Monday, October 26, 2020

2020-10-19 October regular-season no-hitters

 MONDAY  —  19-Oct

Q.        Who is the only right-handed pitcher to finish in the top five vote getters for the Cy Young Award for seven consecutive seasons?

Hint:     No other major league pitcher had more total strikeouts in the decade 2010-2019.

Hint:     He once sported eyes of three different colors.

A.         MAX SCHERZER  [B-R Bio]

-  CYA Vote positions

      2013 – 1st

      2014 – 5th

      2015 – 5th

      2016 – 1st

      2017 – 1st

      2018 – 2nd

      2019 – 3rd

Lefty Clayton Kershaw had a similar string 2011-17.

-  In that 10-year period he struck out 2,452 batters.  Justin Verlander (2,260), Clayton Kershaw (2,179) & Chris Sale (2,007) were the only other ones with more than 2,000.  [ERRATUM:  Greg Maddux also finished in the top 5 in the Cy Young voting for 7 consecutive seasons, 1992-98.]

   -Scherzer was born with one hazel-colored eye and one brown eye, but while practicing bunting before the on 18-Jun-2019, not a start day for him, an errant bunt came up and caught him in the face, breaking his nose and blacking his right eye.  He still pitched and won a game 2 days later, but rocking a hazel eye, a brown eye and a black eye.

FCR -  David Umansky, Washington, DC

Incorrect guesses:  Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Pedro Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Greg Maddox

TUESDAY    20-Oct

Q.        What baby-face pitcher, in his rookie year for the Orioles, set a record for the number of strike outs in a single season?

Hint:     He never reached even 50% of that total again in a season.

Hint:     He became the pitching coach for the A’s.

Hint:     The year after he led the league in losses, he led the majors in wins.

A.         MATT KILROY  [SABR Bio]

-  Kilroy struck out (wait for it… ) 513 batters for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association in 1886.  While this number has been confirmed, pitching circumstances 140 year ago were substantially different from those today.

-  His next best K season was in 1887 where he racked up 217, a total he tied in 1889.

-  His relationship with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s pitching corps was never formalized.

-  In 1886, Kilroy suffered 34 losses against 29 wins.  His record was 46-19 in 1887, a year where he started 69 and finished 66 of them.  That win total is still the all-time single-season record for a left-handed pitcher.

FCR -  Jake Flynn, Los Angeles

Incorrect guesses:  Rick Honeycutt, Milt Pappas, Bob Turley, Wally Bunker, Rube Waddell, Mike Boddicker, Dave Stewart, Erik Bedard, Mike Mussina, Chuck Estrada, Dave McNally



Q.        Which Hall of Fame pitcher surrendered but a single hit in his major league debut, that hit being by another Hall of Famer?

Hint:     He (the pitcher) had as many hits that day as did the opposition.

Hint:     He was the reason for the first modern all star game.

A.         ADDIE JOSS  [SABR Bio]

-  MLB debut 26-Apr-1902.  The lone hit was a controversial 6th inning single by Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett.  On the softly-hit 2-strike hit, CLE RF Zaza Harvey charged in and, according to most accounts, caught the ball 3” from the ground.  But umpire Bob Caruthers ruled differently, saying that Harvey had scooped the ball off of the ground, ending the tantalizing prospect of a no-hitter in Joss’s debut.

-  Joss added an RBI double.

-  Joss was felled 2 days after turning 31 by tubercular meningitis.  He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, OH.  Two months later, a group of star players from other AL teams played Joss’s team, the Cleveland Naps, in an exhibition game to benefit Joss’s widow, Lillian, and their two children.  15,000+ tickets were sold for the game raising $12,914.

FCR -  Joe O’Neill, London, ON

Incorrect guesses:  Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Carl Hubbell, Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal


THURSDAY    22-Oct

Q.        Who was the first Expos pitcher to strike out 250 batters in a season?

Hint:     He was the General Manager for another expansion franchise, overseeing their only World Series championship.

Hint:     He attended college in Moscow.

A.         BILL STONEMAN  [SABR Bio]

-  251 K for MON in 1971, 3rd in the NL that year

-  GM for ANA 1999-2004 then LAA 2005-07; WS champs in 2002

-  Attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

FCR -  Jeff Kallman, Las Vegas

Incorrect guesses:  Steve Rogers, Pedro Martinez


FRIDAY    23-Oct

Q.        Who was the National League’s ERA leader the first year after the league adopted the pitching distance still currently in use, sixty feet, six inches?

