Monday, December 17, 2018

2018-12-10 Players whose single vote prevented a unanimous MVP vote

NOTE:  This week’s theme and questions have been prepared by reader Mike Caragliano.  For those not yet apprised of his renown, he has been the SABR National Trivia Contest Individual Champion four (4!) times and has six (6!) times been a member of the championship team.  In 2012 in Minneapolis he took home each title.

Q.        With the retirement of Adrian Beltre, who is now the active MLB leader in hits, games played and at-bats?
Hint:     He was already the active leader in home runs.
Hint:     …and RBIs.
Hint:     Not to mention walks, runs and extra base hits.
Hint:     As for grounding into double plays… he’s already the all-time leader.
-  Pujols is currently sitting on these career MLB-Leading numbers:
H:.......... 3,082
G:.......... 2,692
AB:...... 10,196
HR:........... 633
RBI:....... 1,982
BB:........ 1,279
R:.......... 1,773
XBH:...... 1,288
GIDP:....... 374 (…passing Cal Ripken in 2017)
FCR -  Tom Lee, Nashville
Incorrect guesses:  Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Holliday

Q.        Who is the only active player with four batting titles?
Hint:     He is the only other player to collect 50 doubles in a season in the American League and the National League.
Hint:     By a razor-thin margin, he is the active leader in batting average.
Hint:     He started his major league debut hitless in his first four trips to the plate, but ended it with a walk off home run in the 11th.
-  2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
-  50 2b  in 2006; 52 2b in 2014
-  Avg leader @ .3165 to Jose Altuve’s .3164.
-  Debut game 20-Jun-2003
FCR -  John E. Ralston, Jr., Rockford, Illinois
Incorrect guesses:  Jose Altuve, Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki

Q.        Who is the only member of the 500 home run club who never hit 30 home runs in back-to-back seasons?
Hint:     He hit his 500th on the anniversary of his first.
Hint:     The pitcher who served up #500 is currently a major league skipper.
Hint:     His acting prowess landed him a killer role in Hollywood.
-  The closest he came was 1973-75 w/32, 29, 36 respectively.
     He led the AL in 73 & 75
-  #1 = 17-Sep-1967; #500 = 17-Sep-1984
-  Bud Black the pitcher now manages COL
-  Hypnotized to kill Queen Elizabeth in the first Naked Gun movie.
FCR -  John Rickert, Terre Haute
Incorrect guesses:  Manny Ramirez, Ted Williams, Eddie Murray, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome

Q.        Who was at the epicenter of arguably the most productive single inning in American League history?
Hint:     He was the only Minnesota Twin in uniform for all three of their pennant-winning seasons.
Hint:     He broke DiMaggio's streak... no, not THAT streak!
A.         TONY OLIVA  [SABR Bio]
-  AL champion MIN hit a record 5 HR in one inning 09-Jun-1966; his HR was the 3rd.  The teammate who did likewise were Rich Rollins, Zoilo Versalles, Don Mincher & Harmon Killebrew.  Jimmie Hall’s double after the HRs made it a 22-total bases inning.
-  Player = 1965; Hitting coach = 1987; Bench coach = 1991
-  Oliva made the All-Star team his first 8 MLB years. DiMaggio had made it the first 7 before WWII ended his streak.
FCR -  Laurel Prieb, New York City
Incorrect guesses:  Paul Molitor, Gene Larkin, Gene Stephens, Dick Gernert, Billy Gardner, Gary Gaetti, Frank Quilici, Tom Kelly, Cesar Tovar, Kirby Puckett, Rick Renick

Q.        What one-time Cardinals switch-hitter homered in the game where Cal Ripken eclipsed Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-games-played record?
Hint:     He was once traded for a Hall of Famer mid-season. By the next Opening Day, the team the Hall of Famer was playing for then traded to acquire him, as well.
Hint:     Though an American citizen, he eagerly awaits Dominion Day every year.
A.         BOBBY BONILLA  [SABR Bio]
-  Bonilla’s 213th career HR on 06-Sep-1995 was just before teammate Cal Ripken went back-to-back to open the bottom of the 4th.  As the 5th inning ended, Cal secured his 2,131st straight game.
-  FLA acquired Bonilla from LAD for Mike Piazza in May, 1998. That November, NYM, who now had Piazza, traded to bring Bonilla back to Shea Stadium.
-  Canada’s approximate equivalent of the U.S.’s celebration on the 4th of every July, is Dominion Day, sometimes called Canada Day and is honored every 1st of July.  (TOR always looks very festive that day.) So why does Bonilla look forward to it you ask?  That’s the day every year when receives a payment of $1,193,248.20 US every year as he result of a buy-out agreement reached with NYM when he separated from them.  Many on both  sides of the border now just call it Bobby Bonilla Day.
FCR -  Bill Helm, Cottonwood, Arizona
Incorrect guesses:  Fernando Tatis, Ted Simmons, Kendrys Morales, Jim Edmonds

