Sunday, September 24, 2017

2017-09-18 Top 20 career WAR right-handers

Q.        What pitcher has lost the more games than any other in major league history?
Hint:     His total innings pitched are over 1,000 more than the Hall of Famer in second place.
Hint:     Even with all his career records, the one that baseball historians feel is safest from ever being broken is his 749 complete games.
Hint:     He supplemented his baseball income by selling traveling trunks designed for ballplayers, using the proceeds to buy more of the surrounding land near his farm.
A.         CY YOUNG
-  316 losses (…by a smaller margin than you might think:  Pud Galvin lost 310.)
Galvin is again in 2nd place with a mere 646 CG’s.
FCR -  Dennis Cullen, Durham, North Carolina
Incorrect answers:  Phil Niekro

Q.        Who is the only pitcher to hit more than 200 batters in the 20th century?
Hint:     He is the only pitcher to lead his league in strikeouts more times than Nolan Ryan.
Hint:     He lost 27 career games by a score of 1-0.
Hint:     He also won 38 by the same score.
-  205 HBP 1907-1927
-  Led the AL in K’s 12 X (8 X consecutive); [Ryan did it 11 times & Randy Johnson 9]
FCR -  Michael Campos, Redmond, Washington
Incorrect answers:  Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Joe Niekro, Don Drysdale, Randy Johnson, Bert Blyleven, Kid Nichols, Steve Carlton

Q.        Only once has the modern All-Star game finished with a 1-0 score.  In that game, neither team had an RBI.  Who scored that lone run?
Hint:     He is the only player in the modern era to win his leagues home run title four times and, in four other separate seasons, win four stolen base titles in the same league.
Hint:     He starred in high school as a quarterback.
A.         WILLIE MAYS
ASG held in 1968 in Houston’s Astrodome, Mays, his team’s first batter, scored in the G’s only R when, in the 1st inning, teammate Willie McCovey (of Cove fame) hit into a double play.
-  HR titles:  51 in 1955, 49 in 1962, 47 in 1964 & 52 in 1965.  SB titles:  40 in 1956, 38 in 1957, 31 in 1958 & 29 in 1959.
-  Willie attended Fairfield Industrial High School, where he was trained to be a cleaner or presser for a laundry.  He also averaged 20 pts./G in basketball.
FCR -  Larry Hayes, San Francisco
Incorrect answers:  Tony Perez

Q.        Who played in more National League games than any other player except Pete Rose?
Hint:     Nobody in either league has more career Total Bases.
Hint:     He was the first player to hit 40 home runs in a season with fewer than 400 at‑bats.
Hint:     He, Buzz Stephens and Jeff Burroughs have all been traded for Dave May.
A.         HANK AARON
-  3,076 NL G (Musial is next w/3,026)
-  6,856 TB (Musial is next w/6,134)
-  1973 = 40 HR, 392 AB (Has since been accomplished by Barry Bonds [2003 & 04] and J.D Martinez, but only if he quits playing now.)
Dave May (Scroll to bottom for trade data.)
FCR -  Rick Tharp, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Incorrect answers:  Stan Musial, Steve Garvey

Q.        Who is the only American League pitcher to win the “Baseball Digest” Player of the Year Award since Ron Guidry won it in 1978?
Hint:     He was the first pitcher to collect 200 strikeouts in a season more than10 times in one league.
Hint:     He was the first pitcher to win 15 consecutive decisions for a Canadian team.
Hint:     He struck out the last batter he ever faced in his 24-year major league career.
-  1986 BB Digest POY
-  11 X thru 2001; 12 in all
03-Jun-1998 thru 21-Sep-1998 for TOR
-  K’ed Victor Martinez in G 3 ALDS 07-Oct-2007; Clemens played 1984-2007
FCR -  Mark Lewers, Charlottesville
Incorrect answers:  Dwight Gooden, Randy Johnson, Dennis Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Phil Niekro     

Q.        Who was the first major leaguer to win a batting title in each of three separate decades?
Hint:     He hit 24% more career triples than the next highest player in the history of his franchise.
Hint:     He hit .300 or better for 15 consecutive seasons; 17 consecutive of .299 or better.
Hint:     He’s one of the few players more bow-legged than the Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar.
-  Batting average champion in 1900, 03-04, 06-09 & 1911
-  232 3b for PITPaul Waner is next w/187.
-  .299 batting streak from 1897 thru 1913.  Averaged .269 for his last 4 seasons, finishing with a BA that’s 12th all-time among right-handers.
Wagner  -  Pillar [click to see the difference] Two pretty decent fielders.
FCR -  Adam Balutis, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect answers:  Rod Carew, George Brett, Ty Cobb, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, Ted Williams

