Sunday, April 16, 2017

2017-04-10 Current players with a season of 110 Bases-on-balls

Q.        Who, out of deference, even reverence, for Stan Musial will not allow fans or media to refer to him as “The Man” or even “El Hombre”?
Hint:     Ten players have won 3 or more league MVP’s.  Among them, only he had won the Rookie of the Year Award.
Hint:     He won it in spite of hitting into more than 20 double plays that year.
Hint:     He has amassed in excess of 300 more since then.
ROY 2001*; MVP’s 2005, 2008 & 2009*
-  21 GDP in 2001 tying John Olerud for 6th in the majors
-  Is tied for 2nd all-time with Ivan Rodriguez and needing only 14 more to pass Cal Ripken for the all-time lead.
*Won unanimously
FCR -  Charlie Riordan, Chevy chase, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Luis Pujols, Ted Williams, Miguel Cabrera

Q.        What New Jersey Native was named Rookie of the Year and in his 5 complete major league seasons has never finished lower than 2nd (not a typo) in league MVP voting, but, alas, has played in only 3 postseason games—all losses?
Hint:     He has already tied Willie Mays, Cal Ripken, Gary Carter and Steve Garvey for All-Star Game honors.
Hint:     Only Ty Cobb stole 40+ bases in a season at a younger age.
Hint:     As a pitcher in his junior year of high school, he threw a 7-inning no-hitter in a regular season game. Eighteen of the 21 outs came via strikeout.
A.         MIKE TROUT
-  Postseason record was in the 2014 ALDS vs. KCR.-        
-  Those 4 plus Trout have twice won the All-Star Game MVP.  Only he has done it in consecutive years.
-  Ty Cobb in 1907 stole 53 bases at the age of 20. Trout swiped 49 bases in 2012 at 21.
-  No-hitter was against Egg Harbor Township in a Cape Atlantic League.  Trout attended and played for Millville Senior High School.
FCR -  Tony Hughes, Woodbridge, Virginia
Incorrect answers: 

Q.        Perhaps even more than Mike Trout, this is another former MVP stuck on a team picked to finish last.  Who is he?
Hint:     Only Larry Walker has won Tip O'Neill Award more times.
Hint:     He is the only native of his country to win the Hank Aaron award.
Hint:     Also in his trophy room are the Lou Marsh Trophy and the Ernie Lombardi Award, the latter won by unanimous vote.
Hint:     While still in high school, switched from aluminum bats to maple wood, confident one day he would be a professional baseball player.
A.         JOEY VOTTO
-  Languishes with CIN.  Do not be fooled by their 5-2 record or his .193 batting average.  Both will change dramatically.
Tip O’Neill Award is given to the outstanding Canadian baseball player each year.  Walker won it 9 times.  Votto has already won it 6 times.
Hank Aaron Award  has been awarded since 1999.  The Ernie Lombardi Trophy is awarded by the Cincinnati Reds organization and the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy is a trophy awarded annually to Canada's top athlete, professional or amateur.  (Wayne Gretzky won it 4 times.)
FCR -  Jeff Kallman
Incorrect answers:  Joe Mauer, Ivan Rodriguez, Andre Dawson, Ryan Braun, Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Larry Walker

Q.        Who was the first teenager to steal home in the playoff era (1969-)?
Hint:     Had Bozo himself asked this, it still wouldn’t be a clown question.
Hint:     ESPN The Magazine refers to his swing as, “…a broken dam, a convulsion.”  The magazine then describes his training routine, saying that, “…[he] goes about his work with forensic vigor.”
Steal of home 06-May-2012 .  He was on base because of being intentionally HBP by wise (?), old (?) baseball guru (?) Cole Hamels. [19 yrs. 191 days]
-  Dismissing a blatantly obvious question from a reporter after a game in Toronto, Harper quipped, “That’s a clown question, Bro!” and thus it entered the popular baseball lexicon.
ESPN The Magazine reference 10-Mar-2016
FCR -  Tim Phares, Laurel, Maryland
Incorrect answers: 

Q.        Who is the only player in history to have a 50+ home run season while playing for his 5th major league team?
Hint:     He topped that performance with 1.000+ OPS the following season.
Hint:     He is the reason that so many Canadian tweens sport five-o’clock shadows.
-  Played for BAL, TBD, KCR & PIT, all during 2004, before finding a home with TOR.
-  54 HR in 2010; 1.056 OPS in 2011
FCR -  Walt Cherniak, Woodbine, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Larry Walker, Greg Vaughn, Jim Thome, Luis Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Brady Anderson