Q.        What Redleg once swiped an eye-popping 88 stolen bases in his best season?
Hint:     Appropriately, he stole the first base ever stolen in an A.L.C.S. game.
Hint:     In his lone appearance on the mound in the majors, he fanned Reggie Jackson.
Hint:     He played for Billy Martin in three cities because, “…the little guy can beat you in so many ways.”
A.         CESAR TOVAR  [SABR Bio]
-  88 SB for the Class D Geneva Redlegs, 1961
-  Game One, 1969,Twins/Orioles
-  Jackson K = 22-Sep-1968, when Tovar appeared at all nine positions.
-  Quote is from Tovar's SABR biography [See above.]
FCR -  Jim Casey, Savannah
Incorrect guesses:  Vada Pinson, Rickey Henderson, Bob Bescher, Dave Collins, Tommy Harper, Javier Baez

Q.        Who is on record as the first little leaguer to make the big leagues?
Hint:     Missed milestones by THAT much!
Hint:     The first batter he ever faced had famously missed half a season four years prior.
Hint:     The final major league pitch he ever threw was also the very last pitch his battery mate caught in the Bigs.
A.         JOEY JAY  [SABR Bio]
-  Dates of his Little League career in Connecticut were not available at press time.  He debuted in the majors 21-Jul-1953.
-  He fell short of 100 career wins and 1,000 career strikeouts by one:  99 & 999 respectively.
-  Eddie Waitkus had been the target of more than trade rumors.
-  He and batterymate Ed Sadowski played their final MLB game 02-Oct-1966.
FCR -  Tom Missett, Southington, Connecticut
Incorrect guesses:  Jerry Walker, Gene Conley, Steve Carlton, Nick Buss, Rick Wise, Billy Connors

Q.        Which Cubs infielder was the final major league batter that the late Jose Fernandez ever faced?
Hint:     He is a front-runner to replace a popular infielder from the Island of Healing.
Hint:     A post-season MVP award seems to help scouts overlook his fielding stats.
-  Vs. Fernandez on 20-Sep-2016.  Murphy grounded out.
-  Jonathan Schoop, native of Curaçao (Vitamin C in the fruit there saved many a scurvied Portuguese sailor in the 16th and 17th centuries, which explains ONE of the theories of the origin of the island’s name.)  As a result, MIL is looking at free agent Murphy to replace Schoop at second base.
-  Was the MVP of the 2015 NLDS, but is regularly near the bottom of the league in fielding stats.
FCR -  John Hill, Atlanta
Incorrect guesses:  Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist

Q.        What Mets hurler once quit on Davey Johnson and threatened to walk off the team?
Hint:     He was one of two New York hurlers to make his major league debut in the same game.
Hint:     All-time win #2 was also win #4,000.
Hint:     The last pitch of his career resulted in his 1,000th strikeout.
A.         JACOB DeGROM
-   managed a wood-bat summer league in 2009.  DeGrom’s coach wanted to move him from shortstop to pitcher and asked Johnson for help.  DeGrom didn’t take too kindly to the experiment and threatened to quit.  New York Newsday of 10-Nov-2018 has the full story.
-  Opposing starter, NYY’s Chase Whitley, also made his MLB debut 15-May-14.
-  DeGrom’s second career win, on 08-Jul-2014 was the 4,000th all-time win for the New York Metropolitans franchise
-  K’d the last batter he faced in 2018, Ozzie Albies on 26-Sep, to reach the round-number milestone.
FCR -  Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Ralph Terry, Jesse Orosco, Roger McDowell, Rick Aguilera, Tom Browning, John Lannan

WEEKLY THEME – Players who collected a single Most Valuable Player Award vote that prevented that year’s BBWAA honoree from being a unanimous selection.

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeMark Kanter, Portsmouth, Mass (after prompt).

Caragliano explains, “BBWAA is an important qualifier.  Votes for the MVP award were calculated differently before 1931.”  I wasn't around in the 60’s, so, looking at the decade, I don't know what shocks me more- that Carl Yastrzemski did not get a unanimous MVP bid (it was a TRIPLE FREAKIN’ CROWN, for crying out loud!), or that Zoilo Versalles almost did (man, how weak was the American League in 1965?)

Here they are, MVPs one tick away from unanimity and the undeserving wretches who denied them that distinction.

Incorrect theme guesses:

Monday  -  Angels first basemen/DHs who have won the MVP.
               -  Hall of Fame caliber players who have been signed to onerous, budget‑busting contracts

Sunday   -  Comeback players of the year.
               -  MLB Players of the Month
               -  All were identified by Topps on “Rookie Star” cards
               -  One player at each position in organizations where Billy Martin once managed
               -  All “undeserving” winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
               -  Gold glove award winners who lead the league in errors at their position
               -  Disputed award winners
               -  All comeback player of the Year at one point

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