Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017-10-23 AL pitchers starting WS openers in back-to-back years (Non-Yankee edition)

Q.        Who ranks third all-time in career W.A.R.?
Hint:     He was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
Hint:     An artist discovered how difficult it was to represent his legendary pitching motion.
-  3rd in WAR [But 1st in peace!] behind Babe Ruth and Cy Young, just ahead of Barry Bonds.
-  Not just 1st ballot, but 1st HOF class in 1936!
-  It’s probably best Johnson didn’t live to see this statue by Omri Amrany outside of Nationals Park.
FCR -  Morris Buenemann, Florissant, Missouri
Incorrect guesses:  Juan Marichal, Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Pete Alexander, Nolan Ryan

Q.        Who led the American League an astounding eight (8!) times in earned run average?
Hint:     Yet he ranks behind Chris Sale on the all-time ERA list.
Hint:     He was a credit to his handedness.
A.         LEFTY GROVE  [SABR Bio]
-  For good measure, he also led it a 9th time!  AL ERA leader 1926, 1929-32, 1935-36, & 1938-39.  [That’s dominance Holmes!]
-  Career ERA of 3.06 ranks 183rd whereas the 2.98 of Chris Sale ranks 167th
-  “Lefty” is a handy, obvious, organic moniker.
FCR -  Philip Fickling, San Diego
Incorrect guesses:  Lefty Gomez, Cy Young, Jim Abbot, Ed Walsh

Q.        What pitcher did baseball’s winningest manager say he would start if, “… I had one game I had to win.”?
Hint:     Baseball lore has it that he invented the slider (during a ho-hitter, no less), even though his name is the nickname of a different pitch.
Hint:     He was the first, and for half a century—only, native of his state in the Hall of Fame.
A.         CHIEF BENDER  [SABR Bio]
-  Bender pitched for Connie Mack on the Philadelphia A’s for 86% of the innings he logged in his 16-year MLB career.  Half of the remainder were thrown for the team across town.
-  His no-hitter was 12-May-1910 vs. CLE.  “Bender” is the descriptive sobriquet of a well-thrown curve ball.
HOF 1953, born in Crow Wing County, Minnesota (where the movie “Fargo” was filmed).  Dave Winfield joined him in 2001 and Paul Molitor in 2004.
FCR -  Arieh Siegal, Austin
Incorrect guesses:  Christy Mathewson, Bob Feller, Eddie Plank, Walter Johnson, Connie Mack, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Cy Young, Waite Hoyt, Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove

Q.        What World-Series-MVP-winning pitcher had career offense totals of 1 plate appearance, 1 at-bat, 0 hits, 0 walks and 4 runs scored?
Hint:     He once surrendered a home run on the VERY FIRST PITCH of the season!
Hint:     Commenting on his yet-to-bloom control, his high school baseball coach said, “He could throw hard enough to knock down the backstop.  He just couldn’t hit the backstop!”
Hint:     No other pitcher in the history of the American League has ever accumulated more career putouts.
A.         JACK MORRIS [SABR Bio]
-  1991 WS MVP.  He managers noted his speed an occasionally put him in to pinch-run.
Dwight Evans led off the 1986 season by taking Morris deep on the first pitch thrown 07-Apr at home in Detroit.
-  Highland Park High School baseball coach Bill Lorenz had that observation.
-  Leads in career AL pitcher putouts w/387
FCR -  Doug Greenwald, San Francisco
Incorrect guesses:  Eddie Plank, Rex Barney, Ron Guidry, Sandy Koufax, Roger Clemens

Q.        Whose scowl caused the earth to rumble? (Or at least so say the ancients.)
Hint:     In a four-year period, a little over half-way through his 16-year major league career, he finished 3rd, 4th, 2nd & 3rd in Cy Young Award voting.
Hint:     He once had 6 pitching victories in a single month of April.
Hint:     He also won his first 2 decisions in May that year.
-  His piercing scowl of his eyes under his cap, dark as he peered in for his sign, may not have intended to intimidate, but few batters say that it didn’t.  No one can say for sure whether this caused the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but the timing is very suspicious.
-  CYA finishes 19878-90 respectively.
-  6-0 April 1988.  He won on the 4th, 9th, 14th, 19th, 23rd & 28th of April.  2 @ home. 4 on the road.
-  In May-1988, he won on the 3rd & 8th.
FCR -  Rick Tharp, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Bob Gibson, Rich Gossage, Mitch Williams, Randy Johnson

