Sunday, February 23, 2020

2020-02-17 MVP winners who received no other MVP votes other than in the year they won.

Q.        Who is the only player to win an MVP playing for the St. Luis Browns?
Hint:     Ichiro broke his record for most hits in a single season.
Hint:     No first baseman has ever had a higher season batting average.
A.         GEORGE SISLER  [SABR Bio]
-  1922 MVP.  The Browns existed for just over 50 years but Sisler was their only MVP.
-  Sisler’s record of 257 H stood for more than 80 years until Ichiro Suzuki stroked 262 in 2004.
-  Hit .420 in in his MVP season of 1922.
FCR -  James Higgins, Bethesda
Incorrect guesses:  Roy Sievers, Dick Sisler, Rogers Hornsby, Vern Stephens

Q.        Who won the first Chalmers Award in the National League?
Hint:     The honor was due in part to his becoming the first player to have twenty doubles, twenty triples, twenty home runs and twenty stolen bases that year.
Hint:     He was the first to play in the modern World Series the same season he won his league’s home run title.
A.         FRANK SCHULTE  [SABR Bio]
-  Chalmers Award, first MVP of any kind was awarded in 1911
-  In 1911 Schulte hit 30 2B, 21 3B, 21 HR & had 23 SB.  3 other players have done it since.
-  His 10 HR led the NL in 1910.  His Cubs lost to PHA in the WS.

FCR -  Mischa Gelman, Pittsburgh
Incorrect guesses:  Honus Wagner, Nap Lajoie, Willie Mays, Rogers Hornsby, Casey Stengel, Frank Schultz, Joe Medwick, Buck Freeman, Jake Daubert

Q.        Whose .353 batting average is the second-highest single-year mark by a switch-hitter in modern National League history?
Hint:     The last time anyone on that team had more hits than he did that year, was 1971.
Hint:     Among switch-hitters, only he and Pete Rose have more than one batting title.
A.         WILLIE McGEE
-  Hit .353 in 1985 for STL, only exceeded by Chipper Jones’s .364 in 2008.
-  McGee had 216 H in 1985.  Joe Torre had 230 H in 1971.  Only one STL player has even reached 200 in a season since ‘85—Albert Pujols w/212 in 2003.
-  Also won in 1990 batting .335 for STL even though in his final 29 G that year, he played for OAK having been traded for Felix Jose, Stan Royer.& minor leaguer Daryl Green.
FCR -  Mark Pattison, Washington, DC
Incorrect guesses:  Steve Garvey, Ralph Garr, Mickey Mantle, Joe Torre, Al Oliver, George Davis, Frankie Frisch, Chipper Jones, Rod Carew

Q.        Who is the only player to switch-hit home runs in a game three times in a week?
Hint:     He fractured bones in his lower back while deer hunting in the offseason.
Hint:     His Astro teammates elected him to be their representative during the 1994 players’ union confrontation with ownership.
A.         KEN CAMINITI  [SABR Bio]
-  3 Ambi HRs = 16-, 17- & 19-09-1995.
-  Fractured 3 lumbar vertebrae falling from a deer blind between the 1999 & 2000 seasons.  He only played in 59 G in 2000 for HOU and was traded after that year.
-  He was loved and respected by teammates and fans alike.
FCR -  Rich Wolfe, Scottsdale
Incorrect guesses:  Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, Kevin Bass, Jeff Bagwell

Q.        What former Orangeman basketball player set a record for pitching appearances, toiling for a bunch of parvenus?
Hint:     He ran an eponymous sporting goods store for years.
Hint:     Even his teammates didn’t know his real first name.
Hint:     He is a member of a Hall of Fame honoring athletes of his national heritage.
-  Played basketball at Syracuse University 1936-39.  His 74 pitching appearances were a modern record until broken by John Wyatt in 1964 with the A’s of Kansas City.
-  According to Mary Konstanty, her husband opened Jim Konstanty Sporting Goods in 1947 in Oneonta, New York because he was not sure he could make a living as a pitcher.  He ran the store with her help during his career and then managed it until 1973.  [I worked for a ski binding company 1964-69 and Konstanty was one of our better customers. ~dbb]
-  In 2008, Konstanty was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame, calling him baseball’s first superstar reliever.
FCR -  John Burbridge, Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Jesse Orosco

