Monday, January 6, 2014

December 30, 2013—January 5, 2014 - Catchers who hit for the cycle in the modern era

Q.         Who was the first Hall of Famer to hit a home run in his final major league at-bat?
Hint:     He was the first major leaguer to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award for different teams.
Hint:     The year he won his second MVP, he was player-manager and he took his team to the World Series.
Hint:     The next year, they won it.
Addint: His playing days ended with a Bump Hadley errant pitch.
Addint: Probably errant.
A.         Mickey Cochrane (AL MVP 1928 PHA/1934 DET [NLer Rogers Hornsby won with the ’25 Cards and the ’29 Cubs]; managerial record; 25-May-1937 HBP causing a skull fracture with significant brain injury. Some thought it was an intentional beaning since “Black Mike” had hit a HR his previous plate appearance [and final at-bat])
FCR -    Max Burgess, Houston, TX
Most common incorrect answers:  Joe Cronin, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Boudreau, Earl Averill, Frank Robinson

Q.         Who was the next catcher elected to the Hall of Fame (by the writers) after Johnny Bench?
Hint:     In April of 1993, he became the oldest player to hit a home run in the majors (modern era).
Hint:     After signing as a free agent with the White Sox, he was asked by a reporter about the switch, and he answered "After a decade with the Red Sox, it was time to change my sox!"
Addint: Though often proclaimed as a great athlete from Vermont, he was actually “from” New Hampshire.
A.         Carlton Fisk (HOF Bench 1989, Fisk 2000; 45y 102d on 07-Apr-1993 The current record is held by Julio Franco at 48+ years; quote; Born in Vermont, but from Charlestown, NH. The closest hospital, where he was born, was in Vermont across the Connecticut River.
FCR -    Dave Washburn, Marietta, GA
Most common incorrect answer:  Ivan Rodriguez, Julio Franco

Q.         Who has the lowest batting average of all position players in the Hall of Fame?
Hint:     He still holds the career record for double plays by a catcher.
Hint:     He also holds the career mark for assists by a catcher in the modern era.
Addint: He is credited with being the first at the “2” position to figure out the value of backing up infield throws at first and outfield throws at third.
Addint: He may have been a member of the “Black Sox”, but he played to win.
A.         Ray Schalk (BA .253; 222 DP career list; A 1,811, Deacon McGuire with 1,860 spent 16 years prior to 1900; He was never implicated nor a suspect in the scandal)
FCR -    Dave Serota, Kalamazoo, MI
Most common incorrect answer:  Bob Boone, Roger Bresnahan, Gary Carter, Johnny Bench, Al Lopez, Joe Gariagola, Yogi Berra, Ernie Lombardi, Rabbit Maranville

Q.         Who was Christy Mathewson’s favorite catcher?
Hint:     He hit over .300 the years that the Giants won three consecutive pennants.
Hint:     He was behind the plate for 70 of the 75 innings of the eight-game 1912 World Series.
Addint: The press in New York City took an immediate liking to him “because he made more interesting copy than his teammates”.
Addint: After two years in the majors he was popular enough to make the vaudeville circuit, once teaming up with battery mate Mathewson as part of a skit that demonstrated pitching and catching technique.
A.         Chief Meyers (Pennants 1911, 12 & 13; 1912 WS; Sketch titled “Curves” led to other appearances)
FCR -    Dave Wise, Hyde Park, NY
Most common incorrect answer: Roger Bresnahan, Chief Bender, Mike Squires

Q.         Who is the only American League catcher to go an entire season (100 minimum games) without an error?
Hint:     He was discovered as an All-Star in a Buffalo, NY amateur contest by Joe McCarthy’s wife.
Hint:     Despite being a second-string catcher, he was chosen as a reserve catcher for the 1942 All-Star Game behind Birdie Tebbetts.
Addint: After once leaving his team mid-season to be with his wife who was having a baby, he returned to find he had been relegated from starting to third-string.
A.         Buddy Rosar (PHA 1946, 605Ch, 0E; 1934 Amateur game with Elizabeth McCarthy in attendance; 1942 ASG roster; He started in place of the injured Bill Dickey in 1942, but left the team to be with his wife in Buffalo even after manager Joe McCarthy had refused to grant permission*)
FCR -    Richard Tharp, Gaithersburg, MD
Most common incorrect answer:  Sherm Lollar, Bill Dickey, Aaron Robinson

