Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020-12-21 Pitchers who started combined no-hitters

MONDAY    Dec 21

Q.        Who built Yankee Stadium?

Hint:     He was called up to the Red Sox at the same time as Carl Mays.

Hint:     He dreamed of managing a Major League team, but it wasn’t to be.

A.         BABE RUTH  [SABR Bio]

-  OK, anybody who thought he REALLY built it or who thought that’s what we meant—raise your hand. 

-  In the book “The Pitch that Killed”, Carl Mays's BOS debut is nicely detailed.  Mays & Ruth were brought to Boston from the minors, and shared a taxi into the city for Mays's first taste of city life.  Ruth had already had a brief stint with the Sawx, so he blustered like a veteran while Mays shrank and tried to remain as invisible as possible.  They both made their mark as members of the '15 BOS staff.

-  Twice, immediately following his playing days, Ruth was lured to NL jobs with the possibility of the manager’s job made to seem very possible.  History has shown that neither the Braves not the Dodgers intended for the Babe to be anything but a draw at the gate.

FCR -  Evan Thompson, Mesa

Incorrect guesses:  Ed Barrow


TUESDAY    Dec 22

Q.        Who is the only pitcher to win a game for both leagues in the All-Star Game?

Hint:     His owner offered him a bonus if he would change his first name to “True.”

Hint:     He teamed with Bud Black in Kansas City, but neither was a bruiser at that point in their careers.

A.         VIDA BLUE  [SABR Bio]

-  ASG W 1971 AL representing OAK, Won again a decade later representing the NL’s SFG.  These were the 1st and last of Blue’s 6 AS selections.

-  In 1971, one-of-a-kind A’s owner Charles O. Finley offered Blue a $2,000 bonus (about $13,000 in 2020) if he’d legally change his first name to “True”.  Blue dismissed the paltry offer, but that season, and in following ones, used his first name “Vida” on the back of his jersey instead of his last name, to spite the owner's effort.

-  W/Black on the 1982-83 KCR.

FCR -  Kevin Decker, Hillsborough, New Jersey

Incorrect guesses:  Bret Saberhagen


TWOZDAY    Dec 22

Q.        Which pitcher’s arm ailment was cured when he was shocked while changing a spark plug in his truck?

Hint:     He was the wide receiver and safety on a state champion football team.

Hint:     Only the supernova that was Albert Pujols kept him from being National League Rookie of the Year.

A.         ROY OSWALT  [B-R Bio]

-  In 1999, when Oswalt was with the Class A Michigan Battle Cats in the Midwest League, he suffered an apparently serious shoulder injury.  After a month of pain in his upper shoulder, Oswalt was convinced that his shoulder was torn.  Shortly thereafter, he was checking the spark plug wires on his pickup truck when he touched one of the bare ones, causing the truck's engine to start.  The truck’s electric current flowed through Oswalt's body, tightening the muscles in his hand on the spark plug wire.  Unable to let go of it, he grasped the wire for almost one minute.  Then his foot slipped off the truck's bumper and he was finally thrown off.  "My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don't hurt no more.”  The electric charge had loosened scar tissue in his shoulder.  Oswalt claims he has not felt any pain in his shoulder since the incident.

-  Played both ways for Weir High School, Mississippi’s state champion for 1994.

-  Finished a strong 2nd behind Pujols for NL ROY in 2001, though Pujols captured all the 1st-place votes.

FCR -  John Rickert, Terre Haute



Q.        Which former All-Star was traded to the Expos for Randy Johnson in 1989?

Hint:     His career pickoffs are in the all-time top ten.

Hint:     He finished second to teammate in Rookie of the Year voting.

A.         MARK LANGSTON  [B-R Bio]

-  On 25-May-1989:  Langston was traded by SEA with a player to be named later to MON for Gene Harris, Brian Holman and Randy Johnson.  In July, SEA sent Mike Campbell to MON to complete the trade.  Langston had been an All-Star in 1987.

