Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 Answer Notes

Q.         Who was the last player to hit a grand slam in a game in which he hit for the cycle?
Hint:     Despite being on the losing team of the 2010 World Series he still received a championship ring.
Hint:     He and his brother were teammates in another World Series.
Hint:     He won two gold gloves, only second best within his family.
Twint:    Not exactly a speedster, he once hit a home run and was pinch run for before he made it to second base.
A.         Bengie Molina
FCR -    J.J. McCoy, Washington, DC


This has only been accomplished nine times, and only four times since the end of the 1933 season.  http://www.baseball-almanac.com/feats/feats16d.shtml

Molina started the 2010 season with the National League Champion San Francisco Giants, who traded him to the American League Champion Texas Rangers on July 1. He played in four games for Texas in their World Series loss. Others who also played for both World Series teams in the same season are:
2.     Jack Kramer in 1951. He started the season with the Giants, was released on May 19 then picked up on May 28 by the Yankees, who released him on August 30. He therefore didn’t play in the series.
3.     Johnny Schmitz in 1952. He started the season with the Dodgers then was selected off waivers by the Yankees on August 1. On August 28 he was traded with three other players to Cincinnati for Ewell Blackwell therefore he didn’t get into the series.
4.     Sid Monge in 1984. He began the year with the Padres and then was purchased by the Tigers on June 10. He remained with the Tigers the rest of the season but he didn’t make it in to any of their postseason games.
5.     Lonnie Smith in 1985. Smith started year with the Cardinals then was traded on May 17 to the Royals where be became their regular left fielder for the rest of the season. That October he became the first player to appear in a World Series against a team for whom he played earlier that same season. The player going the other way in the trade, John Morris, didn’t make his major league debut until the following season.
6.     Jim Bruske in1998. The journeyman relief pitcher played for three teams in 1998. He had played for the Padres in 1997 but the Dodgers claimed him off waivers right after the season ended. He got into 35 games in LA then was traded back to the Padres on July 23. One month later, after only 4 appearances, San Diego traded him to the Yankees. He got into 3 games in New York, including starting the last game of the year, but that was to be the end of his Yankee career. He wasn’t put on the postseason roster then was released during training camp the following spring. The three other players involved in the trade between the Padres and the Yankees never appeared in the major leagues.
7.     In 2010 Bengie Molina became the second player to appear in a series against the team with whom he started the season.
8.     Chris Ray in 2010. Relief pitcher Ray was one of the two players the Rangers sent to the Giants for Bengie Molina (the other was minor leaguer Michael Main). He saw action in 35 games for Texas and another 28 for the Giants but he didn’t play in the post season.
9.     Arthur Rhodes in 2011.  Rhodes began his 20th and last season in the majors with the Rangers, going 3-3 with 1 save in 32 games before being released on August 8. The Cardinals picked him up three days later and he got into 19 more games before the end of the season. He appears in games 1, 2 and 7 of the World Series against his former team, retiring the one batter he faced in each of his appearances.
More information about these players can be found in this article:  http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=sh-henson_arthur_rhodes_world_series_ring_101811

Nobody played for both the Tigers and Giants in 2012. In fact, Aubrey Huff was the only player on the Giants’ World Series roster who had ever played for the Tigers (40 games in 2009) and none of the Tigers had ever played for the Giants.

This happened in 2002 for the Angels when Bengie Molina started all 7 games of the series.  His brother Jose Molina came in to catch in games 1 and 6 after Bengie was pinch hit for and in game 5 to catch the last inning of a blowout loss.  Box scores and statistics from this series can be found here:

Bengie won the American League Gold Glove for catchers in 2002 and 2003. Jose has been shut out but Yadier Molina won the National League Gold Glove each year from 2008 to 2011. These pages list all Gold Glover winners:

On 26-Sep-2008, about a month after instant replay was first used on home run calls, Molina hit a ball that the umpires initially ruled to be in play.  While Molina waited on first base for a decision Emmanuel Burriss came out of the Giants’ dugout to pinch run.  Upon review the umpires ruled the hit a home run but Molina wasn’t allowed to be reinserted into the game.  Burriss completed the turn around the bases; getting credit for the run scored, and was then replaced by Steve Holm behind the plate.  Here is a recap of the game:  http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=280926126

