Tuesday, October 4, 2016

September 26-October 2, 2016 - Major Leaguers who at one time played for the Denver Bears

Q. Who was the first person to be walked intentionally five times in one game in the expansion era?
Hint: As it turned out that was the last occurrence of 5 IBB/G in the 20th century.
Hint: He overcame and healed from more than a dozen operations in his career.
Hint: A gifted, multi-sport athlete, he began to focus on baseball after a terrible injury he received playing football.
Hint: It was his uncle who gave him his ornithological nickname.
- 5 IBB 22-My-1990
- Nicknamed “The Hawk” for his keen eyesight.
FCR - Steve Daniels, Carmel, IN
Incorrect answers:  Barry Bonds, Bo Jackson, Ron Cey, Jimmie Foxx, Dave Winfield, Birdie Tebbetts
[In a nice piece of baseball symmetry however, Bonds had 4 games in 2004 where he was intentionally walked 4 times, no doubt to prevent a 4-bagger..  He never had one with 5.]

Q. Who was the first league ERA leader for the Atlanta Braves?
Hint: That might have been difficult to prognosticate accurately since his ERA the previous season was 4.11.
Hint: One of his boyhood friends is a member of the Hall of Fame in another sport.
Hint: No one ever pitched in more game without even a whiff of World Series play.
Hint: His first three seasons, he was used as a middle reliever, yet he finished his career with more starts than any other pitcher in National League history.
- ERA 1.87 in 1967
- Boyhood friend of Boston Celtics great, John Havlicek.
- 864 G, no WS
- 716 GS, passed by the current NL record-holder, Greg Maddux on 04-Jun-2008, so the record was his for over 20 years.
FCR - Doug Greenwald, San Francisco
Incorrect answers:  Buzz Capra, Greg Maddux, Clay Carroll, Warren Spahns

Q. What Hall of Famer had a career ERA of 6.48?
Hint: In his major league debut game, he faced 2 future Hall of Famers and a future Rookie of the Year.
Hint: He tied the National League record with 3 wild pitches in 1 inning during his sophomore season.
Hint: Pitching for the Blue Jays, he once struck out 25 batters in a 15-inning game.
Hint: His love of the game was evinced by comments like, "I love doubleheaders. That way I get to keep my uniform on longer."
- His entire career as a major league pitcher = 3 years, 26 games.
- MLB debut 05-Aug-1954; Red Schoendienst (first batter he faced) singled; Wally Moon (ROY at the end of the season) doubled; and Stan Musial hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
- 25-K game 31-May-1948 pitching for the Schenectady Blue Jays.
FCR - John Wills, San Francisco
Incorrect answers:  Stan Musial

Q. Who was the first 18-year-old to play shortstop in the American League in the expansion era?
Hint: He was the first manager to win 3 consecutive All-Star games.
Hint: His post-grad efforts were protected by Rocky, at least metaphorically.
Hint: He had a distant shot at first (which he didn’t realize until I showed him the math) and second was virtually there for the taking, but he told me he was happy with 3rd, very happy.
Hint: He now holds a title that is possibly the highest ever, outside of commissioner or owner.
Hint: His father is from Italian stock and his mother’s family is from Spain, but his family name announces him as a Slav.
Hint: He won the Manager of the Year Award four times for three different teams.
- Debut game 10-May-1963
- ASG wins:  1989, 1990 & 1991
- Rocky the Bull is the mascot of the University of South Florida where La Russa got his law degree, Juris Doctor.  Admitted to the Florida bar in 1980.
- On 12-Dec-2005, La Russa was interviewed by John Grisham in a Smithsonian program at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University.  In the reception/autograph line afterwards, La Russa was very interested when I explained to him how he could reach and pass Connie Mack’s all-time managerial victory total.  He said, “You mean McGraw, don’t you?”  The line behind me began to back up…
- “La Russa” literally means “The Russian” in Italian.
FCR - Cliff Beiser, Kissimmee, FL
Incorrect answers:  Ozzie Guillen, Billy Martin, Joe Torre, Robin Yount, Jim Fregosi, Ralph Houk, Dean Chance

Q. Whose record for career pinch-hit home runs did Matt Stairs break?
Hint: After Joe Pepitone did it in 1962, he was the next Yankee to hit 2 home runs in one inning.
Hint: His brother-in-law was, for a time, one of baseball’s most feared hitters.
Hint: He now owns a farm and breeds cattle and race horses.
- Johnson had 20 pinch-hit homers.  Stairs passed him with his 21st on 21-Aug-2010 and, finished with 23.  22nd on 14-Sep-2010.  23rd on 18-Sep-2010.
- 2 HR in an inning 30-Jun-1977.  Alex Rodriguez is the most recent Yankee to do it 05-Sep-2007..
- Brother-in-law Mike Easler, nicknamed “Hit Man”.  WAR of 12.9 in a 14-year career.
FCR - John Rickert, Terre Haute, IN
Incorrect answers:  John Blanchard, Dave Winfield