Hint:     He was the pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds’ ”Pretzel Battery”.

Hint:     Active in the U.S. military, he is buried in Normandy.

Hint:     The Borneo Python is named for his namesake.


-  Pitching distance was moved from 50’ in 1892 to 60’6” in March of 1893.  Breitenstein led the league that season with an ERA of 3.18.

-  During Breitenstein’s years with STL (1893-1895) & CIN (1897-1900), the main catcher for both teams was Heinie Peitz.  The parents of both men had been born in Germany.  The nickname reportedly developed when the pair were drinking beer and eating pretzels after a game.  A fan noticed them and yelled, “Look, it's the ‘pretzel battery’.”

-  During WWI, Breitenstein was named director of an athletic camp especially organized for U.S. military servicemen.  He died in St. Louis at the age of 65 and is interred in Saint Peter's Cemetery in the Normandy area of St. Louis.

-  The scientific name for the now endangered Borneo python is “Python breitensteini”.  It is a species of non-venomous python native to Borneo.  The name is in honor of Heinrich Breitenstein, a German doctor and naturalist who collected amphibians and reptiles in Borneo in the 1870s and discovered the species.

FCR -  Willis Kern, Bloomington, Illinois

Incorrect guesses:  Billy Rhines, Juan Marichal, Pretzels Getzien, Gary Nolan, Amos Rusie


SATURDAY    24-Oct

Q.        What pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1890s was believed to be a black man passing as white?

Hint:     In his rookie season, he pitched only one game, but it became famous enough that games like it bear his name.

Hint:     His feat that day is noted on his grave.

A.         BUMPUS JONES  [SABR Bio]

-  Historian Gary Ashwill presents statements from Jones’s home town.  While not conclusive, it is compelling.

-  The Dodgers’ Ross Stripling came close to pitching a “Bumpus Jones” when, on 08-Apr-2016, he no-hit SFG for 7⅓ innings.

-  Money for his gravestone was raised by a young player named Curtis Hughes whom Jones had encouraged as a player.

FCR -  Elliott Frankfother, Rock Falls, Illinois

Incorrect guesses:  Clarence Stephens, Ice Box Chamberlain, Bill Pfann, Fred Blank


SUNDAY    25-Oct

Q.        Which thirty-one-year-old rookie pitcher was the first to throw an extra-inning no-hitter?

Hint:     It was a watermark game for several other reasons.

Hint:     Less than a year later he threw another no-hitter, hitting a three-run home run in support of his own cause.

A.         SAM KIMBER  [SABR Bio]

-  No-hitter 04-Oct-1884

-  Uniqueness of the game and records set in that game are documented by SABR historian David Nemec. 

-  The second no-hitter was in the minors.

FCR -  Mark DeLodovico, Rockville, Maryland

Incorrect guesses:  Jim Maloney



WEEKLY THEME – Regular season no-hitters thrown in the month of October.

Kimber............ 04-Oct-1884

Kilroy.............. 06-Oct-1886

Breitenstein.... 04-Oct-1891

Jones............. 15-Oct-1892

Joss................ 02-Oct-1908

Stoneman....... 02-Oct-1972

Scherzer......... 03-Oct-2015



First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeBill Deane, Cooperstown (after Stoneman)




Incorrect theme guesses:


Wed        -  Pitchers (righties?) who have thrown a no-hitter and a one-hitter

               -  Threw a no hitter in their first month of existence

               -  Pitched two no-hitters


Sat          - No hitters thrown earliest in a career


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Monday, October 19, 2020

2020-10-12 Best second basemen measured by WAR (95% of games played at 2nd base)


Q.        Which Texas native is the only second baseman to win the MVP in successive seasons?

Hint:     If a handful of first-place MVP votes hadn’t gone to his stellar teammates, both votes for him would have been unanimous.

Hint:     His team won the World Series in each of those seasons.

Hint:     He holds the consecutive-National League All-Star game hitting streak record.

Hint:     His Hall of Fame manager called him, “…the greatest offensive player I ever managed.”

