Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017-12-24 AL ROYs w/30 HRs

Q.        What famous Cuban scientist/author is responsible for some of baseball’s most interesting and controversial discussions this century?
Hint:     He was the first visiting player to hit five home runs in a season in SkyDome.
Hint:     He also hit 25 home runs in a season in SkyDome as a non-visiting player.
A.         JOSE CANSECO  [SABR Bio]
-  Author of 3 books:  “Juiced”, “Strength Training” and “Vindicated
-  5 HR in Toronto in 1991 playing for OAK
-  25 HR as a Blue Jay in 1998
FCR -  David Krassin, Los Angeles
Incorrect guesses:  Kendrys Morales, Carlos Delgado, Rafael Palmeiro

Q.        Whose record for home runs in a rookie season did Aaron Judge sail right through in 2017?
Hint:     He was a pitching star in college.
Hint:     He was the fist player to hit 30 home runs in each of his first four seasons in the majors.
A.         MARK McGWIRE
-  Hit 49 HR in 1987; Judge hit 52 in 2017
Pitched for USC before going pro in 1984
-  30+ HR 1987-1990, a record since shattered by Albert Pujols
FCR -  Naftali Greenwood, Kiryat, Israel
Incorrect guesses:  Adam Dunn, Dave Kingman, Wally Berger, Frank Robinson

Q.        Who is the only American League outfielder to win the All-Star Game’s MVP award twice?
Hint:     He was the first player with 150 home runs and 150 stolen bases before his 26th birthday.
Hint:     Only Ty Cobb had accumulated a higher WAR at the same age.
A.         MIKE TROUT
-  ASG MVP 2014, 2015  (Cal Ripken won it in 1991 & 2001)
FCR -  Dan Silverberg, Aventura, Florida
Incorrect guesses:  Ken Griffey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Eric Davis, Mickey Mantle, Tony Oliva

Q.        Who was the first woman to pitch in the Negro Leagues?
Hint:     Her diminutive height, (actually average for a woman of her day) led to her commonly-used nickname.
Hint:     In a three-year stint for Hank Aaron’s old team, she racked up a record of 33-8 and added a batting average of .262.
Hint:     She was the star of a Negro League Panel held at the 2009 SABR Convention in Washington, DC.
Hint:     After her professional baseball career, she attended nursing school and, in her words, “Became a nurse for 30 years.”
Hint:     A baseball field in the DC area bears her name.
A.         MAMIE “Peanut” JOHNSON Bio
-  Played 1953-55 for the Indianapolis Clowns
-  Life detailed in Michelle Green’s juvenile-lit biography of Johnson, “A Strong Right Arm
-  An inspiration to Moné Davis
FCR -  Jeb Stewart, Birmingham
Incorrect guesses: 

Q.        Who sported the highest uniform number of any player on the Chicago White Sox in 2017?
Hint:     His mother chose the number so that people would remember it.
Hint:     In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, he was a standout for his country, hitting .383 with 3 home runs and 9 RBI.
Hint:     He once destroyed some incriminating evidence by eating it.
Hint:     His childhood nickname “Pito” has not followed him to the major leagues.
A.         JOSE ABREU
-  He sports #79
-  Didn’t want to be caught with a forged passport, so downed it with beer on a flight to Miami.
FCR -  Jess Forrest
Incorrect guesses:  Manny Ramirez, Melky Cabrera, Harold Baines

Q.        Who leads his 50+ year-old franchise in career home runs, but never was selected to an All-Star team.
Hint:     He never played for any other team in his major league career of more than a decade.
Hint:     He is also their career leader in bases-on-ball and runs created.
Hint:     He presented flowers to five mothers and their children before an American League game on Mothers' Day 2006.
A.         TIM SALMON
-  299 HR
   -  Played 5 years w/CAL; 8 years w/ANA and his last season was w/LAA and yet he never changed teams!
-  970 BB; 1,206 RC
FCR -  Steve Cardella, Sacramento
Incorrect guesses:  Rob Deer, David Wright, Jimmy Wynn, Dave Kingman, Troy Glauss