Q.        What pitcher’s major league debut failed to impress his Hall of Fame manager, since he surrendered 10 runs in a single inning pitched?
Hint:     The local newspaper called him, “…the thinnest pitcher in captivity,” saying further that “He reported yesterday from college in North Carolina.  His front elevation is 6 feet 3 inches, and he looks as if he weighed about 110 pounds.”
Hint:     He found success elsewhere, however, with double-digits in wins in each of the next 4 seasons, two of them World Series Championship seasons.
Hint:     His chance for a third World Series ring was thwarted by his military service.
Hint:     In his career, he played for managers who took their teams to the modern World Series a total of 18 times, including winning it 8 times.
A.         ERNIE SHORE  [SABR Bio]
-  In fairness, only 3 of the runs were earned on 20-Jun-1912, hurling in mop-up relief of a lop-sided game for the Giants and manager John McGraw.
-  Quote was from The New York Times.  SABR reports that his actual weight then was 180 pounds on a 6’4” frame.
-  He was a mainstay of the Red Sox staff 1914-1917, including championship years 1915 & 1916, he enlisted in the Naval Reserves as the U.S. joined the effort in The Great War.
-  Played for McGraw (10/3), Bill Carrigan (2/2) & Miller Huggins (6/3).
FCR -  Gary Moore, Walker Michigan
Incorrect guesses:  Ken Holtzman, Clyde King, Warren Spahn

Q.        Who was the first player to hit a home in the World Series without a single plate appearance during the regular season that year?
Hint:     He once threw a no-hitter while striking out no one.  (Not perfect:  he did walk 3!)
Hint:     He received a base-on-balls in a major league game shortly after the advent of the designated hitter.  It would be a quarter century before a pitcher on that same team got one again.
Hint:     Curtis Granderson could tie him in 2018.
-  WS HR 16-Oct-1974
-  Zero-K no-no 19-Sug-1969
Bill Hands of MIN walked him on 24-Sep-1973.  (Holtzman was pinch-hitting for Joe Rudi!)  A’s Jimmy Haynes on 25‑Jun‑1998 was the next pitcher to receive such largesse at the hand of Shawn Estes of SFG.
Granderson and Holtzman are both alumni of the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Holtzman played 15 years in the majors.  The Grandy Man just finished his 14th.  (He’s not on the LAD WS roster.)
FCR -  Ralph Fessler, Ellicott City, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Catfish Hunter, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Don Gullet

WEEKLY THEME – American League pitchers who started the opening games of consecutive non-Yankee World Series.

Bender........ 1910-11..... PHA
Grove.......... 1930-31..... PHA
Holtzman..... 1972-74..... OAK
Johnson...... 1924-25..... WAS
Morris.......... 1991-92..... MIN/TOR
Shore.......... 1915-16..... BOS
Stewart........ 1988-90..... OAK

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme –  ~

Incorrect theme guesses:

Wed.       -  Left-handed Hall of Fame pitchers who started Game 1 of the World Series
               -  Hall of Fame pitchers who pitched in the World Series, who either are from, lived in or who played for teams from Maryland
Thur        -  American League starting pitchers with at least 2 world series decisions in consecutive years,
               -  World Series pitchers who pitched in both the starting game and in the World Series Clinchers.
               -  AL Strikeout Leaders who pitched in multiple World Series games, and won the Clinching Game.
Sun         -  AL pitchers that won clinching games of the WS  

Questions archived here:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017-10-16 Illinois natives in the Hall of Fame, but not because of their playing careers

Q.        Who is responsible for planting the ivy that adorns the outfield walls at Wrigley Field?
Hint:     He once said, "I try not to break the rules, but merely to test their elasticity."
Hint:     Repeating a trite trope of his generation, he said, "Baseball is the only game left for people.  To play basketball now, you have to be 7'6".  To play football you have to be the same width."
Hint:     This stunt didn’t keep him from being elected to the Hall of Fame:  He set up a card table at the owner winter meetings with an "Open for Business" sign taped to the front.
A.         BILL VEECK  [SABR Bio]
-  His sign was at the winter meetings in 1975
FCR -  Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect guesses:  Mike Ivie, Phil Wrigley

Q.        What Hall of Fame manager, admitting that he knew where his strengths lay, said, "Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it."?
Hint:     He is the only manager in the nearly 50 year history of his franchise to lead the team to a 100-win season.
Hint:     As a player, he was famous for hitting into an all-Cuban triple play.
-  In 8 years as a player for 4 MLB team, had 25 HR, a .257 BA and 3.8 WAR.  In 18 managerial season for 4 different teams, he amassed 1,281 victories, 3 pennants and a WS championship.
KCR 102-60 in 1977; lost 3-2 in the ALCS to NYY
-  Triple play on 23-Jul-1960, playing for the A’s vs. the Senators in DC, Herzog stroke a line drive that Pedro Ramos, Julio Becquer & Jose Valdivielso turned into 3 quick outs.
FCR -  Frank Workman, Lake Forest Park, Washington
Incorrect guesses:  Earl Weaver, A.J. Hinch, Cito Gaston, Mike Scioscia, Sparky Anderson, Preston Gomez, Casey Stengel, Lou PIniella

