Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016-12-19 Players who stole home twice in a game in the modern era

Q. Who is the only player with a career batting average higher than .350 who is not in the Hall of Fame?
Hint: He holds the record for highest batting average by a qualifying rookie.
Hint: His favorite bat was hickory and was famously stained dark with tobacco juice.
Hint: According to SABR, relief pitching was one of his duties with his first professional team.
Hint: He made it to the majors the same year he became a pro.
- .356; Only Cobb‘s (.366) and Hornsby‘s (.359) are higher.
-  He hit .408 in 1911 for the Cleveland Naps (Indians)
- Called his bat “Black Betsy”.  It was admired and copied by Babe Ruth.  Ruth also claimed he copied Jackson’s batting stance.
- Jackson’s first professional team was the Greenville Spinners of the Carolina Association in 1908, but by August of that year he joined the Philadelphia A’s.  See SABR Bio.
FCR - Jake Hopper, Houston
Incorrect answers:  Lefty O’Doul, Ross Barnes

Q. Whose record of 8 career National League batting titles did Tony Gwynn tie in 1997?
Hint: When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, no other infielder had ever received more votes.
Hint: He led the NL in RBI one season with a total less than 100.  He was more accustomed to better performances, having led the previous year with a total over 125.
Hint: Only he can claim five (5!) career inside-the-park grand slams.
- Wagner’s 8th and final batting title was in 1911.  The first was in 1900.
- Elected in the very first Hall of Fame class in 1936.  Two outfielders and two pitchers were the only other players elected that year.
- 91 RBI in 1902; 126 in 1901
FCR - Rich Zucker, St. Louis
Incorrect answers:  Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Dave Orr, Mike Schmidt, Stan Musial

Q. Who is the only position player to win Gold Gloves while playing for 4 different teams?
Hint: His last name has only one generation of ancestral lineage.
Hint: He was the first native of his country to receive a Hall of Fame vote.
Hint: He will forever hold the record for the longest hitting streak in Kansas City A’s history.
- GG in 1958 (KCA & CLE), 1959-61 (CLE), 1963 (MIN) and 1964 (MIN & LAA).   Ironic since Yankees president Dan Topping once opined, “Our scouting reports rate Power a good hitter, but a poor fielder.”
- His mother’s birth name was Pove and was arbitrarily changed by a teacher who thought the girl was getting her own name wrong.
- Received HOF votes in 1971-72, but not enough to stay on the ballot.  First Puerto Rican to receive votes.  (Yes, we know it’s not technically a “country”.)
- 22-G hitting streak in 1958 (Tied with Hector Lopez who did it in 1957)
FCR - Fred Worth, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Incorrect answers:  Hector Lopez, Jimmie Foxx, Rocky Colavito, Napoleon Lajoie, Amos Otis, Bert Campaneris, Roberto Alomar, Dane Iorg

Q. What versatile Cantabrigian’s boisterous, enthusiastic style earned him the ironic nickname of “Whispering Bill”?
Hint: He played every position except catcher during his career in the Bigs, including a perfect 1-0 record as a pitcher.
Hint: His talent was not in question, but his loud, opinionated style was a leading reason he played for and was released from or traded away by 11 different professional teams.
Hint: His most outstanding season was 1927, but drew scant attention because his White Sox finished almost 40 games behind you-know-who.
Hint: His hometown Red Sox once held a “Day” for him even though at the time he was playing for the visiting team.
- People from Cambridge, Massachusetts are called Cantabrigians.  Barrett was born, died and was buried there.  He even got to play 117 games for his beloved Red Sox toward the end of his career 1929-30.
FCR - Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Bill Dickey, Willie Kamm

Q. What bi-lingual Cantabrigian became an all-scholastic catcher after dropping out of school, but being convinced to return by his work colleague Pie Traynor.  (Yes, THAT Pie Traynor.)
Hint: He was first scouted by Jack Barry, formerly of the $100,000 infield.
Hint: He is today in the Holy Cross Hall of Fame, mostly based on an outstanding baseball career in college there.
Hint: In the majors, teammate Dave Bancroft, a future Hall of Famer, sang his praises.  
- Bancroft said “He covers more ground than a thunder shower and makes his plays like lightening.” Bancroft predicted that Doc “will be another Eddie Collins’ in two more years.”
FCR - Dr. David Henly, Stillwater, Minnesota
Incorrect answers:  Joe Dugan, Rosy Ryan, Moe Berg, Gene Desautels

Q. Who was the first batter to come to the plate in Fenway Park?
Hint: He was the first Jewish major leaguer born in the state of West Virginia.
Hint: One of his baseball cards is the only known one of its kind and has been controversially valued at as much as $125,000.
Hint: He played in all major leagues possible during his five-year career.
- B. 13-Feb-1887 in Holbrook, WV
FCR - Ken Auerbach, Bronxville, New York
Incorrect answers:  Ezra Midkiff, Dana Wingate, Jake Stahl, Heinie Manush

THEME FOR THE WEEK - Players who stole home twice in a game in the modern era.