Q.        Whose record did Tim Salmon tie when he had hit 13 hits in the space of 3 games, among non-Hall of Famers?
Hint:     Although actively courted by pro football and pro basketball, the money offered by a major league team made it an easy decision.
Hint:     He once played on a team with Ted Williams as a teammate and Babe Ruth as the manager.
Hint:     Two years after leading the league in RBI and total bases, he was traded for an eventual Hall of Famer.  (Other players were involved on both sides of the trade.)
A.         WALT DROPO  [SABR Bio]
-  Sorry.  Hits, not homers.  (Sorry.  Not blaming this on weapons-grade pain meds.  Blaming it on industrial-strength pain meds!)
-  Played with Williams and Ruth – [From SABR Bio: “Dropo played in Fenway Park almost six years before his major-league debut – and played on the same team as Ted Williams, with Babe Ruth as his manager.  On July 12, 1943, a group branded Ruth’s All-Stars played an exhibition game at Fenway against the Boston Braves to benefit the war effort. There weren’t enough available major leaguers to fill the All-Stars’ roster, so a call was made to Fort Devens. After his sophomore year at UConn, Dropo had joined the Army and trained at Devens. He and some others traveled into Boston. He was 0-for-2 in the game, but helped complete a double play at first. Dropo, Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Ruth, and company beat the Braves, 9-8.
-  03-Jun-1952 traded by BOS to DET for George Kell
FCR -  Dave Serota, Kalamazoo
Incorrect guesses: 

Q.        What bespectacled All-Star was Billy Pierce’s regular golfing partner after their playing days?
Hint:     When he hit 30 home runs in each of his first two full seasons in the majors, he was the first to do so in a generation.
Hint:     Opie once sang about his home town.
Hint:     Showing great range, two of his favorite movies are “Schindler’s List” and “The Hangover”.
A.         RON KITTLE
-  They played golf together right up until the end of Pierce’s life.
-  35 HR in 1983, 32 in ‘84
-  Born in Gary, Indiana, the subject of a song in “The Music Manbelted out by Winthrop Paroo played by Ron Howard who was Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show”.
-  Movie preferences shown on “Fun Facts” on
FCR -  Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect guesses: 

Q.        Who is the only American League player to homer in the first at-bats of his first TWO major league games?
Hint:     He only had two additional home runs the entire rest of that season.
Hint:     He had an 88% success rate stealing bases while playing NCAA baseball.
Hint:     He has an unusual oral superstition that relates to his performance during games.
A.         AARON JUDGE
-  HRs: 13-Aug-2016 & 14-Aug-2017 [Reader Doug Greenwald pointed out that the CardsKeith McDonalds  also homered in his first at-bats of his first 2 major league games, hence the late specification of AL for Judge.)
-  Next 2 HRs: 30-Aug-2016 & 12-Sep-2016
FCR -  Nooooooooobody!
Incorrect guesses:  Turk Wendell, Mark Quinn, Tuffy Rhodes

Q.        Who joined Harmon Killebrew as the first American League teammates to both hit a grand slam in the same inning?
Hint:     Killebrew said of him, “He wants to win at everything—cards, ping pong, handball or baseball.  He wants to be the first on the airplane and first on the bus.”
Hint:     His manager said of him, “[He] was my leader on the bench, a beautiful buffer for me.”
Hint:     His owner said of him, “[He]’s got the best arm on this club since Jackie Jensen.”
A.         BOB ALLISON  [SABR Bio]
-  GS X 2 18-Jul-1962
-  Manager quoted was Billy Martin
-  Owner quoted was Calvin Griffith
FCR -  Craig McGraw
Incorrect guesses:  Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Rich Rollins, Dave Winfield, Fernando Tatis