Q.        What team owner has had two major league stadiums named for him?
Hint:     Known more as a skinflint, he paid the college tuition of the sons of two of his more notable players.
Hint:     Not only does he get credit for the creation of the American League, his team won that league’s first pennant.
Hint:     His team, to this day, has never undisputedly changed its name or city since its founding over a century ago.  Only the Detroit Tigers can match that claim.
Comiskey Park I 1910-1990 & Comiskey Park II 1991-
-  Paid tuition for the sons of Ed Walsh and Billy Sullivan when the boys attended Notre Dame.
-  “Chicago White Sox” 1901-present
FCR -  Kellen Nielson, Blanding, Utah
Incorrect guesses:  William Wrigley, Henry Killilea, Connie Mack, Clark Griffith, Ban Johnson, Phil Wrigley, Augie Busch

Q.        Who led the majors in pitching victories for the first five seasons that there was such thing as a major league?
Hint:     He also led the National League in the same category in its first year of existence.
Hint:     He was the first National League pitcher to throw back-to-back shutouts.
Hint:     He helped organize the 1893 Chicago's World Fair and was a U.S. Commissioner to the Olympic Games in 1901, included, no doubt, for his good will.
A.         AL SPALDING  [SABR Bio]
-  Led the National Association in W 1871-76, pitching for the Boston Red Stockings.
-  Led the NL in W in 1876 w/47
-  Pitching for the Chicago White Stockings (Now the Cubs) in 1876, he shut out Louisville Grays in Louisville 40- & 10-0 on 25-Apr and 27-Apr, during the National League’s first week of operation.
-  That World’s Fair was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the new world, but several factors contributed to the on-year delay.  By 1901, only two of the modern IOC games had been held, Athens and Paris.  His full name is Albert Goodwill Spalding.
FCR -  Steve Berman, Bergenfield, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses:  Cy Young, Charles Radbourn,

Q.        Who was deadlocked with Ford Frick to replace Happy Chandler as MLB Commissioner?
Hint:     When he passed away, it cleared the path for the induction of a Hall of Fame catcher.
Hint:     A major postseason trophy is named after him.
A.         WARREN GILES  [SABR Bio]
-  Giles won that tug-of-war but then was succeeded by Frick later.
-  A feud with Ernie Lombardi ended with the new commish installed.
-  National League pennant, awarded after Thursday’s NLCS deciding game, was present by Joe Torre Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations, to the Dodgers.
FCR -  Tal Smith, Sugar Land, Texas
Incorrect guesses:  William Harridge, William Eckert

Q.        Who discovered Honus Wagner throwing rocks along the Monongahela river?
Hint:     He also hired young Fred Clarke as a paper boy for the Des Moines Leader.
Hint:     He experimented with night baseball more than 40 years before it became the norm in the majors.
Hint:     A major sportswriter later wrote. “Forceful, outspoken, afraid of nobody, he had been called upon many times to fight and the record is that nobody ever licked him.”
A.         ED BARROW  [SABR Bio]
-  Quote from Sportswriter Frank Graham.
FCR -  Mark Pattison, Washington, DC
Incorrect guesses:  J L Wilkinson, John McGraw, Branch Rickey, Barnie Dreyfus

Q.        What Hall of Famer not only didn’t play baseball his entire life, but had never even seen a game until he was 30 years old?
Hint:     When a famous American League president attempted to fire him for disloyalty, the league’s owners stepped in and protected him.
Hint:     He played an important part in the creation of the All-Star Game.
Hint:     He later called the 1941 All-Star Game in Detroit, won by a Ted Williams home run in the 9th, as his greatest thrill in baseball.  In the winners’ dressing room postgame, he hugged Williams.  Quoth he, “I’d have kissed him if there had not been so many people around.”
A.         WILL HARRIDGE  [SABR Bio]
-  Ban Johnson had hired Harridge as his personal secretary away from his job as a railway ticket clerk 1911.
-  Johnson loved him, then turned on him when Harridge sided with the league in a dispute.  The owners, looking for the kind of stability Johnson lacked, eventually made Harridge President of the AL.
-  The ASG was the brainchild of Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune.  He mentioned his idea to Harridge over dinner in the winter of 1932. Harridge got the AL owners to agree to a one-time event.
-  [Horsehide Trivia wishes indeed it had access to a picture of that hug!]
FCR -  Bob Flynn, Chandler, Arizona (from Facebook)
Incorrect guesses:  Curt Gowdy, Arch Ward, Tom Yawkey, Red Barber, K, Mountain Landis