Q.        What star slugger owns a 900+ OPS, has a career OPS+ north of 150 and has twice been second in MVP voting, but has only ever played in one postseason series?
Hint:     His team lost.
Hint:     In his full seasons in the majors, he has never had an OPS under .850 or an OPS+ under 125.
Hint:     He would have fit last week’s theme nicely.
FCR -  Gary Hoffman, Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Incorrect answers:  Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera

Q.        What All-Star toiled for a team based just across an international border from his relatives?
Hint:     He was born in the U.S., but regularly visited his aunts, uncles and cousins across the border until it was no longer safe to do so.
Hint:     No one was drafted ahead of him the year the Marlins took him.
Hint:     He has played in the World Baseball Classic every year it has been held.
Hint:     He homered in his first at-bat for his current team.
-  Regular travel to Tijuana, Mexico was no longer deemed safe by U.S. authorities.  Gonzalez played for SDP at the time.
-  Drafter #1 overall in the 2000 June Draft
-  Played for Mexico in the WBC in 2006, 2009, 2013 & 2017
-  HR 25-Aug-2012 off Josh Johnson, endearing himself immediately to the Dodger faithful.
FCR -  Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect answers:  Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Gonzalez

Q.        What Cleveland Indians hopeful received the Lou Boudreau Award in 2009?
Hint:     In his MLB debut, he batted 3rd in the batting order that day, making him the first rookie to do so in over 30 years.
Hint:     His rookie season as ended by a collision with the Boston’s Ryan Kalish at home plate in Fenway Park.
Hint:     He recorded the final out of the 2016 American League Championship Series by catching Troy Tulowitzki’s pop-up in foul territory, sending the Tribe to the World Series.
-  Debut game = 11-Jun-2010
-  Collision game = 02-Aug-2010 (Kalish was out.)
-  Final out in 2016 ALCS = 19-Oct-2016
FCR -  John Michael Pierobon, Ft. Lauderdale
Incorrect answers:  Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis

Q.        Who was the first Cincinnati Reds outfielder to lead the National League in being hit-by-pitch since Frank Robinson did it?
Hint:     Also on his baseball résumé was being selected as the Most Valuable Player and Best Pitcher of the World Junior Baseball Championship.
Hint:     Alex Gordon and Grady Sizemore are the closest in Similarity Scores.
Hint:     The cycle he hit was the first of its kind.
A.         SHIN-SOO CHOO
-  26 HBP in 2013.  F. Robinson’s 6th time to lead the NL was w/18 in 1965.  Reds 1st-baseman Dan Driessen tied for the lead in 1980.
-  Cycle = 21-Jul-2015, the first cycle ever achieved by an Asian player
FCR -  Timothy Kearns, Washington, DC
Incorrect answers:  Jay Bruce, Eric Davis, Brandon Phillips, Paul O’Neill

SUNDAY  (Please ignore the “NT” e-mail. It was merely some technical housekeeping.)
Q.        What journeyman Oakland A’s first baseman is still playing professional baseball, but played his last game in the majors in May 2014?
Hint:     Now he’s a Steeler.
Hint:     In his 4th season in the majors, he was one of only two players in MLB to have more walks than strikeouts that year.  The other player was the reigning MVP.
Hint:     And with that stat, he is the final qualifier for this week’s theme.
-  Played for the A’s from 2007 to 2014.  In only 2 of those could he be considered full-time:  2008 & 2010.
-  Current team is the Acereros of the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol.
-  In 2010 he tallied 110 BB’s to 102 K’s. Albert Pujols, the (unanimous) 2009 NL MVP had a more dramatic delta:  103 to 76.  It was Barton’s only time to do it.  Pujols has done it in 10 of his 16 full major league seasons.
-  Our theme this week concerns a statistical accomplishment achieved this century.
FCR -  Alex Remington, Washington, DC
Incorrect answers:  Matt Stairs, Jack Cust

WEEKLY THEME – Active players with a season of 110 bases on balls.