Q.        Who was the penultimate Cuban national to come and play in the majors without having to defect?
Hint:     He was the first player from his team, but not from his franchise, to win a league batting title.
Hint:     His is the only retired Cuban native with a career batting average above .300 (200 G min.)
Hint:     Due to an unhealed thumb sprain, his at-bats, far more than those of his contemporaries, resulted in bats flying into the crowd or toward players and coaches on the sidelines.
A.         TONY OLIVA  [SABR Bio]
Bert Campaneris was the very last non-defect Cuban immigrant.  (Many have been non-defective, but that’s a whole ‘nother question.)
-  Won the AL batting title with MIN in each of his first two full seasons in the majors, 1964 & 65.  [Mickey Vernon, Buddy Meyer and Goose Goslin won batting titles when the Twins were the Washington Senators (1901-1960)].
-  Hit .304 (Jose Abreu finished 2017 with a career average of .301.)
FCR -  David Johnson, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Roberto Clemente, Zoilo Versalles, Minnie Minoso, Rico Carte

Q.        Who won the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award the year after leaving the Cubs as a free agent and then, as a Dodger, making the All-Star team and helping them reach the postseason?
Hint:     He led the league in hits and triples in his first full season.  Never led in either category again in his 14-year career.
Hint:     A Texas rookie knocked him off the coveted Double Unique list, after being on it for a decade.
Hint:     His dad would reward him with a quarter every time he got a hit, but docked him half a buck whenever he struck out.
Hint:     He shares an unusual distinction with Don Mattingly that both would wish away if they could.
-           NL AS in 2006
-           Nomar Mazara debuted 10-Apr-2016; Current Double Unique list [See 2nd tab.]
-           Nomar and Donny Baseball starred for their teams for many years, yet those teams only won the World Series after they had left the team.
FCR -  Dan Silverberg, Aventura, Florida
Incorrect guesses:  Rick Monday, Dusty Baker

WEEKLY THEME – American League Rookie of the Year winners with 30 home runs in their rookie seasons.

Player                  Year        HRs
Abreu............. 2014..... 36
Allison............ 1959..... 30
Canseco......... 1986..... 33
Dropo............. 1950..... 34
Garciaparra.... 1997..... 30
Judge............. 2017..... 53
Kittle............... 1983..... 35
McGwire......... 1987..... 49
Oliva............... 1964..... 32
Salmon........... 1993..... 31
Trout............... 2012..... 30

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeJack Sullivan, Louisville

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Players implicated in enhanced performance/steroid investigation.
               -  Stars who Admitted Steroid/PED Usage

Wed        -  ROY winner that led the league in RBI at some point
               -  Right handed AL ROY winners
               -  Unanimous AL ROYs

Sat          -  Rookies of the Year that throw and bat right and are 6' 2'' or taller.
               -  Rookies of the Year who hit 30 or more Home Runs

Sun         -  AL Rookies of the Year, batted and threw right handed, had at least 28 home runs, over 90 RBI's their rookie year and never accused of steroid use.

Monday, December 18, 2017

2017-12-11 MVPs who were swept in the World Series

Q.        Who is the only Hall of Famer besides Babe Ruth to be the all-time career leader in more than two offensive categories, as presented highlighted in gold on the main page of his web site?
Hint:     He leads in other categories, but not ones appearing on the main b-r page.
Hint:     He probably doesn’t remember this, but he was born in the back seat of a taxi on a cold day in a cold city.
Hint:     One of his major league teammates once admired, “It wasn't until I saw [him] that I understood what baseball was about.”
Hint:     Fans got both more and less of what they had anticipated when he gave his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
-  Is the leader in R, SB & CS
-  Also leads in career lead-off HRs, SB in a season, CS in a season
-  B. 25-Dec-1958 in Chicago.  The National Weather Service reports that the high that day was 37°F and the low was 27°F, with a trace of snow.  (No mention of wind in the Windy City that day, but gotta believe… )
-  Athletics teammate Mitchell Page had the classic quote.
-  Absent from his HOF acceptance speech were his trademark self-references in third-person, his well-meaning malapropisms and his general disregard for decorum.  This was both a disappointment and a relief.
FCR -  Adam Balutis, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Ty Cobb