Q.        Who set the major league record for consecutive games saved at 32?
Hint:     In his best year, he threw the final pitches of the division-clinching game, the League Championship Series-winning game and the last game of the World Series.
Hint:     He appeared in the World Series in consecutive seasons, but on different teams in separate leagues.
Hint:     He was originally scouted as a third baseman but made the majors as a pitcher.
-  It’s been broken since then of course with the record currently being held by that menacing-looking Canadian, Eric Gagne…w/84 straight saves w/o a blown save 28‑Aug‑2002 — 05-Jul-2004.
-  3 final pitches for DET’s championship year of 1984.
-  WS w/PHI in 1983 then DET in ’84.
FCR -  Dave Raglin, McLean, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Wade Davis, Trevor Hoffman, Eric Gagne, Jonathan Papelbon, Rick Aguilera, John Wetteland, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, B.J. Ryan, Brad Lidge

Q.        What catcher won the MVP with 99% of the voting shares in a year where he didn’t lead the league in a single important offensive or defensive category?
Hint:     He did earn the assist on the most meaningful caught stealing in baseball history.
Hint:     He and comedian/violinist Jack Benny attended the same high school, only two years apart.
Hint:     In his 21-year career in the majors he had fifteen different managers, including himself twice.  Of those, nine are now in the Hall of Fame.
A.         BOB O’FARRELL  [SABR Bio]
-  MVP 1926.  In the NL that year, he finished 10th in WAR for position players, 10th in Defensive WAR and tied for 6th with teammate Rogers Hornsby in BB w/61 and didn’t crack any other top 10.
-  He threw out Babe Ruth trying to steal 2nd to end the 1926 WS and earn STL its first championship.  Babe’s reason for trying makes some sense, but according to O’Farrell, “I had him out a mile at second.”  He received the pitch from a Hall of Famer, threw to a Hall of Famer who then tagged out a Hall of Famer:  Alexander => O’Farrell => Hornsby => Ruth, all on the first pitch of the at-bat and the last one of the WS.
-  Benny and O’Farrell went to Waukegan (Illinois) High School.  Benny was 2 years older.
-  His HOF Mgrs:  Roger Bresnahan, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Branch Rickey, Rogers Hornsby, Bill McKechnie, John McGraw, Bill Terry & Frankie Frisch.  He also had 29 teammates who are now in the Hall.
FCR -  Steven Wright, Naperville, Illinois
Incorrect guesses:  Jim Hegan, Mickey Cochrane, Gabby Hartnett, Yogi Berra, Bill Krieg, Al Lopez, Walker Cooper

WEEKLY THEME – MVP winners who received no other MVP votes other than in the year they won.

Yr  Lge      Player           Team
1911 NL – Schulte         CHC
1922 AL – Sisler            SLB
1926 NL – O’Farrell       STL**
1950 NL – Konstanty     PHI*
1984 AL – Hernandez    DET**
1985 NL – McGee          STL*
1996 NL – Caminiti        SDP
**Won World Series
*Won pennant
’96 Padres won the NL West
’11 Cubs and ’22 Browns each finished 2nd

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeSarah Grynpas, Toronto (After McGee)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Monday  -  Hall of Famers who had non Hall of Famer brothers play in the majors
               -  Players whose first name ends in "s" for no apparent reason.

Wed        -  MVPs with 18+ triples in their award-winning season.
               -  League MVP's for either St. Louis or Chicago teams

Sunday   - Detroit Tigers who won the MVP the year the team won the World Series

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

2020-02-10 Hall of Famers who attended PAC 12 Schools

MONDAY – 10-Feb
Q.        Who is the only pitcher to win World Series games in three separate decades?
Hint:     In a nineteen-year, 3,948-inning major league career he never surrendered a grand slam home run.
Hint:     He did surrender a grand slam to a future Hall of Famer while both were in the minors.
A.         JIM PALMER  [SABR Bio]
-  0 GS, but 27 3-run shots
-  While pitching for the AAA Rochester Red Wings on 01-Jul-1967 on a rehab assignment, the Buffalo Bisons’ Johnny Bench homered off Palmer with 3 men on.
FCR -  Thomas Hablitzel, Hudson, Ohio
Incorrect guesses:  Whitey Ford*, Don Sutton, Bob Gibson, Jerry Koosman, Jim Kaat
*The case for Ford is because he won WS games in 1950, then in the 50 & 60s.  However, baseball (and historians) measure decades *0-*9.  See

TUESDAY – Feb 11
Q.        Who was the first American League pitcher to win ten or more games in each of 17 consecutive seasons?
Hint:     He is the only pitcher besides Sandy Koufax to finish his career with a twenty-win season in the live ball era.
Hint:     Who was the hundredth pitcher to earn his two hundredth career victory.
A.         MIKE MUSSINA  [SABR Bio]

