Sunday, June 23, 2019

2019-06-17 Batters who were second in home runs on their team in a year when the team leader hit 60.

Q.        Who was the first New York Yankee to be voted American League MVP twice?
Hint:     His own teammate kept the first one from being unanimous.
Hint:     His first-ever major league stolen base was a steal of home.
Hint:     He hit a home run and stole home in the same game six times in his career.
A.         LOU GEHRIG  [SABR Bio]
-  MVP 1927, 1936
-  Tony Lazzeri received a single first-place MVP vote in 1927.
-  1st SB = 24-Jun-1925 [Double steal w/ Wally Schang taking 2nd base]
-  HR + SBH = 29-Jun-1927; 30-Jul-1927; 19-Jul-1929; 07-Jun-1930; 15‑Apr‑1931 and 12-Apr-1932.  The last one was on Opening Day.
FCR -  Jeff Orner, York, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Roger Maris

Q.        Who was the subject of Jane Leavy’s second baseball biography?
Hint:     As a youngster, he was so physically unimposing that when his dad took him for a workout with the sad-sack St. Louis Browns, they sent him home without even letting him on the field.
Hint:     Nevertheless, he and a famous teammate were both recruited to play football at a major college football powerhouse.
Hint:     The best catch he ever made was the most important one.
A.         MICKEY MANTLE  [SABR Bio]
-  The glory of SLB’s lone pennant was probably still fresh enough.  
-  Both he and Roger Maris could have played football at the University of Oklahoma.
-  In the 1956 WS, he raced down a deep drive to centerfield off the bat of BRO’s Gil Hodges.  The play helped preserve Don Larsen’s perfect G.
FCR -  John Gottko, Corvallis, Oregon
Incorrect guesses:  Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Billy Martin, Roy Sievers

Q.        What former Texas Ranger is the proud owner of an eight-RBI inning?
Hint:     Teammate Eli Marrero homered in that same inning.
Hint:     His offspring, already forecast for bigger things, will likely never eclipse that single feat.
A.         FERNANDO TATIS (Sr.)  [B-R page]
-  2 grand slams were all that was needed 23-Apr-1999.
-  LAD’s Chan Ho Park surrendered all 3 HR that inning.
-  Fernando Tatis, Jr. is so promising that he bumped the $300,000,000 Manny Machado over to 3rd base.
FCR -  Kevin Johnson, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Incorrect guesses:  Pudge Rodriguez, Vlad Guerrero, Juan Gonzalez, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Adrian Beltre

Q.        What New York Yankee slugger is famous for sharing a name with a candy bar?
Hint:     He led the majors in strikeouts by a batter one year but was still an All-Star.
Hint:     It was the only black ink he ever mustered in a respectable eleven-year, 950-game career.
A.         HENRY RODRIGUEZ  [B-R page]
-  Oh Henry candy bars were often thrown onto the field when he homered for any of the 5 MLB teams he played for.  Played for NYY in 2001.
-  AS in 1996.
FCR -  Steven Wright, Naperville, Illinois
Incorrect guesses:  Reggie Jackson, Babe Ruth, Joe Gordon, Jack Clark, Steve Balboni,

Q.        Who led all National League shortstops defensively in double plays and putouts but also wielded a decent bat by leading the whole league in hits in the first year of the century?
Hint:     He is partnered with a current major league manager in a Napa Valley winery.
Hint:     When his double-play partner won the league MVP, he led all shortstops in the league in home runs.
Hint:     His school became more politically correct when he was in college there.
A.         RICH AURILIA  [BR-page]
-  2001 = 206 H
-  His business partner is Dave Roberts who was his teammate on SFG 2007-08.  Roberts has managed LAD since 2016 and twice won the NL pennant.
-  Had 20 HR in 2000.  Jeff Kent was NL MVP in Y2K.
-  St. John’s University Redmen became the Red Storm in 1994. 
FCR -  Josh Murphy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Incorrect guesses:  Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Correa?

