Monday, August 24, 2020

2020-08-17 People whose deaths ended their baseball careers


Q.        What Cleveland Indians shortstop died 100 years ago today, less than two months before his team won their first ever World Series?
Hint:     He still holds the major league record for sacrifices in one season. 
Hint:     His stolen base total one year was his franchise's record for 63 seasons.
Hint:     His best friend, Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, had been the Best Man at his wedding.
Hint:     He was the second player to homer off Babe Ruth.
A.         RAY CHAPMAN  [SABR Bio]
-  Chapman is still the only player to die from an injury sustained during a major league game.  Virtually everyone in attendance at that game does NOT blame Yankee side-arm pitcher Carl Mays for the incident.  The fateful pitch was thrown in the darkening afternoon hours on 16-Aug-1920 on NYY’s home field, The Polo Grounds.  The Indians won their first AL pennant and then defeated the Brooklyn Robins 5-2 in the 1920 WS.
-  67 sacrifices in 1917; 334 in his career (6th all-time).
-  Franchise-best 52 SB in 1917 for CLE until surpassed by Miguel Dilone’s 61 in 1980. Current record holder is Kenny Lofton w/75 SB in 1996.
-  Tris Speaker was so overcome by the grief at the passing of Chapman that he collapsed from exhaustion prior to Chapman’s public funeral and was ordered to bed by doctors.  Speaker was unable to act as pallbearer or deliver a eulogy at the services for his friend.  He is the only person who continued
-  Chapman was the second player to hit a HR against the young BOS pitching prodigy. Only 8 ever did.  Chapman’s 13-July-1915 feat was mostly done with his feet, an inside-the-park job.  Incidentally, Ruth was playing RF the moment Chapman was hit.
FCR - Preston Salisbury, Starkville, Mississippi
Incorrect guesses:  Carl Mays, Bill Wambsganss, Roger Peckinpaugh, Sam Crawford, Sam Chapman
Recommended reading:

TUESDAY     18-Aug
Q.        Which Rookie of the Year-to-be second baseman and Hall of Famer-to-be outfielder Lou Brock each made his major league debut in the same game for the Chicago Cubs?
Hint:     By a single vote did he missed being unanimously voted Rookie of the Year.
Hint:     In his first full year, he won the Gold Glove for National League second basemen.
A.         KEN HUBBS  [SABR Bio]
-  Hubbs and Brock each collected their first major league hits off of future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts on 10-Sept-1961, helping to knock him out of the game in B5 and stake CHI to a 6-1 lead.  However, their heroics weren’t enough as the Cubs committed seven errors in the game (including 2 by Brock) and surrendered 13 unanswered runs in the 7th & 8th innings to fall to PHI.
-  Donn Clendenon received 1 vote, Hubbs 19 for the 1962 NL ROY.
-  Hubbs’s GG win in 1962 interrupted a string of GGs won by PIT’s Bill Mazeroski.
FCR -  Kevin Mix, Chicago
Incorrect guesses:  Glen Beckert, Glen Hubbard, Ryne Sandberg

Q.        Who is the only player to strike out four times in a single All-Star game?
Hint:     He was the reigning MVP at the time.
Hint:     No other player has led the National League in assists by an outfielder for more seasons than he did.
Hint:     No other outfielder won a Gold Glove more times.
-  AS Ks = 11-Jul-1967.  The Great One was sat down by Dean Chance, Gary Peters, Al Downing and Catfish Hunter— all MLB 20-game winners.
-  Led the NL OF A in 5 seasons (1958, 1960, 1961, 1966 and 1967)
  It begs the question, “How uninformed were NL 3rd-base coaches in that era?”
-  Has 12 OF GG, tied w/Willie Mays.
FCR -  Eric Savage, Short Hills, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses:  Willie Mays, Andruw Jones, Larry Walker, Ichiro Suzuki

