Sunday, March 31, 2019

2019-03-25 Hall of Famer players who attended the same high school of ANOTHER Hall of Famer

Q.        Who was the first pitcher to accumulate 3,000 career strikeouts?
Hint:     The first time an American League batter homered in his first career at bat, it was this guy who surrendered it.
Hint:     Legendary ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian graduated from the high school named for this pitcher.
-  Johnson’s 3,000th K was future fellow Hall-of-Fame-pitcher-to-be Stan Coveleski of the Cleveland Indians on 22-Jul-1923.  Closest career K total at the time was the 2,803 owned by Cy Young.  Johnson finished w/3,509 in an era when strikeouts were rarer and disdained.  His total is now 9th on the all-time list, just behind that of Gaylord Perry.
-  21-year-old St. Louis Brown second baseman Tom Stuart hit an inside-the-park homer off Johnson 08-Aug-1921.  It was Stuart’s only HR in the majors, in fact it was his only hit in the majors.
-  Kurkjian graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland in 1974.
FCR -  Charlie Riordan, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Cy Young, Christy Mathewson

Q.        Whose record for highest percentage Hall of Fame votes did Ken Griffey, Jr. break?
Hint:     His record of striking out 200 or more batters in each of nine consecutive seasons remains unmatched.
Hint:     His record of striking out ten consecutive batters in a game is equally uniquely his.
A.         TOM SEAVER  [SABR Bio]
-  Seaver garnered 98.84% of the vote in 1992.  Griffey came in hot with 99.32% in 2016.  The current record won’t be broken.
-  200+ K 1968-1975.  In 5 of those seasons he led the league.
-  On 22-Apr-1970, he threw a two-hitter against SDP for a 2-1 win. He fanned 19 of the 31 batters he faced, including the last 10 in a row. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez and reliever Heath Hembree combined to strike out 11 straight 25-Sep-2016.
FCR -  Victor Piacentile, Yorktown Heights, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux

Q.        Before Alex Rodriguez did it in 2007, who had been the last New York Yankee to drive in 150 runs in a season?
Hint:     His uniform was the first of that number to be retired.
Hint:     The Sporting News wrote, “… fans regard him as the Moses who is to lead their club out of the second-place wilderness.”
A.         JOE DiMAGGIO  [SABR Bio]
-  155 RBI in 1948 to lead the majors by almost 20.  It was his 2nd-best RBI year.
-  His #5 was retired on 18-Apr-1952, the Yankee home opener that year
-  Quote is by Dan Daniel in the March 26 edition of TSN, during DiMaggio’s rookie spring training camp.  The prior season, 1935, he had hit .398 w/34 HR & 154 RBI in San Francisco in the PCL.
FCR -  Barry Lipinski, Somerset, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses:  Lou Gehrig, Don Mattingly, Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, Thurman Munson

Q.        Whose record for most home runs in the month of April did Albert Pujols break?
Hint:     He was the last player to collect eight RBI in a game in the 20th century.
Hint:     He admitted to a failed suicide attempt shortly after his professional career began.
A.         KEN GRIFFEY, Jr.  [SABR Bio]
-  Griffey hit 13 in April 1997; Pujols had 14 in 2006 and was tied in 2007 by A‑Rod.
-  8 RBI = 08-Jul-2000
-  Ingested 277 aspirin (by his own count) in 1988.
FCR -  Stephen Klatsky, Washington DC
Incorrect guesses:  David Ortiz, Jimmy Piersall, Juan Gonzalez, Rudy York, Pedro Guerrero

Q.        For whom was the arcane “HERE” ensign hoisted?
Hint:     The Texas native was the youngest of 10 children.
Hint:     He was arrested during the same season he led his team to their first pennant in over two decades.
-  An orange flag with simply the word HERE in black, block letters, was planted at the exact location where Robinson’s towing home run landed beyond the confines of Baltimore’s old Veterans Memorial Stadium.  It was the only documented home run to leave the stadium in its
-  He was born in Beaumont, Texas but the family moved to Oakland, California when he was very young.
-  In 1961, he was arrested for carrying a firearm without a permit.  The matter was settled when he apologized and paid a $250.00 fine.
FCR -  David Umansky, Washington, DC
Incorrect guesses:  Adam Dunn, Ferguson Jenkins, Clay Bucholtz

