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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