MONDAY — Dec 21
Q. Who built Yankee Stadium?
Hint: He was called up to the Red Sox at the same time as Carl Mays.
Hint: He dreamed of managing a Major League team, but it wasn’t to be.
- OK, anybody who thought he REALLY built it or who thought that’s what we meant—raise your hand.
- In the book “The Pitch that Killed”, Carl Mays's BOS debut is nicely detailed. Mays & Ruth were brought to Boston from the minors, and shared a taxi into the city for Mays's first taste of city life. Ruth had already had a brief stint with the Sawx, so he blustered like a veteran while Mays shrank and tried to remain as invisible as possible. They both made their mark as members of the '15 BOS staff.
- Twice, immediately following his playing days, Ruth was lured to NL jobs with the possibility of the manager’s job made to seem very possible. History has shown that neither the Braves not the Dodgers intended for the Babe to be anything but a draw at the gate.
FCR - Evan Thompson, Mesa
Incorrect guesses: Ed Barrow
TUESDAY — Dec 22
Q. Who is the only pitcher to win a game for both leagues in the All-Star Game?
Hint: His owner offered him a bonus if he would change his first name to “True.”
Hint: He teamed with Bud Black in Kansas City, but neither was a bruiser at that point in their careers.
- In 1971, one-of-a-kind A’s owner Charles O. Finley offered Blue a $2,000 bonus (about $13,000 in 2020) if he’d legally change his first name to “True”. Blue dismissed the paltry offer, but that season, and in following ones, used his first name “Vida” on the back of his jersey instead of his last name, to spite the owner's effort.
FCR - Kevin Decker, Hillsborough, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses: Bret Saberhagen
TWOZDAY — Dec 22
Q. Which pitcher’s arm ailment was cured when he was shocked while changing a spark plug in his truck?
Hint: He was the wide receiver and safety on a state champion football team.
Hint: Only the supernova that was Albert Pujols kept him from being National League Rookie of the Year.
- In 1999, when Oswalt was with the Class A Michigan Battle Cats in the Midwest League, he suffered an apparently serious shoulder injury. After a month of pain in his upper shoulder, Oswalt was convinced that his shoulder was torn. Shortly thereafter, he was checking the spark plug wires on his pickup truck when he touched one of the bare ones, causing the truck's engine to start. The truck’s electric current flowed through Oswalt's body, tightening the muscles in his hand on the spark plug wire. Unable to let go of it, he grasped the wire for almost one minute. Then his foot slipped off the truck's bumper and he was finally thrown off. "My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don't hurt no more.” The electric charge had loosened scar tissue in his shoulder. Oswalt claims he has not felt any pain in his shoulder since the incident.
- Played both ways for Weir High School, Mississippi’s state champion for 1994.
- Finished a strong 2nd behind Pujols for NL ROY in 2001, though Pujols captured all the 1st-place votes.
FCR - John Rickert, Terre Haute
WEDNESDAY — Dec 23
Q. Which former All-Star was traded to the Expos for Randy Johnson in 1989?
Hint: His career pickoffs are in the all-time top ten.
Hint: He finished second to teammate in Rookie of the Year voting.
- On 25-May-1989: Langston was traded by SEA with a player to be named later to MON for Gene Harris, Brian Holman and Randy Johnson. In July, SEA sent Mike Campbell to MON to complete the trade. Langston had been an All-Star in 1987.
- Baseball-Reference ranks Langston 6th all-time in career pickoffs w/78, just ahead of Warren Spahn.
- Debuting with SEA, he finished behind Alvin Davis in the 1984 ROY voting.
FCR - Matt Clairmont, New Minas, Nova Scotia
MIDWEEK BONUS — Dec 23
Q. Who took it upon himself to teach a star rookie a lesson?
Hint: To this day, no one is certain what the lesson was.
Hint: He was voted MVP in consecutive postseason series.
Hint: He said pitching in his major league debut against his childhood hero was like being in a video game.
- On 06-May-2012 during the season where he was to become the unanimous NL ROY, Bryce Harper was intentionally hit with a pitch thrown by PHI’s Hamels. Harper, having been advanced to 3rd on Jason Werth’s single, stole home, straight steal, to break the scoreless tie. WSN pitcher Jordan Zimmerman reciprocated the next time Hamels came to bat and sent him to first base I the most painful way.
