Monday, December 30, 2019

2019-12-23 Players who set their franchises' single-season home run records in their rookie seasons


Q.        Who was the first native of the state of Washington to be inducted to the Hall of Fame?
Hint:     His name and nickname were very aristocratic.
Hint:     His is the first eventual Hall of Famer to hit a home run in his first major league at bat.
Hint:     His impressive consecutive games-played streak ended due to a firecracker accident.
A.         EARL AVERILL  [HOF Bio]
-  B. 21-May-1902 in Snohomish, Washington.  Then farm country, now a Seattle suburb.
-  First name Earl, nickname “The Earl of Snohomish”.
-  1st HR 16-Apr-1929.  He homered the next day as well.
-  Last G of streak = 25-Jun-1935 @ 673 G.  During a July 1 incident in 1935, Averill was lighting firecrackers with his four children as part of a pre-July 4 celebration.  One exploded while he was holding it, and he suffered lacerations on the fingers of his right hand, as well as burns on his face and chest.  He made a full recovery and was back playing as of 14-Jul.  His streak is still the longest in CLE franchise history.
FCR -  Kevin Mix, Chicago
Incorrect guesses:      Ron Santo      

TUESDAY
Q.        Whose franchise record for RBI in a season did Manny Ramirez break?
Hint:     Who was the first player ever to steal home after the 15th inning.
Hint:     He was the first rookie to drive in 140 runs.
A.         HAL TROSKY  [SABR Bio]
-  Manny drove in 165 in 1999, surpassing the 162 Trosky had in his 3rd complete season.
-  He stole home for CHW off the A’s Russ Christopher in the top of the 16th on 11‑May‑1944.
-  Had 142 RBI in 1934.  The current single-season rookie RBI record holder is Ted Williams who knocked in 145 in his debut season 1939.
FCR -  Steve Berman, Bergenfield, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses:  Al Rosen, Ted Williams, Willie Davis, Vern Stephens, Ryan Howard, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Fred Lynn, Carl Yastrzemski, Walt Dropo, Albert Bell, Elmer Flick

WEDNESDAY
Q.        Who won a batting title playing for two different American League teams?
Hint:     He found himself in the minors after the following year in the farm system of yet a third team.
Hint:     It was the first time the American League batting champ came from a last place team.
Hint:     His batting title was the only thing that prevented a certain Hall of Famer from winning the Triple Crown.
A.         DALE ALEXANDER  [SABR Bio]
-  Won batting title in 1932 after being traded from  DET to BOS on 13-Jun.  Those Sawks finished last in spite of he efforts that year.
-  Played for the Yankees’ AA team the Newark Bears in 1934.
-  After winning the RBI and HR titles in 1932, AL MVP Jimmie Foxx hit .364, but Alexander had the title batting with .367 for some reason (He didn’t have the requisite number of at-bat that would be required today.)
FCR -  Len Levin, Providence
Incorrect guesses:  George Kell, Nap Lajoie, Jimmie Foxx, Billy Goodman, Stan Hack, Harry Walker, Vern Stephens, Alex Johnson, Ted Williams

THURSDAY
Q.        Whose record for home runs by a rookie did Frank Robinson come within a single blast of breaking in 1956?
Hint:     He (not Robinson) had the most career home runs in the ballpark where he debuted.
Hint:     He was the first player ever to ground into a double play in the All-Star game.
A.         WALLY BERGER  [SABR Bio]
-  Robinson hit 38 HR to tie Berger’s 1930 total.
-  105 career HR at Braves Field in Boston, home to the Braves from 1915 (following their miraculous WS win in 1914) to 1952 (the season after which the team moved to Milwaukee.)  Berger played there 1930-37, but he then played there as the opposition playing for 3 other NL teams.
-  ASG GIDP 2nd inning in the 1st such game held in 1933 in Chicago.
FCR -  Madison McEntire, Bryant, Arkansas
Incorrect guesses:  Ted Kluszewski, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Williams, Walt Dropo

FRIDAY
Q.        Who received the Legion of Merit medal during World War II for creating baseball fields and leagues in North Africa?
Hint:     His nickname is he shortened version of his first nickname.
Hint:     He played for both teams on different sides of the same city.
A.         ZEKE BONURA  [SABR Bio]
-  Received the Legion of Merit Award in 1945.
-  Bonura, a great high school track athlete (the Javelin, among others), was recruited by Knute Rockne for football and track at Notre Dame.  Legend has it that it was  Rockne who spotted Bonura not wearing all his gear one day and said, “Look at the physique on that guy”.  “Physique” became “Zeke” and that stuck.
-  Debuted w/CHW; finished w/CHC.
FCR -  Dr. John Rickert, Terre Haute
Incorrect guesses:  Moe Berg, Napoleon Lajoie,