Hint:     Teammate Pete Rose once said, “I'm not bad.  I'm no __________.”

Hint:     Teammate Johnny Bench averred, “ (he) wasn’t just the best second baseman in baseball history, he was the best player I ever saw and one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

Hint:     Bill James has called him the best second baseman ever.

Hint:     After retiring, he was often heard broadcasting and providing color commentary for major league games, sharing duties behind the mic with some of the best in the business.

Hint:     In addition to serving as vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, he was involved in numerous community and national efforts on behalf of baseball.

Hint:     His 246th career home run caused the reigning World Series champions to miss postseason play.

A.         JOE MORGAN  [SABR Bio]

-  NL MVP in 1975 & 1976.

-  In 1975, Pete Rose’s two 1st-place votes were the only ones Morgan didn’t receive and in ’76 George Foster received 5 of the 26 votes.  In each year, Morgan had the remainder of the votes.  Rose & Foster in turn, each won an NL MVP, 1973 & 1977 respectively.  (Neither by unanimous vote.)

-  CIN were WS champs 75 & 76.

-  Morgan had a hit in each of 7 All-Star Games, in 1970, representing HOU and in 72, 73, 74, 75, 76 & 77 for CIN.  (Historians are still pondering why he didn’t make the team in 1971.)  Mickey Mantle & Dave Winfield have similar 7 G streaks for NYY in AL AS competition.

-  CIN mgr. Sparky Anderson was no stranger to exaggeration, but in this case, it’s hard to doubt him.

-  Rose began his career as a second baseman so comparisons were inevitable.

-  Bench played with and against some of the best players in history.

-  Bill James is famous for the thoroughness of his evaluations.

-  He was a baseball broadcaster for CIN, SFG and ESPN, teaming with, among others, Jon MillerBob Costas and Bob Uecker. He hosted a weekly nationally-syndicated radio show on Sports USA.

-  On 03-Oct-1982, playing for SFG, Morgan homered in the 7th inning HR off LAD’s Terry Forster to help seal the fate for the Dodgers and hand Atlanta the NL West division championship.  It would help him win the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award for 1982.

FCR -  Andrew Milner, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Incorrect guesses:  Jeff Kent


TUESDAY    13-Oct

Q.        Whose record for home runs by a rookie second baseman did Dan Uggla break?

Hint      He is the only man to manage two different American League teams in the same city.

Hint:     Only he, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig took Bob Feller deep twice in 1938.

A.         JOE GORDON  [SABR Bio]

-  Gordon hit 25 HR (1 as a PH) for NYY in his rookie season of 1938.  Uggla hit 27 for FLA in 2006 (all while playing 2B).  Gordon got MVP votes; Uggla made the AS team.

-  Managed the 1961 Kansas City A's (KCA), 1969 Kansas City Royals (KCR)

-  1938 was Feller’s first All-Star season in the majors.  His record was 17-11, struck out more batters than anyone had in the AL since Walter Johnson (240), but those 3 homered off him a couple of times each.  Gordon did it on 12-Jun-1938 & 05-Aug-1938.

FCR -  James Higgins, Bethesda

Incorrect guesses:  Tony Lazzeri, Charlie Gehringer, Eddie Yost, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Boudreau, Buddy Myer


Q.        What Hall of Famer played for seven major league teams and retired trying out for an eighth team managed by Lou Piniella?

Hint:     His private life became public when he was still an active player.

Hint:     He hit a famous postseason home run.

Hint:     He claims he doesn’t have a bone to pick with a certain ex-Rookie of the Year.


-  Played for SDP (1988-90); TOR (1991-95); BAL (1996-98); CLE (1999-2001); NYM (2002-03); CHW (2003-04); & ARI (2004).  He left spring training in 2005 after attempting a comeback with TBD.

-  In 1999 Alomar was engaged to tennis player Mary Pierce, but she broke off the engagement and ended the relationship.

-  Alomar’s dramatic game-tying HR off Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley on 11-Oct-1992 changed the momentum of that ALCS and helped propel TOR to their first WS championships in 1992.

-  Alomar won every AL Gold Glove from 1991 to 2001 except 1997 when the Twins’ Chuck Knoblauch took the honors, denying Alomar a string of 12 straight.  This became even harder to tolerate when Knoblauch developed the inability to throw, a key asset at the keystone position.