FCR - Dan Greder, Ames, Iowa
Incorrect guesses: Madison Bumgarner, Blake Snell, Brooks Robinson
THURSDAY — Dec 24
Q. Who became the youngest Dodgers pitcher to throw six or more scoreless innings in a World Series game in over 60 years?
Hint: He appeared to get stronger over the course of that game.
Hint: Life moves pretty fast, but he has stopped and looked around so as not to miss it.
- Buehler's 1st WS pitch was clocked at 97.9 mph. 7 innings later, Buehler's 108th and final pitch hit 98.2 mph.
- For Halloween 2019, Walker Buehler and his girlfriend McKenzie dressed up as Ferris Bueller and Sloan, the character's girlfriend. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the John Hughes teen comedy classic from 1986 that starred Matthew Broderick in the title role.
FCR - David Krassin, Los Angeles
Incorrect guesses: Fernando Valenzuela, Sandy Koufax, Johnny Padres, Julio Urias, Larry Sherry, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw
SUGARPLUM BONUS — Dec 24
Q. What pitcher received the Tony Conigliaro Award after recovering from a cerebral hemorrhage?
Hint: He was the winning pitcher of the game in which Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record.
Hint: He and Paul O’Neill are alumni of the same alma mater.
- Shared the 2000 Tony C. Award with Tony Saunders
- W on 08-Sep-1998
- Attended Otterbein University in Westerville, OH
FCR - Sarah Grynpas, Toronto
Incorrect guesses: Steve Trachsel
FRIDAY — Dec 25
Q. Who outpitched rotation mates Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine in a season when the team won more than 100 games?
Hint: No Texas Ranger pitcher has started more consecutive Opening Days’ games.
Hint: When he retired, he was the active career leader in strikeouts among major league righties.
- During the brilliant 1999 ATL 103-win season, Millwood bested all three of the squad’s future Hall of Fame pitchers with the lowest ERA and WHIP, the best Winning Percentage, struck out more batters and earned the highest WAR.
- From 2006 to 2009, Millwood got the ball for 4 straight ODs, going 1-3.
- When Millwood hung it up on 3-Feb-2013, his total of 2,083 career Ks was the highest among all major league northpaws.
FCR - Warren Kent, Whitehall, Michigan
Incorrect guesses: Nolan Ryan, Doyle Alexander, Denny Neagle, Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bolin
CELEBRATION BONUS — Dec 25
Q. Which one-time San Francisco Giant boldly wore uniform number thirteen for the Seattle Pilots?
Hint: He was the first pitcher to win twenty games in a season for his team, but wasn’t the first to do it for the franchise.
Hint: He was cut by the Brewers in spring training in both 1970 and 1974
- Barber’s record was 20-13 in 1963, BAL’s 10th season in Baltimore as the Orioles. When the franchise was the Browns and played in St. Louis, 10 different pitchers had 20-win seasons, led by Urban Shocker’s 27 in 1921.
- After his best years in Baltimore, he was plagued by arm trouble and never got back to the form that earned him MVP votes in his 1st 2 years in the majors and was twice selected for the AL AS team.
FCR - Joe O’Neill, London, Ontario
Incorrect guesses: Jim Colborn, John Morris
SATURDAY — Dec 26
Q. Who was the first American League pitcher to steal a base after the advent of the designated hitter?
Hint: He starred for a high school team that won consecutive state championships and then played for a team that won three straight at the major league level.
Hint: He used to hate his unusual nickname but grew to love it.
- SB 25-Apr-1973
- Odom led Ballard-Hudson High School in Macon, Georgia to two consecutive state championships while personally amassing a 42-2 pitching record. He was a member of the Oakland A’s who won the World Series 1972, 1973 & 1974.
- Given the nickname “Blue Moon” by a fifth-grade classmate.
FCR - Warren Kent, Whitehall, Michigan
Incorrect guesses: Catfish Hunter, Gene Nelson, Jim Palmer, Roy Lee Jackson
BOXING DAY SPECIAL — Dec 26
Q. Who was the last twentieth-century American League pitcher to have a season with ten games started but no victories?
Hint: He shut out the Yankees in his third major league start and did it in the season when his team posted its then worst record since their move to their current city.
Hint: His first three starts after being called up, two of which he won, were the team’s only wins in their last twenty played that season, which, believe it or not, was still better than their first twenty games that year.