Q.        What St. Louis Cardinal, in the only All-Star appearance of his fourteen-year major league career, became the last 20th century National Leaguer to play a complete All-Star Game?
Hint:     He was the first batter to hit two upper-deck home runs in a game at Cinergy Field.
Hint:     In spite of striking out 100 or more times for eleven consecutive seasons, he only led the league once in that category.
A.         RAY LANKFORD  [B-R page]
-  2 HR = 15-Jul-1997.  Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium became Cinergy Field in 1996.
-  100+ K = 1991-2001, basically every year he played at least 100 G.  Led the NL w/147 in 1992.
FCR -  Jesse Asbury, Norman, Oklahoma
Incorrect guesses:  Mark Whiten

Q.        Who has the most career pinch-hit home runs by a player not born in the United States?
Hint:     His home country has elected him to their baseball Hall of Fame.
Hint:     His first franchise and his last one was the same franchise although they were different teams.
Hint:     He owns a well-deserved World Series ring.
A.         MATT STAIRS  [B-R page]
-  Has 23 PH HR, most by any player.
-  CBHOF in 2015
-  1992-93 played for MON.  2011 finished w/WSN.
-  Helped PHI win the 2008 WS by helping them get there with a dramatic HR in the NLCS.  Matt Zolecki, writing for MLB, has called his pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning of G 4 in the 2008 NLCS off the LAD reliever Jonathan Broxton “…one of the most memorable home runs in Phillies history.”
FCR -  Sarah Grynpas, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Rico Carty, John Vander Wal, Rusty Staub, Manny Mota

Q.        Who was the first 20th century National League player to collect six hits in the game where he hit for the cycle?
Hint:     He purchased 200 tickets for each Sunday home game from for four years to give to underprivileged children in the city where he played at the time.
Hint:     His father-in-law was, for a time, former MLB manager Jerry Manuel.
A.         RONDELL WHITE  [B-R page]
-  Cycle/6 H day = 11-Jun-1995
-  Donations made 1997-2000 to children in Montreal.
-  Married for 18 months to Manuel’s eldest, Angela.
FCR -  Ken Kirk Corning, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Curtis Granderson, Dave Winfield, Jose Valentin, Rickey Henderson

WEEKLY THEME – Batters who were second in home runs on their team in a year when the team leader hit 60.  Thanks to Mike Caragliano for this idea.

Year       Team__ Player            HR        Leader        HR
1927...... NYY...... Gehrig........... 54.......... Ruth......... 60
1961...... NYY...... Mantle........... 54.......... Maris........ 61
1998...... STL....... Lankford........ 31.......... McGwire... 70
1998...... CHC...... Rodriguez..... 31.......... Sosa......... 66
1999...... CHC...... Rodriguez..... 26.......... Sosa......... 63
1999...... STL....... Tatis.............. 34.......... McGwire... 65
2001...... SFG....... Aurilia........... 31.......... Bonds....... 73
2001...... CHC...... Stairs............ 17.......... Sosa......... 64
2001...... CHC...... White............ 17.......... Sosa......... 64

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Dan Massey, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (after Aurilia)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Iron men at each position
               -  Yankee HR leaders at each position
               -  P layers who had multiple salamis within a single week

Wed        -  Players who had multiple salamis within a single week
               -  Best HR combinations by teammates
               -  The lesser half of most single season teammate HR combos, like A-Rod (& Griffey) and Palmeiro (& A-Rod) and Lankford (& McGwire).  Maybe Utley (& Howard).