Note that the Baseball-Reference.com play-by-play doesn’t show Burriss’ pinch running appearance, although Burriss’ and Molina’s career totals show that Burriss scored this run and not Molina: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN200809260.shtml

Q.         Who was his team’s starting pitcher in an upset win over the USA at a World Baseball Classic?
Hint:     His first four major league starts were against former Cy Young Award winners.
Hint:     That year he also started against three additional pitchers who each eventually won 200 games.
Hint:     Despite the stiff competition he still finished his rookie season with a .500 record.
Twint:    Stan the Man and The Babe are good role models for him.
A.         Adam Loewen
FCR -    Scott Crawford, St. Mary’s, ON


Adam Loewen started and pitched into the fourth inning of Canada’s 8-6 win over the USA on March 8, 2006.  Here is a recap of the game; Loewen’s start is mentioned about half way through the article:

Loewen’s first two major league appearances were in relief, including the game that was Jered Weaver’s debut on 27-May-2006.  He moved to the Orioles’ starting rotation in June and matched up against former Cy Young winners Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay (two games) and Tom Glavine on June 3, 8, 13, 18 2006.  Loewen went 0-2 with a 7.40 ERA while pitching 20.2 innings in these four games.

Loewen also started against Mike Mussina (05-Aug, Mussina took the loss that day, coming in with 237 of his 270 wins), David Wells (11-Aug, with Wells getting the 228th of his 239 wins) and Tim Wakefield (30-Sep, Wakefield took a no decision after coming into the game with 151 of his 200 wins).

Loewen finished 2006 with a 6-6 record in 19 starts and 3 relief appearances.  He was 1‑3 with 3 no decisions in his 7 starts against the Cy Young recipients and 200-game winners and he went 5-3 against the rest of the field.  Here is Loewen’s game log from 2006: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=loewead01&t=p&year=2006

Adam Loewen was a first round draft choice and made it to the big leagues as a starting pitcher but several stress fractures forced him to give up his mound duties.  He signed with the Blue Jays then returned to the low minors to try to become an outfielder.  He achieved his goal and made it back to the majors on 07-Sep-2011 when he was the Blue Jays’ starting right fielder:

Like Loewen Stan Musial and Babe Ruth started their professional careers as pitchers and later converted to the outfield.  Ruth’s early pitching prowess is well documented.  Musial was exclusively a pitcher in 1938 and 1939 before splitting 1940 between the mound (18-5, 2.62 ERA in 223 innings) and the outfield (57 games, .311 batting average).  Here is Musial’s minor league record: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=musial001sta

Q.         Who has the highest career slugging percentage in the expansion era for players under 5'10" tall (minimum 500 plate appearances)?
Hint:     At the time of his retirement he was the National League’s oldest player.
Hint:     He hit home runs for eleven different franchises, but he didn’t homer for the teams for whom he played his first and last games.
Twint:    While still an active major leaguer he was a hockey coach in the off season.
A.         Matt Stairs
FCR -    Scott Crawford, St. Mary’s, ON


Matt Stairs (5’9” - .47675) beat Kirby Puckett (5’8” - .47667) by a narrow margin.  If Puckett had had one more total base or Stairs had had one more unsuccessful at bat they would have switched positions.  Ivan Rodriquez, Dustin Pedroia and Miguel Tejada are next on the list. Stairs has the eighth highest slugging percentage all time for shorter players. Hack Wilson (.545), Earl Averill (.534) and Mel Ott (.533) are the top three.

Stairs was the oldest National Leaguer in 2011 but American Leaguers Tim Wakefield and Omar Vizquel were the oldest major leaguers.  In 2010 National League pitchers Jamie Moyer and Trevor Hoffman were older than Stairs.  In 2009 pitchers Moyer, Hoffman, Randy Johnson, Doug Brocail, John Smoltz and Tom Gordon were older, but no position players were older.

Stairs hit home runs for Boston (1), Oakland (122), Chicago Cubs (17), Milwaukee (16), Pittsburgh (20), Kansas City (39), Texas (3), Detroit (2), Toronto (32), Philadelphia (7) and San Diego (6).

Stairs debuted as a Montreal Expo (no home runs in 19 games in 1992 and 1993) and finished up as a Washington National (none in 56 games in 2011).

Stairs was the assistant hockey coach at Bangor, Maine’s John Bapst High School.  http://bangordailynews.com/2008/11/26/sports/world-title-changes-stairsamprsquo-life/

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