Q.        What Ivy League alumnus is documented as the youngest umpire ever to officiate a major league game?
Hint:     He wrote extensively on his craft, in books, magazines and newspapers.
Hint:     He once confessed that Walter Johnson’s fastballs sometimes came to the plate so fast that he would close his eyes before making the call.
A.         BILLY EVANS  [SABR Bio]
-  Umped at age 22.  Made the jump from Class C to the AL in 1906.  Attended Cornell University.
-  For example, “Umpiring from the Inside”, a copy of which can be had on eBay for $750.
-  Few people on any team took him to task for that confession.
FCR -  Mark Pattison, Washington, DC
Incorrect guesses:  Bill Klem, Ron Luciano

Q.        Which umpire kicked Leo Durocher in the shin during a game?
Hint:     He once allowed Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn to call his own pitches in one at-bat.
Hint:     His major league debut as an umpire (He had already played in the majors.) came because umpire Red Ormsby was felled by a bout of sun stroke after working the first game of a double-header.
-  Leo attempted to kick dirt on Conlan's shoes, but slipped & kicked Conlan’ shin. Before ejecting Durocher, however, Conlan kicked him back!
-  On 25-Apr-1958… Excerpted here from p. 36 of Frank Zimniuch’s book, Richie Ashburn Remembered,
“After griping on a couple of calls in Milwaukee, Jocko said to me while I was at bat, ‘You little blankety-blank, I’m getting tired of hearing you bitch.  Let’s see how good you can call ‘em.  You call your own pitches in this at-bat.’
“The Braves catcher, Del Crandall, said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’
“I said, I know I can do a better job than you’re doing, Jocko.’
“Jocko said, ‘Play ball.’
‘Now I had a problem.  I had to worry about getting a hit and calling pitches.  And, most important, I wanted to show Jocko I knew the strikes from the balls.  The first pitch was probably low, but not wanting to take advantage of the situation, I called it a strike.  The second pitch, I flat-out blew.  The ball bounced into Crandall’s mitt and I called it strike two.
“I looked back and Crandall was laughing.  So was Jocko.
“You are probably the first hitter in the history of the major leagues to have the opportunity to call his own pitches and you missed ‘em both,’ Jocko said with haughty grandeur.  I may be horsebleep, but you’re worse than I am.  I’ll call the pitches.’”
-  Debut as an umpire 28-Jul-1935.  He would ump again the next day, but then not again in the majors for another 6 years.  He had played for CHW 1934-35.
FCR -     Larry Hayes, San Francisco
Incorrect guesses:  Lon Warneke, George Magerkurth, Bill Kunkle, Nestor Shylock, Tom Gorman

Q.        Which former battery mate ejected manager Connie Mack from a game?
Hint:     It was in Mack’s first full year as a manager and second of 53.  It was the only time he was ever ejected from a game.
Hint:     It was the umpire’s first of the 215 ejections he issued over his 35-year MLB umpiring career.
Hint:     Christy Mathewson said that arguing with him was like “… using a lit match to see how much gasoline was in a fuel tank.”
A.         HANK O’DAY  [SABR Bio]
-  Mack ejection 06-Sep-1895
FCR -  Mark Vatavuk, Erie, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Bill Klem, Charlie Moran

WEEKLY THEME – Hall of Fame, non-player natives of the state of Illinois.

Name           Born                                    HoF Yr         Elected for
Barrow....... 10-May-1868, Springfield...... 1953....... Pioneer/Executive
Conlan....... 06-Dec-1899, Chicago........... 1974....... Umpire
Comiskey*. 15-Aug-1859, Chicago........... 1939....... Pioneer/Executive
Evans......... 10-Feb-1884, Chicago........... 1973....... Umpire
Giles.......... 28-May-1896, Tiskilwa........... 1979....... Pioneer/Executive
Harridge..... 160Oct-1881, Chicago........... 1972....... Pioneer/Executive
Herzog*...... 09-Nov-1931, New Athens.... 2010....... Manager
O’Day*....... 08-Jul-1859, Chicago............ 2013....... Umpire
Spalding*... 02-Sep-1850, Byron.............. 1939....... Pioneer/Executive
Veeck......... 09-Feb-1914, Chicago........... 1992....... Pioneer/Executive
*Also played in the majors

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeLarry Hayes, San Francisco

Incorrect theme guesses:

Thursday   -     Baseball players with ballparks named after them

Sunday   -  World Series umps
               -  Illinois-born BB HOF members who distinguished themselves for accomplishments outside of baseball.
               -  Umps who played in the MLB