Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017-01-16 Home Run Club members who hit more on the road

Q.        Who was the first player to homer from both sides of the plate in a game more than 10 times?
Hint:     He is only the second switch-hitter to join the 500-Home-Run Club.
Hint:     He is very thankful to Felipe Lira.
Hint:     He famously said, after getting glasses 10 years into his major league career, “I found out there are a lot of ugly people out there.”
-  11th G 21-Apr-1994.
-  Mickey Mantle, of course, was he first, as of 14-May-1967, off Stu Miller.
-  Murray’s 500th HR was off Lira 21-Sep-1996.
FCR -  Kevin Warren, Briarcliff Manor, New York
Incorrect answers:  Chipper Jones, Mickey Mantle

Q.        Which player hit the most home runs while Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the U.S.?
Hint:     Nobody else played more games for the Milwaukee Braves.
Hint:     He was the first backwards K Nolan Ryan ever achieved in the majors.
313 HR during DDE administration
-  2,122 G for MLN
on 11-Sep-1966, Ryan’s 2nd strikeout
FCR -  Michael Green, Las Vegas
Incorrect answers:  Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew

Q.        Who led his league in home runs a colossal twelve (12!) times?
Hint:     Mike Schmidt is second on that list with 8.
Hint:     The player he admired the most and tried to style his batting stance after, was Joe Jackson.
A.         BABE RUTH
-  1st HR title in 1918 w/11; Last one 1931 w/46
-  2nd place no shame on this list!
FCR -  Jake Hopper, Houston
Incorrect answers:  Honus Wagner, Ty Cobbs, Ralph Kiner, Frank Baker

Q.        Who is history’s all-time leader in on-base percentage?
Hint:     More than five years before his actual retirement, he announced his retirement in an article in a national magazine.
Hint:     He turned down an honorary degree from Harvard.
-  .482 OBP.  If you saw him at the plate, you were going to see him on base essentially ½ the time.  Astounding.
-  Announced in the Saturday Evening Post
-  When Ted was told that Fred Astaire and Katherine Hepburn also turned down Harvard he replied he was in pretty good company.
FCR -  Chuck Durante, Dover, Delaware
Incorrect answers:  John McGraw, Alex Rodriguez, Ty Cobb, Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson

Q.        Whose career included 500+ home runs and 500+ stolen bases?
Hint:     He and his Hall of Fame cousin attended and played for the same university.
Hint:     He had a famous fight with an MVP teammate.
A.         BARRY BONDS
-  No one else in in that club:  762 HR/514 SB
-  Scuffled with Jeff Kent.
FCR -  Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect answers:  Ken Griffey, Jr., Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays

Q.        Who attended a D-1 college on a football scholarship, but was invited to Cooperstown with a 90+% vote on his first year eligible?
Hint:     He owns the first steal of home in a postseason game that wasn’t a World Series game.
Hint:     He regrets not having insured his cars that one time, but admits to regretting little else.
-  Played football and baseball at Arizona State University.  His name appeared on a robust 93.6% of the ballots cast by the writers in 1993.  He was the only one they elected that year.
Car collection destroyed in warehouse fire 05-Aug-1988.  He later admitted that they were all uninsured.
FCR -  Joe Merrill, Montpelier, Vermont
Incorrect answers:  Jackie Robinson, Frank Thomas, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, Jr., Ty Cobb, Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, Deion Sanders, Rod Carew

Q.        What three-time MVP received not a single vote for Rookie of the Year?
Hint:     He finished in the top 5 in MVP voting an additional six (6!) times.
Hint:     His career stats are impressive:  OPS is over .970; OPS+ is over 170.
Hint:     He was an All-Star every season but two in his lengthy career.
Hint:     He committed 55 errors at shortstop during his last year in the minors.
Hint:     Martha Stewart (Yes, THAT Martha Stewart!) sometimes babysat his kids.
-  MVP’s in 1956, 57 & 62;  Additional top 5 finishes in 1952 (3rd), 55 (5th), 58 (5th), 60 (2nd), 61 (2nd) and 64 (2nd).
-  Missed being an AS only in 1951 & 66.
-  Played for the Class C 1950 Joplin Miners in the Western Association league.
Stewart (nee Martha Helen Kostyra) also babysat the children of Yogi Berra and Gil McDougald.
FCR -  Jim Lovelace, Kent, Ohio
Incorrect answers:  Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Yogi Berra, Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken

Q.        Who is the only player to have a single season slugging percentage over .700 in each league?
Hint:     It led the league both times.
Hint:     Five times in his career he had more than 100 bases-on-balls.
Hint:     He waxed lugubriously lachrymose at an inauspicious moment.
A.         MARK McGWIRE
-  .730, OAK, 1996; .752, STL, 1998
-  Gave Congress a tearful testimony
FCR -  Saul Wisnia, Newton Center, Massachusetts
Incorrect answers:  Frank Robinson, Jim Thome, Tim Raines, Barry Bonds

Q.        Who was the last 20th century American League player to go an entire season (min 20 AB) without collecting a hit?
Hint:     He did draw five walks in his 25 plate appearances that year.
Hint:     Not since Maris and Mantle had done it in their magical season of 1961 had a player racked up 40 home runs and 110 RBI in his team’s first 100 games of the season.
Hint:     He was the only player to compete in the All-Star Home Run Derby in both 2004 and 2005.  He improved considerably, but still didn’t win.
A.         DAVID ORTIZ
-  0-20 in 1999
-  Accomplished by the 106th G of 2006; Maris also by 106th G, Mantle by 109th G.
-  HRD 2004, 2005.
FCR -  Mark Hayne, Dumfries, Virginia
Incorrect answers:  Josh Hamilton, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, Juan Gonzalez, Sammy Sosa

WEEKLY THEME – Retired 500-HR Club members who hit more on the road.

Slugger         Home     Away      Total
Bonds              379   <   383     =  762
Jackson           280   <   283     =  563
Mantle             266   <   270     =  536
Mathews          238   <   274     =  512
McGwire          285   <   298     =  583
Murray             242   <   262     =  504
Ortiz                241   <   300     =  541
Ruth                347   <   367     =  714
Williams           248   <   273     =  521

Among active players, Albert Pujols would also qualify:
Pujols              277   <   314     =  591

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017-01-09 National League batting champs who were active in the majors in 2016

Q.        Who broke Johnny Frederick's record for extra-base hits by a National League rookie?
Hint:     He also set the rookie record for most times hitting into a double play.
Hint:     In 2007, Alex Rodriguez tied his record for the most home runs in the month of April.
-  88 EBH in 2001 (Johnny Frederick, 82 in 1929 for BRO)
-  20 GIDP
-  14 HR in April 2006
FCR -  Paul Goodson, Cheyenne
Incorrect answers:  Rudy York, Walt Dropo, Pinky Higgins, Willie Stargell, Barry Bonds, Chris Bryant, Jackie Robinson, Nolan Arenado, Ryan Howard, Mark McGwire, Dick Allen, Elston Howard, Wally Berger

Q.        Who is the only catcher to win the MVP the next full season after he was voted Rookie of the Year?
Hint:     His middle name is the same as that of a catcher who was a World Series MVP.
Hint:     He once played all nine positions in a game in college, struck out the two batters he faced and hit a grand slam.
Hint:     His younger sister, Samantha, played softball for Valdosta State and once hit a home run cycle in a doubleheader.
ROY 2010; MVP 2012 (Played only 45 games in 2011 because of a season-ending injury caused by a collision at home plate.)
-  Full name Gerald Dempsey Posey III.  Rick Dempsey MVP of the 1983 WS.
-  Playing for Florida State, he used four different gloves in the 10-0 victory over Savannah State.
-  She hit a one-run homer, two-run homer, three-run homer and a grand slam. She went 5-for-7 with 11 RBI’s in the twin bill.
FCR -  Michael Campos, Redmond, Washington
Incorrect answers:  Johnny Bench, Pat Borders, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Thurman Munson, Don Newcombe