Q.        Which slugger amassed an unprecedented 1,296 MVP votes over 9 major league seasons without ever winning the award?
Hint:     Five consecutive seasons he finished in the top five, including second place twice.
Hint:     He is the only player to get his 3,000th career hit the same season he played in the World Series.
Hint:     He holds another unusual record:  He had the longest stretch between the first and last times he hit home runs from each side of the plate in the same game.
-  Received MVP votes 1978-85, 1990.
-  From 1981 through 1985, he finished 5th, 2nd, 2nd, 4th & 5th respectively then 5th again in 1990.
-  3,000th H 30-Jun-1995 for CLE; 1995 WS CLE vs. ATL
-  A span of 16 years, 8 months & 18 days, from 03-Aug-1977 to 21-Apr-1994.
FCR -  Charlie Fouche, Dalton, Georgia
Incorrect guesses:  Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor

Q.        What Hall of Famer was forced into an early retirement because of arthritis?
Hint:     Only three other right-handed batters have a higher career batting average.
Hint:     The year Babe Ruth had an otherworldly 230 OPS+, over 450 total bases and a slugging percentage of almost .850,  he still would have needed 34 more hits just to beat this guy in that category.
Hint:     He grew up less than 4 blocks from what is now Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park; previously SBC Park; nee Pacific Bell Park).
-  Retired in 1930 at age 35 because of the pain in his wrists, but did come back two years later for 15 G w/CIN
-  Heilmann hit .342 (.3416 rounded up) over his 17-year career.  Righties above him are Hornsby [.356], Delahanty [.349] and Dave Orr [.3420]
-  In 1921 Ruth had 204 H, but Heilmann led the AL and M:B
-  Heilmann lived with his family at 708A Brannan Street in what is now the South of Market district of San Francisco.
FCR -  Michael McCroskey, Sugar Land, Texas
Incorrect guesses:  Jeff Bagwell, Rogers Hornsby, Joe DiMaggio, Sandy Koufax, Al Simmons, George Sisler

Q.        In the modern era, what fleet first baseman led the majors in stolen bases twice before Ty Cobb did even once?
Hint:     He was the best player on the best team of the first decade of the last century and accomplished most of it while also managing the team.
Hint:     Those familiar with his even temperament might be surprised to know that he was an accomplished boxer during the off-season.
A.         FRANK CHANCE  [SABR Bio]
-  67 SB in 1903 & 57 SB in 1906.. No first baseman has ever stolen more in a single year.  [Cobb’s 1st was 1909.]
-  He was 1st or 2nd in WAR on the Cubs every year 1903-1906
-   James J. Corbett and John L. Sullivan, among the best fighters of the era, both considered Chance “the greatest amateur brawler of all time.”
FCR -  Creg Stephenson, Theodore, Alabama
Incorrect guesses:  Cap Anson, Fred Clarke, Bob Bescher, Hal Chase, John McGraw

Q.        What Hall of Famer wore uniform #21 for the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Hint:     He was the first player to hit two home runs in one All-Star game.
Hint:     He was a high school classmate of Richard Nixon.
Hint:     His nephew Sparky played briefly in the majors.
A.         ARKY VAUGHN  [SABR Bio]
-  Wore #2 1932-39
-  2 AS HR 08-Jul-1941, 7th & 8th innings off Sid Hudson & Eddie Smith.  Vaughn has since been joined by Ted Williams (1946), Al Rosen (1954), Willie McCovey (1969), Gary Carter (1981).
-  Fullerton Union High School, class of 1930
FCR -  James Higgins, Bethesda, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Roberto Clemente, Ralph Kiner, Paul Waner, Lloyd Waner, Max Carey

