Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nov 28-Dec 4, 2016 NL hitters with a season of 35+ HR and -35 K's.

Originally sent the week of 20-Nov-2006
Q.      What member of the 500 home run club hit the highest percentage of his home runs in his home ballpark?
Hint: He only ever played for, and managed, one team.
A.      Mel Ott (63.2% or 323 out of 511 for the NY Giants in the Polo Grounds)
Percentage of home HRs. (per the HR log at
Mel Ott 63.21%
Frank Thomas 59.88%
Ernie Banks 56.64%
Jimmie Foxx 55.99%
Jim Thome 55.39%
Frank Robinson 54.78%
Rafael Palmeiro 54.66%
Sammy Sosa 52.71%
Ken Griffey 52.70%
Gary Sheffield 51.47%
Hank Aaron 50.99%
Alex Rodriguez 50.86%
Manny Ramirez 50.81%
Harmon Killebrew 50.79%
Willie Mays 50.76%
Willie McCovey 50.67%
Reggie Jackson 50.27%
Barry Bonds 50.26%
Mickey Mantle 49.63%
Mark McGwire 48.89%
Babe Ruth 48.60%
Mike Schmidt 48.36%
Eddie Murray 48.02%
Ted Williams 47.60%
Albert Pujols 46.87%
Eddie Mathews 46.48%
David Ortiz 44.55% Thanks to reader Fred Worth for this list.

FCR –   Alex Poterack, Providence
Incorrect answers:  Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Mathews, Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Amaris Ramirez, Brian Giles
Q.      Who was the last 20th century Pirate to hit a home run in four consecutive games?
Hint: He was the first player in the 2000’s to hit five home runs in his team's first four games of a season.
A.      Barry Bonds (last 4 on 18-21-Aug-1987; 1st 4 in 2000)
FCR –   Paul Goodson, Cheyenne
Incorrect answers:  Neil Walker, Donn Clendenon, Willie Stargell, Dale Long, Jeff King, Johnny Mize

Q.      After Mel Ott led the New York Giants in home runs for 18 consecutive years, who finally snapped his string?
Hint: He was the first NL position player to be runner-up in the MVP balloting in consecutive seasons.
A.      Johnny Mize (Led Giants in HRs with 22 in 1946.  That same year Ott had only one—his 511th and last career home run; MVP voting 1939-40, finishing behind Bucky Walters and Frank McCormick respectively.)
FCR –   Alan Balutis, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect answers:  Enos Slaughter, Willie Mays, Ralph Kiner

THANKSGIVING BONUS (Not theme related, but a natural follow-up to Wednesday’s question)
Q.      Whose string of five seasons leading the Giants in home runs did Willie Mays break?
Hint: He is more famous for being replaced by another Hall of Famer.
A.      Bobby Thomson‘s (Led the team in homers 1949-53.  Mays led the team with 41 in 1954 and then led the majors with 51 in 1955; Thomson was replaced in the Braves’ outfield by Hank Aaron.)
FCR –   Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Incorrect answers:  Dusty Rhodes, Monte Irvin, Johnny Mize, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Hank Thompson
Q.      Whose 36 home runs helped his team set the all-time team record of 221 for one season?
Hint: The heart of his career was lost to service in World War II.
A.      Willard Marshall’s (1947 Giants, team home run record finally bested with expansion in 1961, in the Marines 1943-45)
FCR –   Don Harrison, Fairfield, Connecticut
Incorrect answers:  Wally Post, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Johnny Mize, Walker Cooper, Joe DiMaggio

Q.      Who was the first player to hit more than one home run in his first World Series game?
Hint: He was known for a garment malfunction.
A.      Ted Kluszewski (01-Oct-1959 WS, game 1, 3rd and 4th innings; deliberately tore the sleeves off his uniform jerseys to let the world see his enormous biceps)
FCR – Jim McCoy, Melrose, Massachusetts
Incorrect answers:  Bernie Carbo, Gene Tenace, Barry Bonds, Troy Glaus, Pablo Sandoval, Enos Slaughter, Andruw Jones, Lucky Lohrke