-  Baseball-Reference ranks Langston 6th all-time in career pickoffs w/78, just ahead of Warren Spahn.

-  Debuting with SEA, he finished behind Alvin Davis in the 1984 ROY voting.

FCR -  Matt Clairmont, New Minas, Nova Scotia



Q.        Who took it upon himself to teach a star rookie a lesson?

Hint:     To this day, no one is certain what the lesson was.

Hint:     He was voted MVP in consecutive postseason series.

Hint:     He said pitching in his major league debut against his childhood hero was like being in a video game.

A.         COLE HAMELS  [B-R Bio]

-  On 06-May-2012 during the season where he was to become the unanimous NL ROY, Bryce Harper was intentionally hit with a pitch thrown by PHI’s Hamels.  Harper, having been advanced to 3rd on Jason Werth’s single,  stole home, straight steal, to break the scoreless tie.  WSN pitcher Jordan Zimmerman reciprocated the next time Hamels came to bat and sent him to first base I the most painful way.

-  Hamels was MVP on the 2008 NLCS and 2008 WS.

-  In Hamels’ first career inning on 12-May-2006, he struck out Ken Griffey, Jr., looking, on an 0-2 pitch.

FCR -  Dan Greder, Ames, Iowa

Incorrect guesses:  Madison Bumgarner, Blake Snell, Brooks Robinson


THURSDAY    Dec 24

Q.        Who became the youngest Dodgers pitcher to throw six or more scoreless innings in a World Series game in over 60 years?

Hint:     He appeared to get stronger over the course of that game.

Hint:     Life moves pretty fast, but he has stopped and looked around so as not to miss it.

A.         WALKER BUEHLER  [B-R Bio]

-  Only Johnny Podres in G7 of the 1955 World Series, was younger than Buehler when he twirled his G3 gem in the 2018 Fall Classic. 

-  Buehler's 1st WS pitch was clocked at 97.9 mph.  7 innings later, Buehler's 108th and final pitch hit 98.2 mph.   

-  For Halloween 2019, Walker Buehler and his girlfriend McKenzie dressed up as Ferris Bueller and Sloan, the character's girlfriend. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the John Hughes teen comedy classic from 1986 that starred Matthew Broderick in the title role.

FCR -  David Krassin, Los Angeles

Incorrect guesses:  Fernando Valenzuela, Sandy Koufax, Johnny Padres, Julio Urias, Larry Sherry, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw



Q.        What pitcher received the Tony Conigliaro Award after recovering from a cerebral hemorrhage?

Hint:     He was the winning pitcher of the game in which Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record.

Hint:     He and Paul O’Neill are alumni of the same alma mater.

A.         KENT MERCKER  [SABR Bio]

-  Shared the 2000 Tony C. Award with Tony Saunders

-  W on 08-Sep-1998

-  Attended Otterbein University in Westerville, OH

FCR -  Sarah Grynpas, Toronto

Incorrect guesses:  Steve Trachsel


FRIDAY    Dec 25

Q.        Who outpitched rotation mates Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine in a season when the team won more than 100 games?

Hint:     No Texas Ranger pitcher has started more consecutive Opening Days’ games.

Hint:     When he retired, he was the active career leader in strikeouts among major league righties.

A.         KEVIN MILLWOOD  [Wiki]

-  During the brilliant 1999 ATL 103-win season, Millwood bested all three of the squad’s future Hall of Fame pitchers with the lowest ERA and WHIP, the best Winning Percentage, struck out more batters and earned the highest WAR.

-  From 2006 to 2009, Millwood got the ball for 4 straight ODs, going 1-3.

-  When Millwood hung it up on 3-Feb-2013, his total of 2,083 career Ks was the highest among all major league northpaws.

FCR -  Warren Kent, Whitehall, Michigan

Incorrect guesses:  Nolan Ryan, Doyle Alexander, Denny Neagle, Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bolin



Q.        Which one-time San Francisco Giant boldly wore uniform number thirteen for the Seattle Pilots?

Hint:     He was the first pitcher to win twenty games in a season for his team, but wasn’t the first to do it for the franchise.