Q.        Who was the first teenager to play for the Pirates in the 20th century? (25 G min)
Hint:     Between his first and second cycles, 3,987 days elapsed. The entire 1930s came and went before he achieved his second cycle.
Hint:     He set an American League record by hitting five pinch-hit home runs in one season.
Hint:     He was the first man to play, manage and coach in an All-Star game.
A.         JOE CRONIN  [SABR Bio]
-  Debuted in the majors for PIT on 29-Apr-1926 at age 19 yr 199 days.  Played 38 G.
-  First cycle 02-Sep-1929; next cycle 02-Aug-1940.
-  AS player 1933-35, 37-39, 41; AS manager 1934, 40, 47; AS coach 1936.
FCR -  Dave Serota, Kalamazoo
Incorrect guesses:  Pie Traynor

Q.        Who is the career leader in assists by a shortstop?
Hint:     He is not likely to be caught soon.  The leading current shortstop needs over 3,500 more to catch up.
Hint:     He was the first National League player to receive the Branch Rickey award.
Hint:     The year he led his team a pennant, he finished 2nd in MVP voting to player on a last-place team!
A.         OZZIE SMITH  [SABR Bio]
-  8,375 A as SS
-  Elvis Andrus has 4,052 going into today’s game.
-  In 1987 STL won the NL pennant w/Smith’s 6.4 WAR leading the team.  The NL MVP, however, went to Andre Dawson of the Cubs, 11 to 9.  Dawson’s 4.0 WAR didn’t even lead his last-place team.
FCR -  Lincoln Mitchell, New York City
Incorrect guesses:  Omar Vizquel, Rabbit Maranville, Honus Wagner, Pee Wee Reese

Q.        Which former MVP hit his first career grand slam in the 1,823rd game of his career, in his 7,897th career plate appearance?
Hint:     He hit it just after The Naked Cowboy streaked across Cinergy Field.
Hint:     He was SS and nine times SS.
Hint:     His brother got his first hit in the majors off the Pirates Jose Silva.
-  Streak/slam day = 20-Apr-2001.  Naked Cowboy = Robert John Burck.  HR surrendered by Al Leiter.  NL MVP in 1995.
-  Played shortstop and won the Silver Slugger award 9 times.
-  Brother Stephen got his only MLB hit 27-Sep-1998
FCR -  Jesse Asbury, Norman, Oklahoma
Incorrect guesses:  Aaron Boone, Roberto Alomar, Brett Boone

Q.        Who was the first player in organized baseball to hit sixty home runs in a season?
Hint:     He is the only player to hit a natural cycle, culminating with a grand slam.
Hint:     He was the first player to appear with teams in different leagues in consecutive World Series.
A.         TONY LAZZERI  [SABR Bio]
-  60 HR for the Salt Lake City Bees of the Pacific Coast League in 1925 in 197 games.
-  Cycle = 03-Jun-1932
-  Played for NYY in the 1937 WS; played for CHC in the 1938 WS.
FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota
Incorrect guesses:  Josh Gibson, Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Harry Davis, Lou Gehrig

Q.        What catcher caught both of Johnny Vander Meer’s no-hitters?
Hint:     He set the record for most time grounded into a double play, both for one season and for a career.
Hint:     He’s the last qualifier in this week’s theme.
-  Vandy’s no-no’s:  11-Jun- & 15-Jun-1938
-  30 GDP in 1938
-    (See below)
FCR -  J.P. Wanamaker, Binghamton, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Joe Garagiola, Johnny Riddle, Dick Stuart

WEEKLY THEME – Hall of Fame players who went to a high school that another Hall of Famer also attended.