- Shutout NYY 28-Sep-1988. BAL record that season was 54-107. (However, 30 seasons later, BAL’s woeful 47-115 2018 record ‘surpassed’ the 1988 team’s and was the worst in the 120-year history of the franchise, including the years spent in Milwaukee and St. Louis.)
FCR - Rich Klein, Plano, Texas
Incorrect guesses: Bruce Chen, Roger Craig
SUNDAY — Dec 26
Q. Who posted the highest ERA (min. 25 IP) in any month of June in the Modern Era?
Hint: He was the winner of the playoff game with the most talk-about bat flip of the last decade.
Hint: His step-father was the community college baseball coach in the town where he grew up. He did not play there however, because his performance in high school was so good that he was drafted into the majors the first round.
- Sanchez’s all-time June record-high 12.00 ERA in 2019 was the result of allowing 36 ER in 27 IP. In his six starts, he surrendered 44 hits, 19 BB and 7 HR.
- In the top of the 7th of 2015 ALDS deciding G 5 on 24-Oct-2015, TOR catcher Martin’s threw the ball back to Sanchez on the mound but his throw deflected off the hand of batter Shin-Soo Choo allowing TEX runner Roughed Odor to score a contested go-ahead run. In the bottom of that same inning, Bautista became the hero and earned Sanchez the victory.
- Step-father Mike Shipley coached Barstow Community College but any chance of Sanchez attending there was scuttled when he posted a 9-1 win-loss HS record w/a 1.12 ERA with 125 strikeouts in 87⅓ IP. TOR took him in the 1st round of the 2010 MLB draft.
FCR - Benjamin Chase, Huron, South Dakota
Incorrect guesses: Roberto Osuna
IN MEMORIAM — Dec 27
Q. Which Hall of Famer’s pitch was so effective that it actually became his nickname?
Hint: No other pitcher won more games after the age of forty than he did.
Hint: He, together with his younger brother, racked up an amazing aggregates of 539 wins, the most by any two or three brothers combined in major league history.
Hint: His brother’s sole career home run came at his expense.
Hint: His total of twenty-four years pitching in the majors places him in very select company and no pitcher with his specialty pitched longer or tallied more wins, innings pitched or strikeouts.
Hint: During his time in professional baseball, he witnessed the administrations of seven different U.S. presidents. In fact, he holds the record for most years pitching with one National League team.
Hint: No slouch on defense, he won five Gold Glove awards.
Hint: He was five times an All-Star and although he didn’t win a Cy Young Award, he received consideration for the award in five separate seasons.
Hint: He said “Mr. Baseball” turned his career around.
Hint: One of his childhood friends is a Hall of Famer in another sport.
- “Knucksie” became the master, as much as one could, of the knuckleball. His signature pitch is actually thrown with the fingernails dug into the baseball’s seams or cowhide cover. The delivery of this whimsical floater was taught to him by his father.
- A full 121 of his career 318 career pitching victories came after he turned 40
- Brother Joe had contributed 221 wins to the fraternal total.
- Joe’s HR 29-May-1976.
- Among knuckleballers, Niekro sands alone with 318 W, 5,404 IP (4th all-time among all pitchers) & 3,342 K.
- Niekro’s first year in the minors was 1959 and he retired in 1987. Presidents during that span were Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan.
- Won GG in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 & 1983. In all, 24 season in the majors, with 21 years pitching the Braves, beginning in Milwaukee in 1964, is the most for any player for an NL team.
- While teammates for ATL in 1967 Niekro had a young catcher who was not about to call for a knuckleball with a runner on third base, fearful of a passed ball that would allow the runner to score. But another catcher, Bob Uecker, told Niekro that if he was ever going to be a winner he had to throw the knuckleball every pitch and that he, Uecker would try to catch it. Niekro led MLB in ERA (1.87) that season despite Uecker also pacing the majors, but in passed balls—(27) in only 62 G.
- He, his brother Joe and NBA great John Havlicek grew up playing many sports together in Lansing, Ohio. Phil delivered the eulogy at his friend’s funeral just last year.
FCR - John Michael Pierobon, Ft. Lauderdale
SUNDAY BONUS — Dec 27
Q. Who was the starting pitcher the only time in major league history when two native Mexican pitchers combined on an extra-innings no-hitter?
