Sunday, June 7, 2020

2020-06-01 Infielders who hit Ultimate Grand Slams

Q.        Who owns the highest career Defensive WAR rating in the history of the Detroit Tigers franchise?
Hint:     In his first year as a manager, his charges produced the lowest winning percentage of any team since the 1962 Mets.
Hint:     He’s the only non-Yankees American League shortstop to win the World Series Most Valuable Player award.
Hint:     Alfredo Griffin never wanted him to be injured but was grateful for the opportunity the injury provided.
A.         ALAN TRAMMELL  [SABR Bio]
-  Trammell’s rating of 22.7 is almost 40% higher than the player in 2nd place on that list, who happens to be Lou Whitaker.
-  DET in 2003 finished 43-119 or .265, slightly ahead of the 1962 NYM at .250
-  MVP for the 1984 WS.  NYY SS’s won in 1978 & 2000.  NL SS’s won it in 2006 & 2010.
-  MLB pays the expenses for each player here and a guest.  In most cases, players bring wives or girlfriends.  Damaso Garcia, TOR’s 2b, brought his SS, Griffin.  When Trammell hurt his arm and could not play, AL Mgr Joe Altobelli named Griffin to the team, “…partly because he's a fine player, but mostly because he was here.”
FCR -  Alexander Brychta, Buford, Georgia
Incorrect guesses:  Harvey Kuehn

TUESDAY  -  02-Jun
Q.        Which switch-hitting slugger did Babe Ruth have to pass to become the all-time career home run leader in major league history?
Hint:     He began his career at third base even though he threw left-handed.
Hint:     His size gave helped give rise to a team name that is still used today.
Hint:     His brother played for two franchises each in their first years of existence, the Brewers and Blues.
A.         ROGER CONNOR  [SABR Bio]
-  Connor retired w/138 HR, all hit between 1880 & 1897.  Ruth’s 139th on 18-Jul-1921, in his 2nd year w/NYY.
-  He played 3B in only 111  of his 1,998 MLB G.  1,759 were at 1B.
-  Connor stood 6’3” and weighed +- 220 lbs., a virtual giant among players on the 1884 New York Gothams.  He was instrumental in the team being called the New York Giants from 1885 forward.
-  Brother Joe Connor played briefly at catcher with 2 American League teams in the first season of the AL, 1901, MLA (who became the Orioles) and CLE.
FCR -  Frank Ittner, Atlanta
Incorrect guesses:  Gavvy Cravath, Cy Williams, Home Run Baker, Mel Ott, Ken Williams, Dan Brouthers

WEDNESDAY  -  03-Jun
Q.        Who was with the Blue Jays in their World Series winning season, but did not play in that postseason due to a broken arm?
Hint:     His nephew was an important part of a World Series championship team.
Hint:     He and his father played a combined 33 MLB seasons without a single All-Star appearance.
A.         DICK SCHOFIELD  [B-R Bio]

-  Was w/TOR in 1993
-  Nephew Jayson Werth was on PHI in 2008.  Werth is the son of Schofield’s sister.
-  Father was Dick Schofield who won a WS w/PIT in 1960.
FCR -  James Higgins, Bethesda
Incorrect guesses:  Tony Fernandez, Dick s Holyfield, Todd Stottlemeyer

Q.        What player got his 2,500th major league hit off Hall of Famer Jack Morris but symmetrically was also Hall of Famer  Nolan Ryan’s 2,500th strikeout victim?
Hint:     Ryan would later be his teammate, on two different teams in two different leagues in back-to-back seasons.
Hint:     He has won more Gold Glove awards playing third base in the American League than any player except Brooks Robinson.
A.         BUDDY BELL  [SABR Bio]
-  Ryan’s K      #2,500 12-May-1978; H #2,500 off Morris 04-Apr-1989; (Opening Day of Bell’s last season)
-  Ryan & Bell were teammates on HOU (then in NL) in 1988 and on TEX in 1989.
-  6 GG, all w/TEX tied w/Eric Chavez who had 6 w/OAK.
FCR -  John Rickert, Terre Haute
Incorrect guesses:  Adrian Beltré, Gary Gaetti, Eric Chavez

THURSDAY  -  04-Jun
Q.        Which Ontario native and one-time Cleveland Indian finished behind Don Newcombe in Rookie-of-the-Year voting?
Hint:     He won four Gold Gloves at his position in the first six years the award existed.
Hint:     He was replaced at his position by a Hall of Famer.
A.         DEL CRANDALL  [SABR Bio]
-  1949 NL ROY = only Newk & Crandall received votes.  Born in the town of Ontario, California.
-  GG at C in 1958-60, ’62.  Crandall finished his 16-year career w/CLE in 1966.
-  Joe Torre took over as the Braves’ regular catcher in 1963.
FCR -  John Michael Pierobon, Fort Lauderdale
Incorrect guesses:  Adrian Fung, Toronto, Al Rosen, Sal Maglie, Ferris Fain, Vic Power, Jim Landis