Seaver           -   Fresno High School (Fresno, California)
Chance          -                     "

Johnson         -   Fullerton Union High School (Fullerton, California)
Vaughn         -                     "

Murray          -   Locke High School (Los Angeles)
Smith            -                     "

Lombardi      -   McClymonds High School (Oakland) 
Robinson       -                     "

Heilmann       -   Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory (San Francisco)
Cronin           -                     "

DiMaggio      -   Galileo High School (San Francisco)
Lazzeri         -                     "

Griffey          -   Archbishop Moeller HS (Cincinnati)
Larkin           -                     "

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeSteve Berman, Bergenfield, New Jersey (after Cronin)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Monday  -  Righty’s with 3k k’s
               -  Hall of Famers who attended high school in California

Tuesday -  First ballot HOF who got over 90% of the vote
               -  Hall of Famers born in November 

Wed        -  Hall of Famers with siblings who played pro ball

Thurs      -  Hall of Famers who went to school in California
-    Triple-A Baseball Alumni in the Hall of Fame

Sat          -  Hall of Famers who went to school in California
               -  Hall of Famers who made MLB debuts as teen-agers

Sunday   -  HOF players who played for Reds but set various individual
records for other teams.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019-03-18 Pitchers with a sub-2.00 ERA season in the 1960's

Q.        Who is the only pitcher in major league history besides Tim Lincecum to throw multiple no-hitters, win multiple Cy Young award and win multiple World Series championships?
Hint:     He was the youngest player ever elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Hint:     He is the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter in each of four consecutive seasons.
Hint:     Through his father, he inherited his Hungarian lineage.
A.         SANDY KOUFAX  [SABR Bio]
-  4 no-hitters =   1.) 30-Jun-1962 vs. NYM;
                           2.) 11-May-1963 vs. SFG;
                           3.) 04-Jun-1964 vs. PHI; and
                           4.) 09-Sep-1965 vs. CHC [perfect game]
-  HOF @ age 36
-  Father Jack Braun was a Sephardic Jews of Hungarian descent.
FCR -  Thomas Nester, Dix Hills, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Whitey Ford, Tom Seaver

Q.        Who was the first National League pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters in his career?
Hint:     He shared nicknames with Walter Evers and Gilbert Brack.
Hint:     He is the only pitcher to start the seventh game of a World Series more than twice in his career.
A.         BOB GIBSON  [SABR Bio]
-  3,000th K 17-Jul-1974.  Cesar Geronimo was the victim.  Amazingly Geronimo was also Nolan Ryan’s 3,000th 6 years later.  Gibson finished w/3,117 K, 2nd all-time behind only the great Walter Johnson.  Strikeout have exploded since then.  He is now 14th on the list (Johnson is 9th !)
-  He was called “Hoot” and “Gibby” calling to mind Hoot Evers & Gibby Brack.
-  Started G 7 of the 1964, 1967 & 1968 WS.  He went the distance in all 3, winning the 1st 2.
FCR -  Mark Hayne, Dumfries, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Christy Mathewson, Lou Burdette, Warren Spahn, Pete Alexander

Q.        What former Cleveland Indian is the first player elected to the Hall of Fame who had played for the Toronto Blue Jays?
Hint:     He played for the same major league franchise for 21 seasons.
Hint:     They were also the last team he played for the in the majors.
Hint:     In one three-season stretch he led the majors every year in games started, innings pitched, batters faced and hits surrendered.
A.         PHIL NIEKRO  [SABR Bio]
-  Started 3 G for TOR in 1987 after having started 20+ G for CLE the same year.  His last start ever, also in 1987, was for his longtime team, the Braves.
-  Played for MLN/ATL 1964-83, 87
- Amazing 3-yr streak 1977, 78 & 79.
FCR -  Cary Smith (on Facebook), Cooperstown
Incorrect guesses:  Not even!

