Monday, November 7, 2011

October 31 - November 6, 2011 Major league home run champs who were teammates of Babe Ruth

This week’s theme and questions were composed by Barry Sparks of York, PA.

Q.         Who batted .363 in six World Series?
Hint:     He was among the American League stars playing in the benefit for Addie Joss’ widow.
Twint:    He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the same year as Joe DiMaggio.
A.         Frank “Home Run” Baker (WS 1910, 11, 13, 14, 21, 22; Joss benefit game 24-Jul-1911; HOF 1955)
First Correct Respondent - John Robertson, Cambridge, ON

Q.         Who was a rookie at age 19 and played until he was 40?
Hint:     He helped convert Hall of Famer Larry Doby from a second baseman to a centerfielder.
Twint:    He taught Will Rogers how to use a lariat.
A.         Tris Speaker (Rookie season 1907, final one 1928)
FCR -    Tom Blaha, Bowling Green, OH

Q.         Who was the first American League player to lead the league in both home runs and strikeouts in the same season?
Hint:     He once played for the Kalamazoo Celery Champs.
Hint:     Tris Speaker, well known for playing a shallow centerfield, made an exception for him and played deep when he was at bat.
Twint:    He led American League first basemen in putouts four times.
Twint:    He even led National League first basemen in putouts once.
A.         Wally Pipp (HR/K lead 1916 12/82; AL PO 1915, 19, 20, 22, NL PO 1926)
FCR -    Andrew Milner, Bryn Mawr, PA

Q.         Who is the only American Leaguer to hit for the cycle three times?
Hint:     He drove in the fourth most runs during the decade of the 1920s.
Twint:    He and his brother played against each other in three consecutive World Series.
A.         Bob Meusel (Cycles 07-May-1921, 03-Jul-1922, 26-Jul-1928; RI 1920-29:  Ruth 1,335, Hornsby 1,153, Heilman 1,133, Meusel 1,006; Brother Irish Meusel WS 1921, 22, 23)
FCR -    J. R. Richardson, Clarksville, MD

Q.         Which National League player had the highest single-season hit total since the last NL Triple Crown?
Hint:     He joined his brothers in the outfield for a historic major league first (and only) time.
Hint:     He was the first batter to appear at Atlanta (later Fulton County) Stadium.
Hint:     The next day, he hit the first ever triple there.
Hint:     He was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.
Hint:     He played three seasons for the Taiheiyo (now Seibu) Lions.
Twint:    He won the National League batting title in 1966.
Twint:    His RBI total of 27 that year is the lowest ever by a batting champ.
A.         Matty Alou (231 H in 1969;  15-Sep-1963; ATL AB 12-Apr-1966; HHBMHOF 23-Jun2007; Lions 1975-77)
FCR -    Paul Hirsch, Danville, CA

Q.         Who took an eight per cent pay cut the season after he had over 150 RBI?
Hint:     He once said, “Let’s face it, I’m not a headline guy.”
Twint:    When he died, major league ballparks flew their flags at half-mast.
A.         Lou Gehrig (Pay cut 1933; d. 02-Jun-1941)
FCR -    Dave Serota, Kalamazoo

Q.         Which former Cardinal great threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 7 of this year’s World Series?
Hint:     He is the only St. Louis Cardinal to pitch two no hitters.
Hint:     They were the only no-hitters ever thrown at Busch Stadium (at that iteration of Busch Stadium).
Hint:     It had been 54 years since the last Cardinal no-hitter there.
Hint:     He also pitched two no-hitters in the minors.
Hint:     He won the first ever Silver Slugger Award given to a National League pitcher.
Hint:     For good measure, he won it again seven years later.
Twint:    When his brother Ken threw a no-hitter, they became the first brother duo with that distinction.
Twint:    They are still the only siblings with complete-game no-hitters.
A.         Bob Forsch (1st pitch 28-Oct-2011; No hitters 16-Apr-1978, Jesse Haines no-hitter 17-Jul-1924; 26-Sep-1983, SS 1980, 1987)
FCR -    Harvey Judkowitz, Miami, FL

Q.         Whose record for RBI by a rookie did Joe DiMaggio break?
Hint:     He played on a major league team that finished 61½ games out of first place.
Hint:     He played all nine innings for the National League in the inaugural All-Star Game.
Twint:    He went 0 for 15 in a World Series.
A.         Wally Berger (119 RBI in 1930. DiMaggio had 125 in 1936 [The Phillies’ Chuck Klein had 145 in his first full season 1929, ergo Joe D. broke the AL rookie RBI record.  Oops!  I'm freely admitting here that I had confused Berger with Ken Williams, whose RBI numbers weren’t impressive until his 7th season in the majors.  Sorry about that.  My fact-checkers have been duly scolded.]; 1935 Braves; 1933 ASG; 1939 WS)
FCR -    Tom Zocco, Rocky Hill, CT

Q.         Whose nickname reflected his propensity for enthusiastically promoting himself?
Hint:     Despite (or perhaps because of) the high opinion he had of himself, he played for five different AL teams over a period of four seasons.
Twint:    He was one of the players involved in a trade for Shoeless Joe Jackson.
A.         Braggo Roth (1918-1921; Jackson trade 21-Aug-1915)
FCR -    Jim Hartley, Silver Spring, MD

WEEKLY THEME – Major league home run champs who were teammates of Babe Ruth

Player    League   HR Titles        Ruth’s Teammate         SABR Bio
Baker        AL       1911-14          1919, 21-22 Yankees       Bio
Berger       NL       1935              1935 Braves                   Bio
Gehrig       AL       1931, 34, 36   1923-34 Yankees            Bio
Meusel      AL       1925              1920-29 Yankees            Bio
Pipp          AL       1916, 17         1920-25 Yankees            Bio
Roth          AL       1915              1921 Yankees                 Bio
Speaker    AL       1912              1914-15 Red Sox            Bio

First respondent to correctly decipher the theme – Gregg Gaylord, Chicago (on his fifth try)

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