Q.        Besides Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana, who is the only Triple Crown winner born outside the United States?
Hint:     He tied a record once held exclusively by Mike Schmidt.
Hint:     He was the first National League player to hit a walk-off home run in his first major league game.
-  B. 13-Apr-1983 in Maracay, Venezuela
-  Won consecutive MVPs as a third baseman in 2012-13.  Schmidt has been history’s only back-to-back MVP 3rd baseman for 1980-81.
-  HR 20-Jun-2003 off Tampa Bay’s Al Levine.
FCR -  Adam Balutis, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Carl Yastrzemski, Nomar Garciapara, Albert Pujols, Dizzy Dean, Fernando Valenzuela, Juan Marichal

Q.        Who is the only player in history who can correctly claim that he hit 40 doubles, 20 triples and 30 home runs in a single major league season?
Hint:     He made a habit of tilting his baseball cap over his left eye.
Hint:     His family was disappointed when he failed his television audition for a part on “The Munsters”.
A.         JIM BOTTOMLEY  [SABR Bio]
-  In 1928, helping the Cardinals to their 2nd-ever pennant, he racked up 42 doubles, 20 triples and 31 home runs.  He led the NL is the last two.
Fred Gwynne doppelganger
FCR -  Dave Serota, Kalamazoo
Incorrect guesses:  George Brett, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Stan Musial, Albert Bell, Ken Hunt

Q.        Who was the first black coach in the American League?
Hint:     Popular lore has it that he was once a road roommate of Ernie Banks.
Hint:     He popularized the signaling to teammates during play that there were two out by using his index and pinkie fingers.
Hint:     Leaders in his home town refer to him as, “Our Jackie Robinson”.
A.         ELSTON HOWARD  [SABR Bio]
-  NYY 1st B coach 1969-79
-  Supposedly roomed with Banks when both played with the KC Monarchs.  Records don’t show them with the team at the same time.
-  Born and raised in St. Louis.
FCR -  Adam Balutis, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Roy Campanella, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Buck O’Neill, Gene Baker, Minnie Minoso, Frank Robinson

Q.        What pitcher has a pitching Triple Crown, 2 ERA titles, a World Series Championship and 6 All-Star Selections but is not in the Hall of Fame (although qualified)?
Hint:     He hit 99 career doubles in games he pitched.
Hint:     Only 2 other pitchers, both Hall of Famers, had more career hits as batters.
A.         BUCKY WALTERS  [SABR Bio]
-  {Kudos to readers who figured out that the second hint was in error.  Apologies to the rest of you.}
FCR -  Walt Cherniak, woodbine, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  All incorrect guesses forgiven because of lax hint construction.

Q.        What Hall of Fame second baseman didn’t deny the appropriateness of his nickname “Cocky”?
Hint:     Ty Cobb, who seldom praised the efforts any opponent, was often laudatory.
Hint:     He was the first player from his franchise to cop an MVP of any kind.  He then twice finished 2nd in MVP voting to players from the Hall of Fame’s first class.
Hint:     He is the only player to get his 3,000th major league hit off a pitcher with the same last name.
A.         EDDIE COLLINS  [SABR Bio]
-  Quoting the SABR bio, written by Paul Mittermeyer, “An Ivy League graduate, Collins was one of the smartest players of his day, and he knew it. Saddled with the nickname “Cocky” from early in his career, Collins drew the resentment of teammates for his self-confidence and good breeding that at times seemed as though it belonged more in a ballroom than a baseball clubhouse.
MVP in 1914 (4th & final AL Chalmers Award); Finished behind only Babe Ruth in 1923 then behind Walter Johnson in 1924 in AL “League MVP votings.  The current BBWAA system began in 1931.
-  3,000th H off Rip Collins 03-Jun-1925
FCR -  Cappy Gagnon, South Bend
Incorrect guesses:  Honus Wagner

Q.        Whose 1st-inning RBI single was nullified by umpire Art Frantz because the pine tar on his bat exceeded the 18-inch limit?
Hint:     He was endowed with a plethora of sobriquets, including, but not limited to: “Tug”, “Tugboat”, “Squat”, “Squatty”, “Squatty Body” and “The Walrus”.  And those were from people who LIKED him!
Hint:     His rivalry with a certain other AL ROY winner became the stuff of legend.
-  Nullified single 19-Jul-1975
FCR -  Gary Sarnoff, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Walt Dropo, George Brett

