Monday, September 5, 2016
August 29-September 4, 2016 - Modern day catchers with most games played per original 8 AL franchises
Q. Which Hall of Fame catcher posted the highest career batting average?
Hint: His fellow Terriers must have at least suspected that he was a high achiever when he played football, boxed and played the saxophone in college.
Hint: He was the first catcher to win an MVP award.
Hint: He was the first player to win a league MVP award for 2 different teams.
Hint: He was the first Hall of Famer to hit a home run in his final career at-bat.
- Hit .320 over his 13-year career in the majors
- Attended Boston University
- Was HBP 25-May-1937. He homered in the 3rd inning, then in the 5th inning Bump Hadley, pitching for NYY, threw a pitch that gravely injured Cochrane instantly ending his career as a player. So he didn’t homer in his last plate appearance but final at-bat. Ted Williams remains the only Hall of Famer to hit a home run in his final plate appearance 28-Sep-1960.
FCR - Bob Dorrill, Kingwood, TX
Incorrect answers: Roy Campanella, Ernie Lombardi, Carlton Fisk, Bill Dickey, Mike Piazza
Q. Which Hall of Famer has the highest single-season batting average among 20th century catchers?
Hint: He was the U.S. Navy’s World War II baseball manager.
Hint: He never led the league in an offensive category, but led 11 times in defensive categories?
Hint: Her knocked himself out celebrating his team’s pennant when he jumped and hit his head on a low dugout ceiling.
Hint: His younger brother George played in the majors for six season.
A. BILL DICKEY
- Dickey’s .361702 in 1936 narrowly edges out Mike Piazza’s .361511 in 1997.
- He served as an athletic officer in the Pacific and managed the Navy team that won 1944 Service World Series in Hawaii. Future Hall of Famers Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto were on his team.
- His specialty was throwing out would-be base stealers. He led in that and other categories and was chosen to catch for the AL All-Star team 11 times.
- In 1949, Dickey’s first year as a Yankee coach, the team clinched the pennant on the last day of the season, but only by a single same over the Red Sox. Excited at that fact, Dickey spontaneously sprang from where he sat, hit his head on the low Yankee Stadium dugout ceiling. Dickey coached NYY for 9 more seasons.
FCR - David Silverman, Wesley Chapel, FL
Incorrect answers: Gabby Hartnett, Ernie Lombardi, Birdie Tebbetts, Mickey Cochrane
Q. Who was the first catcher to catch four no-hitters?
Hint: He was the first catcher to steal 30 bases in a season.
Hint: He received Hall of Fame votes in the Hall’s very first election.
Hint: He was the first player in the history of his franchise to hit for the cycle.
A. RAY SCHALK
- He caught the no-hitters of Jim Scott* (14-May-1914); Joe Benz (31-May-1914); Eddie Cicotte (14-Apr-1917); and Charlie Robertson (30-Apr-1922**).
- 30 SB in 1916. He had also been the first to steal 20 when he stole 24 bases in 1914.
- He and John McGraw only received 4 votes that year to tie for 34th place. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee in 1955.
- Cycle game 27-Jun-1922.
FCR - Mark Pattison, Washington, DC
*On 14-May-1914, he pitched nine no-hit innings against Washington, but lost the game when Chick Gandil scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the 10th. In 1990, MLB declared that such no-hitters do not qualify as no-hitters. So Schalk is dropped from the list and the catchers who have caught 4 no-hitters now are Jason Varitek and Chooch Ruiz. Nevertheless, in 1914, Scott’s game was a no-hitter.
Incorrect answers: Jason Varitek, Jeff Torborg, Roger Bresnahan, John Wathan, Ray Schalk, Connie Mack, Ivan Rodriguez, Zach Wheat, John Roseboro, Bill Singer, King Kelly, Steve Yeager
Q. Who was the only catcher to be behind the plate for all 15 innings of a single All-Star game?
Hint: He thrice led his league in being hit-by-pitch.
Hint: He won the Gold Glove for catchers in his league for 5 consecutive years.
Hint: He opined that playing first base, "... was like a day off—like a day at the country club in comparison to catching."?
Hint: He described the everyday grind of playing in the majors, saying, "The real name of the game is pack and repack."
A. BILL FREEHAN
- 1966 ASG went 15 innings.
- Led HBP in 1964, 67 & 68.