Q.      Who took weekly tumbling lessons as a toddler?
Hint: He led his high school basketball team to an undefeated season.
Hint: He signed a professional contract only after consulting with Miss Helen Kloz, his high school librarian, who advised him to follow his heart "at least for a little while".
Hint: He gave up a home run to someone who appeared as an answer previously this week.
Hint: His pitching career ended when he fell heavily on his arm in a minor league game.
A.      Stan Musial (Tumbling lessons at the Polish National Alliance in Donora, PA; Led Donora High School to an undefeated season in 1938; Mrs. Kloz was also the assistant baseball coach; gave up a home run to Johnny Mize in spring training in 1941; no longer pitched effectively after making a shoestring catch 11-Aug-1940 in the minors)
FCR – Fred Worth, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Incorrect answers:  Jamie Moyer, Clint Hartung, Ralph Branca
Q.      Whose baseball trading card is generally the least well preserved in the first major set Topps ever produced.
Hint: He played for the same manager on two different teams.
A.      Andy Pafko (His card was #1 in the Topps 1952 set and when found today, it almost always has rubber band dents on the edges; Pafko played for manager Charlie Grimm on the Cubs and Braves.)
FCR –   Barry Zamoff, Washington, DC
Incorrect answers:  Mickey Mantle, Warren Spahn, Early Wynn, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Yogi Berra, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews (a popular guess since his card #407 was the last one in that set)
WEEKLY THEME – National League players who hit more than 35 home runs in a season while accumulating fewer strikeouts than home runs.
Player      Year HRs   Ks
Bonds     2004 45      41
Klu          1953 40      34
              1954 49      35
              1955 47      40
              1956 35      31
Marshall   1947 36      30
Mize        1947 51      42
              1948 40      37
(…also:    1950 25      24)
Musial      1948 39      34
Ott           1929 42      38
Pafko      1950 36      32
First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Fred Baron, Whately, Massachusetts (after Pafko)

Incorrect theme guesses:
Thu   - 1947 Giants who made the All-Star team that year
- the Giants starting line-up for Durocher's first game as their manager

Sun - Top hitters in 1950
- Outfielders in the NL
- Peoples who have homered at Wrigley

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nov 21-27, 2016 Dodgers' starting line-up for the first game Vin Scully broadcast 18-Apr-1950

Q. Who was the first black player to win an MVP Award?
Hint: He was also the first black player to win a Rookie of the Year Award.
Hint: The first player of any race, for that matter.
FCR - Wayne Strumpfer, Sacramento
Incorrect answers:  Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe

Q. Who was the first black pitcher to win an MVP Award?
Hint: He was also the first black pitcher to win the Rookie of the Year Award.
Hint: The first pitcher of any race, for that matter.
FCR - Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect answers:  Joe Black, Vida Blue, Bob Gibson, Satchell Paige, Al Downing

Q. Who was the second black player to win an MVP Award?
Hint: He was also the first black player to win multiple MVP Awards.
Hint: He suffered severe burns when a hot water heater exploded in his face prior to Spring Training of the first season he won an  MVP.
- 1951, 53 & 55 NL MVP
FCR - Lincoln Mitchell, New York City
Incorrect answers:  Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Frank Robinson

Q. Who was the last Dodger to lead the majors in stolen bases before the team switched coasts?
Hint: He served in the Navy during WWII.
Hint: He finished in the top-10 in MVP voting eight times.
Hint: Although known as a middle infielder, he played 115 career games at third base.
- 1952 NL SB ldr w/ 30, eight more than AL SB ldr Minnie Minoso
- Naval service 1943-45
- 2,014 G @ SS
FCR - Andy McCue, Riverside, California
Incorrect answers:  Pete Reiser, Jim Gilliam

Q. Who had the greatest influence on Tom Seaver’s career, according to Seaver himself?
Hint: He was stationed at Pearl Harbor and Okinawa, among other posts, during WWII.
Hint: Long before Tony Gwynn, he used game film to correct problems with his swing.
Hint: He was a Gold Glove winner for the first three years it was awarded.
- Hodges was Seaver’s manager with the Mets 1968-71
- Chuck Dressen showed Hodges film of at-bats where Hodges would bail out on inside pitches. Hodges changed the position of his back foot, correcting the problem and leading to his success as a batter.
- 1957-59 Gold Glove 1B
FCR - Bob Flynn, Chandler, Arizona
Incorrect answers:  Sherm Lollar, Roy McMillan, Ted Williams

