Sunday, April 7, 2024

2024-04-01 Select major league players who died on their own birthdays

MONDAY  — 01-Apr

Q.  Which one-time Giants player was the first catcher to hit thirty home runs in a season?

Hint: #1  He was also the first catcher to hit twenty home runs in a season.

Hint: #2  At the time of his retirement, he held the catchers’ career records for games, plate appearances, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and total bases.

Hint: #3  He hit baseball’s most famous crepuscular home run.


-  Ans.  Hartnett hit 37 HR in 1930 for CHC.  No other catcher had yet hit even 20 HR in a season.  He ended his career w/NYG in 1941.

-  #1  He hit 24 HR in 1925.

-  #2  His career G= 1,793; PA = 7,300; AB = 6,432; 1 H = 1,912; 1B = 1,216; 2B = 396; HR = 236; RBI = 1,179; & TB = 3,194.

-  #3  The Homer in the Gloamin’” is what sportswriters called Hartnett’s HR on 28-Sep-1938.  It was hit in the bottom of the 9th as daylight faded from Wrigley Field.  It won the G for CHC, essentially winning them the NL pennant.

FCR -  Eric Savage, Short Hills,  New Jersey

Incorrect guesses:  Ernie Barney, Ernie Lombardi, Willard Marshall, Walker Cooper



TUESDAY  — 02-Apr

Q.  Which one-time Cincinnati Reds shortstop played on three major league teams in Chicago, but never played for the White Sox.

Hint: #1  He once seriously threatened teammate Harry Steinfeldt in a clubhouse argument.

Hint: #2  He also gave a three-decade cold shoulder to an equally famous teammate who was once very close.


- Ans.  Tinker played for the Chicago Cubs (CHC) 1902-12,1916; The Chicago Chi-Feds (CHI) 1913; and the Chicago Whales (CHI) 1914 [Same franchise as the ChiFeds, but operating under a different team name.]

-  #1  Tinker actually wielded a pair of the trainer's shears, threatening to kill Steinfeldt until cooler heads prevailed.

-  #2  Tinker refused to speak to 2nd-base teammate & known hothead, Johnny Evers, for 33 years following an argument over a cab ride.  Here are 3 fleet birds with their infield partner:  Photo

FCR -  Michael Green, Las Vegas

Incorrect guesses:  Johnny Evers, Buck Weaver, Dutch Zwilling, Cap Anson




Q.  Who is the only manager to lead two different American League teams to a World Series title?

Hint: #1  No younger manager has led any team to a championship.

Hint: #2  Before he became a manager, he led the majors in being hit by pitch three years in a row.


-  Ans.  Harris led the 1924 Washington Senators & 1947 New York Yankees to World Series titles.

-  #1  As a rookie at age 27 in 1924, he is by 3 years the youngest WS-winning skipper.  (Lou Boudreau was 30 in 1948.)

-  #2  In 1921-23, Harris took 21,18 & 14, respectively, for the team.

FCR -  Barry Goel, Baltimore

Incorrect guesses:  Don Baylor, Walt Alston, John McGraw, Joe McCarthy, Ralph Houk, Dick Williams



Q.  Which light-hitting (WAR = -0.3 that year) rookie shortstop helped his team beat a powerful World Series opponent for his only championship ring and the team’s only one for the next eighty-eight years?

Hint: #1  He resented his new Hall of Famer to-be teammate’s generous salary so much that he refused to speak with him.

Hint: #2  There is a discernable difference between his performances in his first and last World Series.


-  Ans.  The Chicago White Sox took down the mighty New York Giants in the 1917 WS with young Risberg at SS.

-  #1  Can’t imagine that Eddie Collins put too much stock in his teammates’ (Chick Gandil joined Risberg in the oral boycott.) attitude.  He made $15,000 to their $2,500 & $4,000 respectively.

-  #2  Just taking BA, Risberg hit .500 in 1917 & .080 in 1919 with only 1 hit in 28 PA.

FCR -  Andrew Milner, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Incorrect guesses:  Mark Koenig, Lou Boudreau, Rabbit Maranville, Roger Peckinpaugh, Joe Sewell, Everett Scott



THURSDAY  — 04-Apr

Q.  Whose no-hitter was thrown on the same calendar day as those of one pitcher before his and five after?

Hint: #1  Lasting less than ninety minutes, his no-hitter was played before the smallest National League crowd to watch a nine-inning major league game in the twentieth century.

Hint: #2  The last time anyone on his team had thrown a no-hitter, it was the second consecutive such thrown by the same pitcher.


-  Ans.  On May 15th, major league no-hitters were thrown in:

1915  (Claude Hendrix, 10-0);

1944  (Shoun, 1-0);

1952 (Virgil Trucks, 1-0);

1960(2) (Don Cardwell, 4-0);

1973  (Nolan Ryan, 3-0)

1981*  (Len Barker, 3-0);

2022  (Hunter Greene & Al Warren, 0-1 loss)

*Perfect game

-  #1  Shoun’s no-no, stretching play all the way to 1:19 was witnessed by 1,012 paying spectators on a Monday afternoon in Cincinnati.  Shoun himself hit a double, but all the game’s scoring came on Chuck Aleno’s solo HR in the 5th inning, doubling his career total.  The only play that prevented a perfect game was the BB, Shoun’s opposite number, Jim Tobin, drew in the 3rd inning.  Tobin had thrown a no-hitter himself less than 3 weeks earlier.