Hint: He, however, was the only major leaguer born in Blue Hill, Mexico.
Hint: He was the only Pirate to earn Player of the Week honors during the 1997 season.
- On 12-Jul-1997, at a sold out Three Rivers Stadium, Cordova pitched nine innings of a combined 10-inning no-hitter for the Pirates. Ricardo Rincon pitched the 10th inning. PIT won the game on a dramatic 3-run, pinch hit home run in the bottom of the 10th by Mark Smith, pinch-hitting for Rincon. It is also the only combined, extra-inning no-hitter by pitchers of ANY nationality.
- Born in the city known locally as Cerro Azul.
FCR - Mike Sparks, Sarasota
Incorrect guesses: Ricardo Rincon, Esteban Loaiza, Oliver Perez, Vicente Palacios John Candelaria
VESPERS — Dec 27
Q. Which former Cougar was the starting pitcher in the Angels' first home game after the tragic death of teammate Tyler Skaggs?
Hint: He went public with his criticism of the shenanigans of the 2017 Houston Astros.
Hint: He was born near the location of a Presidential Library.
- On 12-Jul-2019, he made his most memorable appearance as a big leaguer. Cole was the “opener” in a bullpen game against SEA. It was an emotional occasion, the Angels’ first home game after the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs on 01-Jul. Cole pitched two hitless innings the Felix Pena then took over, not giving up a hit the rest of the way. It was a 13-0, combined no-hitter.
- Cole pushed for additional investigation of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. He attended Brigham Young University.
FCR - Jeff Kallman, Las Vegas
Incorrect guesses: Mike Fiers
WEEKLY THEME – Pitchers who started combined no-hitters
Starter Relieved by Date Opponent
Barber4..... Stu Miller.............. 30-Apr-1967(1)..... Tigers
Blue*........ Glenn Abbott2......... 28-Sep-1975........ Angels
Buehler*... Tony Cingrani......... 4-May-2018........ Padres
Cole.......... Felix Pena*............. 12-July-2019....... Mariners
Cordova... Ricardo Rincon*...... 12-Jul-1997........ Astros
Hamels..... Jake Diekman........ 01-Sept-2014....... Braves
Langston*. Mike Witt3............... 11-Apr-1990........ Mariners
Mercker*... Mark Wohlers2........ 11-Sep-1991........ Padres
Milacki*.... Mike Flanagan2....... 13-Jul-1991........ A’s
Millwood... Charlie Furbush...... 8-June-2012........ Dodgers
Odom*...... Francisco Barrios3.. 28-Jul-1976........ A’s
Oswalt...... Peter Munro............ 11-Jun-2003........ Yankees
Ruth......... Ernie Shore*......... 23-Jun-1917(1)...... Senators
Sanchez*. Will Harris................ 3-Aug-2019........ Mariners
*Got the win
2Credited with a Hold
3Credited with a Save
4Took the Loss
First Correct Respondent to Identify Theme – Tom Byrne, Old Greenwich, Connecticut (after Vida Blue)
Incorrect theme guesses:
Monday - Players who later became product placements
- Best players ever
- Inaugural class of the HOF
- Appeared in the WS as a pitcher and a position player
- Career WAR above 150
- Career OPS above 1
Tuesday - Players who won the ERA title at age 21
- Players whose first and last names both have 4 letters
- Players who won 20+ games at age 21 or under
- Lefty pitchers who have been on three World Series-winning teams.
- Lefty pitchers before age 26.
- Lefty pitchers before age 30.
- Lefty pitchers for the same franchise.
- Lefty pitchers who have led the league in ERA exactly once.
- Lefty pitchers who have posted a sub-2.00 ERA over a full season.
- Lefty pitchers who have posted a sub-2.00 ERA in a season with over 300 IP.
- Lefty pitchers who have led the league in shutouts exactly once.
- Pitchers who led the league with an ERA below 2.00
- Pitchers who led the league in ERA and shutouts in the same season
- Players whose most commonly used first and last names have 4 letters each and who led the AL in ERA at 21 years old
- Players with the same number of letters in their first and last names.
- Pitchers having had the lowest ERA for their franchise?
Wed. - Pitchers who participated in multi-pitcher no-hitters
- All Star pitchers who participated in combined no hitters.
- Lefties that started combined no hitters
Thursday Left-handed pitchers with 4 letter first names that won WS games.
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