Hint:     He was cut by the Brewers in spring training in both 1970 and 1974

A.         STEVE BARBER  [SABR Bio]

-  He had also worn #13 when he pitched for BAL 1961-67.  Played for SFG for 13 G in 1974 to end his career in the majors.

-  Barber’s record was 20-13 in 1963, BAL’s 10th season in Baltimore as the Orioles.  When the franchise was the Browns and played in St. Louis, 10 different pitchers had 20-win seasons, led by Urban Shocker’s 27 in 1921.

-  After his best years in Baltimore, he was plagued by arm trouble and never got back to the form that earned him MVP votes in his 1st 2 years in the majors and was twice selected for the AL AS team.

FCR -  Joe O’Neill, London, Ontario

Incorrect guesses:  Jim Colborn, John Morris


SATURDAY    Dec 26

Q.        Who was the first American League pitcher to steal a base after the advent of the designated hitter?

Hint:     He starred for a high school team that won consecutive state championships and then played for a team that        won three straight at the major league level.

Hint:     He used to hate his unusual nickname but grew to love it.

A.         BLUE MOON ODOM  [SABR Bio]

-  SB 25-Apr-1973

-  Odom led Ballard-Hudson High School in Macon, Georgia to two consecutive state championships while personally amassing a 42-2 pitching record.  He was a member of the Oakland A’s who won the World Series 1972, 1973 & 1974.

-  Given the nickname “Blue Moon” by a fifth-grade classmate.

FCR -  Warren Kent, Whitehall, Michigan

Incorrect guesses:  Catfish Hunter, Gene Nelson, Jim Palmer, Roy Lee Jackson



Q.        Who was the last twentieth-century American League pitcher to have a season with ten games started but no victories?

Hint:     He shut out the Yankees in his third major league start and did it in the season when his team posted its then worst record since their move to their current city.

Hint:     His first three starts after being called up, two of which he won, were the team’s only wins in their last twenty played that season, which, believe it or not, was still better than their first twenty games that year.

A.         BOB MILACKI  [SABR Bio]

-  Started 10 G in 1994 w/a record of 0-5 for KCR in his one season with them.  (The strike that year probably didn’t help; his 6.14 ERA definitely didn’t.)

-  Shutout NYY 28-Sep-1988.  BAL record that season was 54-107.  (However, 30 seasons later, BAL’s woeful 47-115 2018 record ‘surpassed’ the 1988 team’s and was the worst in the 120-year history of the franchise, including the years spent in Milwaukee and St. Louis.)

-  BAL began 1988 0-20 and won their 1st G on 29-Apr.

FCR -  Rich Klein, Plano, Texas

Incorrect guesses:  Bruce Chen, Roger Craig 


SUNDAY    Dec 26

Q.        Who posted the highest ERA (min. 25 IP) in any month of June in the Modern Era?

Hint:     He was the winner of the playoff game with the most talk-about bat flip of the last decade.

Hint:     His step-father was the community college baseball coach in the town where he grew up.  He did not play there however, because his performance in high school was so good that he was drafted into the majors the first round.

A.         AARON SANCHEZ  [B-R Bio]

-  Sanchez’s all-time June record-high 12.00 ERA in 2019 was the result of allowing 36 ER in 27 IP.  In his six starts, he surrendered 44 hits, 19 BB and 7 HR.

-  In the top of the 7th of 2015 ALDS deciding G 5 on 24-Oct-2015, TOR catcher Martin’s threw the ball back to Sanchez on the mound but his throw deflected off the hand of batter Shin-Soo Choo allowing TEX runner Roughed Odor to score a contested go-ahead run.  In the bottom of that same inning, Bautista became the hero and earned Sanchez the victory.

-  Step-father Mike Shipley coached Barstow Community College but any chance of Sanchez attending there was scuttled when he posted a 9-1 win-loss HS record w/a 1.12 ERA with 125 strikeouts in 87⅓ IP.  TOR took him in the 1st round of the 2010 MLB draft.