Wagner   20-Jun-1901
Jackson      11-Aug-1912
Zinn           15-Aug-1912
Barrett       01-May-1924
Power         14-Aug-1958

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Steve Berman, Bergenfield, NJ (after Power)

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 12-18, 2016 Players known to come to the plate without batting gloves


Q. What Hank Aaron Award winner first appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16?
Hint: In 2012, he became the third youngest player ever selected to a major league All-Star team.
Hint: He became the first unanimous MVP in the National League since Albert Pujols.
- SI cover 08-Jun-2009.  He has appeared on SI’s cover several times since then as well as the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids.  Won the Hank Aaron Award in 2015.  It is given to the best hitter in each league.
FCR - Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect responses:  Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Joey Votto

Q. Whose 319 home runs in his 12-year major league career, exactly ties his father’s major league home run total?
Hint: His three-run bomb was the first home run hit by a Brewer in All-Star game history and earned him AS MVP honors, also a Brewers first.
Hint: He was also the first Milwaukee Brewer to win the Home Run Derby.
- Cecil Fielder’s total came in 13 seasons and doesn’t include his production in Japan.
FCR - Sharif Elgamal, Redwood City, California
Incorrect responses:  Robin Yount, Cecil Fielder

Q. What baseball spark plug led Lawrence E. Elkins High School to the USA Today national championship with his father as the coach?
Hint: No other Horned Frog baseball player has more career games played or at-bats.
Hint: He wears #13 and was drafted in the 13th round.
Hint: The year he led the majors in hits, he won his franchise’s first Silver Slugger award at his position.  Not bad considering that his franchise is well over a century old.
- HS championship 2002
- Record set at TCU
- 199 hits in 2013
FCR - Steven Coleman, Belleville, Illinois
Incorrect responses:  Jose Altuve, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose, Pee Wee Reese, Ken Griffey, Jr., Chris Carpenter

Q. Among all New York Yankee switch-hitters, who holds the franchise record for strikeouts in a season?
Hint: He was behind the plate for an historic perfect game pitched in Yankee Stadium.
Hint: He is the only person to hit home runs from each side of the plated in a regular-season MLB game outside North America.
- 151 K’s in 2000 (Mickey Mantle’s most ever was 126 in 1959.)
- David Wells’s perfect game 17-May-1998.  It was the first ever regular-season perfect game in Yankee history.
- 2 HR in Tokyo 31-Mar-2004 at the Tokyo Dome
FCR - Adrian Fung, Toronto
Incorrect responses:  Yogi Berra, Butch Wynegar, Brian McCann, Matt Nokes, Nick Swishers

Q. Whose catch did Steve Bartman thwart?
Hint: His uncle won a batting title, beating out a Hall of Fame teammate.
Hint: He was the first NL player to play against a team managed by his father.
Hint: He was once named his team’s MVP during their World Series championship season.
- Interesting how much more well-known the name Bartman became than Moises.
- Matty Alou hit .342 in 1966, the same year that teammate Roberto Clemente won his only MVP.
- After six seasons playing FOR his father Felipe, on 20-Jun-1997 he played for FLA against him.
- FLA won 1997 WS
FCR - Jim Hindley, Burlington, Ontario
Incorrect responses:  Jesus Alou

Q. What Brahma Bull did the Indians ride for two months this year (although they originally got him from Buffalo)?
Hint: Hardly surprising that he is both tough and fast as his parents were an amateur boxer and champion sprinter respectively.
Hint: His mother’s father is in the U.S. Track and Field Masters Hall of Fame.
Hint: He was the coveted Catfish Hunter Award’s 10th honoree.
- Attended Pierce College in Los Angeles (the Brahma Bulls) and was a key player for CLE in September and the postseason in 2016.  (Played for the Buffalo Bisons before being called up to the majors.)
- He is the son of Loyce Crisp, a fast food restaurant owner and former amateur boxer and Pamela Crisp, a former champion sprinter.
- The Catfish Hunter Award honors an Oakland A's player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit demonstrated by the late Hall of Fame pitcher.
FCR - Robert Kapernick, Ft. Myers
Incorrect responses:  Andrew Miller, Corey Kluber, Jonny Gomes