Q.        Who is the only player to lead his league, at one point or another in his career, in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs-batted-in, batting average, stolen bases, total bases AND hit four home runs in one game.
Hint:     Like a laggard, though, he never once led in runs scored.
Hint:     Amazingly, he never finished even as high as second in MVP voting.
A.         ED DELAHANTY  [SABR Bio]
-  Delahanty led his league in H 1 X, 2B 5 X, 3B 1 X, HR 2 X, RBI 3 X, SB 1 X, BA 2 X & TB 2 X in addition to being only 1 of 18 players In major league history w/4 HRs in a single major league game.  To put the last rarity into perspective, 23 men have pitched perfect games.  2 of Delahanty’s HRs were ITP.
-  His 145 R in 1893 were the closest he came to leading a league in R.  He was 3rd, just 4 behind former Cowboy Herman Long’s career-high 149.
-  MVP awards of any kind weren’t implemented until 8 years after Delahanty’s career.
FCR -  Elliott Frankfother, Rock Falls, Illinois
Incorrect guesses:  Mike Schmidt, Bob Horner, Shawn Green, Josh Hamilton, Lou Gehrig, Frank Robinson, Mike Cameron

Q.        Who was the first pitcher to win a major league Opening Day game played outside the U.S. or Canada?
Hint:     The customary five-year waiting period for Hall of Fame election was waived for him.
Hint:     In addition to his pitching prowess he was universally regarded as a solid citizen and teammate, so much so that an award in his honor is bestowed on a member of two of the team he played for.
A.         DARRYL KILE  [SABR Bio]
-  The game played on 04-Apr-1999 was the first major league game played in Mexico and took place at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey.
-  In addition to waiving the HOF waiting period for Kile (2002) it was also waived for Roberto Clemente (1973) and Thurman Munson (1981).  Unfortunately, with just 7 HOF votes, Kile was eliminated from future BBWAA ballot consideration.
-  The Darryl Kile Award, also called the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award, is given to a player on each of the Cardinals and Astros.  Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell was one of the initial recipients. An additional 33 players have since been thus recognized.
FCR -  Joe O’Neill, London, Ontario
Incorrect guesses:  Roy Halladay, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Addie Joss, Sandy Koufax

THURSDAY    20-Aug
Q.        Whose career win/loss percentage is the best of any pitcher born in the state of Maryland?
Hint:     He was honored by the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.
Hint:     Before coming up to the majors, the respected publication Baseball America described his curveball as “devastating”.
Hint:     Having to undergo Tommy John surgery saw him drop in the drop in the draft, but the signing bonus received was higher than any ever given to a player drafted that low in the draft.
A.         NICK ADENHART  [B-R Bio]
-  Career win-loss% = a perfect 1.000, based on his 1-0 record (no minimum was specified.) Born in Silver Spring.  That mark is actually a tie.  Four other Marylanders, including HOF Jimmie Foxx, also posted a 1-0, 1.000 W-L% pitching record.
-  MLB, particularly his team the Angels, held ceremonies following his tragic, fatal car crash.  The Lakers had a moment of silence in his remembrance before their next game.
-  Drafted in the 14th round of the 2004 June Amateur Draft (413th overall), he received more than $700,000 to sign with the Angels.  His signing record didn’t last long as Dexter Fowler, drafted in the same round, received a $925,000 bonus when he inked his deal with the Rockies just three weeks after Adenhart’s.
FCR -  Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, Maryland
Incorrect guesses:  Lefty Grove, Babe Ruth, Geoff Zahn

Q.        Who was the first player to get two hits in the same inning of World Series competition?
Hint:     His team was the first in modern times to play in the World Series in four straight years.
Hint:     He was the first player in the Live Ball Era to hit three triples in a single game.
A.         ROSS YOUNGS  [SABR Bio]
-  2 H, 7th inning G 3 1921 WS.  His Giants won the G and the WS.
-  NYG played in the World Series 1921, 22, 23 & 24, winning the first two
-  3 triples/G  = 11-May-1920.
FCR -  David Serota, Kalamazoo
Incorrect guesses:  Joe DiMaggio, Al Simmons, Denny Neagle, Joe DiMaggio, George Burns, Frankie Frisch, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Miller Huggins, Hugh Jennings, Phil Rizzuto       