SATURDAY
Q.        Who holds the Pittsburgh Pirates’ record for most runs batted in during a single game?
Hint:     In his rookie year, he finished sixth in MVP voting, ahead of half of dozen future Hall of Fame inductees, but he didn’t receive a single vote for Rookie of the Year.
Hint:     He was traded for both Cobb and DiMaggio during his career.
Hint:     He was also the only player ever traded for Morrie Arnovich.
A.         JOHNNY RIZZO  [B-R Bio]
-  9 RBI = 30-May-1939.  4 other Pirates have an 8-RBI in a game:  Dave Robertson, Ralph Kiner, Jason Bay (twice) and Andrew McCutchen.
-  1938 NL MVP vote.  Rizzo finished ahead of Gabby Hartnett, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Leo Durocher, Al Lopez & Lloyd Waner.  Got no ROY votes because the first year of that award was 1947.  Rizzo was a rookie in 1938.
-  On 13-Oct-1937, he was traded by STL to PIT for minor leaguer Bernard Cobb.  (Additional players were involved in the trade.)  On 08-May-1940, he was traded by PIT to CIN straight-up for Vince DiMaggio.
-  On 15-Jun-1940, he was traded straight-up by CIN to PHI for Arnovich.
FCR -  Barry Nelson, Guilderland, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Boots Grantham, Gus Suhr, Dick Stuart, Lloyd Waner

SUNDAY
Q.        What former Brooklyn player was the first to hit more than 45 home runs in a season for his major league franchise?
Hint:     He’s been selected as Player of the Week four times—thrice in the minors and once in the majors.
Hint:     In high school, he played lacrosse and football before deciding to focus on baseball.
Hint:     His grandfather went from a Monarch to Queens.
A.         PETE ALONSO
-  After signing with NYY with the Mets he spent 2016 with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League, where he posted a .322 batting average w/5 HR and 21 RBIs in 30 G. He was selected as an All-Star.
-  Player of the Week Honors:  25-Jun-2017: St. Lucie (FSL);
                                                   23-Jul-2017: St. Lucie (FSL);
                                                   29-Apr-2018: Binghamton (EAS); &
                                                   23-Jun-2019: NYM (NL)
-  Attended Jesuit High School in Tampa for his 1st 2 HS years then transferred to Henry B. Plant HS in Tampa to finish.
-  Alonso’s paternal grandfather, Peter Conrad Alonso, fled his hometown of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and settled in Queens, New York.
FCR -  Tom Lee, Nashville
Incorrect guesses:  Jim Gentile, Hack Wilson


WEEK'S THEME – Rookies who broke their franchises’ single-season home run records
 in the modern era.

Rookie         Team           HR           In                  Old Record                In
Alexander.... DET............. 25........ 1929........ Harry Heilmann’s.... 21.... 1922

Alonso......... NYM............ 53*....... 2019........ Todd Hundley’s....... 41.... 1996
....................................................................... Carlos Beltran’s...... 41.... 2006

Averill.......... CLE............. 18........ 1929........ Tris Speaker’s......... 17.... 1923

Berger......... (ATL)........... 38........ 1930........ Rogers Hornsby’s... 21.... 1928

Bonura........ CHW............ 27........ 1934........ Carl Reynolds’........ 22.... 1930

Rizzo........... PIT............... 23........ 1938........ Arky Vaughn’s......... 19.... 1935

Trosky......... CLE............. 35........ 1934........ Earl Averill’s............ 32.... 1931 & 32

*Current team record
() indicates previous team cities and/or team names


First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeSteve Klitzner, North Miami Beach (After Berger)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Cleveland Indians whose numbers have been retired
               -  Cleveland Indians with over 140 RBI in a season
               -  Cleveland Indians with over 200 hits in a season
               -  Indians franchise records
               -  Players who had sons in the major leagues who were known as Jr.
               -  Leaders in career home runs for the Cleveland Indians

Wed        -  Most doubles by and AL rookie

Thurs      -  Unofficial pre-1947 Rookies of the Year

Friday     -  Players who held their team’s single season RBI record, but has since been broken. 

Sat          -  Players (from the 1930's?) who set club record in their rookie year 





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