Monday, August 27, 2018

2018-08-20 Japanese-born All-Star pitchers

This week’s questions will be delivered in Haiku.

Q.        Groundbreaking Dodger,
            Hesitated at the top.
            No more a secret.
A.         HIDEO NOMO
-  MLB began with LAD.
-  His unusual windup seemed to include a hesitation move just before delivery.
-  ‘Nomo’ eventually known beyond the Japanese League.
FCR -  Jesse Asbury, Norman, Oklahoma
Incorrect guesses:  Fernando Valenzuela, Jackie Robinson, Clayton Kershaw, Glen Burke, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax

Q.        Why so serious?
            Does your market demand it?
            Must be a hero.
-  Seldom seems to change his facial expression while on the mound as though concentrating sternly.
-  Has been a steady #1 for the Yankees, even though New York is a tough market to perform in.
-  His first name mispronounced sounds a little like…  I’m told that it should have been rewritten by Yoda as “Mus’ a hero be.”
FCR -  Tony Monti, Whitestone, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Ichiro Suzuki, Ted Williams, Matt Harvey, So Taguchi, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Joe DiMaggio

Q.        The playoffs were rough.
You’ve come so very far.  See?
You might be whirling.
A.         YU DARVISH
-  After an outstanding career with TEX, he couldn’t seem to get anybody out in the playoffs with the Dodgers.
-  His father’s family is from Iran, where the national language is Farsi.
-  You (Yu) has a last name that calls to mind a whirling dervish.
FCR -  Steve Newton, Newcastle, Delaware
Incorrect guesses:  Wally Schang, Dice K, Clayton Kershaw, Luis Tiant

Q.        You showed us the whey.
You were a worse-to-first star.
Yummy yet again.
A.         KOJI UEHARA
-  “Whey”, a play on his last name.  [In reality only used for Little Miss Muffet.]
-  Help power BOS from a last place finish in 2012 to a World Series title in ‘13.
-  Began his career with the Yomiuri Giants.  Plays there now—new all over again.
FCR -  Vince Granieri, Cincinnati
Incorrect answers:  Ichiro Suzuki, Diasuke Matsuzka, Wei-Yen Chen

Q.        His sash is festooned
            With cumulative honors.
            The northwest is proud.
   Did really well for SEA
FCR -  David Gordon, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Felix Hernandez, Ichiro Suzuki, Jay Buhner, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Ken Griffey, Jr.

Q.        He’s fourth overall.
            She has a way with those names.
            Now he’s a golfer.
-  Became just the 4th Japanese player to appear in the majors
-  2nd line comes from his name
-  Qualified for the U.S. Amateur golf championship
FCR -  Phillip Ross, Denver
Incorrect guesses:  Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Ignasiak, John Smoltz, Lefty O’Doul, Alex Rodriguez, Hiroki Kuroda

Q.        Hector Hugh Munro
            Is not the one we seek here.
            Mariners again!
-  English author H.H Munro used the nom de plume “Saki”
-  Had an ERA of 3.14 over 4 seasons for SEA.
FCR -  Phillip Ross, Denver
Incorrect guesses:  Ichiro Suzuki, Hirohito Kurosawa

Q.        A great Sawks rookie,
            But two teammates were ahead.
            Look where you’re going!
-  Finished 6th in 2007 ROY voting, with teammates Dustin Pedroia and Daisuke Matsuzaka finishing 1st and 4th respectively.
-  Fantastic delivery motion has him not facing the plate at the moment he releases the ball.
FCR -  Dr. John Rickert, Terre Haute
Incorrect guesses:  Daisuke Matsuzaka

Q.        West coast dominates.
            This theme shouldn’t be that hard.
            This is the last one.
-  Debuted with a west-coast MLB team, as did Nomo, Hasegawa, Iwakuma & Sasaki.
-  Many readers guessed the week’s theme.
FCR -  Mass seppuku?
Incorrect guesses: 