FRIDAY    21-Aug
Q.        Which Dodger first baseman hit .300+ for a franchise-record six consecutive seasons?
Hint:     He was named seven times to the National League All-Star team.
Hint:     Three times he finished in the top ten of MVP ballots and even a fourth, but outside of the Top Ten.
Hint:     He was born and grew up just an hour from the childhood home of Hall of Famer Mike Mussina.
A.         JAKE DAUBERT  [SABR Bio]
-  Strung together seasons of .307, .308, .350, .329, .301 & .316 from 1911 to 1916.
-  Pre-dating the playing of MLB’s first official All-Star Game in 1933, The Baseball Magazine, a popular monthly national publication chose all-star teams for both the N.L. & A.L. annually from 1908 through 1950.  Daubert was selected as the preeminent N.L. first baseman seven (7!) times.
-  Born and grew up near Shamokin, Pennsylvania.  Mussina was from Williamsport, Just an hour distant as the crow flies.
FCR -  Vince Guerrieri, Elyria, Ohio
Incorrect guesses:  Dolph Camilli, Steve Garvey, Gil Hodges, Eric Karros, Pedro Guerrero

T.G.I.F. BONUS    21-Aug
Q.        Who said, “Baseball breaks your heart.  It is designed to break your heart.”?
Hint:     He delivered an even more famous sentence.
Hint:     He was one of the youngest presidents of Yale University in its history.
A.         BART GIAMATTI  [BA Bio]
-  The complete quote is, “[Baseball] breaks your heart.  It is designed to break your heart.  The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone.  You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”  Taken from The Green Fields of the Mind, which itself is an essay in “A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti” (1975)
-  He gave Pete Rose a lifetime sentence when he banned him from organized baseball.
-  Was appointed president of Yale at age 38 in 1976.
FCR -  Sarah Grynpas, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Paul Giamatti, Nappy Chandler

Q.        What double Unique Hall of Famer was told by his law school professor that, “Ahem…, baseball might be a more productive choice.”
Hint:     His law school professor became Chief Justice of the United States.
Hint:     As a Cardinals and Reds second baseman, he led the National League in walk four times in his thirteen-year playing career.
Hint:     He received some votes the first two seasons that  type of MVP award existed.
-  Attended Law School at the University of Cincinnati and his law professor with the good career advice was none other than William Howard Taft.  Huggins had sought his professor’s advice.  The actual quote, as best as researchers can determine is, "You can become a pleader or a player, not both.  Try baseball. You seem to like it better."  Given how many major league games Taft attended as president, it’s probably safe to assume that he had already known something of the game when speaking to his young charge.
-  Huggins graduated with his degree in 1902, was admitted to the bar, but heeding Taft’s advice, never actually practiced law.
-  Led in BB for CIN in 1905 & 1907; led for STL in 1910 & 1914
-  Ranked 6th in NL voting in 1911 & 16th (tie) in 1912 when the game’s highest individual player honor was known as The Chalmers Award after the automobile company that sponsored it
FCR -  Sarah Grynpas, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Branch Rickey, Dal Maxvill, Frankie Frisch