Q.         Who is the only catcher (playing 90% of his team’s games at catcher) who ranks in the career top ten for hit-by-pitch?
Hint:     The Sporting News named him National League Rookie of the Year in 1996 (position player).
Hint:     In 1999, he suffered a horrifying ankle injury that some compared to Joe Thiesman’s injury.
Hint:     Unlike Thiesman’s, not only did the injury not end his career but he bounced back to make the All-Star Game in 2000 and played eleven more season in the Bigs.
Addint: After the 2000 season, he signed a contract extension that made him the second-highest-paid catcher at the time, behind Mike Piazza.
A.         Jason Kendall (Ranks 5th w/254; TSN ROY listTodd Hollandsworth won the NL BWAA ROY that year; Injury 04-Jul-1999)
FCR -    Ira Kotel, Short Hills, NJ
Most common incorrect answers:  Mike Piazza, Jerry Kindall, Craig Biggio, Greg Olson, Brad Ausmus, Jorge Posada, Buck Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez, Benito Santiago, Sandy Alomar, A.J. Pierzinski

Q.         Who replaced Gus Mancuso as the starting NY Giants catcher?
Hint:     For four consecutive seasons he was selected to the National League All-Star team.
Hint:     He was behind the plate in the 9th inning when Carl Hubbell earned a save in his final All-Star Game appearance.
Hint:     The next year, he was again behind the plate of the mid-season classic when Claude Passeau blew a three-run lead and took the loss yielding a three-run walk off homer to Ted Williams.
Addint: He was nicknamed “The Horse” after a Damon Runyon character. 
A.         Harry Danning (Career stats, shared 1937, then started at catcher 1938-42; 1940 ASG Hubbell S; 1941 ASG box; Runyon’s "Harry the Horse")
FCR -    Doug Greenwald, San Francisco, CA
Most common incorrect answer:  Gabby Hartnett, Ernie Lombardi, Walker Cooper, Roger Bresnahan, Wes Westrum, Hobie Landrith

Q.         Who was the starting catcher for the Angels victorious World Series team?
Hint:     He was taken out of three of the seven series games and replaced by his brother.
Hint:     He was the first Giant to hit two homers in one inning since Willie McCovey did it 30 years earlier.
Addint: This past year he was assistant hitting coach for his brother’s pennant-winning National League team.
A.         Bengie Molina (2002 WS, his brother Jose came in for games 1, 5 & 6; 2 HR/1 inning Molina 07-May-2007, McCovey 27-Jun-1977; 2013 STL coach with Yadier on the roster)
FCR -    David Miller, Middletown, DE
Most common incorrect answer:  Jose Molina

Q.         Who, with Gary Allenson, shared catching duties when Carlton Fisk left the Red Sox?
Hint:     He was behind the plate for the first nine innings of the longest (by innings) professional baseball game ever played.
Hint:     He established the American League record for putouts by a catcher with 20 in a single game.
Hint:     He was the catcher for the 1986 World Series ill-fated Red Sox team.
Addint: Many believe the game tying Game Six bottom of the tenth wild pitch attributed to Bob Stanley should, instead, have been scored as a passed ball by this player.
A.         Rich Gedman (BOS 1981 59 G; Pawtuckett Red Socks vs. Rochester Red Wings 33 IN, 32 played 18-Apr-1981, and the final inning played 23-Jun-1981; 20 PO 29‑Apr‑1986 when Roger Clemens struck out 20; Umpire Dale Ford–behind the plate at the time - thinks it should have been scored a passed ball)
FCR -    Michael Daponde, Sacramento CA
Most common incorrect answer:  Marty Barrett, Roger La Francois, Bo Diaz, Bob Montgomery