-  #2  On 11-Jun- & 15-Jun-1938, Johnny Vander Meer’s famous back-to-back no-hitters were logged.

FCR -  Evan Thompson, Mesa

Incorrect guesses:  Tom Browning, Johnny Vander Meer, Jim Maloney, Walter Johnson



FRIDAY — 05-Apr

Q.  Whose Minnesota Twins hitting streak record did Ken Landreaux break in 1980?

Hint: #1  He was once traded for the reigning league Rookie of Year.

Hint: #2  He would  have had a World Series ring, but the team that won it released him mid-season.

Hint: #3  His first hit in the Big Leagues was a bases-clearing triple.


-  Ans.  Green had a 24-game hitting streak May 1–28, 1961, the 1st season when he played 150+ G.  Landreaux’ record was 31 G, tied for the longest in the AL since Dom DiMaggio's 34 in 1949.

-  #1  Albie Pearson, AL ROY in 1958, was sent from WSH to BAL in exchange for Green 26‑May‑1959.

-  #2  Green’s last stop in the majors was with his hometown Detroit Tigers.  In 1968, he played lightly for a few months and then was cut

-  #3  Green’s 3-bagger = 29-Aug-1957.

FCR -  Victor Piacentile, l Yorktown Heights, New York

Incorrect guesses:  Ewell Blackwell, Rod Carew, Bryce Harper, Heinie Manush




Q.  Which National Leaguer led the majors in pitching win percentage the same year he no-hit that same season’s World Series champions?

Hint: #1  He played professionally only for the franchise that drafted him and spent a decade with the big club.

Hint: #2  He surrendered the four hundredth career home run to a former MVP and future Hall of Famer.


-  Ans.  Moose had a record of 14-3 in 1969 & his .824 led the majors working equally as a starter and reliever for PIT.  On 20-Sep-1969, Moose held the Mets hitless, w/ 3 BB  & 6 K.  NYM upset BAL in the 1969 WS.

-  #1  Drafted #348 in 1965, Moose was a Pittsburgh Pirate from 1967 through 1976.

-  #2  In Candlestick Park on 15-Jul-1973, Moose & 4 relievers were on the wrong side of a Juan Marichal 21-0 shutout.  In the 3rd inning, Willie McCovey, the 1969 NL MVP, hit a solo HR off Moose.  It was the 16th of the 29 McCovey hit that year & the 400th of the 521 that defined his career.  [Stretch’s 401st came 2 innings later off PIT’s Bob Johnson.]

FCR -  Jerry Wolper, Pittsburgh

Incorrect guesses:  Bert Blyleven, Ron Bryant, Sandy Koufax



SUNDAY  — 07-Apr

Q.  Who was the first batter in the twentieth century to collect five hits in an Opening Day game?

Hint: #1  The season he led the National League in hits and doubles, he received no consideration at all for any postseason awards.

Hint: #2  He was the twentieth century’s first player to steal home in extra innings.


-  Ans.  On 12-Apr-1911, Byrne had 5 H as he and his PIT teammates throttled CIN 14-0.

-  #1  Byrne got 178 H & 43 2B, both personal bests in 1910, the year before the first MVPs were awarded.

-  #2  On 25-Aug-1910, in the 12th inning, Byrne successfully stole home, giving PIT a “walk-off” victory over BRO.

FCR -  Jesse Asbury, Norman, Oklahoma

Incorrect guesses:  Wee Willie Keeler, Chuck Klein, Nap Lajoie, Babe Ruth



WEEK’S THEME – A hand-picked sampling of major league players who died on their own birthdays.


Player                           Born                          Died            MLB years

Byrne.................... 31-Dec-1884............ 31-Dec-1964......... 11

Green.................... 06-Jan-1933............. 06-Jan-2019......... 12

Harris.................... 08-Nov-1896............ 08-Nov-1977... 12, 22

Hartnett................. 20-Dec-1900............ 20-Dec-1972......... 20

Moose................... 09-Oct-1947............. 09-Oct-1976......... 10

Risberg................. 13-Oct-1894............. 13-Oct-1975........... 4

Shoun................... 20-Mar-1912............. 20-Mar-1968......... 14

Tinker..................... 27-Jul-1880.............. 27-Jul-1948.......... 15


First Correct Respondent identifying themeJerry Kahn, New York City (On Monday!  Possibly the fastest FCR ever.)



Incorrect theme guesses:


Tues    -  Cubs Hall of Fame members

            -  HOF Cubs who acted on stage or in a movie

            -  Cubs players who died on their birthdays

            -  Pennant winning playing managers

            -  Oldest players to die on their birthday


Wed     -  Hall of Famers who dies on their birthday


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