Sunday, May 24, 2020

2020-05-18 Players whose great defense helped keep perfect games intact.


Q.        Whose hold on the major league career strikeout record by a batter was wrested from him by Willie Stargell?
Hint:     He was proud of the car he drove with OK license plate #77-7777.
Hint:     Jane played him creditably for Crystal.
A.         MICKEY MANTLE  [SABR Bio]
-  Just as Mantle had taken the top honor in Ks from Babe Ruth in 1964, Stargell topped everybody from 1978-81, when Reggie Jackson, today still unthroned, took the lead.
-  OK Lic.  (This car once zoomed past me on CA I-280.  Guess who was driving?)
-  Billy Crystal’s movie *61 starred Thomas Jane as The Mick.
FCR -  Oron Strauss, Arlington, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, Bobby Bonds

TUESDAY
Q.        What one-time Cardinal outfielder has 85 postseason hits, none of them with St. Louis?
Hint:     He credits his thirst for perfection to being the youngest of six vying for his father’s attention.
Hint:     He is related to Clemens but not that one.
Hint:     He never played for the Warriors even though his owner thought he was one.
A.         PAUL O’NEILL  [SABR Bio]
-  Was a Cardinal when he played at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio.  Played in 6 WS:  CIN 1990, NYY 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2001—on the winning side each time save the last.
-  Explained his passion in a 2011 interview.
- Mark Twain A/K/A Samuel L. Clemens is a distant relative.
-  George Steinbrenner nicknamed O’Neill “The Warrior”.
FCR -  David Krassin, Los Angeles
Incorrect guesses:  Lance Berkman, Tino Martínez, Bill Virdon

TUESDAY TWICE
Q.        Who is the only Red Sox* catcher to record 150 assists in a season, helping his team to the World Series for the first time?
Hint:     In fact, he was the first Red Sox* catcher to record 100 assists in a season.
Hint:     As a batter, he once had ten triples in a season where his hit total was fewer than 75.
*Red Sox is what we call them today.  They’ve were the Boston Americans in the early days of the American League.  There is scant evidence that they were ever officially called the Pilgrims, but one still sees that name used for them from time to time.
A.         LOU CRIGER  [SABR Bio]
-  156 A in 1903 when BOS won the first modern WS
-  117 A in 1902 before the modern WS existed
-  1903 = 61 H, 10 3B
FCR -  Joe O’Neill, London, ON
Incorrect guesses:  Jason Varitek, Bill Carrigan, Chick Stahl

WEDNESDAY
Q.        Who was reported to have hit a home run in his first major league at bat for the Texas Rangers, but light research showed it to be his second?
Hint:     In his sophomore season he hit a midseason walk-off home run so dramatic that his teammates carried him off the field on their shoulders.
Hint:     Two years later he had a midsummer week so productive (12 H, 8 R, 3 HR, .600 BA & 25 TB) that he was selected as the American League Player of the Week.
Hint:     Like most of us, his public appearances of late are restricted to Zoom.
A.         RUSTY GREER
-  He actually homered as the lead-off batter in the 2nd inning 16-May-1994 which might have led to his 1st home run’s being mis-recorded.
-  Walk-off HR off KCR’s Billy Brewer 08-Jun-1995.
-  Stats accumulated Monday, June 9–Sunday, June 15, 1997
-  Click here <https://youtu.be/2G11zRokFO0> for an interview on 23-Apr-2020 by Dallas Morning News Rangers beat writer, Evan Grant w/Greer with teammates Ivan Rodriguez & Mark McLemore.
FCR -  Karen Hermele, Denver
Incorrect guesses:  Joey Gallo, Jeff Burroughs, Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, Josh Hamilton, Sammy Sosa, Will Clark, Dave Nelson