Q. Who, when he made the Cuban national team in 2002, became the first teenager to do so in nearly 20 years?
Hint: He famously injured his ankle in a celebration at home plate following his game-ending, walk-off grand slam.
Hint: He was singular through 2010.
Hint: One season he played 158 games with a World Series-winning team.
- He is still considered the best rookie in the history of Cuban baseball.
- Home plate awkward landing 29-May-2010
- He played as “Kendry” Morales through the 2010 season
- He played 141 games at DH for the 2015 KC Royals.
FCR - Michael Campos, Redmond, Washington

Q. What Rookie of the Year Award winner was traded after two seasons in the majors and, in his first full season, led his new team in games, plate appearances, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles and RBI and was second on the team in triples and stolen bases?
Hint: Not surprisingly, he made the All-Star team that season and got his first AS hit, a double.
Hint: He has played games at six different positions in the majors, but none at catcher which is where he was drafted.
- AL ROY in 2013 with TBR.  Led the 2016 Padres in many offensive categories.
- Has played 1B, RF, CF, DH, LF & 3B.
FCR - Jake Hopper, Houston
Incorrect responses:  Ted Sizemore, Eric Hinske, Jayson Werth, Richie Ashburn, Albie Pearson, Lou Piniella

Q. Whose 24 home runs passed Bo Jackson for second all-time in his state for home runs in a season by a high school player?
Hint: As a senior, he led his high school team to a national championship.
Hint: A trade to Baltimore would see him achieve the rare avian trifecta.
Hint: His team lost a five-game LCS to the eventual World Series champions in spite of his 3 home runs.
- HR record for the state of Alabama
- Rasmus helped lead Russell County to a national championship in 2005 as they finished the season ranked first in both the National High School Baseball Coaches Association poll and the USA TODAY Super 25 baseball rankings. Rasmus graduated from Russell County High School in 2005.
- Has already played for the Cardinals 2009-11 and Blue Jays 2011-14.
- 2015 ALCS vs. KCR
FCR - Prisco Panza, Shelton, Connecticut
Incorrect responses:  Frank Thomas, Corey Patterson, Ron Hansen, Reggie Jackson, Adam Jones

Q. What player receives an encouraging chant every time he comes to the plate?
Hint: In his rookie season, he went from April to October and had exactly zero hits.
Hint: He did manage to eke out 2 bases-on balls.
Hint: Earl Averill is 3rd in similarity score.
- He was 0 for 2012 for TBR.
- That’s Earl Averill, JUNIOR !
FCR - Paul Goodson, Cheyenne
Incorrect responses:  Kyle Schwarber, Bob Uecker

Q. Whose abuse of and then rehab from alcohol and marijuana delayed his entry into the majors by four years?
Hint: His Hispanic teammates call him the White Bear.
Hint: He has become such a strong MLB player that only the league MVP finalist on his team had a greater OPS+ last year.
Hint: He attended school in Odessa, but not in Russia.
- His recovery is a great success story.
- “El Oso Blanco
- Jose Altuve had an OPS+ of 154 in 2016
FCR - Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect responses:  Josh Hamilton

Q. In 2015, who tied a 1903 team record for the most consecutive scoreless innings caught by a catcher?
Hint: Although a Venezuela native, he played for team Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Hint: He began his pro career as a switch-hitter, but was told by coaches to stick to batting righty.
- 56 scoreless innings, tying the team record held by Ed Phelps.
- His last names gives away his Italian heritage.  His father was born in Italy.
FCR - Fernando Luis Piñeres, Washington, DC
Incorrect responses:  Geovany Soto, Wilson Ramos

THEME FOR THE WEEK - Major league batters known to go to the plate eschewing batting gloves, at least part-time.

(Click each for evidence of bare-handed batting.)
Select additional players with reputations of sporadic glovelessness:
Homer Bailey
George Brett
Delino DeShields, Jr.
Conor Gillaspie
Mark Grace
Vladimir Guerrero
Jason Kendall
Doug Mientkiewicz
Brad Miller
Doug Mirabelli
Jamie Moyer
Blake Swihart
Preston Tucker

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Steve Berman, Bergenfield, NJ (after Carpenter)

Incorrect theme guesses:
Monday   - 2013 Home Run Derby contestants

Tuesday - players who have homers while Max Scherzer was pitching