Q. Who was the first player to lead the American League in hits in each of his first 3 complete seasons?
Hint: He’s a Croatian, not a Pole.  However, he HAS a pole.
Hint: He might be useful sewing names and numbers onto uniforms.
Hint: Some baseball historians hypothesize that were it not for his military service, his career would be Hall-of-Fame worthy.
- 205 H in 1942; 208 in 1946; & 207 in 1947.  (1943-45 spent in military) NOTE:  Frank McCormick had already done this in the National League 1938-40.  In the AL, Tony Oliva also did it 1964-66.
- At Fenway Park in Boston, the Red Sox remembered how Pesky would hit home runs to right field that appeared to land in foul territory, but really had curved around to the left of the foul pole.  That very object of demarcation is now called the Pesky Pole.
- His nickname was The Needle
FCR - Howard Johnson, Norman, OK
Incorrect answers:  Wade Boggs, Howie Pollet,

Q. Who was the only manager to beat Ted Turner?
Hint: He had homered in his first major league at-bat.
Hint: His mother passed away while he was guiding his team to a World Series championship.
Hint: Not many people remember that he was succeeded by Russ Nixon.
- Turner, owner of the Braves, inserted himself as the team’s manager 11-May-1977 but lost the game to the Pirates, managed by Tanner.
- MLB debut 12-Apr-1955
- Lost his mother during the 1979 WS.
- Nixon was the Braves’ next manager, starting 24-May-1988.
FCR - Samuel Olken, Chicago
Incorrect answers:  Joe Adcock, Tito Francona, Bobby Cox, Bill Virdon, Sparky Anderson, Lou PIniella, Dinny McNamara, Dave Bristol, Pat Corrales

Q. What reliever was forced to shave his beard when his team hired a new manager, rendering him ineffective and inducing a trade after the season?
Hint: He became resigned to the inaccurate ethnicity assigned him by the media.
Hint: Hollywood beckoned and he played himself in major studio movie.  It only  has 4.4 stars (out of 10) on IMDB, but hey!  It’s a movie.
Hint: Still in good shape after his  major league career, he pitched in the Senior Professional Baseball Association, going 1-2 with 5 saves for his team in th one season he played.
- Vern Rapp became Cardinals manager at the beginning of the 1977 season.
- Called “the Mad Hungarian” yet his ancestry was
- Had a role in “The Slugger’s Wife” alongside Mark Fidrych.
- SPBA in 1989 for the West Palm Beach Tropics.
FCR - David King, Louisville
Incorrect answers:  Bill Lee, C.J. Wilson, Brian Wilson, Mike Marshall, Rollie Fingers, Mitch Williams, Dennis Eckersley

Q. Who authored the book with the dual-meaning title, “I Can See Clearly Now.”?
Hint: He was a feared pitcher in that his pitches’  velocity was legendary and his eyesight, not  so much.
Hint: His fastball was by all  contemporary accounts, the fastest in the  majors.
Hint: Drunk and disconsolate one day, he had to be talked out of suicide by his manager.
- Click here for his Book
- He often wore dark prescription sunglasses.  On those days, it was difficult for batters to see if he were even looking in the right direction.
- Duren played for the Senators in 1965, where Gil Hodges was manager.
FCR - Timothy Kearns, Washington, DC
Incorrect answers:  Steve Dalkowski, Adam Dunn

Q. What Red Sox slugger lost a grand slam when his drive bounced off the light tower above the Green Monster and was ruled in-play?
Hint: It was still good for a double and 3 RBI.
Hint: As a Pittsburgh Pirate, he hit for cycle against the Reds.
Hint: All that productivity that day only netted him 2 RBI.
Hint: His brother-in-law was, for a time, one of baseball’s most feared hitters.
- Grand slam negated 05-Sep-1985.
- Cycle 12-Jun-1980
- Brother-in-law:  Cliff Johnson
FCR - Tom McGrath, Carrollton, TX
Incorrect answers:  Dick Stuart