FCR -  Benjamin Chase, Huron, South Dakota

Incorrect guesses:  Roberto Osuna



Q.        Which Hall of Famer’s pitch was so effective that it actually became his nickname?

Hint:     No other pitcher won more games after the age of forty than he did.

Hint:     He, together with his younger brother, racked up an amazing aggregates of 539 wins, the most by any two or three brothers combined in major league history.

Hint:     His brother’s sole career home run came at his expense.

Hint:     His total of twenty-four years pitching in the majors places him in very select company and no pitcher with his specialty pitched longer or tallied more wins, innings pitched or strikeouts.

Hint:     During his time in professional baseball, he witnessed the administrations of seven different U.S. presidents.  In fact, he holds the record for most years pitching with one National League team.

Hint:     No slouch on defense, he won five Gold Glove awards.

Hint:     He was five times an All-Star and although he didn’t win a Cy Young Award, he received consideration for the award in five separate seasons.

Hint:     He said “Mr. Baseball” turned his career around.

Hint:     One of his childhood friends is a Hall of Famer in another sport.

A.         PHIL NIEKRO  [SABR Bio]

-  “Knucksie” became the master, as much as one could, of the knuckleball.  His signature pitch is actually thrown with the fingernails dug into the baseball’s seams or cowhide cover.  The delivery of this whimsical floater was taught to him by his father.

-  A full 121 of his career 318 career pitching victories came after he turned 40

-  Brother Joe had contributed 221 wins to the fraternal total.

- Joe’s HR 29-May-1976.

-  Among knuckleballers, Niekro sands alone with 318 W, 5,404 IP (4th all-time among all pitchers) & 3,342 K.

-  Niekro’s first year in the minors was 1959 and he retired in 1987.  Presidents during that span were Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan.

-  Won GG in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 & 1983.  In all, 24 season in the majors, with 21 years pitching the Braves, beginning in Milwaukee in 1964, is the most for any player for an NL team.

-  An All-Star in 1969, 1975, 1978, 1982 & 1984.Received CYA votes in 1969 (2nd), 1974 (3rd), 1978 (6th), 1979 (6th) & 1982 (5th).

-  While teammates for ATL in 1967 Niekro had a young catcher who was not about to call for a knuckleball with a runner on third base, fearful of a passed ball that would allow the runner to score.  But another catcher, Bob Uecker, told Niekro that if he was ever going to be a winner he had to throw the knuckleball every pitch and that he, Uecker would try to catch it.  Niekro led MLB in ERA (1.87) that season despite Uecker also pacing the majors, but in passed balls—(27) in only 62 G.

-  He, his brother Joe and NBA great John Havlicek grew up playing many sports together in Lansing, Ohio. Phil delivered the eulogy at his friend’s funeral just last year.

FCR -  John Michael Pierobon, Ft. Lauderdale



Q.        Who was the starting pitcher the only time in major league history when two native Mexican pitchers combined on an extra-innings no-hitter?

Hint:     He, however, was the only major leaguer born in Blue Hill, Mexico.

Hint:     He was the only Pirate to earn Player of the Week honors during the 1997 season.


-  On 12-Jul-1997, at a sold out Three Rivers Stadium, Cordova pitched nine innings of a combined 10-inning no-hitter for the Pirates.  Ricardo Rincon pitched the 10th inning.  PIT won the game on a dramatic 3-run, pinch hit home run in the bottom of the 10th by Mark Smith, pinch-hitting for Rincon.  It is also the only combined, extra-inning no-hitter by pitchers of ANY nationality.

-  Born in the city known locally as Cerro Azul.

FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota

Incorrect guesses:  Ricardo Rincon, Esteban Loaiza, Oliver Perez, Vicente Palacios John Candelaria



Q.        Which former Cougar was the starting pitcher in the Angels' first home game after the tragic death of teammate Tyler Skaggs?

Hint:     He went public with his criticism of the shenanigans of the 2017 Houston Astros.

Hint:     He was born near the location of a Presidential Library.