SATURDAY    22-Aug
Q.        Whose auriferous nickname was given him while still in high school?
Hint:     He and Henry Aaron played their first major league games on the same day.  He for a team based in Boston against a team that was about to move.  Aaron debuted one state away for a team that had just moved from Boston.
Hint:     He had received scholarship offers from as many as 75 colleges but chose to stay local.  He was the quarterback and star of his local college football team, leading it to 17 victories in his career and was honored as the best collegiate football player in his region his junior year.
Hint:     Serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korea conflict he played football and baseball with his fellow troops.  His mighty USMC baseball team reached the national semi-pro tournament where he excelled.
A.         HARRY AGGANIS  [SABR Bio]
-  He had already received his nickname, “The Golden Greek” in high school, but it described him so well because of his charismatic personality and athletic performance in baseball, basketball and football, that the audacious but appropriate sobriquet continued to fit him in college, in the minor leagues as well as in the majors.
-  Agganis debuted with PHA playing for with BOS on 13-Apr-1954.  That same day, Aaron made his first start with the Braves representing their new home city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
-  He received the Bulger Lowe Award as the best collegiate football player in New England.
-  His squad reached the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita, Kansas in 1951 where Harry was named its all-star first baseman and Most Valuable Player despite his team’s disappointing 5th place finish.
FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota
Incorrect guesses:  Rocky Bridges, Jackie Jensen

Q.        Which Phillies pitcher won 20 or more games three consecutive years without striking out 100 batters in any one of those seasons?
Hint:     No pitcher in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history has lost more games in his final season with the team than he did in his only year pitching for them.
Hint:     He and Steve Carlton are the only Phillies pitchers to drive in over 100 runs.
A.         JACK TAYLOR  [SABR Bio]
-  Between 1894-1896, won 23, 26 and 20 with his highest K total being 97 (over 359 IP) in 1896.
-  Dropped 29 decisions in 1898 for the NL Cardinals’ precursors the Browns (not to be confused with the AL’s St. Louis Browns team born in 1901 as the ... Milwaukee Brewers).
-  Although both had 112 RBI during their time with PHI, Taylor did it in about 300 fewer games than Lefty.
FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota          
Incorrect guesses:  Rick Wise, Charlie Ferguson, Schoolboy Rowe, Chris Short, Eppa Rixey, Curt Simmons, Red Donahue, Pete Alexander, Charlie Buffinton

Q.        Which highly-heralded 18-year old had two hits in his first game with the Red Sox?
Hint:     Generally recognized as one of the game’s most prolific sluggers, his league single-season high in home runs was only 33.
Hint:     Buck O’Neil famously said that there was a certain sound—of a ball hitting a bat like dynamite—that he’d heard only three times: from Babe Ruth, Bo Jackson and him.
Hint:     "I played with Willie Mays and against Hank Aaron," Hall of Famer Monte Irvin once said. "They were tremendous players, but they were no [him]."
Hint:     When an opposing player asked if a certain broken bat belonged to him, he replied, "I don't break bats, I wear 'em out."
A.         JOSH GIBSON  [SABR Bio]
-  Debuted with the 1930 Memphis Red Sox of the Negro National League.
-  Credited with 33 HR in 1941 while playing for Veracruz in the Mexican League.  Precise records of Gibson’s accomplishments do not exist.  Stat-keeping was haphazard in the Negro leagues and Gibson took part in a vast number of exhibition games and games against semiprofessional teams.  However, Gibson is generally believed to have led the Negro National League in home runs for 10 consecutive seasons and to have had a career batting average of “at least” between .345 and .365.  Most researchers hold that even perhaps the best-kept accounts of his career do not do him justice.
-  Another Buck O’Neill quote: “Gibson was the best hitter I ever saw.  He had the power of Ruth and the hitting ability of Ted Williams. Would have been outstanding in the majors and re-written the record book as far as home runs were concerned.”
FCR -  Sarah Grynpas, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Jimmie Foxx, Tony Conigliaro, David Ortiz, Ted Williams