Thurs      -  One-Time All-Stars

Friday     -  They are all 1/2 of the teammates with the most home runs in one season.
               -  They are all the lower 1/2 of a pair of teammates that when combined the teammate who hit more home runs, hit the most home runs by any pair of teammates.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

2019-06-10 Former infielders who are currently broadcasters for MLB games


Q.        What AL ROY SS won the SS the same year?
Hint:     A slugger with a perfect eye-sight home run stat line bumped him off the Double Unique list.
Hint:     He is part owner of a business in his wife’s profession.
-  Shortstop Garciaparra, known to adjust and re-adjust his batting gloves several times per at-bat, won the Silver Slugger Award in his rookie season when he also won the American League Rookie of the Year Award, 1997.
-  When Nomar Mazara came to bat in the 1st inning of 10-Apr-2018, Garciaparra was no longer MLB’s only Nomar and was relegated to the 2nd tab.  Mazara has hit exactly 20 HR in each of his previous three seasons in the majors.  He’ll have to slow down a bit to repeat a fourth time this year.
-  He is married to famous soccer star Mia Hamm and in November 2014, he became a minority investor in MLS franchise Los Angeles F.C.
FCR -  Steven Harmon, Sacramento
Incorrect guesses:  Alex Rodriguez

Q.        Who was the last American League second baseman to win a home run title?
Hint:     He as the first player at any position to win one for his franchise.
Hint:     He also led the league that season in slugging, OPS+ and won his only Silver Slugger Award, but couldn’t break the Top Ten in MVP voting.
Hint:     He signed a letter of intent to play football at a major D-1 football university when their Hall of Fame football coach “…practically guaranteed him a clean shot at the Heisman Trophy his senior year.”
A.         BOBBY GRICH  [SABR Bio]
-  22 HR in the labor-strife-shortened season of 1981, tied with Eddie Murray, Tony Armas, Dwight Evans to lead the AL.
-  1st Angel to be a league HR leader.
-  .543 SLG 15 OPS+ and 14th in MVP voting.
-  Guarantee quote is from a newspaper account citing UCLA coach Tommy Prothro.
FCR -  Paul Nielsen, Bowie Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Rogers Hornsby, Cal Ripken, Robinson Cano, Napoleon Lajoie, Bret Boone, Aaron Hill, Vern Stephens

Q.        Whose record for doubles in a season by a switch-hitter did Jose Ramirez tie in 2017?
Hint:     The second year he made the All-Star team, he led the league in stolen bases.
Hint:     He attended the north and south version of same-named schools.
Hint:     He is second all-time in career stolen bases for his team; third for his franchise.
-  56 2b by Roberts in 2009.
-  50 SB in 2007
-  Alumnus of University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina.
-  His 278 SB trails Brady Anderson’s 307, but also George Sisler’s 351 done with the Browns before they became the Orioles.
FCR -  Mike Anderson, Maumelle, Arkansas
Incorrect guesses:  Smokey Burgess, Mickey Mantle, Lance Berkman

Q.        Who is the only player in the expansion era to hit two bases-loaded triples in one game?
Hint:     He was the only player in the 20th century who produced but a single home run in a career where he came to the plate at least 3,500 times.
Hint:     He was drafted by the Yankees, the Pilots, the Pilots again, the White Sox, the Reds, the Red Sox and the Indians.
A.         DUANE KUIPER  [SABR Bio]
-  2 3b in 1 G = 27-Jul-1978 in Yankee Stadium, both off Bob Kammeyer.
-  HR = 29-Aug-1977 off Steve Stone.  It came in his 1,382nd at-bat and afterwards he joked about having broken his “homerless streak”.  He would never hit another.
-  Drafted by NYY in the 12th round of the 1968 MLB June Amateur Draft;
Drafted by SEP in the 9th round of the 1969 MLB Jan. Draft-Secondary Phase;
Drafted by SEP in the 9th round of the 1969 MLB June Amateur Draft;
Drafted by CHW in the 1st round of the 1970 MLB Jan. Draft-Regular Phase;
Drafted by CIN in the 3rd round of the 1970 MLB June Draft-Secondary Phase;
Drafted by BOS in the 4th round of the 1971 MLB June Draft-Secondary Phase; and
Drafted by CLE in the 1st round of the 1972 MLB January Draft-Secondary Phase.
FCR -  Alex Poterack, Providence
Incorrect guesses:  Denard Span, Rafael Belliard