WEEKLY THEME – Japanese-born major league All-Star pitchers

Pitcher                Born in                All-Star Year(s)
Darvish............ Habikino................ 2012-14, 2017
Hasegawa....... Kobe..................... 2003
Iwakuma.......... Higashi Yamato...... 2013
Nomo............... Osaka................... 1995
Okajima........... Kyoto.................... 2007
Saito................ Sendai.................. 2007
Sasaki.............. Sendai.................. 2001
Tanaka............. Itami..................... 2014
Uehara............. Neyagawa............ 2014

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeDr. John Rickert, Terre Haute, Indiana on Wednesday, when he posted:

Tasty clue confused.
But Koji Uehara
Was worst-to-first star.

Players from Japan
who played in the All-Star game
is my next wild guess.

Incorrect theme guesses:

Monday  -  Won Cy Young Award before age 25

Tuesday          -Played in other league
then won M L B award
that’s my first theme guess

I was wrong Monday
But now I think the theme is
Japanese All Stars

-        Japanese born who made the All-Star team

Wed-      -     The theme of the week
-        Japanese all star players
-        To play in world series

-        Players from Japan
who played major league baseball
in the post-season

-        Japanese pitchers who have started Opening Games
               -     Players who were both MVPs in Japan and all stars in the majors
   -     Top Int'l market signings

Thursday-     Players from Japan who earned some M V P votes
-        Japanese pitchers with most MLB wins
-        Japanese pitchers with most MLB WAR

Sunday   -     Notable Japanese pitchers to play in MLB

Monday, August 20, 2018

2018-08-13 Black Hall of Famers born in Alabama

Q.        Who was the first black player to pitch in a World Series game?
Hint:     It was a World Series that his team won.
Hint:     Not many people remember that he played for the Pilots.
Hint:     He appeared in a major Hollywood movie with Robert Mitchum and Julie London.
A.         SATCHEL PAIGE  [SABR Bio]
-  In the 7th inning of G 5 of the 1948 WS, Paige got Warren Spahn to fly out, balked Eddie Stanky to 2b then finished the inning by inducing Tommy Holmes to ground out to SS.
-  Cleveland celebrated appropriately.
-  His last professional team was the Carolina League’s Peninsula Pilots of Hampton, Virginia.  Also known as the Peninsula Grays, Johnny Bench was a teammate,  but Paige only pitched one game.
FCR -  Saul Wisnia, Newton Center, Massachusetts
Incorrect guesses:  Joe Black, Don Newcombe, Mudcat Grant, Dan Bankhead 

Q.        Which former Negro Leaguer was named Special Assistant to the Commissioner just prior to MLB’s playoff era?
Hint:     At the time of his death, he was the oldest living former Negro Leagues player.
Hint:     He mentored a future Hall of Fame legend, returned to the minors to play where that legend had played, then beat him to the Hall of Fame.
Hint:     He was teammates with Tommy Lasorda  and Sparky Anderson and beat both of them to the Hall as well.
A.         MONTE IRVIN  [SABR Bio]
-  William Eckert named Irvin to the office in 1968.
-  Died 11-Jan2011 in his 97th year.
-  Willie Mays was his protégé on the New York Giants in 1951.  Irvin (HOF 1973); Mays (HOF 1979).  Irvin played for Minneapolis Millers in 1955 where Mays had played in 1951.
-  Played with Tommy Lasorda (HOF 1997) & Sparky Anderson (HOF 2000) on the 1957 Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League.
FCR -  Bill Deane, Cooperstown
Incorrect guesses:  Buck O'Neil, Martin Dihigo, Buck Leonard, Roy Campanella, Josh Gibson Larry Doby, Judy Johnson

