Sunday, September 27, 2020

2020-09-21 Gussie Moran's 10 Handsomest baseball players

MONDAY  —  21-Sep

Q.        Who joined former catcher Wes Westrum and retired umpire Augie Donatelli to re-create a famous photo?

Hint:     Born in Texas, he grew up in California, but owns a baseball geography record that can never be broken.

Hint:     He led the majors in strikeouts as a rookie, fanning that year more than any player had in either league for the previous eight seasons.

A.         EDDIE MATHEWS  [SABR Bio]

-  They gathered in Milwaukee in 1979 to simulate Sports Illustrated magazine’s first-issue cover on its 25th anniversary.

-  He is the only player in the 20th century to play for a franchise in each of the three cities where it was domiciled.  Played for the Braves in Boston in 1952, the Braves in Milwaukee 1953-65 and the Braves in Atlanta in 1966.

-  K’d 115 X in 1952 but had the 3rd-best WAR on the team among position players.

FCR -  John Hill, Atlanta

Incorrect guesses:  Vic Wertz, Billy Meyer, Eddie Shoemaker, Dave Kingman


TUESDAY    22-Sep

Q.        What former Michigan State basketball player led not only his league but the majors in Wins, Games Started, Games Completed, Innings Pitched and Batters Faced for each of FOUR consecutive seasons?

Hint:     During that period, his team finished fourth, third, fourth and fourth.

Hint:     He led his team in WAR for the first three of those campaigns, but slipped to second in the fourth season, just behind a fellow Hall of Famer.

A.         ROBIN ROBERTS  [SABR Bio]

-  From 1952 through 1955, Roberts was the best pitcher in baseball.  He also led the majors in strikeouts during 2 of those seasons.  In college, Roberts was twice elected captain of the Spartan basketball team but was merely a walk-on for the baseball team.

-  That :Phillies team had the misfortune of playing against some strong NL competition.

-  Richie Ashburn led PHI in WAR in 1955.

FCR -  Frank Ittner, Atlanta

Incorrect guesses:  Mike Marshall, Carl Hubbell, Derek Lowe



Q.        Who has more career strikeouts than any other pitcher in the storied history of the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Hint:     He surrendered the first of Pete Rose’s 4,256 major league hits, a triple.

Hint:     He was the first National Leaguer to be the winning pitcher twice in an All-Star game.

A.         BOB FRIEND  [SABR Bio]

-  1,682 K.  Never led the league although was in the top ten 4 X = 1956, 57, 58 & 1960.

-  1st Rose H = 13-Apr-1963

-  Won ASG in 1956 & 1960.

FCR -  David Skelton, Woodway, Texas

Incorrect guesses:  Vern Law, Bob Veale, Jim Bunning, Elroy Face, John Candelaria



Q.        Who is the only Red Sox player to collect six hits in a nine-inning game?

Hint:     He led the majors in sacrifice flies and doubles in the same season.

Hint:     He won Gold Gloves for outfield play for different teams.

Hint:     In the minors, he once took out a squirt gun to “clean off the plate” for the umpire after striking out on a called strike three.  History does not recall the results of this action.

A.         JIM PIERSALL  [SABR Bio]

-  6 H = 10-Jun-1953

-  In 1956 he had 40 2B & 12 SF for BOS.

-  GG for BOS in 1958 & for CLE in 1961 THURSDAY — 24-Sep:


THURSDAY — 24-Sep:

Q. What one-time Milwaukee Brave was the WAR leader on the first American League team to win more than 110 games in a single season in the 20th century?

Hint:     He also led the league in hitting (batting average) that year.

Hint:     He tied his franchise’s record the day he collected fifteen total bases in a game.

A.         BOBBY AVILA  [SABR Bio]

-  WAR of 7.1 for CLE in 1954, 111-43.  That team boasted 4 HOF pitchers.

-  Hit .341 to lead the AL.  Coincidentally, in the WS that year, he faced the NL’s batting titlist.

-  15 TB = 20-Jun-1951 (3 HR + 2B + H), tying the CLE record Pat Seerey had set on 13-July-1945.  Then on 10-Jun-1959, Rocky Colavito did them both one better.

FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Incorrect guesses:  Joe Adcock, Al Rosen


FRIDAY    25-Sep

Q.        Whose major league debut was to replace his player/manager on a team that would soon win the World Series?

Hint:     He was the last 20th-century Detroit Tiger to have back-to-back four-hit games.

Hint:     He was the first major leaguer to have a son and grandson play in the majors.