SUNDAY    23-Aug
Q.        Who was referred to as base ball’s “martyred saint” by John Thorn?
Hint:     He (not Thorn) was likely among base ball’s very first professionals according to SABR.
Hint:     He changed the game more profoundly than any other pitcher to that point.
Hint:     Although he played six years prior to the birth of major league baseball and no reliable statistical records exist for him, still maintains a page for him. 
A.         JIM CREIGHTON  [SABR Bio]
-  John Thorn is the Official Historian of Major League Baseball.  Make sure you read the SABR Bio for Creighton (link above), written by Thorn.
-  The SABR research on Creighton study was done by Thomas W. Gilbert.  His research into the first handful of players to receive payments to play ball points to Creighton and couple others.  Such payment were considered immoral at the time.
-  Written on a bronze plaque laid by SABR at Creighton’s Brooklyn gravesite in 2014, is: “The movement, command and velocity of his pitches overwhelmed opposing batters, spurring the transformation of the pitcher from a mere server into a decisive weapon.  He paved the way toward the modern game, where the battle to control the strike zone is paramount.”
-  Jim Creighton’s page
FCR -  Mike Sparks
Incorrect guesses:  Billy Sunday, Candy Cummings, Abner Doubleday, Harry Wright

Q.        For which defensive standout did John McGraw attempt to negotiate a trade at the end of the 1929 season?
Hint:     His batting average dropped nearly 50 points after Lefty O'Doul "helped" adjust his swing.
Hint:     In his final major league game, two records held by Rogers Hornsby were broken.
Hint:     Hornsby called him, "…the best young catcher I have seen come up in quite a while."
Hint:     He used a specially-modified catcher's mitt, which allowed him to devise a "Cigar Store Indian" play.
A.         WALT LERIAN  [SABR Bio]
-  Lerian passed away before a deal could be struck.
-  1928 BA .272, 1929 BA .223
-  Final game 05-Oct-1929 (1), Chuck Klein broke Hornsby's NL single-season HR record [42 in 1922] & Lefty O'Doul broke his modern NL single-season H record [250 in 1922]
-   To pull off his Cigar Store Indian play, Lerian would stand at rest, with his arms at his side near the plate or a base and then, as a throw came in, spring to life and catch the ball in a specially-created pocket in the center of his mitt, tagging out the unsuspecting runner.
FCR -  Steven Wright, Naperville, Illinois
Incorrect guesses: 

WEEKLY THEME – (A very brief list of…) People whose deaths terminated their baseball careers.

Decedent           Cause                                              Date of passing
Adenhart........... Car crash................................................09-Apr-2009
Agganis............. Massive Pulmonary Embolism.............. 27-Jun-1955
Chapman.......... Killed by pitched ball............................. 17-Aug-1920
Clemente........... Lost at sea in airplane........................... 31-Dec-1972
Creighton.......... Ruptured bladder while at-bat................ 14-Oct-1862
Daubert............. Died following appendectomy................ 09-Oct-1924
Delahanty.......... Died after falling from train...................... 02-Jul-1903
Giamatti............. Died of heart attack............................... 01-Sep-1989
Gibson............... Died of stroke or brain hemorrhage....... 20-Jan-1947
Hubbs................ Killed in plane crash.............................. 15-Feb-1964
Huggins............. Died of erysipelas.................................. 25-Sep-1929
Kile    ................ Died of heart disease          .................. 22-Jun-2002
Lerian................ Died after being hit by truck................... 22-Oct-1929
Taylor................ Died of Bright's disease......................... 07-Feb-1900
Youngs.............. Died of Bright's disease......................... 22-Oct-1927

If, of all words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are, “It might have been,”
More sad are these we daily see:
It is, but hadn’t ought to be.
                                                — Bret Harte

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeKevin Mix, Chicago (after Hubbs)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Monday  -  Players who died during a season in which they were active
               -  Players who died as active players under age 30
               -  Friends of Ty Cobb

Tuesday -  MLB infielders who died tragic deaths while still active
               -  ball players who died in their 20s
               -  Tragic infielders
               -  MLB Players from each position who died in their 20s
               -  Players who died the year after making the All-Star team
               -  In-season MLB deaths

Thursday-  All-star players who died while active on a major league roster

Fri.          -  Lawyers in the game

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1 comment:

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