Bacon-Wrapped Hall Of Famers

The “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” is a game based on the theory that everyone is six or fewer steps away from any other person in the world. The game was created to link any Hollywood actor or actress (living or dead) to Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less.

 

To test the theory, you need only to link up with the website called oracleofbacon.org. Let’s say, for example, that your favorite entertainer is Al Jolson. A quick click will tell you that Jolson appeared in the 1936 movie “The Singing Kid”. In that cast was an actor named Emmett Vogan and he was in “City That Never Sleeps” (1953). In that cast was James Andelin who later appeared in “Stir of  Echoes” (1999) with none other than Kevin Bacon. That means Jolson has a “Bacon Number” of 3. So, every time you have a experience that causes you to say, “What a small world”, it gives credence to the theory. To Bacon’s credit, he’s piggybacked (yes, I really said that) onto the phenomenon and created a charitable foundation called Six Degrees, in partnership with Network for Good. You can find more information at SixDegrees.org.

 

A few years ago, the Old Duck penned a column linking Bryce Harper to Babe Ruth in only seven degrees. It was a fun exercise, but took an enormous amount of research and guesswork with the help of the massive database at baseball-reference.com. Now, someone has made the sports exercise of “six degrees” much easier. A writer named Ben Blatt has built a tool to find the shortest possible connections between 50,000 + professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey players. Two athletes are considered “connected” if they played for the same team during the same season. Just under 18,000 baseball players qualify since the 1870’s.

 

With our new toy, let’s have some fun and connect each of the four inductees in the  Hall of Fame class of 1947 to a current major league star. We’ve chosen players who play the same position as the legends. The other connection is that I’ve been curating an autograph collection that includes all four of these baseball legends.

 

Hubbell Auto 2

 

Carl Hubbell received 87% of the vote in ’47 and pitched for the Giants from 1928-43. A 253-game winner, he won two MVP awards in the 1930’s.

 

> Hubbell played on the 1942 New York Giants with…

Willard Marshall, who played on the 1955 Chicago White Sox with…

Earl Battey, who played on the 1967 Minnesota Twins with…

Graig Nettles, who played on the 1988 Montreal Expos with…

Randy Johnson, who played on the 2009 San Francisco Giants with…

 

MADISON BUMGARNER

Grove Auto

Lefty Grove was a 300-game winner who pitched from 1925-41. He led the AL in victories four times and won the 1931 MVP Award when he had a record of 31-4.

 

> Grove played on the 1939 Boston Red Sox with…

Ted Williams, who played on the 1960 Boston Red Sox with…

Carroll Hardy, who played on the 1967 Minnesota Twins with…

Graig Nettles, who played on the 1986 San Diego Padres with…

Benito Santiago, who played on the 2004 Kansas City Royals with…

 

ZACK GREINKE

Frisch Auto

Frankie Frisch was the leader of the 1930’s St. Louis Cardinals and won the NL MVP Award in 1931.

 

> Frisch played on the 1929 St. Louis Cardinals with…

Charlie Gelbert, who played on the 1939 Washington Senators with…

Early Wynn, who played on the 1963 Cleveland Indians with…

Tommy John, who played on the 1988 New York Yankees with…

Al Leiter, who played on the 2005 New York Yankees with…

 

ROBINSON CANO

Cochrane Auto

Mickey Cochrane was a Catcher who played from 1925-37. He won two AL MVP Awards…in 1928 with the Athletics and 1934 with the Tigers

 

> Cochrane played on the 1936 Detroit Tigers with

Birdie Tebbetts, who played on the 1951 Cleveland Indians with

Minnie Minoso, who played on the 1980 Chicago White Sox with

Harold Baines, who played on the 2001 Chicago White Sox with

Cal Eldred, who played on the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals with

 

YADIER MOLINA

 

Needless to say, Minnie Minoso’s two-game appearance for the White Sox in 1980 was essentially ceremonial in nature, but the link exists nonetheless. Interestingly, Nettles shows up twice but the connection is to two different teams.

 

How about connecting a major league ballplayer to Kevin Bacon himself? That’s so easy, it only requires two degrees. Chuck Connors is remembered as “The Rifleman” from TV, but he played two seasons in the National League and two additional seasons with the Boston Celtics prior to his acting career. He appeared in “The Silver Whip” (1953) with Robert Wagner who co-starred with Bacon in “Wild Things” (1998).

 

It’s a small world, after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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