Hint:     He was the second one too.

A.         RAY BOONE  [SABR Bio]

-  Called up to CLE in 1948 and replaced Lou Boudreau B 5th 03-Sep-1948.

-  4 H X 2 = 11-, 12-Jul-1957  (Placido Polanco did it for DET on 10-, 11-Sep-2005)

-  Son Bob Boone played in MLB 1972-1990.  Bob’s son Brett debuted 19-Aug-1992.  Bob’s son Aaron debuted 20-Jun-1997.

FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota

Incorrect guesses:  Gus Bell, Mickey Cochrane, Bob Boone, Burt Shotton, Bucky Harris


T.G.I.F. SPECIAL    25-Sep

Q.        What former major league fastballer, in spite of being appointed to federal government positions, was, according to the New York Times, “…viewed as a rustic innocent.”?

Hint:     He surrendered Hank Aaron's 61st and 161st career home runs.

Hint:     He surrendered Gil Hodges’ National-League-record-tying twelfth career grand slam.

Hint:     His nickname, supposedly geographically-based, was fudged a little.

Hint:     He was appointed as an executive director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.


-  In 1968,1970 & 1972 Mizell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina and then he was named by President Ford as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development in March 1975.  President Reagan appointed Mizell in 1982 as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Governmental and Public Affairs..  NYTimes reference is from his obit there.

-  Aaron’s HR #61 = 01-Sep-1956; #161 = 25-Jun-1959. 

-  Hodges’ record was passed by Hank Aaron and is currently held by Willie McCovey.

-  Mizell was born in Leakesville, Mississippi, but at the time, his family lived in nearby  Vinegar Bend, Alabama, the source of his nickname.  (I don’t see what’s wrong with “Leakesville Mizell”!)

-  Mizell had been a Republican U.S. congressman representing the Fifth District in North Carolina but lost his seat following President Nixon’s resignation.  He remained active in government and President George H. W. Bush appointed him to the Council of P.F. & S.  The current co-chairs is are Misty May-Treanor, Mariano Rivera and Herschel Walker.  In 2010 it was re-named President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition (PCSFN).  The fact that “executive” was in his title tells you exactly how much work he did.

FCR -  Mark Pattison, Washington, DC

Incorrect guesses:  Larry Jackson, Bob Friend, Jim Bunning


SATURDAY    26-Sep

Q.        Who was the first Pittsburgh Pirate player to lead the league in triples after World War II?

Hint:     He didn’t make the All-Star team or get any MVP votes until he was traded to Cincinnati.

Hint:     He knocked in Willie Mays ahead of him when he homered in his 2nd All-Star game.

Hint:     He homered off Sal Maglie to break off Maglie’s attempt to tie the record for consecutive scoreless innings for a National League pitcher.  Maglie finished one out shy of tying Carl Hubbell’s 45⅓ scoreless innings.

A.         GUS BELL  [B-R Bio]

-  Tied w/Stan Musial at 12 triples each in 1951.

-  Bell’s 8th inning heroics weren’t enough.  The NL fell to the AL 11-9in the 1954 ASG on 13-July-1954 in the highest scoring contest in All-Star Game history.

-  Traded on 14-Oct-1952, 3 days after the WS, by PIT to CIN for Cal Abrams, Gail Henley and Joe Rossi.  Made the NL AS squad in 1953, 54, 56 & 57.

-  HR off Maglie on 13-Sep-1950 was a mere 257-feet.  It hit off the RF foul pole at the Polo Grounds.  It was only Bell's 7th in the majors.

FCR -  Michael McCroskey, Sugar Land, Texas

Incorrect guesses:  Frank J. Thomas, Don Hoak, Dick Groat, Joe Adcock, Dale Long, Dave Parker, Gene Freese



Q.        Which middle infielder had a nine-year major league career, played only for one team and whose first and last seasons were capped by playing in the World Series?

Hint:     And he appeared in four additional World Series in between!

Hint:     After a hiatus, he found himself back in uniform on the field, this time managing, but in the other league.

Hint:     As stated in the title of his autobiography, he was successful in the air and on the air.

A.         JERRY COLEMAN  [SABR Bio]  [B-R Bio]

-  Played for NYY 1949-1957.

-  Played in WS 1949, 1950, 1951, 1955, 1956 & 1957.  NYY was in the WS in 1952 & 53, but Coleman was a captain in the U.S. military, a pilot during the military action in Korea.

-  This “hiatus” included multiple stints as a broadcaster particularly for SDP, all resulting in his being award the Ford C. Frick Award in 2005.