FRIDAY  -  05-Jun
Q.        Who was the only catcher ever traded for Fred Lynn?
Hint:     He spent his entire ten-year major league career with the same franchise.
Hint:     He hit eight grand slams in his career, the final two in the same game.
A.         CHRIS HOILES  [B-R Bio]
-  Lynn was traded on 31-Aug-1988 by BAL to DET for Hoiles & 2 PTBNL who never reached the majors.
-  Played for BAL 1989-98.
-  2 GS 14-Aug-1998.  He’d hit the 6th GS of his career exactly one month earlier.
FCR -  Raymond Luurs, Murray, Kentucky
Incorrect guesses:  Justin Varitek, Rich Gedman

SATURDAY  -  06-Jun
Q.        What utility infielder attended four universities in the state of Texas before going pro?
Hint:     His first hit in the majors was a solo home run in Yankee Stadium.
Hint:     When his press agent told him he needed more ink, he thought he understood…
Hint:     He was signed and released by two major league team after his last game in the majors.
A.         RYAN ROBERTS  [B-R Bio]
-  Attended Eastfield College (Mesquite, TX), Galveston College, University of Texas at Austin, & University of Texas at Arlington.  (Despite being born, raised and schooled in Texas, he had a grand total of one (1) career MLB AB playing for Texas teams — and struck out = 29-Jul-2008.
-  1st H/HR = 03-Aug-2006 off Cory Lidle, one of the last of Lidle’s career.
-  Roberts is called “Tatman” and sometimes referred to as having the most tattoos of any major leaguer.  He has more than 30.  (Perhaps they hadn’t had time to check out Eric Hinske.)
-  Final game was 17-Apr-2014 for BOS.
~ 30-Sep-2014: Granted Free Agency by BOS;
~ 12-Nov-2014 signed as a Free Agent w/KCR;
~ 29-Mar-2015 Released by KCR;
~ April 26-Apr-2015 signed as a Free Agent w/OAK;
~ 06-Nov-015 granted Free Agency by OAK.
FCR -  Ken Kirk, Corning, New York
Incorrect guesses:  Josh Hamilton, Spike Owen

SUNDAY  -  07-Jun
Q.        Who was the first Venezuelan to play regularly as a big league catcher?
Hint:     He made the All-Star game for teams in each league.  (Not the same year.  That would be a record.)
Hint:     He played in the World Series in the majors but won six championships in the winter league in Venezuela.
A.         BO DIAZ  [SABR Bio]
-  Began starting regularly in the early 1980s.  11 other Venezuelan natives have 500 or more games at catcher in the majors since then.
-  AL AS for CLE in 1981.  NL AS for CIN in 1987.
-  Was in the WS w/PHI in 1983 (won by BAL).  Won in Venezuela w/the Caracas Leones.
FCR -  Mike Eisenbath, St. Charles, Missouri
Incorrect guesses:  Manny Sanguillen

WEEKLY THEME – Infielders who have hit what are now called Ultimate Grand Slams. These are grand slams hit in the bottom of the ninth or later with the home team down by 3 runs and with two outs.

Infielder          Pos.      Team           Date                      Off                        Of
Bell.................. 3B......... TEX......... 31-Aug-1984.......... Pete Ladd............ MIL
Connor............ 1B......... TRO........ 10-Sep-1881.......... Lee Richmond...... WOR
Crandall........... C.......... MLN........ 11-Sep-1955 (1)..... Herm Wehmeier...... PHI*
Diaz................. C.......... PHI......... 13-Apr-1983........... Neil Allen................. NYM
Hoiles............... C.......... BAL......... 17-May-1996......... Norm Charlton......... SEA*
Roberts........... 3B......... ARI......... 27-Sep-2011.......... Javy Guerra.............. LAD
Schofield......... SS......... CAL........ 29-Aug-1986.......... Willie Hernandez..... DET
Trammell........ SS......... DET........ 21-Jun-1988.......... Cecilio Guante........... NYY*
*3-2 count

Three additional players hit the same 9th-inning grand slam, but with less than 2 outs:  Eddie Joost (off Satchel Paige); Danny Kravitz (1st career HR) and Tony Taylor.  (Penultimate?  Or w/1one out = antepenultimate??)

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeJoe Haardt, MacLean, Virginia (after Hoiles)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Monday  -  HoFers who never won an MVP but finished second at least once.

Tuesday -  Players who have hit Ultimate Grand Slam Home Run.
               -  Players who've hit ultimate grand slams
               -  Hall of Fame players with the worst winning percentages as managers

Friday     -  Players who hit an Ultimate Grand Slam on a full count
               -  Players who hit an Ultimate Grand Slam with two strikes
               -  Right handed batters who hit Ultimate Grand Slams
               -  Right handed batters who hit Ultimate Grand Slams with two strikes

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