- GG 1965-69
FCR - Mark Pattison, Washington, DC
Incorrect answers: Johnny Bench, Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter, John Wathan, Geovany Soto, Josh Gibson, Thurman Munson, Andy Seminick, Bob Boone
Q. What BBTR catcher has a nickname that is derived from his family name but could just as easily have come from his alma mater?
Hint: He was the catcher on Baseball America's All-Time College All-Star team.
Hint: Although retired, he works as Special Assistant to the General manager of the only team he played on in the majors.
Hint: He was the first catcher in the history of his franchise to record 900 put-outs in a season.
- His nickname is “Tek” from VariTEK or Georgia Tech where he attended college. He is a switch-hitter who throws right-handed.
- Special Assistant to Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherrington
- 972 PO in 1999
- The Red Sox franchise is the only team he ever played for in the majors.
FCR - Daniel Blumenthal, Falls Church, VA
Incorrect answers: Eli Whiteside, Craig Biggio, Jim Leyritz, Dan Wilson, Bob Boone
Q. Who was the first player to win the American League Gold Glove Award at catcher for teams in 2 cities?
Hint: He did it for the same franchise.
Hint: He started for the American League in the All-Star game twice in one year.
Hint: Only 2 weeks in the majors and in just his fifth game, he was the catcher in the game where his battery mate would clinch the only sub 2.00 ERA for the decade.
Hint: He caught the first no-hitter for his team in their new city.
A. EARL BATTEY
- GG for the Washington Senators in 1960. The team move to Minneapolis and became the Twins beginning in 1961. He won in again and would win it the following season as well.
- The last year that 2 All-Star games were held in a single year was 1962. Battey started for the AL in both of them July 10th and July 30th.
- On the season’s final day of play, 25-Sep-1955, he guided Billy Pierce to a shutout victory over the Kansas City Athletics. That lowered Pierce’s ERA for the season to a league-leading 1.97. It had been 10 years since a pitcher in either league posted an ERA that low and it would be 8 more seasons before the next pitcher did it.
FCR - Rich Klein, Plano, TX
Incorrect answers: Ivan Rodriguez, Sherm Lollar, Del Crandall, Gus Triandos, Roy Campanella, Carlton Fisk John Roseboro, Ed Bailey, Rube Walker, Tom Haller, Dick Dietz, Hobie Landrith
Q. Who was the last documented courtesy runner in the major leagues?
Hint: In his debut game, his battery mate was Bob Feller.
Hint: Defending his unimpressive batting average, Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dicky defended him, opining, "When you can catch like [him], you don't have to hit."
Hint: He sang in barbershop quartets his whole life.
A. JIM HEGAN
- Career batting average: .228.
- Grew up in a singing household and carried on with it in his own family.
FCR - Jason Hammon, Arlington, TX
Incorrect answers: Al Lopez, Frankie Hayes, MIke Hegan, Sherm Lollar, Paul Richards, Rick Farrell, Clint Courtney, Willard Hershberger
Q. Who blamed President Jimmy Carter for the outcome of the 1979 World Series?
Hint: ...to his face?!
Hint: He was an important participant in the highlight of the 2009 SABR convention.
Hint: The son of vaudevillians, he was fond of stuffing towels under his jersey and doing an impression of Babe Ruth during rain delays. He was also know to take to the soggy basepaths, sliding like a giddy otter.
Hint: He played on a World Series-winning team after winning the World Series MVP with a different team.
A. RICK DEMPSEY
- He tried to shame President Carter, who attended the final game of the 1979 World Series, "Next time, get your ass here before the seventh game! "? (The Orioles lost the game and series to the Pirates.)
- He and Frank Howard were interviewed by George Michael in an intimate setting in Washington, DC 07-May-2009, Howard representing the Senators and Dempsey the Orioles. By many accounts, it was the highlight of the convention and it was David Vincent who made it all happen.
- He sometimes even imitated Babe Ruth during his rain-delay shenanigans.
FCR - Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, MD
Incorrect answers: Matt Williams, Reggie Jackson, David Wells, Max Patkin, Earl Weaver
THEME FOR THE WEEK - Most games played at catcher for all 8 original, modern-day American League teams.
Franchise Catcher Games Years
A’s Cochrane 1,149 1925-33
Indians Hegan 1,491 1941-42, 46-57
Orioles Dempsey 1,231 1976-86
Red Sox Varitek 1,488 1997-2011
Tigers Freehan 1,577 1963-76
Twins Battey 968 1960-67
White Sox Schalk 1,723 1912-28
Yankees Dickey 1,708 1928-43, 46
First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Roger Goldstein, Aurora, CO
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