-  His autobiography, “An American Journey: My Life On the Field, In the Air, and On the Air” was written with Richard Goldstein.

FCR -  Rick Pyle, Concord, California

Incorrect guesses:  Phil Rizzuto, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson


SUNDAY    27-Sep

Q.        Who was the first batter for a regular-season game on the west coast?

Hint:     His Topps card one year is one of the most awkward ever produced.

Hint:     He was an All-Star in his first full season.

A.         GINO CIMOLI  [SABR Bio]

-  Came to bat 15-Apr-1958 for LAD in Seals Stadium vs. SFG.  Ruben Gomez struck him out.

-  Cimoli’s 1958 Topps card, no. 286, shows him swinging a bat, but with the bat painted out.  The entire set that year has the backgrounds painted out, but Topps took his a step too far.

-  AS in 1957.  K’d in his only PA.

FCR -  Philip Trostler, Norwich, Connecticut

Incorrect guesses:  Jim Davenport, Junior Gilliam, Charley Neal, Pee Wee Reese


WEEKLY THEME – In a recurring feature of SPORT magazine titled “Campus Queen”, various female guest contributors would comment on some aspect of sports.  In the September 1957 issue, tennis star Gussie Moran selected “Baseball’s Ten Handsomest Men”.  Here they are (I could not source the original article for the pictures, so these will have to do.  Just click a name for that player’s image.)


Avila                                                                Bell


Boone                                                              Cimoli


Coleman                                                          Friend


Mathews                                                          Mizell


Piersall                                                            Roberts


Mark Armour (SABR’s current president) penned an essay entitled “Ode to Sport” in 2007 that Cappy Gagnon (previous holder of that office) came across and suggested these 10 players would make a lovely theme for Horsehide Trivia.  Gents, I thank you both.  This was too good to pass up.


First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeRich Klein, Plano, Texas (after the hint)



Incorrect theme guesses:


Tuesday -  Hall of Fame players who at some point played for the Houston Astros.


Wed        -  1950s NL top All Star vote getters

               -  Something to do with 1956 NL All Stars


Friday     -  Fathers of Hall of Famers

               -  Players that have had a movie made based on their life

               -  1950's All Stars who were later involved in politics


Sat          -  Families in MLB


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Horsehide Trivia encourages independent research.


Monday, September 21, 2020

2020-09-14 Players Who Inspired Rule Changes II

MONDAY  —  14-Sep

Q.        Who led the American League in OPS in its first year of operation?

Hint:     A manager, on a team he never played for, conspired to give him a car.

Hint:     He was taller than average for the position he played and, perhaps alignment with his name, people were drawn to him and not just teammates.

A.         NAP LAJOIE [SABR Bio]

-  in the American League’s inaugural 1901 season, Lajoie led batters in nearly every conceivable offensive category including OPS (On-Base Percentage Plus Slugging Percentage)—a statistic that wasn’t even popularized until 1984.

-  In his only year managing in the majors, St. Louis Browns’ skipper Jack O’Connor ordered his 3rd baseman Red Corriden to play on the outfield grass when Lajoie batted, thus allowing Lajoie to lay down eight bunt singles in a season-ending double-header.  This chicanery (calumny?) was contrived out of jealousy/hatred of Ty Cobb and to enable Lajoie to overtake Cobb for the AL batting crown which came with a free automobile sponsored by Chalmers Automobile Company.  Full scandal details here.  For his role in this debacle, O’Connor was fired and never again hired to manage in organized baseball.

-  Napoleon Bonaparte, although no giant, was of unremarkable normal height.  Still, a misconception remains that he was short.  Lajoie, on the other hand was a sturdy 6’1”, well above average for his time, particularly among middle infielders.  In French, “La joie” means joy.  Nap was almost universally well-respected and admired by teammates and rivals alike.

FCR -  Philip Trostler, Norwich, Connecticut

Incorrect guesses:  Dwight Evans, Don Mattingly, Frank Thomas, Wee Willie Keeler, Travis Hafner, Eddie Collins, Cal Ripken, Sandy Alomar, Jr


TUESDAY    15-Sep

Q.        Who was the only player to reach base in what would have been Walter Johnson’s perfect game?

Hint:     He was also the first player to hit two homers in a modern World Series-clinching game

Hint:     He never played or managed for the Yankees, but many credit him with the Yankees winning many championships.