Q.        Who led the American League in pitching victories the year BEFORE four Oriole pitchers each won 20 games?
Hint:     He surrendered a 3,000th hit to a Hall of Fame player born in the exact city where he had the best years of his career.
Hint:     He was the first pitcher to hit Reggie Jackson with a pitch in major league game.
A.         DAVE McNALLY  [SABR Bio]
-  Tied with teammate Mike Cuellar and Cy Young Award winner Twin Jim Perry w/24 w apiece.
-  Gave up Al Kaline’s 3,000th.  Kaline was born in Baltimore.
-  Jackson HBP in the 1st inning of 14-Jun-1967, less than a week after Jackson’s MLB debut.
FCR -  Mark Hayne, Dumfries, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Mike Cuellar, Denny McLain, Gaylord Perry, Jim Perry, Juan Pizzaro, Jim Kaat, Tm Seaver, Mudcat Grant, Mickey Lolich, Jim Palmer, Denny McLain, Steve Stone

Q.        Who is the only pitcher to win the Most Valuable Players Award unanimously?
Hint:     His battery mate came in second in the MVP voting that season.
Hint:     As you might suspect, his Cy Young Award vote that year was also unanimous.
A.         DENNY McLAIN  [SABR Bio]
-  MVP 1968; Bill Freehan was he 2nd place finisher.
FCR -  J.P. Wanamaker, Binghamton, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Don Newcombe, Bob Gibson, Steve Blass, Sandy Koufax, Ron Guidry, Roger Clemens

Q.        Who was the first pitcher to face a designated hitter in a regular-season major league game?
Hint:     He is the only pitcher since expansion began to have two (2!) scoreless innings streaks of 40 innings or more.
Hint:     He hurled more career shutouts than did Addie Joss, Kid Nichols, Mickey Welch, Chief Bender or Tim Keefe.
A.         LUIS TIANT  [SABR Bio]
-  Face first DH, Ron Blomberg, 06-Apr-1973.  Had Tiant been more efficient in those first two innings, Orlando Cepeda would have been the first DH.
-  41 scoreless innings from 28-Apr-1968 to 17-May-1968   AND…
   40 scoreless innings from 18-May-1972 to 04-Jun-1972.
-  Had 49 ShO, tied for 21st all-time
FCR -  Mary Shea, Milwaukee
Incorrect guesses:  Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Orel Hershiser, Gaylord Perry, Roger Clemens

Q.        What future former Cleveland Indian was the first American League pitcher to win the Cy Young award before his 25th birthday?
Hint:     He didn’t receive a single Cy Young votes in any other season of his 10+ year career.
Hint:     He was the winning pitcher in both games of Tommy John’s 0-2 debut season.
A.         DEAN CHANCE  [SABR Bio]
-  Won the CYA in 1964
-  Played 11 years in the majors
-  John losses”  14-Sep-1963 & 21-Sep-1963
FCR -  J.P. Wanamaker, Binghamton, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Bob Turley, Gaylord Perry, Orel Hershiser, Herb Score, Dwight Gooden, Sam McDowell, Ralph Terry, Jim Mudcat Grant, Earl Wilson, Rick Rhodes

Q.        Who holds the record for most pinch-hit home runs by a pitcher?
Hint:     He never surrendered a grand slam in his 14-year major league pitching career, but he did hit one.
Hint:     He narrowly beat out a teammate for Rookie of The Year honors.
A.         GARY PETERS  [SABR Bio]
-  Hit 15 HR as a pitcher, but had 4 additional as a pinch-hitter.
-  GS 05-May-1968 off Al Downing
-  Out-pointed Pete Ward (…referred to by Dean Chance as the AL's toughest clutch hitter)for the 1963 AL ROY.  Interestingly, The Sporting News gave their version of the award to Ward for 1963.
FCR -  Patrick Ray, Paradise Valley, Arizona
Incorrect guesses:  Don Newcombe, Wes Ferrell, Jim Palmer, Bob Lemon, Don Drysdale, Earl Wilson