Q.        Who won the Home Run Derby the year that Josh Hamilton hit a record 28 homers in one round?
Hint:     He won but finished with 13 overall home runs fewer than Hamilton (not the musical).
Hint:     During one terrible off-season, he was stricken with appendicitis, chicken pox and a lung infection that led to pneumonia.
Hint:     No problem.  He was voted MVP the following year.
-  Ill off-season 2004-05
FCR -  Gary Hoffman, Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Incorrect answers:  Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Tejada, Ryan Braun

Q.        Whom did the Red Sox trade away only to see him become the Rookie of the Year the very next season with his new team?
Hint:     The first ten players listed in his Similarity Scores were all All-Star players, as was he.
Hint:     Two of the players he was traded for have been World Series MVP’s.
Hint:     He has played in two World Baseball Classics, once winning the championship.
-  ROY 2005; Traded by BOS to FLA for Josh Beckett (2003 WS MVP w/FLA) and Mike Lowell (2007 WS MVP w/BOS) (others involved in the trade)
-  Scroll down to see Similarity Scores; AS in 2008-10
-  Won the WBC gold in 2013 with the Dominican Republic.
FCR -  Dan Silverberg, Aventura, Florida
Incorrect answers:  Jeff Bagwell, Jose Altuve, Eric Hinske

Q.        What speedster’s father surrendered Alex Rodriguez’ first major league home run?
Hint:     His younger brother is doing well in the Twins minor league organization.
Hint:     One season he led the NL in triples and stolen bases.
Hint:     The next year, on the other coast, he led the NL in hits and stolen bases.
Hint:     Although he was suspended and lost 80 games in 2016, it was in the 156th game he did play, where he was much more concerned about another sort of loss.
A.         DEE GORDON
Father is Tom Gordon; A-Rod’s blast was on 12-Jun-1995.
- 12 3b + 64 SB in 2014 with LAD.
- 205 H + 54 SB for MIA in 2015.
-  On Monday, 26-Sep, wanting to honor fallen teammate Jose Fernandez, Gordon donned Fernandez’ batting helmet for the first pitch of his first at-bat of the game.  He took a ball from starter Bartolo Colon, switched helmets, switched sides of the plate and deposited the next pitch into the right field seats.  Video.
- The suspension had been for use of substances on the wrong list.
FCR -  Benjamin Chase, Huron, South Dakota
Incorrect answers:  Tom Gordon, Alex Gordon, Billy Hamilton

Q.        What former Oakland A’s player recently signed with the Yankees?
Hint:     For one of his previous teams, he still owns the second-highest career batting average, trailing only a former MVP.
Hint:     For another of the teams he played on, a much older franchise, he owns the all-time single-season record for number of times grounding into double plays.
Hint:     His father is a well-respected veteran college baseball coach.
Hint:     His older brother is the current head baseball coach at a D-1 school.
-  Played with OAK in 2009; Signed w/NYY 07-Dec-2016
-  Career BA w/COL .319 (Larry Walker .334)
-  31 GIDP w/STL in 2013
- Father Tom has coached in 6 D-1 college programs.
FCR -  Howard Johnson Norman, OK
Incorrect answers:  Billy Butler

Q.        Which South American slugger has an average of 50+ extra-base hits for every season of his 9-year major league career in spite of never breaking double digits in triples?
Hint:     He is a three time All-Star, has twice been a Silver Slugger, owns three Gold Gloves and has finished as high as 3rd in MVP voting.
Hint:     His wife is a famous singer/actress in her native land.
Hint:     His nickname is laden with meaning.
-  He did have 9 triples in 2010.  Born and raised in Venezuela.
-  Finished behind Joey Votto and Albert Pujols in the 2010 NL MVP voting.  (Pretty decent company.)
-  Wife Indonesia Riera, also from Venezuela
-  Nickname “Cargo”.
FCR -  Rafael Amanau, Philadelphia
Incorrect answers:  Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Howard Johnson, Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez

Q.        Who was the first National League player to hit more than fifteen triples in consecutive seasons since the Great Depression?
Hint:     He has worn uniform #7 for four different teams.
Hint:     David Eckstein took his place in one of his best seasons.
A.         JOSE REYES
-  Reyes 2005-06; Paul Waner 1933-34
-  #7 for NYM, FLA, TOR & COL
Eckstein took his place on the 2006 NL All-Star team
FCR -  Steve Berman, Bergenfield, New Jersey
Incorrect answers:   Garry Templeton, Ozzie Smith, Edgar Renteria, Lance Johnson

Q.        Who was the Tigers’ second baseman he last time they won the World Series?
Hint:     He was the two-time Player of the Year when he played for Rice.
Hint:     He was a second-round draft second baseman… the second time.
Hint:     His league-leading UZR one season made him an obvious choice for the Gold Glove at his position.
A.         DJ LeMAHIEU
-  2009 the LSU Tigers beat the UCLA Bruins in the NCAA College World Series.
-  He played shortstop/pitcher for the Brother Rice High School Warriors in Bloomfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan.
-  Drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 by the Cubs.  The Tigers had picked him in the 41st round in 2007.
Ultimate Zone Rating of 11.0 & GG in 2014.
FCR -  David Silverman, Wesley Chapel, Florida
Incorrect answers:  Lou Whitaker, Dick McAuliffe

WEEKLY THEME – National League batting champs who were active in the majors in 2016.

Gonzalez         .336          2010           COL
Gordon            .333          2015           MIA
Holliday           .347          2007           COL
LeMahieu        .348*        2016           COL
Morneau          .319          2014           COL
Posey              .336*        2012           SFG
Pujols              .359*        2003           STL
Ramirez           .342          2009           FLA
Reyes              .337          2011           NYM
*Led MLB

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeSteven Coleman, Belleville, Illinois

Incorrect theme guesses:

Thurs      -  Batting Champions with >50 SB in a season
-        Batting champ since 2000 won by ROY winner

Sat          - Players who have won a single NL batting title since 2000

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017-01-02 Teams paying MLB Luxury Tax in 2017

Q.        Joe Torre was a major league manager for 15 years before managing a team that he had not previously played for.  What team was that?
Hint:     Only 4 American League franchises have been in their cities longer.
Hint:     They have played under other names than their current one.
-  Torre had managed the …
      Mets 1977-81; played 1975-77 (Player/manager 1977)
      Braves 1982-84; played 1960-68 (2nd in ROY voting 1961)
      Cardinals 1990-95; played 1969-74 (MVP - 1971)
   … before becoming skipper of NYY 1996-2007.  Finished w/LAD 2008-10.
-   NYY franchise began in 1903.  BOS, CHW, CLE & DET began in 1901.
-   AKA:  Hill Toppers, Highlanders
FCR -     Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect answers:  Braves, Mets, Dodgers

Q.        Which franchise is the only one that can claim 25 Hall of Famers played in its uniform?
Hint:     Their nickname used to be the nickname of the city they played in.
Hint:     One year this team put together the highest team batting average of the 20th century.
Hint:     The Yankees beat them once is a World Series, even though they had more hits, more doubles, triples, home runs and RBI than the Yankees.
20 NYG + 5 SFG went into the Hall as Giants.  Another 32 in the Hall played with them at some time or other, like Randy Johnson.
-  Played in Gotham (New York city) as the New York Gothams 1883-84
-  In 1930 they hit .319, led by their leader Bill Terry’s .401.
FCR -  Richard Lerner, Silver Spring, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Yankees, Dodgers, Braves

Q.        Who was the first team in the modern era to win World Series in consecutive seasons?
Hint:     The first player to accumulate 3,000 major league hits, hit them for that team.
Hint:     A player on this team had more hits than any other major leaguer 1990-1999.
Hint:     A player for that team holds the one offensive record that Babe Ruth said, “…would never be broken.”
-  WS champs 1907-08, beating Ty Cobb’s Tigers both times.
Cap Anson with 3,012 hits for the Cubs; 3,435 overall.  His 11th hit in 1894 was his 3,000th.
Mark Grace had 1,754 hits for the Cubs in that decade.
-  Ruth spoke of Hack Wilson’s 190 RBI in 1930.  Modern research has verified that the number is actually 191.  So far, the Babe’s prediction is holding true.
FCR -  Rich Trachtman, Potomac, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Athletics