THURSDAY
Q.        Who threw the first pitch in the first game ever played in the National League?
Hint:     He was the first recorded player to hit for a “natural” cycle, meaning he got his hits in the order of total bases: first the single, then a double, then the triple and finally the home run.
Hint:     His cycle was the second ever recorded in the history of the majors.
Hint:     He once took to the water in a dinghy in pursuit of a dinger.
A.         LON KNIGHT  [B-R Wiki]
-  Pitching for the original National League Philadelphia Athletics (not a typo), Knight hurled the first-ever pitch to future Hall of Famer George Wright of the Boston Red Stockings (also not a typo) 22-Apr-1876.
-  Cycle = 30-Jul-1883; 1st cycle was by Curry Foley 25-May-1882.  ERRATUM:  The good folks at Retrosheet (A/K/A Mark Pankin) provided us with information showing that Knight’s cycle was actually the 3rd one and that Foley was next with George Hall as the first baseball cyclist accomplished on Flag Day in the Centennial Year!  See -https://www.retrosheet.org/cycles_chron.htm
-  Knight was playing right field in a game at Riverside Park in East Albany, NY when a ball clobbered by 4X 19th century HR champ Lipman Pike sailed over the fence and landed in the Hudson River.  The park had no rules then about what happened after a ball went over the fence, so it wasn’t automatically a home run.  Our hero Lon, ever the determined player, jumped into a nearby boat and paddled out into the river in pursuit of the ball!  His throw in was ...alas, late.
FCR -  Matt Scribbins, Scottsdale
Incorrect guesses:  Joe Borden, Jim O’Rourke, Albert Spalding, Eppa Rixey, George Zettlein, Joe McGinnity, Curry Foley

FRIDAY
Q.        When a certain player was suspended for the season five weeks after winning the MVP of the All-Star Game, who replaced him?
Hint:     He had been rated the best defensive outfielder in a minor league where he played at the time.
Hint:     He once made it all the way to third base on a dropped third strike.
Hint:     He retired just before spring training this year to take a job w/MLB.
A.         GREGOR BLANCO  [Twitter]
-  Melky Cabrera was having a career ear in 2012, including the ASG, but was found to violating MLB’s substance abuse policy and so was suspended for 50 games on 15-Aug.  Blanco had signed with SFG that spring and were able to move him into left where he became an important contributor in their WS win that year.
-  Baseball America had given him that defensive title while he was playing for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League in 2004.
-  On 23-May-2015, as the lead-off batter playing for ARI and facing starter Jordan Lyles of COL by striking out but made it all the way to 3rd when the pitch got away from C Nick Hundley, whose throw ended up in RF while trying to get Blanco at 1st.
-  Blanco is now employed in MLB's baseball operations department.
FCR -  Steve Berman, Bergenfield, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses:  Melky Cabrera, Dee Gordon, Dee Gordon, Curtis Granderson, Hunter Pence, Carl Crawford, Angel Pagan

SATURDAY
Q.        What speedy outfielder once fooled an umpiring crew that he had caught a foul pop-up by pounding his fist into his glove and immediately high-fiving his teammate?
Hint:     He played for the Toronto Blue Jays on three separate occasions, none memorable.
Hint:     He signed with the White Sox as a free agent on three separate occasions.
Hint:     He pitched for both the White Sox and the Yankees and retired with a perfect 0.00 ERA.
A.         DeWAYNE WISE
-  On 26-Jun-2012 playing for NYY, he tumbled into the LF stands at New Yankee Stadium to catch a pop-up off the bat of the CLE's Jack Hannahan. He was helped out of the stands and immediately ran to the dugout, as if he had just made the 3rd out, fooling umpire Mike DiMuro.  Replays showed that Wise had dropped and not even recovered the ball, he just pumped his fist into his empty glove as if he had made the catch and then high-fived teammate Derek Jeter.
-  # 13-Dec-1999: Drafted by TOR from CIN in the 1999 rule 5 draft.
   ## 06-Apr-2011: Signed as a Free Agent with TOR.
   ### 26-Aug-2011: Selected off waivers by TOR from FLA.
-  # 05-Mar-2008: Signed as a Free Agent with CHW.
   ## 03-Aug-2012: Signed as a Free Agent with CHW.
   ### 21-Nov-2012: Signed as a Free Agent with CHW.
-  Threw ⅔ inning for NYY 29-Jun-2012 and full inning for CHW 04-Sep-2012.
FCR -  Adrian Fung, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Scott Podsednik, Tony Phillips