FCR -  Tim Genson, Scotville, Michigan

Incorrect guesses:  Chuck Finley, Joe Gordon, Kevin Mitchell



Q.        Whose record for played games at second base without ever playing another position during his entire career in the majors, did Lou Whitaker break?

Hint:     He was a coach for the Toronto Blue Jays in their early years.

Hint:     A certain-MVP-to-be broke his franchise record for grounding into the most double plays in a season.

A.         BOBBY DOERR  [SABR Bio]

-  Played 1,852 G at 2B w/BOS.  Also appeared in 8 as PH and 10 as PR (1,865 G in all).

-  TOR coach 1977-81

-  Doerr had 31 GIDP in 1949, but Jackie Jensen (AL MVP 1958) had 32 in 1954, also w/BOS.  Current record holder is Jim Rice who had 36 in 1984 (BOS record, but also MLB record).

FCR -  Adrian Fung, Toronto

Incorrect guesses:  Joe Morgan, Bill Mazeroski, Charlie Gehringer, Nellie Fox



Q.        Who is the only second baseman since 1871 to have more than 500 putouts in a single season?

Hint:     He led the league in home runs the same year.

Hint:     He is routinely called the best second baseman of the nineteenth century.

Hint:     Still a double-unique to this day.

A.         BID McPHEE  [SABR Bio]

-  Had 529 PO for CIN in 1886.

-  Hit 8 HR that year to lead the American Association.

-  He holds the all-time major league record for PO among second basemen w/6,552, all accomplished during the 19th century.

-  D-U since no other player of the 19,902 historical major leaguers have ever had* the first name “Bid” OR the last name “McPhee”.  (Full list here.)  He might be best known as the last player to play the field without a fielder's glove. Bid did not use a glove until 1896 and toughened his hands by soaking them in salt water. John Alexander McPhee acquired his nickname at an early age by “doing the bidding” of his elders.

*Names as known by during MLB career.

FCR -  Andrew Milner, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Incorrect guesses:  Rogers Hornsby, Nap Lajoie, Fred Dunlap


THURSDAY    15-Oct

Q.        Who is the only second baseman ever to grace the box cover of PlayStation’s game “MLB The Show”?

Hint:     He won the Rookie-of-the-Year Award helping his team to a World Series championship then won the MVP the very next season.

Hint:     In his MVP year, he also won his first Gold Glove and his Silver Slugger award.

Hint:     He couldn’t participate in the All-Star Game one year even though selected and his college teammate replaced him on the roster.

A.         DUSTIN PEDROIA  [B-R Bio]

-  Pedroia was featured on the game’s 2009 iteration.

-  ROY in 2007 w/BOS; MVP in 2008 + GG & SS

-  Pedroia and Ian Kinsler attended Arizona State University together for one year. Kinsler backed up the freshman Pedroia most of that season. Kinsler then transferred to the University of Missouri for his junior year.

FCR -  Kevin Decker, Hillsborough, New Jersey

Incorrect guesses:  Derek Jeter, Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano, Javier Baez, Brandon Phillips, David Eckstein, Bobby Grich


FRIDAY    16-Oct

Q.        What son of a former Yankee farm hand later starred for that team in the Bronx?

Hint:     He (not the father) is an eight-time MLB All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.  He was an All-Star Game MVP and, in a different season, the Home Run Derby winner.

Hint:     This guy—don’t you know?—is good !

A.         ROBINSON CANO  [B-R Bio]

-  His father, Jose Cano, pitched just 3 games for the NYY’s Rookie League affiliate in 1980 before being released.  He persevered and finally reached the majors in 1989 w/HOU.  Jose named his son after Jackie Robinson.

-  Click here, here and here for further info on his stats and accolades.

-  The expression “Don’t you know(?)” is one of Cano’s nicknames.

FCR -  Mark Kanter, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Incorrect guesses:  Derek Jeter, Dave Winfield, Alex Rodriguez


SATURDAY    17-Oct

Q.        What second baseman appears in the top ten for career offensive statistics more than thirty times for his American League franchise?

Hint:     In more than half of those categories, he’s in the top five.