Q.         Who holds the single season record for most games played as catcher?
Hint:     He introduced the modern hinged mitt for catchers in 1966.
Hint:     He caught two Cubs no hitters in 1972.
Addint:  His son also became a Cubs catcher, but let his “finger” interfere with his catching duties.
Addint:  He is credited with creating the first fantasy baseball camps.
A.         Randy Hundley (160 GP 1968; The Evolution of Catcher’s Equipment, SABR; No hitters Burt Hooten 16 Apr 1972 and Milt Pappas 02 Sep 1972; Son Todd Hundley dealt with hecklers with “A digital display”; His Field of Dreams)
FCR -    Chuck Durante, Dover, DE
Most common incorrect answer: Gus Triandos

Q.         Which of the Wallbangers starting outfielders had the fewest homers during their pennant-winning season?
Hint:     In fact, only he and starting second baseman Jim Gantner failed to homer in double digits.
Hint:     He led the ’82 Brew Crew with a .462 batting average in the ALCS (minimum 5 at bats).
Addint: He was the last runner Hank Aaron ever batted.
Addint: He finished his career with 43 triples and 36 homers.
A.         Charlie Moore (1982 MIL roster stats; 1982 ALCS stats; Aaron BRI 03-Oct-1976)
FCR -    Al Blumkin, Brooklyn, NY
Most common incorrect answer:  Mark Brouhard, Ben Oglivie, Norman Thomas, Paul Molitor

Q.         Who was brought up to the Yankees when Jorge Posada and Jose Molina were both injured?
Hint:     A few months later he was designated for assignment when the Yanks acquired Ivan Rodriguez, but returned later that year for the September roster expansion.
Hint:     He won a ring with the Diamondbacks, but was not on the Series roster.
Addint: He was the catcher for Ben Sheets’s eighteen-strikeout game.
Addint: In 1996 he was an All Pac-10 selection from USC.
A.         Chad Moeller (Yankees 2008 transactions; WS ring and PAC-10 selection; Sheets 18 Ks 16‑May‑2004)
FCR -    Quentin Wittrock, Minneapolis, MN
Most common incorrect answer:  Jesus Montero, Dioner Navarjo, Rod Barajas, Francisco Cervelli, Juan Miranda, Bob Brenly, Chris Stewart, Norma Thomas

Q.         Who was the last player to hit a postseason home run off Bob Feller?
Hint:     He did well enough as a rookie in the majors that he received MVP votes.
Hint:     Also in his debut year, he hit 15 of his career 31 home runs.
Hint:     He was the first native of Idaho to play 200 games in the majors.
Addint: In 1936 at the age of 18 he suffered a spike injury while playing with the San Francisco Seals that might have ended his career.
Addint: In 1939 he made a comeback in the minors and six years later, 18‑April‑1945, he debuted in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A.         Bill Salkeld (BSN vs CLE Game 5 1948 WS; NL MVP voting 1945; Players Born in ID; )
FCR -    Dave Serota, Kalamazoo, MI
Most Common Incorrect Answers:  Wes Westrum, Harmon Killebrew, Dusty Rhodes, Sam Jethroe, Phil Masi, Hobie Landrith, Marv Rickert, Wayne Belardi, Elbie Fletcher

Q.         Whom did the San Diego Padres trade in 2006 as the player to be named later in exchange for Boomer?
Hint:     In his first major league at-bat, he was struck out by A.J. Burnett, but made it to first base on a wild pitch.
Hint:     As a result, he eventually scored his team’s only run in an 8-1 loss to the Blue Jays.
Addint: His résumé contains no postseason hits, but has 2 RBIs as a result of 1.) A fielder’s choice groundout and 2.) An error.
A.         George Kottaras (David Wells was traded to help with the SDP stretch drive; Debut 13‑Sep‑2008; Postseason RBIs G 4 2011 NLDS and G 4 2011 NLCS)
FCR -    Makoto Ozawa, Scarsdale, NY
Most common incorrect answer:  Homer Bush