-  10+ W 1992-2008.
-  Record was 20-9 in 2008.  Koufax’ was 27-9 in 1966.  [Despite the infamy of the 1919 WS, both Eddie Cicotte’s and Lefty Williams’ career-ending 20-win campaigns were posted in 1920—just before they were banned by the Commish.  The Live Ball Era’s first year is traditionally recognized as 1920 so really, both Black Soxers also accomplished what Moose and Sandy did.]
-  His 200th W = 11-Apr-2004
FCR -  Patrick Roth, Chicago
Incorrect guesses:  Walter Johnson, Don Sutton

Q.        Who was the first person born in the Mountain Time Zone to be elected to the Hall of Fame?
Hint:     He was the second Pittsburgh Pirate ever to lead the league in home runs.
Hint:     He is the first National League player to total more than 100 home runs over a two-season span.
A.         RALPH KINER  [SABR Bio]
-  Born in Santa Rita, New Mexico in 1922.  HOF in 1975.
-  Led the NL in HR 1946-52.  Tommy Leach led the NL in HR in 1902 w/6.
-  1949-50 hit 54 + 47 HR.
FCR -  Mark Hayne, Dumfries, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Dick Stuart

Q.        Which Hall of Fame pitcher has won the most Cy Young Awards?
Hint:     He was the first pitcher to strike out 300 batters in a season in each league.
Hint:     He is the only relief pitcher to strike out fifteen batters in a nine-inning game.
A.         RANDY JOHNSON  [SABR Bio]
-  5 CYAs:  1995, 1999-2002, HOF in 2015.
-  308 K in 1993 (SEA); 300+ K 1999-2002 (ARI) [P. Martinez would join this exclusive club less than a month later in 1999.]
-  16 K 18-Jul-2001, 6 IP; Entered the G in the bottom of the 3rd and had 7 IP.
FCR -  Morris Buenemann, Sarasota
Incorrect guesses:  Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Sandy Koufax

Q.        Who is the only pitcher to earn forty saves in a season for four consecutive seasons?
Hint:     He was the first pitcher to earn ten more saves than he allowed hits in a season.
Hint:     One-time teammate Akinori Otsuka asked him for permission to have “Hells Bells” played when Otsuka came in from the bullpen for the final outs of the 2006 World Baseball Classic championship game played in Petco Park.
-     40+ S 1998-2001 and again 2004-2007  [Reader Steve Kuzmiak found that Francisco Rodriguez also had 40 Saves 4 years in a row 2005-2008, leaving Hoffman the only reliever to do it twice.]
-  53 S, 41 H in 1998. 
-  Once he settled on it, AC/DC's song “Hells Bells”, was what Hoffman had played every time entered a game.
FCR -  Adrian Fung, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Mariano Rivera

Q.        What one-time Boston Red Sox player was elected to the All-Star Game more times as a New York Met than anyone else?
Hint:     He graces the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine over the subtitle, “Look Who’s in Cincy”.
Hint:     While in college he worked, according to SABR, “in the raisin trade”.
Hint:     In some sense he still does today.
A.         TOM SEAVER  [SABR Bio]
-  9 X an AS.  Piazza, Strawberry and Wright each garnered 7 ASG nods as Mets.
-  SI Cover 27-Jun-1977
-  Growing up in Fresno, California, he was in the heart of grape and raisin country, so his employment there was natural while he attended Fresno City College.
-  Today he owns a vineyard.
FCR -  Jeff Kallman, Las Vegas
Incorrect guesses: 

FRIDAY – Feb 14
Q.        Whose brother earned a silver medal in the 1936 Olympics, running just behind Jesse Owens?
Hint:     Although he was born in Cairo, he is not Egyptian.
Hint:     The two times he led the league in stolen bases, he also led in times caught stealing.
Hint:     He led his team to the World Series more than half of his seasons in the majors.
-  Older brother Matthew MacKenzie “Mack” Robinson was an international track star.
-  Born in the small town of Cairo, Georgia.  (Pronounced “KAY-ro”.)
-  Led in SB in 1947 & 1949 w/29 & 37 respectively.  Was caught 11 & 16 times equally respectively.
-  Had a 10-year MB career; went to the WS 6 X:  1947, 49, 52, 53, 55, 56.
FCR -  Jeff Orner, York, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Tommy Heinrich 

