Monday, January 20, 2020

2020-01-13 Rookie managers with 100-wins in their first full season


Q.        Who was the first catcher elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America?
Hint:     In college he boxed and played football and the saxophone.
Hint:     He was the first American League catcher with a season batting average over .350.
Hint:     He was the first Hall of Famer to homer in his final at-bat.
A.         MICKEY COCHRANE  [SABR Bio]
-  Elected in 1947.  (The Hall's Veterans Committee had elected Buck Ewing in 1939 and Roger Bresnahan and Wilbert Robinson in 1945.  Connie Mack went in earlier and was a catcher, but his 6.9 WAR accumulated over 11 playing seasons is hardly why he is a legend and in the Hall.)
-  Attended Boston University.
-  He hit .357 in 1930. (…and followed up with .349 the next year.)
-  HR 25-May-1937; Beaned by Pitcher Bump Hadley in his next plate appearance ending Cochrane’s playing career.
FCR -  Leonard Epstein, Dallas
Incorrect guesses:  Buck Ewing, Bill Dickey, Roger Bresnahan, Gabby Hartnett 

TUESDAY
Q.        Who was the first player in either league to be named League Championship Series Most Valuable Player?
Hint:     He was named the Manager of the Year after his first MLB managing assignment.
Hint:     He is believed to be a pioneer in the usage of the high five as a celebration.
A.         DUSTY BAKER

-  NLCS MVP 1977 (ALCS MVP award didn’t begin until 1980)
-  MOY = Mgr. of the 1993 SFG
-  There are many origin stories of the high five, but the two most documented candidates are Baker and Glenn Burke of LAD on 02-Oct-1977 following Burke’s HR in the 6th inning.
FCR -  Matt Clairmont, New Minas, Nova Scotia
Incorrect guesses:  Walt Weiss Paul Molitor, Frank Robinson, Davey Johnson, Dave Roberts

WEDNESDAY
Q.        What former Trojan played for four months on the same major league team with his brother?
Hint:     He and his brother have each hit two home runs in the first inning of a game in the same season.
Hint:     His best postseason home run was not in the World Series.
A.         AARON BOONE
-  He and brother Bret Boone played together for CIN April through July on CIN in 1997.  Aaron attended USC.
-  2 HR in 1st = 09-Aug-2002 vs. Brett Tomko of SDP.  Brother Bret did it 02-May-2002.
-  Hit the ALCS series-winning HR vs. BOS 2003.  He was the only batter in the bottom of the 11th that day.  He had entered the game as a pinch runner.
FCR -  Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Bret Boone, Adam LaRoche, Joe Torre, Devon White, J.D. Drew, Melvin Upton

THURSDAY
Q.        Who finished first, second, third and fourth on umpire Ron Luciano's list of the five most difficult managers he had to deal with?
Hint:     The team he managed won more MLB games than any other for the first fourteen plus years that he ran them.
Hint:     He managed the team that won the first game in the first American League Championship Series.
A.         EARL WEAVER  [SABR Bio]
-  Luciano was an AL umpire for more than a decade.
-  BAL mgr 1968-1979 with a record of 1,354-921 over than time.  He went on to win an additional 126 Gs.
-  BAL defeated MIN in G #1 of the 1969 ALCS 4-3.
FCR -  Stephen Wright, Naperville, Illinois
Incorrect guesses:  Sparky Anderson, Bobby Cox, Billy Martin

FRIDAY
Q.        Who was the first manager of the AAA Denver Bears?
Hint:     In addition to managing himself that year, he also managed 24 future major leaguers including six future All-Stars, two World Series MVP-winning pitchers and a Hall of Famer.
A.         RALPH HOUK  [SABR Bio]
-  Bears began in 1955 w/Mgr Houk.
*MLB All-Star
**Hall of Famer (as a mgr.)
Larsen & Terry and the WS MVPs (1956 & 1962)
FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Incorrect guesses:  Gene Mauch (See note below.), Bill Rigney, Charlie Dresden, Dick Williams, Jack Hendricks, Leo Durocher, Paul Richards
NOTE:  The original version of this question contained hints that did not belong to Houk but to Mauch.  They have been removed here.  The guilty have been excoriated.

SATURDAY
Q.        Who managed the Red Sox to their highest win total ever for a season?
Hint:     They won 24 fewer games the following season.
Hint:     As a player, he once had an eighteen-pitch at-bat that drew praise from Vin Scully.
Hint:     The last pitch resulted in a home run.
A.         ALEX CORA  [SABR Bio]
-  Long AB = 12-May-2004.  Paul Swydan in an article in Hardball Times cites 6 ABs of at least 18 pitches over this pitch-count record era period.  Readers may enjoy learning that Brandon Belt’s 21-pitch AB on 22-Apr-2018 is the longest since these types of records have been officially kept.  The exact number of pitches in MLB’s very longest AB ever may never be known, but Luke Appling claimed (probably anecdotally) that in a 1940s contest he once fouled off twenty-four (24!) consecutive pitches before walking. His AB was thus a minimum of 28 pitches and could have been as many as 30!
FCR -  Patrick Roth, Chicago
Incorrect guesses:  Terry Francona, Darrell Johnson, Don Zimmer, Joey Cory, Dick Williams

SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL
Q.        Which Hall of Famer was a bat boy for a team in the College World Series?
Hint:     Of four large adjoining states he is the only native Hall of Famer.
Hint:     He was nicknamed for a Barrie character.
A.         SPARKY ANDERSON  [SABR Bio]
-  Bat boy for the 1948 USC team.  Was later offered a partial scholarship to play for the Rod Dedeaux-led Trojans, but accepted an offer from the Dodgers instead.
-  Nicknamed “Captain Hook” for his tendency to relieve pitchers at the first sign of trouble.  Sir James Matthew Barrie penned “Peter Pan” in which Captain Hook is the chief antagonist.
-  In the cluster of states containing Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, only SDak can claim a Hall of Famer born there:  Anderson.
FCR -  Ken Jorgenson, Petaluma, California
Incorrect guesses:  Pee Wee Reese, Ralph Kiner, Sparky Anderson

WEEKEND BONUS
Q.        Which Hall of Famer was originally nicknamed "Husk" when he debuted in the majors at catcher?
Hint:     Unusual for his position, he twice led the majors in stolen bases.
Hint:     He is the most recent Hall of Famer to be joined by having another Hall of Famer as alumnus of his same high school.
A.         FRANK CHANCE  [SABR Bio]
-  In his rookie season of 1898, he played only 3 G at 1B, 17 in the OF, but 33 at C.  He was dubbed “Husk” because of his husky (for his era) physical stature of 6'0" tall while weighing in at a solid 190 lbs.
-  Led MLB in SB w/67 in 1903 & 57 in 1906 while playing 1B.  The more familiar names of Wagner, Cobb & Collins took over the SB leads after that.  In the modern era, the only other first basemen to lead the MLB in SBs were Frank Isbell (1901), George Sisler (1922) and Jackie Robinson (1947).
-  Attended Fresno HS in California which graduated Tom Seaver some 70 years later.  N.B.:  A more recent pair of Hall of Famers were high school teammates are Eddie Murray and Ozzie Smith.  They actually WERE teammates at Locke HS in Compton and they post-date Seaver.
FCR -  Mike Mattsey, Robinson, Illinois
Incorrect guesses:  Ted Simmons, Roger Bresnahan, Don Zimmer, Craig Biggio

MLK DAY EVE BONUS
Q.        Who was the first member of the Kansas City Royals franchise to have his uniform number retired?
Hint:     He gave the advice to the undecided one-time Yankee and Brave Deion Sanders to go to college. 
Hint:     He had multiple stints at the helm of the Yankees during George Steinbrener's tenure as owner.
A.         DICK HOWSER  [SABR Bio]
-  Uni retired 03-Jul-1987
-  Sanders was torn and was always grateful for the counsel he received.
-  Managed NYY 1978 (0-1) & 1980 (103-59)
FCR -  James Cook, Warrensburg, Missouri
Incorrect guesses:  Lou Piniella, Billy Martin, Bob Lemon

SUNDAY
Q.        What star outfielder’s MOTHER was named for Mickey Mantle?
Hint:     His nickname is geographically based.
Hint:     In his senior year in high school, he received an offer to play for UCLA on a volleyball scholarship.
Hint:     He wanted to attend an Ivy League school and eventually did get to play for Princeton.
A.         ROCCO BALDELLI  [SABR Bio]
-  His mother’s name is Michelle and according to the Rhode Island Monthly , October 2009, she was named for Mickey Mantle.
-  He was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and has been called “The Woonsocket Rocket”
-  Wikipedia says Rocco was an all-state athlete in four sports as he also excelled at indoor track in HS.  He received 50 scholarship offers from various colleges after impressing observers at the 1999 East Coast Showcase in Wilmington, North Carolina.
-  He did not attend college, but his first professional team was the 2000 Princeton Devil Rays.
FCR -  John Sullivan, Louisville
Incorrect guesses:  Chris Young, Will Venable, Carl Crawford


WEEKLY THEME – Rookie managers who won 100 games in their first full year managing.
Mgr.               Team    Year       Record         End Result
Anderson........ CIN..... 1970......... 102-60...... NL Pennant, Lost WS
Baker.............. SFG.... 1993......... 103-59...... 2nd place NL West
Baldelli........... MIN.... 2019......... 101-61...... 1st place AL Central, lost ALCS
Boone............. NYY... 2018......... 100-62...... Won WC, Lost ALDS
Chance........... CHC... 1906......... 116-36...... NL pennant, Lost WS
Cochrane....... DET.... 1934......... 101-53...... AL pennant, Lost WS
Cora............... BOS... 2018......... 108-54...... Won WS
Houk............... NYY... 1961......... 109-53...... Won WS
Howser........... NYY... 1980......... 103-59...... Won AL East, lost ALCS
Weaver........... BAL.... 1969......... 109-53...... Won AL pennant, Lost WS



First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemePatrick Ray, Paradise Valley, Arizona            (After Baker!)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Managers who lost seven-game World Series after being up 3-2
               - 

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