Q.         Who was the unofficial MVP of the 1950 World Series?
Hint:     As a broadcaster for the Yankees and the Padres., he owns some of history’s most famous on-air malapropisms.
Hint:     Though he only played nine seasons in the majors, he appeared in World Series in his first three and last three seasons winning four rings along the way.
Hint:     If not for serving his 2nd tour of duty in Korea—after also serving in WW II—he might have garnered two additional rings.
Hint:     He was skipper of the 1980 Padres for a Seson.
Addint: In spite of his unintentional malapropisms, he was the recipient of the 2005 Ford Frick Award, referred to by some as the Hall of Fame for broadcasters.
A.         Jerry Coleman (Babe Ruth Award for WS 1950; Quotes; WS 1949, 50, 51 & 1955, 56, 57; Managerial record; He was the Yankees play-by-play broadcaster from 1963 to 1969, and joined the Padres as a broadcaster in 1972 aside from 1980, when he managed the team.  Has been a member of their broadcasting team ever since; Ford Frick Award)
FCR -    John Burbridge, Elon, NC
Most common incorrect answer:  Phil Rizzuto, Joe Gordon, Dick Williams, Yogi Berra, Frank Howard
WEEKLY THEME –Catchers who hit for the cycle in the modern era.

Backstop             Cycle date            Triples that year
Cochrane     22-Jul-1932          4
                    02-Aug-1933        4
Danning      15-Jun-1940         4
Fisk             16-May-1984       1
Gedman      18-Sep-1985        5
Hundley      11-Aug-1966        3
Kendall       19-May-2000       6
Kottaras       03-Sep-2011        1
Meyers        10-Jun-1912        5
Moeller        27-Apr-2004        1
Molina         16-Jul-2010          1
Moore         01-Oct-1980         2
Rosar           19-July-1940        3
Salkeld        04-Aug-1945        1
Schalk         27-Jun-1922         3

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Joe Ullian, Santa Barbara, CA (after the Myers Q.)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday   -  Hall of fame catchers who switched teams or were traded in the prime of their career
               -  Weekly theme has something to do with catchers! :)
               -  Hall of Famers from New England
               -  Hall of Fame catchers
               -  Players to hit an extras-innings World Series homer
               -  Catchers in the Hall of Fame
               -  Catchers who caught 75% of their team's games 10 or more times
               -  Catching 75% of their team's games in 8 or more seasons
               -  Hall of Fame catchers who did NOT switch leagues during their career (I didn't say it was a GOOD guess, just a random one)
               -  Catchers to play 900 games in the field and never play any other position
               -  Catchers in the Hall of Fame
               -  Hall of Fame catchers who played in a World Series
               -  Guys who caught seven or more games in a single world series
               -  I sense a catcher's theme

Wednesday  -  All-Star catchers who never played the field in any other position

Horsehide Trivia blog has the questions and answers from this week as well as from previous weeks:

*Reader Peter Cottrell submitted the following:
The Rosar story about leaving the team is even more interesting than this. While it is true that his wife delivered a baby while he was in Buffalo, that apparently wasn’t the main reason he left the team, at least according to the newspapers at the time. He wanted time off to be able to go back to Buffalo to take a civil service exam to be eligible for a job with the Police Department. Bill Dickey had been recently injured and the Yankees were short-handed at catcher, so Joe McCarthy denied him permission to leave. After playing for the Yankees on Saturday, July 18th, he left New York City for Buffalo and took the exam there the following day, Sunday the 19th. In the meantime, the Yankees scrambled to sign Rollie Hemsley, who had recently been dropped by the Reds, and Hemsley played both ends of the Sunday doubleheader against the White Sox. Rosar got back to the team soon after but Hemsley continued to play, starting every game until game 2 of a doubleheader on 7/29.

    On August 12, the New York Times reported that the Buffalo Civil Service Commission announced that Rosar’s name “wasn’t among 190 on the eligibility list of 1,034 who had taken the examination on July 19”. Rosar was reported to have told the Civil Service Commission that he “doesn’t believe there will be any baseball next year, and that he wants to get a job to protect his wife and family”. After being told he had failed to pass the exam, Rosar was reported to have said “I made a mistake and want to forget about the whole thing….All I want to do is play baseball. So let’s just forget about the whole thing. Maybe in time the rest of the players and the fans will forget it too”.

    I just became aware of this story in the past 2 weeks or so. I’ve been entering Yankee games from this time period for Retrosheet, and I was fortunate enough to have access to some newspapers which reported this story.

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