A.         TAYLOR COLE  [SABR Bio]

-  On 12-Jul-2019, he made his most memorable appearance as a big leaguer.  Cole was the “opener” in a bullpen game against SEA.  It was an emotional occasion, the Angels’ first home game after the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs on 01-Jul.  Cole pitched two hitless innings the Felix Pena then took over, not giving up a hit the rest of the way.  It was a 13-0, combined no-hitter.

-  Cole pushed for additional investigation of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.  He attended Brigham Young University.

-  Born in Simi Valley, California, home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

FCR -  Jeff Kallman, Las Vegas

Incorrect guesses:  Mike Fiers



WEEKLY THEME – Pitchers who started combined no-hitters


Starter      Relieved by                 Date              Opponent

Barber4..... Stu Miller.............. 30-Apr-1967(1)..... Tigers


Blue*........ Glenn Abbott2......... 28-Sep-1975........ Angels

                  Paul Lindblad2

                  Rollie Fingers


Buehler*... Tony Cingrani......... 4-May-2018........ Padres

                  Yimi Garcia

                  Adam Liberatore


Cole.......... Felix Pena*............. 12-July-2019....... Mariners


Cordova... Ricardo Rincon*...... 12-Jul-1997........ Astros


Hamels..... Jake Diekman........ 01-Sept-2014....... Braves

                  Ken Giles

                  Jonathon Papelbon


Langston*. Mike Witt3............... 11-Apr-1990........ Mariners


Mercker*... Mark Wohlers2........ 11-Sep-1991........ Padres

                  Alejandro Pena3


Milacki*.... Mike Flanagan2....... 13-Jul-1991........ A’s

                  Mark Williamson2

                  Greg Olson3


Millwood... Charlie Furbush...... 8-June-2012........ Dodgers

                  Stephen Pryor*

                  Lucas Luetge2

                  Brandon League2

                  Tom Wilhelmsen3


Odom*...... Francisco Barrios3.. 28-Jul-1976........ A’s


Oswalt...... Peter Munro............ 11-Jun-2003........ Yankees

                  Kirk Saarloos

                  Brad Lidge*

                  Octavio Dotel

                  Bill Wagner


Ruth......... Ernie Shore*......... 23-Jun-1917(1)...... Senators


Sanchez*. Will Harris................ 3-Aug-2019........ Mariners


*Got the win

2Credited with a Hold

3Credited with a Save

4Took the Loss



First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeTom Byrne, Old Greenwich, Connecticut (after Vida Blue)




Incorrect theme guesses:


Monday  -  Players who later became product placements

               -  Best players ever

               -  Inaugural class of the HOF

               -  Appeared in the WS as a pitcher and a position player

               -  Career WAR above 150

               -  Career OPS above 1


Tuesday -  Players who won the ERA title at age 21

               -  Players whose first and last names both have 4 letters

               -  Players who won 20+ games at age 21 or under

               -  Lefty pitchers who have been on three World Series-winning teams.

               -  Lefty pitchers before age 26.

               -  Lefty pitchers before age 30.

               -  Lefty pitchers for the same franchise.

               -  Lefty pitchers who have led the league in ERA exactly once.

               -  Lefty pitchers who have posted a sub-2.00 ERA over a full season.

               -  Lefty pitchers who have posted a sub-2.00 ERA in a season with over 300 IP.

               -  Lefty pitchers who have led the league in shutouts exactly once.

               -  Pitchers who led the league with an ERA below 2.00

               -  Pitchers who led the league in ERA and shutouts in the same season

               -  Players whose most commonly used first and last names have 4 letters each and who led the AL in ERA at 21 years old

               -  Players with the same number of letters in their first and last names.

               -  Pitchers having had the lowest ERA for their franchise?



Wed.       -  Pitchers who participated in multi-pitcher no-hitters

               -  All Star pitchers who participated in combined no hitters.

               -  Lefties that started combined no hitters


Thursday   Left-handed pitchers with 4 letter first names that won WS games.




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