Q.        Who is the only player-manager to win the NL MVP award?
Hint:     National League pitchers probably figured that his name appears to be plural because his baseball talent is twice that of the average major leaguer.
Hint:     He was the first 20th-century National Leaguer to collect more RBI in a season than the number of games he played (minimum 100 RBI).
MVP in 1925 managing STL, taking over from Branch Rickey after Rickey’s charges went 13-25 in the 1st 38 G.
-  His given name was the maiden name of his mother, Mary Rogers Hornsby.  (Or maybe it’s just one of those weird singulars that SEEMS plural, like kudos or biceps.)
-  It was in his first MVP season, 1925.  In 138 G he had 143 RBI, to lead the league, one of the legs of his second Triple Crown.
FCR -  Philip Bess, South Bend, Indiana
Incorrect guesses:  Frankie Frisch, Frank Robinson, Lou Boudreau, Gabby Hartnett, Pete Rose, Joe Torre

Q.        What Hall of Fame hurler led the National League in innings pitched in 6 of his first 7 seasons?
Hint:     When he retired, he was fourth all-time in innings pitched.  He is still in the Top 10.
Hint:     He is the only pitcher in major league history to cube the Triple Crown by achieving it for 3 consecutive seasons.
Hint:     He also led in complete games and shutouts all three seasons.
-  Led NL in innings 1911-1917 (Minus 1913)
-  5,190.0 IP – 10th all-time
-  Pitching TC 1915-1917 (In 6 of the 9 slots, also led the majors.)
FCR -  David Johnson, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Incorrect answers:  Christy Mathewson, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Carl Hubbell, Old Hoss Radbourn, Rube Marquard , Warren Spahn

Q.        Which player donated $200,000 to the Children's Aid Society to benefit mental health programs for Manhattan-area youth?
Hint:     He was the first shortstop to win a batting title since Dick Groat in 1960.
Hint:     He was the first high school player ever to try out for Team USA.
Hint:     He was the first player to win an American League* Most Valuable Player Award while playing on a last-place team.
Hint:     It was his first MVP, but he had already thrice finished in the top 3 in MVP voting.
-  Donation made in the spring of 2005
-  Hit .358 to take AL batting title in 1998
-  While attending Westminster Christian High School in Miami in 1993, became the first high school player to try out for Team USA in 1993 and also play with U.S. Junior National Squad that summer.
AL MVP in 2003 playing for 71-91 TEX last in the AL West.
-  Place 2nd in 1996, 3rd in 2000 & 2nd in 2002.
FCR -  Mark Hayne, Dumfries, Virginia
Incorrect answers:  Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Robin Yount, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Freddie Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Ernie Banks, Michael Young, Gary Sheffield
*Italicized words inadvertently omitted in the original question.

Q.        What former Angels outfielder played the most years in the majors among member of the 3,000-game club?
Hint:     Of all the members of the 3,000-hit club, he played for the most major league teams.
Hint:     Responding to the question of whether this player was a legitimate Hall of Famer, Bill James, James’s famously wrote, “If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers!”?
Hint:     He was acquired by the Dodgers from the Newark Bears for a shipment of 72 baseballs.
-  3,081 G, 25 years; Played for ANA in 1997
-  3,055 H, 9 different teams, i.e., OAK, NYY, TOR, SDP, ANA, NYM, SEA, BOS, LAD; (OAK four [4!] times; SDP 2 X)
-  Cited in the 2001 “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract”.  8 years later, he was inducted.
LAD’s acquisition from Newark of the independent Atlantic League was in 2003.  It was Henderson’s last stop in the Bigs.  He would play two more years professionally, for the Bears in 2003-04, finishing in 2005 in San Diego helping the independent Golden Baseball League’s Surf Dawgs win a championship.
FCR -  Josh Murphy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Incorrect answers:  Dave Winfield, Frank Robinson, Rod Carew, Eddie Murray, Cap Anson