Q. Which was the first non-New York-based team to lead its league every day of the season?
Hint: It was the first team with four players to hit 40 doubles in the same season.
Hint: One of the three major leaguers who homered thrice on an Opening Day, did it for this team.
Hint: No American League team has ever lost more games in a single season.
1929 DET; Charlie Gehringer 45, Roy Johnson 45, Dale Alexander 43 and Harry Heilmann 41.  Johnson’s 45 was a career high.  He and Gehringer tied for the league lead.
Dmitri Young hit 3 HR’s Opening Day 04-Apr-2005 (The other two are George Bell 04-Apr-1988 and Tuffy Rhodes 04-Apr-1994.  All 3 performed this feat on the 4th of April.)
-  119 losses in 2003
FCR -  Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah

Q.        What was the first team to have a starting outfield consisting entirely of former-MVP winners?
Hint:     They are the owners of the smallest players winning share in modern World Series history.
Hint:     They called the same ballpark home for over a hundred years.
Hint:     The pitcher with the record for lowest ERA in a season by a lefty, did it for this team.
-  They were the starting BOS outfield on 03-Sep-1979 [Extra thanks to Bud Drapeau of Manchester, Connecticut for his research help on this]. Carl Yastrzemski LF (MVP 1967), Fred Lynn CF (MVP 1975) and Jim Rice (MVP 1978).  NOTE:  Reader John Bukovinsky from Oakhurst, New Jersey found an earlier occurrence by another team.  See 13‑May‑1961.
1918 Boston Red Sox ($1,102.51 per player) The only modern WS played entirely in the month of September.  World War I was still raging, although it ended exactly two months to the day after the Series.
Fenway Park, built in 1912 and in use by the Red Sox continuously ever since.
Dutch Leonard had a not-to-be-believed ERA of 0.96 in 1914.   Only Tim Keefe’s 0.86 in 1880 is better.
FCR -  Terry French, Kansas City
Incorrect answers:  Reds, White Sox, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Spiders

Q.        What major league franchise has played under eight (8!) different names?
Hint:     They have retired 10 uniform numbers.
Hint:     They have won championships in every city they have played in.
Hint:     Ten of their managers are now in the Hall of Fame.
Hint:     One of their relief pitchers still holds the record for consecutive chances converted into saves.
      Los Angeles Dodgers (1958 - 2016)
      Brooklyn Dodgers (1932 - 1957)
      Brooklyn Robins (1914 – 1931)
      Brooklyn Superbas (1899 - 1910, 1913
      Brooklyn Bridegrooms (1888 - 1890, 1896 - 1898)
      Brooklyn Grooms (1891 - 1895)
      Brooklyn Grays (1885 - 1887)
      Brooklyn Atlantics (1884)

-     Uni Nos.          1- Pee Wee Reese
                              2- Tommy Lasorda
                              4- Duke Snider
                             19- Jim Gilliam
                             20- Don Sutton
                             24- Walter Alston
                             32- Sandy Koufax
                             39- Roy Campanella
                             42- Jackie Robinson
                             53- Don Drysdale

-     HOF Mgrs
                  Monte Ward (1891-92)
                  Ned Hanlon (1899-1905)
                  Wilbert Robinson (1914-31)
                  Max Carey (1932-33)
                  Casey Stengel (1934-36)
                  Burleigh Grimes (1937-38)
                  Leo Durocher (1939-46, 48)
                  Walter Alston (1954-76)
                  Tommy Lasorda (1976-96)
                  Joe Torre (2008-10)
FCR -  Jake Hopper, Houston
Incorrect answers:  Braves, Phillies, Reds, A’s, Yankees, Orioles

WEEKLY THEME – The record six MLB teams who will pay the Luxury Tax in 2017

LAD     $31.8 million
NYY    $27.4 million
BOS      $4.5 million
DET       $4.0 million
SFG      $3.4 million
CHC      $3.0 million

Incorrect theme guesses:

Sunday   -  Teams with the most retired numbers