Q.        Who hit more than 20 triples in his rookie season?
Hint:     He was the first 20th century National Leaguer to have at least 200 hits in each of 4 consecutive seasons.
Hint:     Only four players in major league history have hit more doubles in a season.
Hint:     His best year in college was as a pitcher where he compiled a won-lost record of 23-4 with an ERA of 1.70.
Hint:     He finished his playing career with Miami.
A.         PAUL WANER  [SABR Bio]
-  22 3b in 1926
-  200+ H 1927-30
-  62 2b in 1932 Doubles leaders list
-  Pitching record from East Central State Teachers College (now East Central University) in Ada, Oklahoma in 1922.
-  In 1946, played 62 G for the Class C Miami Sun Sox
FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota
Incorrect guesses:  Willie Keeler, Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Chuck Klein, Luis Gonzalez,

Q.        Who was the only person to be a player, coach and final manager for the Sonoma County Crushers?
Hint:     He once hit a hung slider that helped extend a curse.
Hint:     Sports Illustrated reported that he once needed dental reconstruction surgery after biting into an overheated microwaved doughnut.
2002 Sonoma County Crushers (from m one-time home town, Rohnert Park California) of the independent Western Baseball League.
- It was his single off Calvin Schiraldi and subsequent score for NYM in the 10th inning of G 6 of the 1986 WS that allowed the game to continue, eventually leading to the Mets victory.
FCR -  Bob Flynn, Chandler, Arizona
Incorrect guesses:  Aaron Boone, Bucky Dent

Q.        Whose modern record for games pitched in a season did Kansas City’s John Wyatt break in 1964?
Hint:     His bespectacled face against a blue background was the first baseball card I ever saw that I had bought with my own money.  I had never heard of him and worried it was a mistake.
Hint:     He started game one of the World Series after having started zero games for his team during the season.
A.         JIM KONSTANTY  [SABR Bio]
-  Konstanty pitched in 74 G in 1950; Wyatt in 81 in 1964.
-  It was the 1961 Topps MVP series, #479.   I later worked for a company that did business with his sporting goods store and he graciously sent me a signed autograph.
-  G 1 1950 WS
FCR -  Dave Johnson, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Ryne Duren, Hoyt Wilhelm, Joe Black, Pud Galvin, Lindy McDaniel, Jim Brosnan, Hoss Radbourn

WEEKLY THEME – MVP's who got swept in the World Series.

1927 Paul Waner
1928 Jim Bottomley
1939 Bucky Walters
1950 Jim Konstanty
1963 Elston Howard
1989 Kevin Mitchell
1990 Rickey Henderson
2012 Miguel Cabrera

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Timothy Kearns, Washington, DC

Incorrect theme guesses:

Wed        -  players with 9 or more RBI in one game

Extra       -  Each participated in but failed to win lost World Series in the corresponding year.
               -  They won their league MVP but they did not win the World Series that year as their team came up short in the Fall Classic.
               -  MVP’s that lost in the World Series
               -  They all lost the World Series.
               -  They all lost 4-0 in the World Series
               -  They did NOT lead their league in RBIs despite having the most RBIs in one game that season.
               -  All played for WS team that was swept.
               -  Played in but never won a world series
               -  Their team didn't win the World Series that season!
               -  MVP winners who lost the world series the same year.
               -  Didn't get an MVP vote the season after winning MVP
               -  Year player won MVP
               -  Win a game in the World Series.
               -  They all played in the WS that year but were all on the losing side.
               -  Players who played on losing world series teams in a year they won mvp
               -  They struck out three times in a World Series game
               -  They were all MVP's that year and, except for Cabrera, it was their only MVP.
               -  Lost  world series the year of their achievement
               -  League MVPs on World Series losing teams
               -  MVPs whose teams lost the World Series.
               -  MVP players who lost in the WS in their MVP seasons
               -  None of them GIDP despite having at least 500 AB