John Tomase

The 11 Red Sox players you need to know to win Immaculate Grid

If you're hooked on the popular baseball trivia game, these 11 journeymen are essential names to know.

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you're a baseball fan who hasn't played Immaculate Grid yet, you need to fix that ASAP.

The wildly addictive game is conceptually simple, but deceptively tricky. Each day presents a 3x3 grid testing your knowledge of players who appeared in games with multiple franchises.

For example, if the Nationals head one column, and the Mets, Phillies, and Rays fill the rows beneath, you might go Max Scherzer for Nats and Mets, Jayson Werth for Nats and Phillies, and Erasmo Ramirez for Nats and Rays. The final column might ask you to name a lifetime .300 hitter who played for each of the last three teams.

Players score points based on the rarity of their selection. Scherzer would be an obvious Nats-Mets connection, but how about someone like Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who spent parts of two seasons in Flushing before finishing his career with Washington?

The game became such a word of mouth sensation that it was recently purchased by Baseball Reference, where it appears on the home page. Versions for other sports have already launched, too.

The game rewards obscure knowledge, like recalling that Hall of Famer Al Simmons actually appeared in 40 games for the Red Sox at the end of his career in 1943, or that Dizzy Dean made one appearance for the St. Louis Browns, the forerunners of today's Orioles, four years later.

Occasionally, the Red Sox appear in the game, and to aid your quest in completing the grid with less-than-obvious choices, here are the 11 Red Sox players you need to know, along with all of the other franchises they played with -- in this case at least 10 total.

1. Rich Hill

Other Franchises (11): Dodgers, Cubs, Twins, Mets, Rays, Pirates, A's, Angels, Guardians, Yankees, Orioles

Hill has had multiple stints with the Red Sox, and the well-traveled left-hander could conceivably return for a fourth go-round if and when the Pirates make him available at the trade deadline. The stop no one remembers is Anaheim, where Hill faced four batters in 2014 without retiring any of them.

2. Matt Stairs

Other Franchises (11): A's, Royals, Nationals, Phillies, Blue Jays, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Cubs, Tigers, Brewers

The affable lumberjack of a slugger from Canada never looked the part, but he certainly lived it. Purchased from the Expos in the early days of the Dan Duquette Era, Stairs only appeared in 39 games for the Red Sox, but within three years of being claimed by the A's, he was a 100-RBI designated hitter.

3. Bruce Chen

Other Franchises (10): Royals, Braves, Orioles, Mets, Phillies, Rangers, Guardians, Reds, Expos, Astros

The Red Sox picked up Chen for a series of appearances in 2003, but he's best remembered as the starter they tried to acquire to take the ball for a potential Game 163 in 2011 when they were in the midst of collapsing. They couldn't get him from the Royals, and then they lost the finale to the Orioles anyway.

4. Royce Clayton

Other Franchises (10): Giants, Cardinals, Rangers, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Reds, Nationals, Blue Jays, Brewers

Clayton actually earned a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2007 after signing in late August and joining the club as a September callup. He appeared in eight games and went hitless before retiring after 17 seasons.

5. Bartolo Colon

Other Franchises (10): Guardians, Angels, Mets, A's, White Sox, Twins, Braves, Rangers, Expos, Yankees

Just three years removed from winning the Cy Young Award with the Angels, Colon signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox in 2008. He made seven starts before leaving the team in September, but it turns out his career was far from over. He missed the entire 2010 season with various arm ailments, but returned in 2011 to pitch another eight years through age 45.

6. Dennys Reyes

Other Franchises (10): Reds, Twins, Cardinals, Dodgers, Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Pirates, Rangers, Padres

Built like Rich Garces, but from the left side, Reyes arrived in Boston in 2011 after solid seasons with the Twins and Cardinals, but the good times did not last, and he was designated for assignment after just four appearances, thus ending his big-league career.

7. Julian Tavarez

Other Franchises (10): Guardians, Giants, Cardinals, Rockies, Pirates, Braves, Nationals, Cubs, Marlins, Brewers

Because Immaculate Grid likes to use players from more recent franchises, Tavarez is a good name to remember, since he has appeared for both the Nationals and Marlins.

8. Ken Brett

Other Franchises (9): Royals, Pirates, Angels, White Sox, Twins, Phillies, Dodgers, Yankees, Brewers

The fourth overall pick in the 1966 MLB Draft, Brett reached the big leagues a year later at age 18 and didn't allow a hit in two World Series relief appearances against the Cardinals. Arm injuries derailed his career, but his younger brother, George, went on to become a Hall of Famer.

9. Marlon Byrd

Other Franchises (9): Phillies, Rangers, Cubs, Nationals, Mets, Giants, Pirates, Guardians, Reds

Byrd joined the Red Sox during the ill-fated Bobby Valentine season of 2012, his claim to fame berating a reporter who had written something mildly negative about teammate Nick Punto. The Red Sox released him a few days later.

10. Alan Embree

Other Franchises (9): Giants, Guardians, Braves, A's, Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Yankees, White Sox

Forever a hero of the 2004 Red Sox – he was on the mound when they eliminated the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS and the photo of him hoisting battery mate Jason Varitek is iconic – Embree attempted a comeback with Boston in his 40s, but didn't quite make it back.

11. Kevin Jarvis

Other Franchises (9): Reds, Padres, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Twins, Cardinals, A's, Mariners, Tigers

It's OK if you have no memory of seeing Jarvis in a Red Sox uniform. He made four September appearances during the lost season of 2006, including the final three starts of his career. He retired after 12 seasons with an ERA of 6.03.

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