Q.        Who is the only pitcher to strike out a minimum of 200 batters for nine consecutive seasons?
Hint:     It was very close to eleven.  He was slightly under 200 K in the bookend seasons of the streak.
Hint:     As a teenager he helped grow, harvest and ship the produce of the farms near his hometown.
Hint:     He never got to play for the major league franchise that drafted him even though that was the team he grew up rooting for.
Hint:     His farm today is near a famous spoonerism.
A.         TOM SEAVER
-  From his sophomore season (He was Rookie of the Year in 1967.) to his last full season with the Mets, he struck out an average of 214 batters per season, with his lowest total being 201 in 1974.
-  In ’67 he K’ed 170; in 77, 196.
-  Seaver was drafted and signed by ATL in March of 1966, only to have his contract nullified by Commissioner Eckert because his college season was underway at USCMets fans everywhere are appreciative to this day.
-  His father worked raisin’ raisins in the Fresno area, so young Tom did too.
-  Today his vineyards are just outside Calistoga, California, inadvertently named by early California millionaire Samuel Brannan.  Hoping for a resort area similar to New York’s Saratoga, he said, “We’ll make this the Calistoga of Sarafornia.”  Sarafornia is now a café in Calistoga.
FCR -  Dan Silverberg, Aventura, Florida
Incorrect answers:  Nolan Ryan, Bob Feller, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz

WEEKLY THEME – The only right-handed (batting) members of the top 20 in WAR.

Rank  Name             WAR

2     Young........... 168.5
3     Johnson........ 165.6
5     Mays............ 156.2
7     Aaron........... 142.6
8     Clemens....... 140.3
10    Wagner......... 131.0
12    Hornsby........ 127.0
15    Alexander...... 120.0
16    Rodriguez..... 117.7
19    Henderson..... 110.8      (BRTL)
20    Seaver.......... 110.5

FCR with theme:  Steve Berman, Bergenfield, New Jersey (after Wagner)

Here are the lefties and one switchie who round out the Top 20:

1          Babe Ruth       183.7
4          Barry Bonds    162.4
6          Ty Cobb          151.1*
9          Tris Speaker   133.7
11        Stan Musial     128.1
13        Eddie Collins   123.9
14        Ted Williams   123.2
17        Kid Nichols      116.5**
18        Lou Gehrig      112.4


Incorrect theme guesses:

Tues       -  They all have BBWAA awards named after them.
               -  Hall of Famers with the highest career WAR

Wed        -  HOF members elected first ballot
               -  HOF's playing over 20 years in majors
               -  Leading league on 30 or more positive categories during their career
               -  HOFers with 20 or more years with same franchises
               -  Players with 20+ years in the bigs
               -  Players who threw right-handed and had a war over 125 for their career
               -  Players who had a war over 140 for their career
               -  Top 8 all-time WAR
               -  Top 10 all-time wins above replacement
               -  Highest HOF vote percentages

Thu         -  Top 12 all-time WAR
               -  All had or had given up 3000 hits and 100 base on balls

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017-09-11 Non-Hall of Fame players with statues outside major league stadiums

Q.        Who was the only qualifying pitcher in either league in the 1950's to end the year with an ERA under 2.00?
Hint:     He won The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award twice in the American League in that decade.
Hint:     Carroll Hardy hit his first major league home run off him, pinch-hitting for Roger Maris.
Hint:     His record was 13-0 at home the last time his team won the pennant.
Hint:     It was the only season in his 18-year career he received Cy Young Award votes.
-  ERA was 1.97 in 1955 (Would likely have won the Cy Young Award, but it didn’t exist until 1956, the year after Cy Young died.)
-  Won the award 1956, 57
-  Homered for Maris 18-May-1958
-  Perfect at Candlestick for SFG in 1962.
FCR -  Blake Sherry, Dublin, Ohio
Incorrect guesses:  Bobby Shantz, Roy Face, Early Wynn, Whitey Ford, Bob Feller, Bob Lemon

Q.        Who is the only 20th–century rookie to win his league’s batting title?
Hint:     For good measure, he won it again in his sophomore season.
Hint:     He was the first designated hitter to homer in a major league game.
Hint:     He was the last batter to face Lew Burdette in a major league game.
A.         TONY OLIVA
-  He hit .323 in 1964 in an era that favored pitchers.  He was an All-Star that same year and was one half-hearted vote for Wally Bunker from being a unanimous Rookie of the Year.  Other rookies to win batting titles are Ross Barnes (.429 in 1876), Pete Browning (.378 in 1882), Abner Dalrymple (.354 in 1878) and Ichiro Suzuki (.350 in 2001).
-  Hit .321 in 1965.
-  1st DH HR 06-Apr-1973 off the future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter
-  He grounded into a double play 16-Jul-1967 as Burdette pitched a single inning in relief.
FCR -  David Johnson, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Ron Blomberg, Dave Winfield, Al Kaline, Fred Lynn, Rod Carew, Carl Yastrzemski

