yount, was the most popular correct answer. 98.8% of quiz participants correctly named Braun, while 98% correctly named the Hall of Famer.
  • The next three most popular correct answers after Braun and Yount were Paul Molitor (95.6%), Prince Fielder (92.3%) and Rickie Weeks (91.9%).
  • Cecil Cooper, third on the Brewers' all-time list with 1815 hits and probably one of the five greatest Brewers of all time, was left out by slightly less than one in five participants. Jim Gantner, who is fourth with 1696, was left off of better than 25% of all quizzes.
  • 20 of the 47 correct answers were correctly identified on more than 50% of quizzes. B.J. Surhoff (52.4%) came in just above that line, while Craig Counsell (49.6%) was just below.
  • There are 12 Brewers in franchise history with 1000 hits, but more than half of you missed two of them: Charlie Moore (44.4% correct) and Don Money (42.7%).
The five least-guessed answers are as follows:

5. Glenn Braggs, 20.2% correct

To be honest, I wouldn't have been surprised if Braggs had been dead last. His seven-year MLB career started with a 1986-90 tenure in Milwaukee, where he played in more than 100 games just twice and posted a career .255/.312/.395 batting line. His best season with the Brewers was 1987, where he played in 132 games and had his best batting average (.269), on-base percentage (.332) and slugging (.430) while playing primarily in right field.

The Brewers traded Braggs to Cincinnati in 1990 and his slash line improved almost immediately as a part-time player. He posted a .770 OPS in parts of three seasons as a Red.

Braggs had 413 hits as a Brewer, the 46th-most in franchise history.

4. Dave May, 19.4% correct

I know the 1970's happened before many of us were paying close attention, but May is a notable Brewer for a variety of reasons. He was one of the stars of the first teams in Milwaukee, making the AL All Star team as a Brewer in 1973, leading the league with 295 total bases and becoming just the third player in franchise history to hit 25 home runs in a season.

May is likely better known, however, for being the outfielder the Brewers traded to Atlanta to bring Hank Aaron to Milwaukee in November of 1974. After two years in Atlanta and a season in Texas, May rejoined the Brewers for 39 games in 1978, his final MLB season.

May had 652 hits as a Brewer, the 24th-most in franchise history.

3. Bill Spiers, 17.7% correct

Across baseball Spiers is likely best remembered for serving as a utilityman for the late 90's Astros team that made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. Before that, however, Spiers spent six seasons as a utilityman in Milwaukee from 1989-94. His best season as a Brewer was 1991, when he played primarily at shortstop and hit .283/.337/.401 in 133 games.

Unfortunately, locally Spiers is probably better remembered for an ugly incident in September of 1999, when Spiers was attacked by a fan in the outfield while playing in Milwaukee as a member of the Astros.

Spiers had 433 hits as a Brewer, the 42nd-most in franchise history.

2. Ronnie Belliard, 16.9% correct

Belliard is the most recent Brewer among this Forgotten Five, having played with the team from 1998-2002. Belliard got a chance to play when Fernando Vina missed most of the 1999 season and took advantage of the opportunity, hitting .295/.379/.429 in 124 games in what might have been the best of his 13 MLB seasons.

As his waistline gradually increased, Belliard's playing time and performance slowly declined in the years that followed before the Brewers allowed him to leave as a free agent following the 2002 season. Two years later he was an All Star as a member of the 2004 Indians.

Belliard had 443 hits as a Brewer, the 40th-most in franchise history.

1. John Briggs, 16.1% correct

Most BCB readers probably weren't alive yet when the Brewers acquired Briggs, a veteran outfielder, from the Phillies in April of 1971. Briggs played five very good seasons in Milwaukee, however, posting a .799 OPS (131 OPS+) and hitting 80 home runs in 584 career games. Despite playing on a team that won just 74 games, he received votes for the American League MVP in 1973.

In the current era its possible Briggs would have been seen as being even more valuable because of his plate discipline: He drew 303 walks in 2237 plate appearances for the Brewers for a walk rate of 13.5%, the highest in franchise history among players with at least 2000 trips to the plate.

Briggs had 492 hits as a Brewer, the 35th-most in franchise history.