Monday, April 22, 2024

2024-04-15 American League left-handed pitchers who hit a home run in a World Series game


Q.  Which one-time Baltimore Orioles pitcher was the first American Leaguer to have a hit in the World Series after having none during the regular season that year?

Hint: #1  He threw two no-hitters against National League teams.

Hint: #2  In his first no-hitter, he did not strike out a single batter.

Hint: #3  In his second no-hitter, he scored the game’s only run.

Hint: #4  Teams he was on faced the team that came to be known as “The Big Red Machine” twice with partial success.

Hint: #5  He had the most wins of any Jewish pitcher in baseball history.

A.  KEN HOLTZMAN   [SABR Bio] [Obit in The Times of Israel]

-  Ans.  In 1973, Holtzman was 0 for 1 with a BB as a pinch-hitter on 24-Sep.  In the WS vs. NYM, he hit two 2B, 1 in G #1 & another 2B in G #7, both off Jon Matlack, both victories for OAK.  He pitched for BAL in 1976.

-  #1  Holtzman no-hit CIN on 19-Aug-1969 & no-hit ATL on 03-Jun-1971.

-  #2 & 3  See #1 above

-  #4  Holtzman’s Oakland A’s beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 WS.  Holtzman started the Series & got the W in G1.  He was on the 1976 NYY team who ended OAK’s string of AL pennants at 3, but were blanked by the CIN team that had gained almost legendary status.

-  #5  Had 174 pitching W’s (9 more than Sandy Koufax)

FCR -  Robert Osman, Great Neck, New York

Incorrect guesses:  Mike Cuellar, Steve Stone, Carl Erskine, Tim Stoddard



IN MEMORIAM, TUESDAY  — 16-Apr (Not part of this week’s theme.)

Q.  Who said, after a lackluster playing career (career WAR = 2.8) but three pennants and a World Series championship as a manager, “Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it.”?

Hint: #1  He once managed his team to the division’s best overall record yet failed to make the postseason.

Hint: #2  His managing style was so distinctive that the media gave it a cognomen using his name.

Hint: #3 One year, his team had a statistical combination that hadn’t been seen in the majors for more than seven decades.

Hint: #4  His personal stealing success was at odds with his trademark managerial strategy.

Hint: #5  He once gave a special gift to an old enemy.


-  Ans.  [No explanation needed]

-  #1  The 1981 season was interrupted by a 50-day players strike.  When the games resumed in August, the season was split into two halves, with each half’s winner advancing to the playoffs.  This hurt Herzog's STL because they had posted the best winning % in the NL East at .578, but finished 2nd in both halves, to Philadelphia & Montreal respectively & missed the playoffs entirely.

-  #2  Herzog used spacious Royals Stadium & its artificial turf field to his advantage, employing “Whiteyball”, a strategy that stressed line-drives, speed on the bases, pitching & defense.

-  #3  Herzog’s 1985 STL stole 311 bases & hit merely 87 HRs .  The last team to post the combo of stealing 300 or more bases while hitting fewer than 100 HR in the same season, was the 1912 NYG.  Nor has any team since.

-  #4  Although he stole home as a rookie on 17-June-1956, Herzog was an inefficient base thief.  His 13 career SB came in 31 attempts.

-  #5  For a Cardinals’ off-season team reunion, Herzog invited umpire Don Denkinger, the same Denkinger who may have cost Herzog's 1985 STL team a WS victory.  Denkinger mad a bad call in G 6 that allowed the KCR to rally to win the G & the WS.  After speaking to the banquet crowd & receiving a polite ovation, Denkinger was returning to his seat when Herzog jumped up & said, “Just a minute, Don.  We have something for you.” Denkinger returned to the podium and Herzog handed him a gift containing a Braille watch.  Denkinger good-naturedly accepted & laughed along with the crowd.

FCR -  Cliff Beiser, Kissimmee, Florida

Incorrect guesses:  Billy Martin, Sparky Anderson, John McNamara



IN MEMORIAM TUESDAY II  — 16-Apr (Also not part of this week’s theme.)

Q.  Whose record for most strikeouts in a World Series game did Sandy Koufax break?

Hint: #1  He had led his league in win/loss percentage the same season of his outstanding World Series game.

Hint: #2  He received Most Valuable Player consideration that year too.