Q.        Who was the only Milwaukee native to play for the Milwaukee Braves?
Hint:     He was the first former major leaguer to host Saturday Night Live.
Hint:     There is no truth to the rumor that he drives a Chrysler of any kind, but no one said he wasn’t ready for prime time.
A.         BOB UECKER
-  B. 26-Jan-1934 in Milwaukee; played for MLN 1962 & 1963
-  SNL host 13-Oct-1984 Same day as G 4 of the WS
-  Played George Owens on all 118 episodes of the TV sitcom “Mr. Belvedere”.
FCR -  Rick Zucker, St. Louis
Incorrect guesses:  Hank Aaron, Johnny Logan

Q.        Who was the last home run champion to have fewer strikeouts than home runs that season?
Hint:     He was also the first player to hit more than one home run in his first ever World Series game.
Hint:     The year he led the league in hits, he also led in intentional walks.
Hint:     He once quipped, “I’m not sure what the hell charisma is, but I get the feeling it’s Willie Mays.”
-  1954 w/CIN, hit 49 HR & struck out 35 times
-  2 HR G 1 in the 1959 WS 01-Oct-1959
-  1955:  192 H, 25 IBB
-  In Klu’s greatest season, 1954, Mays beat him out for NL MVP, though he finished a strong 2nd place in the voting.
FCR -  Richard Walker, Arlington Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Barry Bonds, Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, Albert Pujols, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Andruw Jones, Orlando Cepeda

Q.        Who joins Hall of Famer Al Kaline as the only players to hit 375+ home runs in their careers, yet never hit more than 29 home runs in any one season?
Hint:     No other lefty has hit more career home runs or drawn more intentional bases-on-balls in the history of his 117-year-old franchise.
Hint:     …and he played for 4 other teams during his 22-year career!
Hint:     The only time he reached the World Series, his team was swept.
Hint:     He was originally scouted at age 12 by the legendary Bill Veeck.   
-  Baines - 384 career HR, season high, 29 HR in 1984.  Kaline - 399 career HR, 29 HR’s in 1962 & 1966
-  Among CHW lefties, 1st in HR & w/187 IBB
-  Played for OAK in 1990 who were swept by CIN in 1990 WS
FCR -  Scott Matteson, Shawnee, Kansas
Incorrect guesses:  Ted Kluszewski, Jim Edmonds, Eddie Murray, Vada Pinson, Eddie Murray, Jim Thome, Carl Yastrzemski, Stan Musial, Curtis Granderson, Harmon Killebrew, Larry Doby

Q.        Who was the first second baseman to win six Gold Glove awards?
Hint:     As it turns out, they were also consecutive.  Then, after a 3-year hiatus, he won two more.
Hint:     He was history’s first-ever American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player.
Hint:     He hit for the cycle the same year that his Hall of Fame teammate did.
A.         FRANK WHITE
GG’s – 1977-82, 1986-87
-  Cycle 26-Sep-1979; George Brett’s cycle 28-May-1979
FCR -  Kellin Neilson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect guesses:  Roberto Alomar, Mark Belanger, Bobby Grich, Davey Johnson, Ryne Sandberg, Bobby Richardson, Rod Carew, Robinson Cano, Carlos Baerga, Lou Whitaker, Bill Mazeroski, Nellie Fox

Q.        What former Blue Jay's apparent 300th career home run bounced off a speaker in the Kingdome, resulting instead in a lofty single?
Hint:     He had hit a home run in Briggs Stadium at age 16 as part of an all-city high school game.
Hint:     In his second major league at-bat, he homered off a future Hall of Famer.
Hint:     He was a left-handed batter until age 10, when his father changed him to right-handed in Little League.
-  Homer nixed 05Jun-1979.  The following day was his personal D-Day, when he got his 300th off future Blue Jay Jack Morris.  Horton had played 33 G for TOR in 1978.
-  A star slugger at Northwestern High School in Detroit, Horton hit a home run at Briggs Stadium (which would become Tiger Stadium the next year) in the city championship game in 1960, earning him the nickname “Willie the Wonder.”
-  Second at-bat in his 3rd G, he pinch-hit a HR off the BAL’s Robin Roberts.
-  His father, Clinton Horton, had moved the family from Arno, VA to Detroit when Willie was five years old.  Willie was the youngest of 14 children.
FCR -  David Bender, Washington, DC
Incorrect guesses:  Carlos Delgado, Prince Fielder, Joe Carter