Q.        Who is the only batter to homer in every inning of a game (Not the same game;  that would be a record.), innings 1 through 16 inclusive?
Hint:     His nickname is the same as that of a player who was one of last week’s answers.
Hint:     He set the record for winning MVP awards with the most years intervening.
A.         WILLIE MAYS  [SABR Bio]
-  This shows his 1st HR in innings 1-13 then his only HR hit in innings 14-16.  Notice who is first and last on the list.
Inn.         Date                   Pitcher                       Of         Venue
  1      28-May-1951       Warren Spahn             BSN          Polo Grounds
  2       06-Jun-1951       Willie Ramsdell            CIN           Polo Grounds
  3       18-Apr-1954       Carl Erskine                 BRO         Ebbets Field
  4       27-Jun-1951       Don Newcombe           BRO         Polo Grounds
  5      30-Aug-1951       Vern Law                     PIT           Polo Grounds
  6       23-Jun-1951       Turk Lown                   CHC          Wrigley Field
  7       18-Jun-1951       Joe Presko                  STL      Sportsman's Park
  8       17-Jun-1951       Howie Pollet                PIT           Forbes Field
  9       22-Jul-1951        Ken Raffensberger       CIN           Polo Grounds
10       22-Jun-1951       Dutch Leonard             CHC          Wrigley Field
11       04-Jul-1955        Lino Donoso                PIT           Forbes Field
12       04-Jun-1955       Warren Hacker            CHC          Polo Grounds
13       03-Jul-1951        Jocko Thompson         PHI           Polo Grounds
14       30-Apr-1954       Warren Hacker            CHC          Wrigley Field
15      27-Sep-1968       Ted Abernathy             CIN           Crosley Field
16       26-Jul-1963        Warren Spahn             MIL           Candlestick Park
-     Nicknamed “Buck”, as is Byron Buxton.
-     MVPs in 1954 and 1965.  Record was broken by Barry Bonds when he won the MVP in 2002, having first won it in 1990.
FCR-   Victor Piacentile, Yorktown Heights, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Robin Yount, Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron

Q.        Who owns two of the sport’s most impressive orange numbers?
Hint:     He wasn’t bad as a clown.
Hint:     Won more Gold Gloves than you might guess.
Hint:     Won fewer MVPs than you might guess.
A.         HANK AARON  [SABR Bio]
-  In, an orange color surrounding a statistic, indicates that the bearer is the all-time career leader in that category.  Aaron owns the lofty 2297 runs batted in and 6856 total bases.
-  Played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues and later was tagged with the sobriquet “Bad Henry”, an ironic comment on his naturally pleasant disposition, but also on his bat, so unkind to National League pitchers.
-  Won 3 GG
FCR-   Gary Sarnoff, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Larry Doby, Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Barry Bonds, Vic Power, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Rusty Staub

Q.        Who was the last player to win the Arch Ward Memorial Award?
Hint:     He won it the year after his double play grounder plated the first All-Star run ever scored indoors.
Hint:     He now has an eponymous baseball name-place associated with outstanding achievement.
Hint:     No National Leaguer owns more career grand slams.
A.         WILLIE McCOVEY  [SABR Bio]
-  Arch Ward Memorial Award was given out from 1962 to 1969.  It was named for the man who is primarily responsible for the modern All-Star Game, first played in 1933.  The award’s name was changed to the “Commissioner’s Trophy” in 1970 when Car Yastrzemski won it.  Other changes followed.  McCovey homered twice in the ’69 game.
-  In the 1968 ASG, McCovey hit the double-play grounder that scored Willie Mays for the game’s only run.  The venue was the Astrodome.
-  McCovey Cove, a small section of the San Francisco Bay, is where a long home run to right field at AT&T Park might land.
-  Has 18 GS, all in the NL.  Next are Ryan Howard w/16 and Gil Hodges w/14.
FCR -  Dr. Gary Stone, Centerport, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Alex Bregman, Willie Mays, Jeff Bagwell, Ernie Banks, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez

Q.        What future former Oakland A’s designated hitter was, ironically, the first position player to win the Baseball Digest “Player of the Year” award?
Hint:     No one in the decade 1961-1970 had more major league at-bats.
Hint:     He was the first player in the history of his franchise to win the Rookie of the Year Award, but then a teammate won it the very next season.
Hint:     He twice finished in the top two in MVP voting, finishing behind the same Hall of Famer each time.
-  BBD POY 1970 (The award began in 1969 when Tom Seaver won it.)  Williams played for OAK 1975-76.  After being traded to the A's, and knowing their reputation for a rough and tumble team, he said, “I brought my outfielder’s glove, my first baseman’s glove and my boxing gloves!"
-  6,251 ABs
-  #2 in MVP in 1970 & 1972, finishing behind Johnny Bench twice!
FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Incorrect guesses:  Orlando Cepeda, Reggie Jackson, Maury Wills, Rickey Henderson, Don Baylor, Matty Alou, Frank Robinson, Joe Rudi

Q.        What Padres player led the majors in games played and plate appearances during a season with a work stoppage?
Hint:     While it is widely held that Gold Gloves are sometimes awarded for offensive prowess, the year this player won a Silver Slugger Award, he clearly earned it with his bat, with a WAR more than four times higher than the next best player at his position.
Hint:     His performance on the field was influenced by a factory across from the home where he grew up.
Hint:     He was the first National League winner of the Branch Rickey Award.
A.         OZZIE SMITH  [SABR Bio]
-  110 G & 507 PA during 1981.
-  SS won in 1987 w/WAR of 6.5.
-  The factory’s piles of sawdust were where he perfected his back-flip.
-  The Branch Rickey Award was given annually to a major leaguer in recognition of exceptional community service.  Smith won the award in its 3rd year, 1994.
FCR -  Chaunce Venuto, Tooele, Utah
Incorrect guesses:  Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Steve Garvey, Ken Caminiti, Joe Carter, Gary Templeton

Q.        Who hit the first ever home run in the history of the East-West game?
Hint:     Missing history by inches, his career in the Negro Leagues ended the same year Commissioner Landis died.
Hint:     He swung a 50-ounce bat in games.  [Tony Gwyn’s heaviest was 32 ounces.]
Hint:     One observer said, “He was kind of a genteel person.  He was friendly, but when he was on the field, he went to play.  He was all business.”
A.         MULE SUTTLES  [Bio]
-  East-West Game was the Negro Leagues equivalent of MLB’s All-Star Game.  Suttles, playing for the West, hit the first homerun 10-Sep-1933 at Comiskey Park, bottom of the 4th.
-  K. M. Landis died 25-Nov-1944.  That was Suttles’ last season.  Landis had vehemently blocked any consideration of blacks ever playing in the majors.
-  Heavy bats were not uncommon in all of baseball, but 50 ounces must be close to a record if used regularly.
-  Quote from Red Moore.
FCR -  Joseph Cosgriff, New York City
Incorrect guesses:  Josh Gibson, Slim Jones, ,Ken Caminiti

WEEKLY THEME – African-American Hall of Famers born in the state of Alabama.

Player           HOF yr            Born                     In___

Paige............ 1971......... 07-Jul-1906.......... Mobile
Irvin............... 1973......... 25-Feb-1919......... Haleburg
Mays............. 1979......... 06-May-1931........ Westfield
Aaron............ 1982......... 05-Feb-1934......... Mobile
McCovey...... 1986......... 10-Jan-1938......... Mobile
Williams........ 1987......... 15Jun-1938.......... Whistler
Smith............ 2002......... 26-Dec-1954........ Mobile
Suttles.......... 2006......... 31-Mar-1901......... Edgewater (Blocton)

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeDavid Gordon, Chevy Chase, Maryland (after Williams)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Men elected to the Hall by the Special Negro Leagues Committee.
               -  MLB Hall of Famers who played in both the major and the Negro Leagues
               -  Hall of Famers who were ever signed with the Newark Eagles (even if they didn't play for them)
               -  Players who won a Negro League and a Major League World Series

Wed        -  Hall of Famers who played in the Negro Leagues who started WS games
-   Giant hof/mvps who played with other teams.
-   Players who won a Negro League and Major League World Series
-   Alabama-born Hall of Famers.

Friday     -  SF Giants who have had their number retired
-   Ball players from Mobile