Hint: #3  He was the last surviving player highlighted in the ground-breaking book, “The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn.

Hint: #4  He pitched two no-hitters, each in a season where his team won the pennant.

Hint: #5  For some of his voluminous charity work after his career, the Hall of Fame honored him with a special award, one given to only five other recipients.

Hint: #6  After throwing his second career no-hitter, passed on a bottle of champagne offered to him instead celebrating with an orange soda.


-  Ans.  In the 3rd G of the 1953 WS, Erskine struck out 14 Yankees, including Mickey Mantle 4 X.  Koufax had 15 K vs. NYY in G 1 of the 1963 WS.  (Mantle only struck out 2 X that day.)

-  #1  Erskine had a record of 20-6 or .769 to lead the NK in 1953.

-  #2  He placed 9th in the NL MVP voting in 1953, for the only time in his 12-year career.  Seven Dodgers received MVP votes that year, with teammate Roy Campanella getting the top vote.

-  #3  Kahn, well-respected writer on sports, published his masterpiece in 1972.  After recounting his childhood in Brooklyn & his life as a young reporter on the New York Herald Tribune, the author relates some history of the Brooklyn Dodgers up to their victory in the 1955 World Series.  He then tracks the lives of the players (Clem Labine, George Shuba, Andy Pafko, Joe Black, Preacher Roe, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson& Billy Cox a well as Erskine) over the subsequent years as they aged.  The title of the book is taken from a Dylan Thomas poem.

-  #4  Erskine’s no-hitters were on 19-Jun-1952 vs. CHC & 12-May-1956 vs. NYG.

-  #5  In 2023, the HOF announced that Erskine would be awarded the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to charity & his work towards the Special Olympics.

-  #6  His 2nd no-no was at home in Ebbets Field and Erskine was conscious of his image with the Brooklyn fans (who affectionately called him “oisk”).

FCR -  Anthony Biats, Willoughby, Ohio

Incorrect guesses:  Bob Gibson, Ralph Branca




Q.  Whose record for most career strikeouts by a left-handed American League pitcher did CC Sabathia break?

Hint: #1  He once picked off Lou Brock and Curt flood in the same inning.

Hint: #2  The only pitcher with more innings pitched in a season in the playoff era was a knuckleballer.


-  Ans.  Lolich finished with 2,679 K on his AL team, DET.  Sabathia’s K total in the AL (CLE+NYY) was 2,965.

-  #1  In the 6th inning of the deciding 7th G of the 1968 WS, Lolich picked off 2 of the most successful base stealers of their generation.

-  #2  Lolich pitched 376.0 innings in 1971 to lead the majors.  Since then only Wilbur Woods exceeded that total & he did it the very next season with 376⅔ of knuckleball action.

FCR -  Obrey Brown, Tallahassee

Incorrect guesses:  Jim Kaat, Vida Blue, Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson



THURSDAY  — 18-Apr

Q.  Which one time Montreal Expo pitcher is the only All-Star born in the only U.S. state whose motto is in Spanish?

Hint: #1  [First of all, congratulations on getting through that question!]  He was the first pitcher to face Reggie Jackson in the postseason.

Hint: #2  Of pitchers born in his native state, he is the only one with more than nine hundred innings pitched.


-  Ans.  McNally was born in Billings, Montana.  Montana’s state motto is “Oro Y Plata” (“Gold & Silver”

-  #1  McNally was the starter in the 1971 ALCS G played, OAK vs. BAL.  Jackson was the 3rd batter & the only future HOFer that McNally faced that day, although Rollie Fingers did pitch an inning in relief.  Jackson flied out.

-  #2  McNally pitched 2,730 innings in the majors.  The next closest Montanan is Bob Locker who, although he was in the majors for 10 years, only managed 879 innings.

FCR -  George Alfano, Redlands, California

Incorrect guesses:  Joe Coleman, Dennis Martinez



FRIDAY  — 19-Apr

Q.  Which one-time Pittsburgh Pirate was the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season in the American League?

Hint: #1  The year he led the AL in winning percentage, he also led the league in shutouts.

Hint: #2  He was the starting pitcher in the first ever game of a franchise in the 1960s.