Q.        Who passed the player who passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time career strikeout list?
Hint:     He is a cousin of a cousin of Reggie Smith.
Hint:     One year after he broke into the majors, his team changed cities.
-  Jackson passed Willie Stargell in 1982.  Stargell had passed Mantle in 1978.  Mr. October has now held the career record for 38 straight seasons.  With the current active career K leader (Mark Reynolds) trailing Reggie by over 650 strikeouts, Jackson should be keeping this dubious record for at least several more years.
-  Jackson is cousins w/Barry Bonds who is a cousin of Reggie Smith.
-  Rookie w/KCA in 1967.  They promptly moved to Oakland for the 1968 season.
FCR -  Jeff Orner, York, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  Lou Brock

Q.        What one-time Cincinnati Red do many deem to be the first great shortstop born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic?
Hint:     He was born on the day of Sandy Koufax’s first no-hitter.
Hint:     His injury in 1995 allowed a Yankees roster space to bring up Derek Jeter to the majors for the first time.
Hint:     He hit for the cycle shortly after returning from his injury.  It was the last Yankee cycle of the 20th century.
Hint:     He was the only player to hit a pinch-hit home run against the Yankees in 2001.  It was a Grand Slam off Ted Lilly, the last pinch-hit grand slam hit in the majors.
Hint:     He was the first player to collect 200 hits in a season for the Blue Jays.
Hint:     Although he spent his 17-year career in the majors playing for seven different franchises, he is the career leader for one of these in WAR Position Players, Defensive WAR. games played, hits, singles and triples.
Hint:     He was the first player to appear in 400 consecutive games for that team.
Hint:     He won a World Series ring with them.
-  “Greatness” measured by career WAR, hits, AS appearances among others.
-  B: 30-Jun-1962
-  Injured 20-May-1995, Jeter debut 29-May-1995.
-  Cycle: 03-Sep-1995
-  GSHR vs. NYY 04-Jul-2001 while playing for TOR contributed to a 14-0 victory.
-  His 213 H in 1986 stood as the franchise standard for 17 years and at the time, His 213-hit campaign was, at the time, the most by any shortstop in ML history.
-  Played for TOR on three different occasions and leads them in career WAR for Position Players [37.5], Defensive WAR [12.4], games played [1,450], hits [1,583], singles [1,160] and triples [72].
-  403 game streak 21-Sep-198424-Jun-1987
-  WS championship w/TOR in 1993
FCR -  Adrian Fung, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Leo Cardenas, Davey Concepcion

SUNDAY – Feb 16
Q.        Who is the only man to manage two different American League teams in the same city?
Hint:     He was the first rookie second baseman to hit twenty home runs in his debut season.
Hint:     He was the first teammate to reach to play catch with new teammate Larry Doby.
Hint:     He played football in college and a teammate of his is now an NFL Hall of Famer.
A.         JOE GORDON  [SABR Bio]
-  Mgr. of 1961 KCA & of the expansion KCR in 1969.
-  Hit a total of 25 HRs in 1938; 24 while playing 2B plus one more as a PH.
-  Doby incident 1947.  It was Gordon’s first year with the team as well.
-  Played football at Oregon.  Teammate was Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans who starred for the football New York Giants.
FCR -  J.P. Wanamaker, Binghamton, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Casey Stengel, Darrell Johnson, Joe Torre, Jim Lemon

Q.        Who was the first pitcher to amass 100 strikeouts in each of 20 straight, consecutive seasons in a row together?
Hint:     He attended institutions of higher learning in Florida, Mississippi and California.
Hint:     His nickname was acquired by Stanley in New England.
A.         DON SUTTON
-  100K = 1966-1985
-  The eponymous company from which his nickname is derived, Black & Decker merged with Stanley Works to become Stanley Black & Decker headquartered in New Britain, Connecticut.
FCR -  Kevin Mix, Chicago
Incorrect guesses:  Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan

WEEKLY THEME – Hall of Famers who attended universities in the Pacific Athletic Conference.  (Once PAC-8, then PAC-10 after adding AZ & ASU and now PAC-12 after adding Colorado and Utah.)

Player             School
Gordon........... Oregon
Hoffman......... Arizona
Jackson.......... Arizona State
Johnson......... Southern California
Mussina.......... Stanford
Kiner............... Southern California
Palmer............ Arizona State
Seaver............ Southern California
Sutton............. Southern California
PAC-12 schools w/o HOF alumni:  Cal, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah, Washington & Washington State.

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeDan Massey, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (After Kiner)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Oriole pitchers with the highest career WAR 

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