A.         HARRY HOOPER  [SABR Bio]

-  Reaching on an error by rookie 2B Bucky Harris, Hooper was the only base-runner versus The Big Train 1-July-1920.  Johnson still had the no-hitter, the only one of his career.

-  2-HR G 5 1915 WS.

- Hooper was key in convincing the Red Sox to let Babe Ruth play every day.

FCR -  Willis Kern, Bloomington, Illinois

Incorrect guesses:  Frank Crosetti, Ed Barrow, Frank Baker, Miller Huggins, Tris Speaker



Q.        Which manager holds the all-time American League record for ejections?

Hint:     He was the first manager to lead his seventy-year-old franchise to 100-win seasons.

Hint:     He once explained, “We're so bad right now that for us, back-to-back home runs means one today and another one tomorrow.”?

A.         EARL WEAVER  [SABR Bio]

-  The 3 ahead of him in number of ejections, managed all or most of their games in the senior circuit.

- A franchise-best 109 wins in 1969 and then four more 100-win years in 1970, 1971, 1979 & 1980.The Browns/Os franchise has never had any other 100-win seasons.

-  Quote was in 1972 when the Orioles weren’t quite up to the standard they had set 1969-71.

FCR -  David Skelton, Woodway, Texas

Incorrect guesses:  Billy Martin, Bobby Cox, Mike Scioscia, AJ Hinch, Connie Mack



Q.        Who is the only player to hit a pennant-clinching grand slam on the last game of the season?

Hint:     He turned down a chance to play for the Yankees to attend NYU.

Hint:     It was a holy day when he hit two home runs.


- Dramatic 9th inning GS 30-Sept-1945.

-  The Yankees had Lou Gehrig, so it was a defendable decision.

-  2 HRs on Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah 10-Sept-1934.  After some additional deep soul-searching, Greenberg stuck with his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, later that same season.

FCR -  Mark Pattison, Washington, DC

Incorrect guesses:  Shawn Green, Dick Sisler


THURSDAY    17-Sep

Q.        Who has the second-shortest career tenure of any manager in Texas Rangers history?

Hint:     He played on three different teams that won a pennant, but he never won a World Series.

Hint:     He is the only second baseman to walk more than 135 times in a season (and he did it three times).

A.         EDDIE STANKY  [SABR Bio]

-  One game on June 22 1977, it lasted 3:16.  Del Wilber’s one game was a mere 2:09.

-  1947 Dodgers, 1948 Braves, 1951 Giants

-  In 1945, Stanky walked 148 times!  (Tied w/Barry Bonds for 14th all-time.)*  Stanky also walked 137 X in 1946 & 144 X in 1950.  The only other second baseman who comes close is Joe Morgan who walked 132 times in his first MVP season, 1976.

FCR -  Vince Guerrieri, Elyria, Ohio

*To be fair Bonds also holds 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 20th, 52nd, 62nd, 79th & 90th positions in the top 100.  Still, Stanky keeping impressive company at 32nd, 79th, 228th & (ahem!...) 446th

Incorrect guesses:  Connie Ryan, Eddie Yost, Joe Morgan, Toby Harrah


FRIDAY    18-Sep

Q.        Who managed a team to the longest losing streak in modern major league baseball history?

Hint:     He then oversaw the longest consecutive-game losing streak by National League team in the National League’s expansion era.

Hint:     He managed the home team in the first major league game held in a foreign country.

A.         GENE MAUCH  [SABR Bio]

-  Managed the 1961 Phillies (23 losses without a win; from 29-Jul through 20-Aug).

-  Managed the 1969 Expos.(20 straight losses from 13-May through 07-Jun).

-Manager for the Montreal Expos for their franchise debut home G:  14-April-1969, a packed-house victory over the then NL champs, STL.

FCR -  J.P. Wanamaker, Binghamton, New York

Incorrect guesses:  Casey Stengel, Frank Robinson, Ray Miller, Cal Ripken, Sr.


SATURDAY    19-Sep

Q.        Which former Reds second baseman was the first player to amass a thousand career plate appearances as a designated hitter?

Hint:     His team won a World Series over a team that he helped coach to a championship more than two decades later.

Hint:     He’s the only person to manage his son for an expansion team.

A.         HAL McRAE  [B-R Bio]

-  1st DH PA on 15-Apr-1973; 1,000th on 23-Sep-1976

-  While a player, McRae’s KCR beat STL in 1985.  STL—with McRae as a coach—won it all in 2006.

-  Managed son Brian McRae for KCR 1991-1994.

FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Incorrect guesses:  Ken Griffey, Red Schoendienst



Q.        Which Trojan and one-time New York Giant played for the major league Reds in two different cities?

Hint:     One season, he played all nine positions on the diamond.  (Not in the same game, that would be a record!)

Hint:     He was once presented with a gold medal.

A.         KING KELLY  [SABR Bio]

-  Kelly debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 1878.  In 1890, he jumped, as did many others, to the short-lived Players League.  Their Boston installation was the Reds and they won the league’s on pennant with Kelly as player/manager.  Played for NYG in his final season, 1893.  He was born in Troy, New York.

-  Playing for the Chicago White Stockings Kelly manned all nine positions during his 1884 season.

Outfield – 63 games

Catcher – 28 games

Shortstop – 12 games

Third Base – 10 games

First Base – 2 games

Pitcher – 2 games

Second Base – 1 game

-  The Boston Globe newspaper presented Kelly with a gold medal after the 1887 season inscribed to the “champion base runner” of the Boston Base Ball Club.  The medal is now in the Hall of Fame.

FCR -  Rick Pyle, Concord, California

Incorrect guesses:  Jim Thorpe, Jackie Robinson, Buck Ewing, Morgan Murphy


SUNDAY    20-Sep

Q.        Which pitcher, in his first-ever major league start, singled off Walter Johnson?

Hint:     Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sent him to the Yankees, a move that was essentially for money.

Hint:     He had a winning record for the Red Sox in 1915 but didn’t pitch for them in the World Series.

A.         CARL MAYS  [SABR Bio]

-  Mays compiled a .268 batting average over his 15-year career.  (Johnson still won that 1st G.)

-  Frazee ran the Red Sox like a Broadway production and was chronically short on cash.  After a controversial move by Mays, Frazee took the easy way out by avoiding any disciplinary measures and simply getting rid of Mays and      recouping some income.

-  Used mostly in relief, had a 6-5 regular season record, 2.60 ERA with 7 saves.  Not in his favor was the fact that he was a rookie.

FCR -  Vince Guerrieri, Elyria, Ohio

Incorrect guesses:  Babe Ruth, Smoky Joe Wood, Herb Pennock



WEEKLY THEME – Even more players who influenced rules changes (See Horsehide Trivia quiz 06-Jul-2020).  Round of applause goes to Toronto’s Sarah Grynpas for researching and drafting the questions for this week.


Larry LajoieRule: White sanitary stockings are officially made a part of the uniform after blood poisoning nearly costs Baseball one of its earliest superstars.


Earl WeaverRule: A phantom DH can’t be substituted until he’s had at least one PA.


Harry HooperRule: Baserunners can advance as soon as the fielder makes contact with the ball.  Hooper was famous for juggling a fly ball as he eased closer to better throw out a running tagging up.


Hank GreenbergRule: Size limitations on first baseman mitts.


Eddie Stanky — Rule: On-field defensive players are not allowed to distract the batter when he’s at bat. Stanky, while playing 2B would wave his arms as the pitch was being delivered.


Gene Mauch — Rule: Existing rules did not prohibit interference against defensive players who ventured into an opponent’s dugout while attempting to catch a foul ball. On 4-July-1966 Phillies manager Mauch knocked a ball out of NYM C Jerry Grote’s mitt.  The rule was changed during the off-season.


Hal McRaeRule: A baserunner who takes out an infielder without a reasonable chance of reaching the base means the ball is dead.


King Kelly- Rule: No player substitutions until the ball is dead.  The story goes that Kelly was on the bench one game in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.  At the time the rules allowed a player to substitute himself into a game just by making an announcement.  As the batter lofted a pop foul near the Boston bench, Kelly stood up and said in a loud, clear voice, “Kelly now catching.”  He caught the ball barehanded and won the game.  The rule was formally changed in 1910, 16 years after Kelly’s death.


Carl MaysRule: Umpires must replace ball when it becomes dirty or damaged.


First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeDave Raglin, McLean, Virginia




Incorrect theme guesses:


Monday  -  Hall of famers with 4 syllable given names


Tuesday -  The old-time team that Mr. Burns originally suggested in the Simpsons episode ‘Homer at the Bat’.

               -  In the Simpsons episode Homer at the Bat in February 1992 ...these are the major league players originally selected by Mr. Burns to play in the championship softball game until his assistant Mr. Smithers informs him they are all dead.


Sunday   -  Some kind of award they all won


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This week’s quiz archived here:  http://horsehidetriviA.


Horsehide Trivia encourages independent research.