Q. Who is the only qualifying player to capture 4 batting titles who is not in the Hall of Fame?
Hint: He once had to share an MVP honor with a player whose name was eerily similar to his.
Hint: He was hired by the commissioner's office in 2002 for the purpose of timing games then meeting with teams playing "too slow".
Hint: He once was ejected when he handed the umpire a bat and told him, “You take this and try to hit that pitch.”
- NL batting titles in 1975, 76, 81 & 83
- MVP of the 1975 All-Star Game, shared with Jon Matlack*
- Ejection  on 03-Jul-1977 by umpire Art Williams after striking out on knuckleballs from Charlie Hough.
FCR - Dave Washburn, Marietta, GA
Incorrect answers:  Wade Boggs, Lloyd Waner
*Check out his unusual middle name

Q. When Mazeroski’s home sailed over Yogi’s head, who was playing catcher for New York?
Hint: He can be found on all these imaginary teams:
All-Johnny Team
All-Two Tweener Cities Team
All-Braves/A’s Team
All-Time Team of Players the Yankees “Called Up” from (or “Sent Down” to)
the Kansas City A’s
Hint: “[He] may have been the best three-sport athlete to ever come out of [his  city],” says high-school sports historian Dana X. Marshall.
Hint: He was the first post-expansion player to hit 15 home  runs during a season in which he collected fewer than 50 hits.
- Tweener Cities:  The A’s and the Braves are the only teams that have moved cities twice since WWII.  Blanchard was one of the players who played for them at both of their lay-over stops, Kansas City and Milwaukee.
- Best 3-sport athlete in Minneapolis history (obviously written before the advent of Dave Winfield.)
- 1963:  16 HR, 49 H
FCR - Adrian Fung, Toronto
Incorrect answers:  Elston Howard

Q. Who physically assaulted his team’s manager when the team signed another player at his position?
Hint: Five alumni of his high school were All-Stars in the majors.  He was not among them.
Hint: He was thrown out attempting to steal by a now Hall of Fame catcher 3 times in an 11-inning game.  It was the first such instance in the expansion era.
Hint: One time when he blew it, he really blew it.
- During Spring training 1977, first round draft choice Bump Wills (son of Maury Wills) earned the starting second base job.  On March 28, the Rangers were in Florida for an exhibition game with the Minnesota Twins. An hour before the first pitch, Randle walked up to Rangers manager Frank Lucchesi during batting practice and said he wanted to talk to him. Words were exchanged, and Randle punched Lucchesi, who was still in street clothes, in the face.

Lucchesi was hospitalized for a week, needing plastic surgery to repair his fractured cheekbone which Randle had broken in three places. He also received bruises to his kidney and back. The Rangers suspended Randle for 30 days without pay and fined him $10,000.  On April 26, before the suspension was complete, Texas traded him to the New York Mets.  Randle was charged with assault, and would plead no contest to battery charges in a Florida court, receiving a $1,050 fine. The Rangers fired Lucchesi on June 21.  Lucchesi blamed Randle for the firing, and sued him for $200,000. The suit was settled out  of  court for an undisclosed amount.
- Randle attended Centennial High School in Compton, California.  MLB All-Star players who also attended Centennial were Reggie Smith, Roy White, Wayne Simpson, Lonnie Smith & Don Wilson.
- Thrown out by Gary Carter on 31-May-1977
- On 2-May-1981, playing third base for the Seattle Mariners, Randle attempted to direct the path of a ball squibbed by Amos Otis of KCR, by quickly getting on all fours and blowing the ball over the foul line before it reached 3rd base.  Otis was awarded first and it was called a base hit.  Check it out here.
FCR - Bob Gallo, PA
Incorrect answers:  Elio Chacon, Shawn Chacon, Billy Martin

Q. Who spoiled a Triple Crown winner’s chance for being a unanimous MVP by garnering a single vote?
Hint: He once played all nine positions in a nine-inning game and struck out a future Hall of Famer during his inning as a pitcher.
Hint: He collected the only hit in an American League game a record 5 times during his career.
- 1967 AL MVP voting [The Sox fan answer is Max Nichols, of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He's the dope who voted for Tovar.]
- All positions: 22-Sep-1968; K’ed Reggie Jackson
- Another way of saying that he spoiled 5 no-hitters, those of:
FCR - Bill Carle, Lee’s Summit, MO
Incorrect answers:  Bert Campaneris, Zoilo Versailles

THEME FOR THE WEEK - Major leaguers who have played for the  Denver Bears.

Last week’s answers

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Mark Hayne, Dumfries, VA (after Tovar)

Incorrect theme guesses:
Monday   - People whose last uniform was from his home state

Tuesday - Well known players and managers who didn't go by their given first name
- They were all in beer ads

Wednesday - Hall of managers who also played in the majors.

Sunday  - Players who were part of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Championship


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