Monday, March 21, 2011

March 14-20, 2011 Highest season OPS+ performances by players not in Hall of Fame, but eligible to be


Q.         Who is the only player to hit more than 40 home runs in his rookie season?
Hint:     It is not recorded whether he shed tears over the achievement.
SABR Hint:       He averaged one home run per 10.61 at bats, the lowest at bats per home run ratio in baseball history.
SABR Hint:       Babe Ruth is second at 11.80.
Twint:    A portion of an interstate highway was named for him in Missouri.
Twint:    Today it is named Mark Twain Highway.
A.         Mark McGwire (49 HR in 1987; Famously wept at a congressional inquiry 17‑Mar‑2005)
First Correct Respondent – Ken White, Charlotte, NC

Q.         Which slugger admitted after retiring that he’d used a corked bat throughout his career?
Hint:     He once played an entire major league game at first base without handling a ball in play.
SABR Hint:       After winning the batting title, his 118 point drop-off the next year, is a record.
Twint:    He was All-Lone Star Conference as a running back at Sul Ross Teachers College.
Twint:    He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 13th round after graduating.
A.         Norm Cash (02-Jun-1963)
FCR -    David Serota, Kalamazoo

Q.         What three-time batting champion hit for the cycle twice?
Hint:     He was born where the most famous baseball bats are born.
Hint:     The bats (and the company) have the same nickname he did.
SABR Hint:       In his best season, although hitting 31 points higher than his next best season, he did not win the title.
Twint:    When he was thirteen years old, his father was killed by a cyclone.
Twint:    He stayed with his mother after that, growing up, living and dying in the house where he was raised.
A.         Pete Browning (Won batting titles in 1878, 1885 & 1890; Cycles 08‑Aug‑1886 & 07‑Jun‑1889; His best season .402 in 1887; Born in Louisville and called the “Louisville Slugger”; 7; House in Louisville, Kentucky)
FCR -    Bradley Curtis, Roseville, CA

Q.         Who hit the first National League home run?
Hint:     Although he was born in New York and died in Chicago, he began and ended his major career in Boston, but in different leagues.
SABR Hint:       He was the first player to lead two different leagues in batting average.
Twint:    He was called a “seceder”, a huge epithet at the time.
A.         Ross Barnes (02-May-1876 off Cherokee Fisher)
FCR -    Bradley Curtis, Roseville, CA

Q.         Who was the manager of the only Union Association league champions?
Hint:     As a player, he was famous as an ambidextrous infielder who could catch and throw with either hand.
SABR Hint:       He set a major league record by scoring 160 runs in a 113-game season.
SABR Hint:       He only played in 101 of those games.
Twint:    He died of a distended tubercular rectum.
Twint:    He succeeded Forrest Phillips as manager of Pittsburgh when Phillips was “given a vacation” and entered an asylum.
A.         Fred Dunlap (1884 St. Louis Maroons)
FCR -    Timothy Randolph, Hebron, OH

Q.         What slugger’s playing career was abruptly ended by a stroke at age 31? [He lived to a ripe old 55.]
Hint:     Baseball historians place him as the greatest first baseman in the ten-year run of the major league American Association.
Hint:     He once fell two home runs shy of winning the Triple Crown.
SABR Hint:       He was the first player to collect 300 total bases in a season.
SABR Hint:       He was the first and only captain of a team named Ward’s Wonders.
Twint:    His last job in baseball was as a Federal League press box attendant.
A.         Dave Orr (Near TC 1884 w/9 HR; 301 TB in 1886 in 131 G)
FCR -    John Michael Pierobon, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Q.         What pitcher was dealt to Brooklyn because of his gambling habits?
Hint:     Only he and Al Spalding won 200 games with fewer than 100 losses.
SABR Hint:       Friday’s answer hit for the cycle against him.
Twint:    As a starting pitcher, he once hit two home runs in a game, but the game ended when he was tagged out at the plate trying for a third.
A.         Bob Caruthers (Brooklyn deal 27-Nov-1887; Cycle 12-Jun-1885; 218 W – 99 L)
FCR -    Al Blumkin, Brooklyn

Q.         Whose outfield assist total of 50 still stands as the all-time record for a single season?
Hint:     Setting a standard that even Norm Cash would struggle with, his batting average fell 165 after finishing 2nd in the batting race the year before.
SABR Hint:       His brother also played in the majors.
Twint:    He didn’t play the blues when he played for the Blues.
A.         Orator Shafer (50 A in 1879 in 72 G; .369 in 1884 to .195; Taylor Shafer)
FCR -    Barry Nelson, Guilderland, NY

Q.         Who conspired with Jim Devlin to throw a late-season game to Cincinnati for $25?
Hint:     After the game he was seen around Cincinnati wearing fancy new jewelry.
Hint:     He was black-listed at the end of the season by Hall of Famer William Hulbert.
SABR Hint:       He played for four top Brooklyn teams before the first Major League was formed.
Twint:    He was a substitute umpire during three years of his major league career.
A.         George Hall (06-Sep-1877; 1866 Brooklyn Enterprise, 1867 Excelsiors, 1868-69 Brooklyn Star, 1870 Brooklyn Atlantics)
FCR -    John Michael Pierobon, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

WEEKLY THEME – Eligible non-Hall of Famers with OPS+ seasons of 200.  OPS+ is a statistic designed to measure offensive performances against those one’s peers.  An OPS+ of 100 represents the average for all players in a given period.

Barnes         231    1876
Browning      222    1882
Caruthers      200    1886
Cash            201    1961
Dunlap         258    1884 (4th all-time!  Only Barry Bonds ranks higher.)
Hall              200    1876
McGwire       216    1998
Orr               203    1885
Shafer          202    1884

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – No one.

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