Q. Who threw the pitch that resulted in the home run called “the shot heard ‘round the world”?
Hint: An All-Star pitcher with a 12-year major league resume, had led the league in win/loss percentage just two years earlier.
Hint: He and the hitter of the home run eventually became friends. In 1991 and 2001, they toured the country together for the 40th and 50th anniversaries of "The Shot”.
Hint: His son-in-law is a former major league manager,an All-Star in his own right.
Hint: A few years ago, he discovered that his mother was Jewish and some of his relatives had died in the Holocaust.
- 03-Oct-2016 play-off game won by Bobby Thomson’s home run
- 1949 record of 13-5 or .722
- Branca & Thomson together
- Son-in-law is Bobby Valentine
FCR - Richard Marston, Newport Beach, California
Incorrect answers:  

Q. Who was the only player to hit 40 or more home runs every year from 1953-57?
Hint: He missed the 1945 and 1946 seasons in military service, but made his major league debut the following spring.
Hint: Hall of Famer George Sisler helped him learn the strike zone.
- HR’s 53-57:  42, 40, 42, 43, 40
- Dodgers coach Sisler worked with Snider in spring training, 1948 to limit his overswing.
FCR - Rick Tharp, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Ted Kluszewski, Ralph Kiner, Henry Aaron, Hank Sauer, Willie Mays, Eddie Mathews

Q. Whose 667 at-bats in a single season was the high mark for any National League player from 1937 to expansion?
Hint: For 4 consecutive seasons, he was in the Top Ten in outfield assists, including leading the majors one year.
Hint: Between 1951 and 1970, no National Leaguer “enjoyed” a season with more GIDP than the one he had in the mid-1950’s.
Hint: In his career, he threw out 7 eager runners who had rounded first a little too widely.
Hint: Hardly slow, still his nickname was based on a snail.
- Led majors in outfield assists in 1951; top ten in 1948-51
- 27 GIDP in 1956
- Called “Skoonj”, derived from one of his favorite foods—the Italian seafood dish scungilli, the edible part of an aquatic snail, called whelks in the U.S.
FCR - Michael Green, Las Vegas
Incorrect answers:  Richie Ashburn, Pete Rose, Bill Bruton

Q. Who shared the so-called first interracial handshake with Jackie Robinson?
Hint: He was the eleventh and youngest son of Slovak immigrants.
Hint: He hit the first pinch-hit World Series home run in National League history.
Hint: The quality of his bat strokes contributed to what he ended up being called.
- Shuba shook Robinson’s hand in Montreal in a famous 1946 photo at home plate following a Robinson homer.s.
- PH WS HR 30-Sep-1953 off Allie Reynolds
- He earned the name "Shotgun" from a Birmingham, Alabama sports writer who said the balls coming off his bat sounded like shotgun blasts.
FCR - Rich Klein, Plano, Texas
Incorrect answers:  Ralph Branca, Pee Wee Reese, Erv Dusak, Gene Hermansky, Elmer Valo, Harry Walker, Eddie Stanky, Andy Pafko, Billy Cox, Andy Pafko, Chuck Essegian

Q. What rookie’s debut game was of historical significance for reasons that would not be evident for several years?
Hint: His first major league hit was off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, it was his 2nd at-bat.
Hint: He became the first of the heirs-apparent to Pee Wee Reese at shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was voted the International League MVP and led the league in hitting in 1949.
Hint: He eventually became the Miami Marlins manager.
- First game 18-Apr-1950
- Managed the minor league Miami Marlins 1964-65
FCR - Frank Workman, Lake Forest Park, Washington
Incorrect answers:  Don Zimmerman, Jeff Torborg, Hank Sauer, Jim Gilliam, Dick Williams

THEME FOR THE WEEK - Dodgers starting lineup on 18-Apr-1950, the first game Vin Scully called for the Dodgers.

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Joe Ullian, Santa Barbara (after Morgan)

Incorrect theme guesses:
Monday   - First black major player to win league award as best and/or lead league in a category (such as Monte Irvin, RBI's, 1951).

Tuesday - Rookies of the Year winners who eventually became an MVP winners
  • "The Brothers of Summer."

Wed - Black major award winners
  • Dodger African-American players who won postseason awards
  • Roger Kahn's Boys of Summer

Thurs - Players on the Dodger pennant winners from 1949-1956.
  • Starting lineup for Dodgers in game 1 of the 1955 Series.
  • Military players.  career interrupted by military service
Friday - Wins Above Replacement leaders for the Brooklyn Dodgers
  • Dodgers who lived in Brooklyn
  • guys who played for the Dodgers in both Brooklyn and in LA

Sat - Brooklyn players who were on the field when the shot heard around the earth was hit

Sunday - Starting lineup for Dodgers in Shot Heard Round the World game.