Barton             110*        2010
Bautista           132**      2011
       "                110*        2015
Choo               112         2013
Goldschmidt    118         2015
       "                110*        2016
Gonzalez         119**      2009
Harper             124         2015
Pujols              115         2009
Santana           113**      2014
Trout                110*        2013
       "                116**      2016
Votto                110*        2011
       "                135**      2013
       "                143**      2015

*Led league    **Led majors

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeMike McCroskey, Sugar Land, Texas

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tue         -  Active players who've won an MVP

Sat          -  WAR leader for the decade by position

Monday, April 10, 2017

2017-04-03 Players whose names are also Occupations

Q.        Which future All-Star homered off Nolan Ryan in his first major league at-bat?
Hint:     He and three of his college teammates became All-Stars in the majors.
Hint:     One year the only person who beat him in number of MVP votes was a teammate.
Hint:     In his last season in the majors pulled off the rare feat of hitting a grand slam in each league in the same year.
A.         WILL CLARK
Ryan HR = 08-Apr-1986
1989 MVP = Kevin Mitchell (314 to 225 pts.)
-  AL GS = 20-Jul-2000 playing for BAL off Ramon Martinez;
   NL GS = 24-Sep-2000 playing for STL off Todd Van Poppel
FCR -  Doug Greenwald, San Francisco
Incorrect answers:  Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Nomar Garciapara, Terry Francona, Jim Thome, Mark McGwire

Q.        Who was the first veteran pitcher of the Negro Leagues to be elected to the Hall of Fame?
Hint:     He could have easily gone toe-to-toe with Yoda for philosophical witticisms.  (Does Yoda even have toes?)
Hint:     Some very knowledgeable baseball people place him above Walter Johnson as the greatest pitcher ever.
HOF 1971 (Jackie Robinson did play briefly in the Negro Leagues and was elected to the HOF in 1961.)
-  One example: “I don't generally like running. I believe in training by rising gently up and down from the bench."  Other examples.
FCR -  Vince Granieri, Cincinnati
Incorrect answers:  Bob Feller, Cool Papa Bell

Q.        Against what pitcher did Adam Dunn tie then break the single-season record for strikeouts by a batter, a standard that had lasted for almost as long as Roger Maris' single-season home run record??
Hint:     It was he and a fellow pitcher who accompanied Adam Greenberg to the Cubs' training room to watch over him after Greenberg suffered a concussion when he was hit in the back of the head with the first pitch he ever saw in the majors.
Hint:     Rod Dedeaux had a lot to do with his baseball development.
A.         MARK PRIOR
-  Records K’s = 30-Sep-2004.  Dunn’s new record broke the one held by Bobby Bonds since 1970, 34 years.  Maris’ HR record lasted from 1961 to 1998, 37 years.  Ryan Howard broke Dunn’s record 3 years later, in 2007.
-  Played baseball at USC under Dedeaux.
FCR -  Scott Matteson, Shawnee, Kansas
Incorrect answers:    Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Carlos Zambrano

Q.        Who was the first player to win the Rookie of the Year Award in the American League?
Hint:     He was the first Washington Senators player to win an American League home run title.
Hint:     A highly respected hitter in his career, he hit ten grand slams and ten pinch-hit home runs.
Hint:     A future Hall of Famer was on his baseball team at Beaumont High School in St. Louis.
Hint:     He was traded by the Senators the year before they left town for the Twin Cities.
Hint:     His bonus for originally signing with the Browns was a new pair of cleats.
Hint:     He is one of only nine to play for both the original AL Washington Senators and the expansion Senators.
-  42 HR in 1957.  He also led the AL w/114 RBI.  Finished 3rd in MVP voting behind M. Mantle and T. Williams who each had near-career years.
-  HOF Earl Weaver played ball at his high school at the same time he was there.  Weaver was on the JV while Sievers played varsity.
- On the Senators 1954-59 then the new ones 1964-65
FCR -  Chuck Durante, Dover, Delaware
Incorrect answers:  Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard, Eddie Yost, Larry Doby

Q.        What pitcher relieved the last-active player born in Ireland in both of their only appearances in a major league game?
Hint:     He is the only player in the history of the majors who achieved his unique accomplishment.
Hint:     He taught himself a proper lefty windup by looking at himself in the mirror and comparing what he saw with pictures of Johnny Vander Meer in a copy of Life magazine.
Hint:     Years later, he won the U.S. amputee golf championship.  Twice.
-  Only game 04-Aug-1945.  Pitched in relief of Joe Cleary, last Ireland-born major leaguer.
-  Pitched on a prosthetic leg, having lost his during an U.S. air raid over Berlin.  I recommend his SABR biography.
Vander Meer in Life 27-Jun-1938, two week after his double no-hitter.
- Won golf titles in 1968 & 1971.
FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Incorrect answers:  Monty Stratton, Joe Cleary, Jim Abbott, Lou Brissie, Burt Shotton, Armando Roche, Pete Gray