WEEKEND BONUS
Q.        Who holds the Chicago White Sox record for most runs scored in a season?
Hint:     He ironically avoided a tarnished reputation as a player by being replaced at the end of the season by one of baseball’s elites.
Hint:     He is reputed to be the only centerfielder to catch a foul ball during a game.
Hint:     He attempted suicide when he was discovered having an affair with a teammate’s wife.
A.         JOHNNY MOSTIL  [SABR Bio]
-  135 R in 1925
-  After 10 G in the majors at the very end of the 1918 regular season serving as an emergency fill-in for HOF 2B Eddie Collins (who had joined the USMC in mid-August), Mostil was dropped from CHW’s infamous WS roster when Collins was allowed to return to play in the WS 6 weeks later.  Mostil played minor-league in Milwaukee of the American Association over the succeeding two years as the “Black Sox” scandal erupted around the parent club.
-  The CF foul ball catch in question reportedly occurred during a 1925 spring-training game at Nashville. According to numerous accounts, Mostil actually beat LF Bibb Falk to the ball.  (Hey—numerous accounts!)  No telling of the story has been substantiated.
-  Caught with the wife of future Hall of Famer Red Faber.
FCR -  Rich Wolfe, Scottsdale
Incorrect guesses:  Frank Thomas, Jimmy Piersall, Jim Rivera, Jim Busby

SUNDAY
Q.        Who was the first player with six hits in a nine-inning game this decade?
Hint:     Twice his major league team gave up on him for setting a bad example with his lackadaisical play.
Hint:     He hit for the cycle on his third major league team.  They cut him loose too.
Hint:     Fourth time was the charm.
A.         ALEX RIOS
-  6-6 including a 3B on 09-Jul-2013 for CHW vs. DET.  Scored once; had 2 RBI; 2 SB.  Was pulled in 9th for defensive reasons.
-  In a stunning move, TOR placed him on waivers on 10-Aug-2009, even though he was their starting RF and had a large amount of money remaining on his contract. He wasn't hitting badly at the time: .264/.314/.427 w/25 2B and 14 HR in 108 G, but the Jays had become tired of his approach to the game.
-  Was on the KCR when they won the WS in 2015.  They released him 3 days later.
FCR -  Randall Chandler, Germantown, Tennessee
Incorrect guesses:  Jose Reyes, Jean Segura, Damion Easley, Paul Lo Duca, Damion Easley, Nomar Garciaparra, Hanley Ramirez

WEEKLY THEME – Players whose great defense helped keep perfect games intact.


Player        Pitcher                          Date                  Play details
Criger....... Cy Young................... 05-May-1904..... Nearly fell over the Boston bench grabbing a foul pop.
Knight....... Lee Richmond............ 12-Jun-1880...... A would-be single into RF in the 5th inning that Knight turned into a 9-3 putout.
Mostil........ Charlie Robertson...... 30-Apr-1922...... Made a spectacular diving catch on a liner to left by Bobby Veach in the 2nd inning
Rios.......... Phillip Humber........... 21-Apr-2012...... Dustin Ackley hit a 4th-inning line drive over the Rios’ head in RF but Ríos made a leaping catch on the warning track.

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeSteve Schwartz, Chico, California (After O’Neill)



Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  HoF players from Oklahoma 
               -  MVPs from Oklahoma
               -  Yankees batting title winners
               -  February birthdays
               -  Players who were on the winning side of a perfect game and at least two other no-hitters

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