-  Ans.  Pitching for MIN in 1965, his 10th year in MLB, Grant’s record was 21-7.  “I didn’t know there was never an African-American pitcher who won 20 games in the American League,” Grant told in 2017.  “As the season progressed, I started getting all kinds of mail, and even Howard Cosell called me a couple times when I got to 18 wins.  So, it was really special.”

-  #1  In ’65, Grant’s W % was .759 and he had 6 SHO.  Unfortunately, that same season, he led the majors in HR surrendered with 34.

-  #2  The Montreal Expos opened on the road in 1969, in Shea Stadium.  Grant was MON’s starter and the Expos prevailed 11-10.

FCR -  Chris Betsch, New Albany, Indiana

Incorrect guesses:  Earl Wilson, Doc Ellis, Bob Veale, Bobby Shantz, Luis Tiant, Vida Blue, Don Newcombe, Al McBean



SATURDAY  — 20-Apr

Q.  Which former Cincinnati Reds pitcher won the most games in a season in the 1920s?

Hint: #1  He was the first World Series pitcher to have a son also pitch in a World Series.

Hint: #2  He surrendered a hit that broke a famous record of Ty Cobb’s.


-  Ans.  Bagby’s record in 1920 was 31-12.  Bagby broke in with CIN in 1912.

-  #1  Bagby, Sr. pitched in the 1920 WS for CLE.  His son, Jim Bagby, Jr. pitched for BOS in the 1946 Fall Classic.  The Stottlemyres and Borbons later matched this mark.

-  #2  Ty Cobb rang up 248 H for DET in his MVP season, 1911.  However, on 28-Sep-1920, SLB’s George Sisler got his 249th of the year off Bagby.  Sisler finished with 257, a mark that stood until Ichiro Suzuki got 262 H in 2004 for SEA.

FCR -  Mike Sparks, Sarasota

Incorrect guesses:  Waite Hoyt, Dolph Luque, Dazzy Vance, Eppa Rixey, Burleigh Grimes



SUNDAY  — 21-Apr

Q.  Which pitcher’s performance in the regular season helped his team reach the World Series for the first time in two decades?

Hint: #1  Unfortunately, although his manager trusted him to be the starting pitcher for the World Series, he came up against one of history’s best postseason hurlers in both games one and four.

Hint: #2  He led the majors in winning percentage the year before he made his first All-Star team.


-  Ans.  Santiago’s record in 1967 for BOS was 12-4 or .750.  The Red Sox hadn’t been in the WS since 1946.

-  #1  Santiago was the G1 & G4 starting pitcher.  Bad for him and them, the starter on the other team was one Bob Gibson.

-  #2  See answer #1 above.  ASG in 1968, his only one.  He did not see action.

FCR -  Richard Klee, North Hollywood, California

Incorrect guesses:  Bob Feller, Jim O’Toole Bob Gibson, Bucky Walters, Mel Queen, Jim Lonborg, Denny McLain, Jim Konstanty, Joey Jay





WEEK’S THEME – American League pitchers who hit a home run in a World Series game


Pitcher            WS/G                          Off                        Career WAR

Bagby............. 1920/5............ BRO’s Burleigh Grimes....... 30.8

Grant.............. 1965/6............ LAD’s Howie Reed.............. 21.1

Holtzman........ 1974/4............ LAD’s Andy Messersmith.... 27.3

Lolich.............. 1968/2............ STL’s Nelson Briles............. 48.0

McNally.......... 1969/5............ NYM’s Jerry Koosman......... 25.5

....................... 1970/3............ CIN’s Wayne Granger,

Santiago......... 1967/1............ STL’s Bib Gibson................... 4.1


First Correct Respondent identifying themeJohn Michael Pierobon, Ft. Lauderdale (after Grant)



Incorrect theme guesses:


Wed     -  Most innings pitched in a single World Series


Thur     -  Pitchers who homered in post-season

            -  Pitchers who hit home runs in World Series their team won

            -  Pitchers who hit home runs in a World Series game where they were the winning pitcher of that game


Sat       -  Pitchers who hit a home run in a World Series game they won

-   AL pitchers with at least 2 home runs in one world series

-   AL pitchers with at least 2 RBI in one world series

-   all had multi-RBI World Series games in which they homered and were the starting and or winning pitcher

-   Pitchers with multiple RBI and a home run in a World Series game

-   Pitchers 3 RBI in a World Series game

-   Pitchers whose first World Series/Postseason hit was a home run


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