Q.        Who broke Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey’s franchise record for most games pitched for the Cincinnati Reds?
Hint:     He is still in the team’s Top 10 all-time for Games Started, Shutouts, Batters Faced and Innings Pitched.
Hint:     His debut game in the majors did not presage a long career:  10 batters faced with only 2 retired, a wild pitch, 5 earned runs for a debut day ERA of 67.50.
Hint:     So unseemly was that start that he didn’t pitch again in the majors for another 8 years, but eventually made the National League All-Star team—twice.
Hint:     When he passed away ten years ago, his services were attended by 6,000 people.
A.         JOE NUXHALL
-     Rixey ended w/440 G for CIN in 1933.  Nuxhall’s 484 stood for 10 years and is still the top spot for left-handers.
-     274 GS = 9th; 20 ShO = 10th; 9,204 BF = 6th; IP 2,169⅓ = 6th.
-     Debut 10-Jun-1944 at the tender age of 15, facing an STL that included 5 All‑Stars two batting champions including the immortal Stan Musial.
-     All-Star in 1955 & 1956
FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Incorrect guess:  Jim Maloney

Q.        Who was the first Minneapolis native to play more than one season for the Twins?
Hint:     He was their first Minnesota Twin with a $1 Million-a-year salary.
Hint:     He homered 8 times in his first month of April in the majors.
Hint:     He is remembered for a bit of chicanery when he shoved a base runner off the bag and then tagged him out.
A.         KENT HRBEK
-  B. 21-May-1960 in Minneapolis.  Played for MIN his whole career, 1981-94.
-  Made $5.5 Million over 5 seasons, 1985-89.
-  8 HR 06-25-Apr-1982.
-  Pushed Ron Gant off of 1B & tagged him out in G 2 of the 1991 WS.
FCR -  Dan Silverberg, Aventura, Florida
Incorrect guesses:  Kirby Puckett, Ron Herbel, Chuck Knoblauch, Paul Molitor, Bob Allison, Tom Brunansky, Tony Oliva

Q.        Who holds the nearly unbreakable record for most times leading his league in being hit-by-pitch?
Hint:     He was the first native of his country to collect an RBI in an All-Star game.
Hint:     He set a record with two teammates by being three on the same team when receiving their first Gold Glove Award.
Hint:     He had his first 20/20 season with the Padres.
-  HBP AL leader 1951-54, 1956-1961 = 10X; Frankie Crosetti & Don Baylor led 8 X each; Ron Hunt & Frank Robinson did it 7 X each.
-  Native of Cuba; ASG RBI 1953, 9th inning
-  GG with Nellie Fox & Sherm Lollar in 1957, the first year the award was given
-  20 HR + 30 SB in 1950 for the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League
FCR -  David Johnson, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Ron Hunt, Craig Biggio, Roberto Alomar

Q.        Who is the first manager fired after his team won 103 games that season?
Hint:     He lost out on being the Rookie of the Year by the slimmest of margins.
Hint:     As a player, he led the league in sacrifice hits the same season he let in plate appearances.
Hint:     He was found to have a brain tumor two days after guiding his team to a victory in the All-Star game?
A.         DICK HOWSER
1980 NYY 103-59.  Gene Michael was the general manager of that team.
-  Had 6 1st-place votes to Don Schwall’s 7.
-  736 PA and 16 SH in 1964 to lead the AL, playing for CLE
FCR -  Arieh Siegal, Austin (from Facebook)
Incorrect guess:  Art Howe, Fred Hutchinson, Jim Fregosi, Yogi Berra

WEEKLY THEME – The non-Hall of Fame players whose statue likenesses adorn major league stadiums.  [Click each for photo of statue.]

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – [Null set]

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Players on the Golden Era ballot
               -  Players who received HOF votes but fell short in the 2014 Golden Era election

Wed        -  World Series participants during 10 years 1958-1967
               -  They all have their number retired (except Uecker who has 50 for his years in baseball) and have a statue
               -  None of them won an MVP or CY Young and have a statue

Friday     -  Players who made their first impact while still in high school

Sat          -  Arguably, the worst players with statues outside their home ballparks
               -  Everyone made their MLB debut before age 21
               -  All worked for teams honoring them with statues after playing careers were over
               -  All have baseball diamonds named after them
               -  World Series rings with the teams that gave them statues
               -  All statues were made/introduced after 2000.
               -  These are the most recent players given statues by their teams