Hint:     The third time he made the All-Star team he arrived at the venue without his uniform.  He still played but improvisation was the watchword of the day.  The Smithsonian requested the jersey he concocted and it remains a part of their collection.[

Hint:     He turned 1,527 double plays at second base.  That’s fourth best all-time.  Some of the second basemen with fewer include Morgan, Alomar, Gehringer, Doerr, Schoendienst, Collins, Sandberg and Frisch.

A.         LOU WHITAKER  [SABR Bio]

-  Played his whole 19-year career for DET, taken by them in the 5th round of the 1975 MLB Draft, #99 overall, as a third baseman—a position he never played in the majors.

-  Having left much of his uniform and gear behind in a bag in his car and because he was his league’s starter at 2B, his All-Star teammates and some Twins clubbies pitched in to help construct a uniform that was acceptable by game time.  Here is the jersey he left behind.

-  The only 2B with more DPs are Mazeroski, Fox & Willie Randolph.  Additional HOF 2B finishing behind Whitaker but not mentioned above are Billy Herman, Bucky Harris, Rod Carew, Johnny Evers, Craig Biggio, Tony Lazzeri, Joe Gordon, Nap Lajoie and Rogers Hornsby.

FCR -  S R Wright, Naperville, Illinois

Incorrect guesses:  Charlie Gehringer, Nelly Fox, Robbie Alomar, Alan Trammel, Eddie Collins



Q.        What former and future Tiger is the only modern major leaguer to have six hits in six plate appearances in a nine-inning game while hitting for the cycle?

Hint:     He joined a club limited to thirteen members by being a multiple-30/30 major leaguer.

Hint:     Even though he is currently a member of another country’s national team, he helped an MLB team that advanced in the playoffs in 2020.

A.         IAN KINSER  [B-R Bio]

-  On Jackie Robinson Day against BAL in 2009, Kinsler was 6 for 6, including 2 doubles, a triple, a HR & 2 singles.  Played for the University of Missouri Tigers in 2003 and DET 2014-2017.

-  He had 31 SB & 31 HR in 2009, then 30 SB & 34 HR in 2011, both for TEX.

-  The Israeli national team is excited that he has joined them.  He is currently employed by SPD as a special advisor to their front office.

FCR -  Karen Hermele, Denver

Incorrect guesses:  Curtis Granderson, Jose Altuve


SUNDAY    18-Oct

Q.        Who is the only second baseman to both pull off and be tricked by the hidden ball trick?

Hint:     He was the first rookie to be placed on the All-Star ballot.

Hint:     He was the player put in to pinch run for Rennie Stennett after Stennett’s seventh hit in seven plate appearances.


-  In the 1st inning of the G on 06-May-1978, Willie Randolph pulled the hidden ball trick on Bump Wills of the Texas Rangers.  In the 2nd inning of the G on 4-Oct-1980, Randolph has the trick pulled on him by Lou Whitaker.

-  Quoted in the 2002 NYY Media Guide.  Evidenced by the 1976 AS G ballot—seen here.

-  On 16-Sep-1975, PIT Mgr. Danny Murtaugh put his rookie Randolph in to pinch run for Stennett after the 7th H.  Randolph also played 2 innings at 2B and even had an assist on a grounder for the last play of the G.

FCR -  Lincoln Mitchell, New York City

Incorrect guesses:  Phil Garner, Dave Cash, Bill Madlock, Alan Wiggins, Jose Lind, Al Oliver, Marty Barrett


WEEKLY THEME – Best second basemen in major league history (95% of games played at second minimum) based on a career WAR of at least 50.0.


2nd Baseman          Career WAR

Alomar*.......................... 67.0

Cano............................... 68.9

Doerr*............................. 51.1

Gordon*.......................... 55.7

Kinsler............................ 55.2

McPhee*......................... 52.5

Morgan*........................ 100.5

Pedroia........................... 51.6

Randolph........................ 65.9

Whitaker......................... 75.1

*Hall of Fame


First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – No one



Incorrect theme guesses:


Tuesday -  Hall of fame second baseman


Wed        -  Second Basemen voted into the Hall of the Fame by the Veteran's Committee


Sat          -  Best hits/HRs/WAR by decade by second basemen


Sun         -  Second basemen who played for teams in both leagues that advanced in postseason playoffs.