Q.        Who was the starting pitcher WHO FACED the home-team Reds in the first night game ever played in the majors?
Hint:     It’s believed that his career was shortened because he acted upon the advice of too many coaches.
Hint:     Often used as a pinch hitter, he hit .333 in 1938 and .344 in 1939.
Hint:      He was the Scouting Director for Charlie Finley's Kansas City A's from 1960 to 1968, instrumental in assembling a scouting staff and finding the players who would become the core of the Oakland Athletics' three World Series Champion teams.
A.         JOE BOWMAN
-  1st night game 24-May-1935Paul Derringer, of course, started for the Reds.
-  He stayed in KC rather than move to Oakland and scouted for the Braves and Orioles.  Working for Charlie O. was strenuous.
FCR -  Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Whitlow Wyatt, Johnny Vander Meer

Q.        What American League team’s staff ace led the majors in pitching losses in 2016?
Hint:     He pitched for the United States national baseball team in the qualifying tournament for the 2011 Pan American Games.
Hint:     He stopped the powerful the Cuban national baseball team and the publication USA Baseball called his game the “International Performance of the Year”.
Hint:     He pitched 4 perfect innings for the champion U.S. in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Hint:     As he had before, he served as a guest analyst for ESPN and ESPN Radio during the 2016 World Series.
-  9-19 in 2016 for TBR
FCR -  Steve Murfin, Olney, Maryland
Incorrect answers: 

Q.        Who was the first pitcher to surrender four home runs in a single major league game?
Hint:     After Tony Mullane, he was the next pitcher to pitch ambidextrously in a major league game.
Hint:     His nickname reflected his cold and calm demeanor on the mound.
-  4 HR by Bobby Lowe, the first to do it 30-May-1894.
-  Ambidexterously threw in May 1888. (Mullane did it in 1882.)
FCR -  Leonard Levin, Providence
Incorrect answers:  Paul Foytack, Moxie Manuel, Cal McLish, Greg Harris

Q.        Who is the only batter besides Ted Williams to walk in 20% of his career plate appearances?  (reasonable minimums apply)
Hint:     In one of the best years of his career, his runs exceeded his hits.
Hint:     He has an unusual connection with a famous episode of “Seinfeld”.
Hint:     His first six years of professional baseball were with the Baltimore Orioles.
A.         MAX BISHOP
-  1,156 BB in 5,789 PA = .0199689, which rounds nicely to 20%.  Williams’ number was .206477 or 21% based on 2,021 BB in 9,788 PA.  San Francisco’s John Fisher noticed one we missed.  Barry Bonds had a percentage of 20.29% (2,558 BB in 12,606 AB).
-  1930 = 111H & 117 R
-  Bill Nowlin, in his great biography of Bishop, reveals that “… [Bishop] holds his arms stiff at his side when he runs.” [Atlanta Constitution, September 16, 1931.  The 156th  episode of the sitcom Seinfeld, which aired 15-May-1997, titled "The Summer of George", there is a character who walks with her arms straight down at her side.
-  Played for the Baltimore Orioles of the International League 1918-1923. 
FCR -  Bill Deane, Cooperstown
Incorrect answers:      Keith Hernandez (12.5%),
                        Babe Ruth (19.4%),
                        Danny Tartabull (13.1%),
                        Rafael Palmeiro (11.2%),
                        John McGraw (16.9%),
                        Paul O’Neill (10.7%),
                        Bobby Grich (13.2%),
                        Ken Phelps (17.1%),
                        Jay Buhner (13.4%),
                        Joey Votto (15.8%),
                        Willie Keeler (5.5%),
                        Eddie Yost (17.6%),

Q.        What former Astro, once exclusively right-handed hitter, had rejected an offer from Harvard in order to play professional baseball?
Hint:     Playing in the farm system of his first major league organization, he became an effective switch-hitter.
Hint:     He became an Olympic medalist while representing his country.
Hint:     He is the first player in history to lead off the 7th game of a World Series with a home run.
-  Played for HOU in 2014.
-  Originally drafted by COL in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft.
-  Won a bronze medal with Team USA in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Incorrect answers:  Craig Biggio, Carlos Beltran

WEEKLY THEME – Players whose names represent an occupation.

Names considered by not used:


First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Chaunce Venuto, Tooele, Utah (after Clark)