Q.        Of whom did Dick Radatz apocryphally quip, "We thought he was stupid.  Turned out he was just never sober."?
Hint:     He led the American League in strikeouts five times, including the majors thrice,  and finished second once.  Never did, however, strike out Radatz.
Hint:     He was arguably the fastest pitcher in the game, but was traded to the NL for a future Hall of Famer.
A.         SAM McDOWELL  [SABR Bio]
-  Was traded to SFG for Frank Duffy and Gaylord Perry.
FCR -  Michael Campos, Redmond, Washington
Incorrect guesses:  Gaylord Perry, Bo Belinsky, Ryne Duren

Q.        Which Giants fireballer finished second to Bob Gibson in ERA in 1968 in the National League?
Hint:     In his 13-season career, he finished in the National League's top ten 3 times for ERA and WHIP, twice for shutouts, strikeouts per nine innings pitched and winning percentage.
Hint:     He was recruited by the Yankee who sent Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez to sign him.  In a brief interchange, he told Gomez he was not interested in the Yankees whereupon Gomez got back in his car and drove off.
Hint:     After baseball, he and his wife Irene achieved Diamond status as Amway distributors.
Hint:     he related this story after his time in the majors:  “We were playing a Class B team and after I struck out the last batter of the game, two women, who had been drinking, came on the field, picked me up and carried me off the field.”
A.         BOB BOLIN  [SABR Bio]
-  Finished 1968 w/ERA that rounded to 1.99.
-  Gomez story told by Bolin to SABR interviewer     
-  He pitched for MIL & BOS after his 9 years with the Giants.
FCR -  Adam Balutis, Alexandria, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Mike McCormick

Q.        What pitcher gave up Mark McGwire's first major league hit?
Hint:     His career is second in duration only to Nolan Ryan and Cap Anson’s 27.
Hint:     He led the National League in win/loss percentage twice just before having a certain procedure.
A.         TOMMY JOHN  [SABR Bio]
-  McGwire’s 1st H = 2b on  24-Aug-1986
-  Pitched for 26 years in the majors in spite of taking 1975 off.
-  In 1975 he underwent the operation that is now commonly known by his name.
FCR -  Daniel Blumenthal, Falls Church, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Jamie Moyer, Jim Kaat, Phil Niekro

Q.        Whose two votes denied Jim Lonborg a unanimous vote for his Cy Young Award?
Hint:     His September no-hitter probably had a lot to do with it.
Hint:     Or maybe it was the fact that he led the league in ERA that season.
Hint:     Seventeen years after his major league career, he played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association.
A.         JOE HORLEN  [SABR Bio]
-  1967 CYA vote = 18.0 to 2.0
-  No-no = 10-Sep-1967.  It was a HBP shy of being a perfect game. (In retaliation, Horlen himself was HBP he next inning.)
-  His 2.06 ERA led the AL in 1967.
-  His team in he SPBA was the St. Lucie Legends whose roster also included such luminaries as Bobby Bonds, Luis Tiant , Vida Blue, Graig Nettles, George Foster and Bill Madlock.
FCR -  Leland Hall, Lansing, Michigan
Incorrect guesses:  Luis Tiant, Bill Spaceman Lee, Phil Niekro, Mickey Lolich, George Brunet

WEEKLY THEME – Qualifying pitchers with a sub-2.00 ERA season in the 1960s.

Gibson..................... 1968........ 1.12

Tiant........................ 1968........ 1.60

Chance.................... 1964........ 1.65

Koufax..................... 1966........ 1.73
      "......................... 1964........ 1.74
      "......................... 1963........ 1.81

Niekro...................... 1967........ 1.87

Horlen..................... 1964........ 1.88

McNally................... 1968........ 1.95

McDowell................ 1968........ 1.95

McLain.................... 1968........ 1.96

Peters...................... 1966........ 1.98

John........................ 1968........ 1.99

Bolin........................ 1968........ 1.99

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeR.D. Lerner, Silver Spring, Maryland   (after Chance)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Wed-day -  Pitchers who played college basketball
               -  Starting pitchers with sub- 2.00 ERA since 1966

Thurs      -  40 games started in the modern era, plus 20 wins
               -  Pitchers with multiple 20 win seasons and multiple losing seasons