Q.        Who was the only Yankee shortstop to hit more than 15 home runs in a season between 1962 and 1996? (Min 90 G @ SS)
Hint:     Some people believe that his aunt’s brother is the greatest major league manager not in the Hall of Fame.
Hint:     He went two-for-four to help his franchise to their first championship ever.
Hint:     He was recently inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
-  1983 = 19 HR for NYY
-  Son of Roy Smalley, Jr. whose sister married Gene Mauch (Managed 3,942 MLB G., 8th all-time.  Every manager who managed more than that is in the Hall.)
-  Played (again) for MIN in 1965-87 and went 2/4 in their 1st WS win.  He had previously played for MIN 1986-82.
FCR -  Maxwell Kates, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Bucky Dent, Tom Tresh, Tony Kubek, Dick Howser 

Q.        Who was the first player to come to bat in umpire Ken Kaiser’s first MLB game?
Hint:     His accent proudly announces his native region. (Not Kaiser’s)
Hint:     He was the first player in the history of his eighty-year-old franchise to hit six singles in a game.
A.         JERRY REMY
-  Lead-off batter for visitors @ Seattle’s Kingdome on 06-Apr-1977.  He became the first player w/BB, SB & R in that new venue.  Kaiser worked behind 3b.
-  Speaks with a distinctive Boston accent.
-  6 X 1b = 03-Sep-1981.  He did it in 10 AB.  Garciaparra did it 22 years later in an interleague G in 6 AB.
FCR -  Rich Ottone, Sykesville, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Cesar Tovar

Q.        Who did the Yankees take in the same draft where the Tigers chose Kirk Gibson?
Hint:     He was a high school teammate of Dick Ellsworth’s son.
Hint:     It has been said that his enthusiasm for baseball makes Sean Casey look like John Olerud.
A.         REX HUDLER
-  1st Round of the 1978 MLB June Amateur Draft
-  Hudler and Steve Ellsworth are alumni of Bullard High School in Fresno.
-  Casey is so well-known for his friendly, garrulous approach to teammates, opponents, coaches, media that his nickname is “The Mayor”.  Olerud is classically taciturn.  Hudler’s approach to the game (and to life) is practically manic.
FCR -  Christopher LoVergine, White Plains, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Don Mattingly

Q.        What New York City area-born second baseman went to high school, college and the majors on the other coast?
Hint:     He debuted with a team that itself had only recently debuted.
Hint:     The only season he got MVP votes is the same season he was traded mid-year.
Hint:     In high school, he was a teammate of a Baltimore Ravens Super-Bowl-winning coach.
A.         JULIO CRUZ  [SABR Bio]
-  Born 02-Dec-1954 in Brooklyn, NY; went to Redlands High School in Redlands, California; went to the majors w/SEA.
-  His 1st G was only 89 days after SEA ‘s 1st G.
-  Traded 15-Jun-1983 by SEA to CHC for Tony Bernazard.
-  Played basketball with Brian Billick.
FCR -  Nels Johnston, St. Thomas, Ontario
Incorrect guesses:  Rich Aurilia

WEEKLY THEME – A collection of former MLB infielders who are currently broadcasters for MLB games, some with bigger roles than others.

First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – ¯\_()_/¯

Incorrect theme guesses:

Wed        -  Orioles who hold MLB records
               -  1st round picks who had 700+ plate appearances in a season and are now (occasional) broadcasters
               -  Middle infielders drafted in the first round

Sat          -  AL middle infielders who played against Cal Ripken, but were drafted higher than Ripken
               -  Former players who went behind the mic

Sun         -  A.L. TV broadcasters
               -  2nd basemen who either played or were raised in New York