Sunday, April 5, 2015

The One Time a Year I Post a George Will Column

His annual Opening Day baseball quiz:
Visiting a struggling pitcher on the mound, Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver advised, “If you know how to cheat, start now.” Be advised that Googling is cheating as you try to identify: 
1. The player who compiled at least 400 total bases in five different seasons (no one else did it in four)
2. Which three players hit 500 home runs but never struck out 85 times in a season. 
3. The last player to steal 100 bases in one season. 
4. The four players to steal a base in four decades. 
5. Before Madison Bumgarner last year, the only pitcher to win three world championships before age 26. 
6. The only World Series between teams with fewer than 90 regular-season wins. 
7. The MVP who played the most games (65) as DH. 
8. Which two of the five players with the highest career batting averages are not in the Hall of Fame. 
9. The pitcher who started a World Series game one for three teams. 
10. Which team today has gone the longest without appearing in the postseason. 
11. The only pitcher to lead the majors in ERA four consecutive years. 
12. The two post-World War II pitchers to win 20 games in fewer than 30 starts. 
13. The only pitcher to give up seven or more earned runs in consecutive postseason starts. 
14. The manager with 20 consecutive winning seasons. 
15. The manager with the highest winning percentage. 
16. The player who pitched five shutouts in his first seven starts. 
17. The only rookie to win a Cy Young award. 
18. The player who won consecutive batting titles for the 1951 and 1952 Philadelphia A’s. 
19. The first pitcher to win at least 30 games in three consecutive seasons. 
20. The two pitchers with 373 wins. 
21. Which pitcher won the most games in a three-year period. 
22. Who has received the most Hall of Fame votes without being admitted. 
23. Who over twelve seasons led first basemen in home runs, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits and OPS. 
24. In the 500-home-run club, whose strikeouts-per-home-run ratio of 1.74 is second to Ted Williams’s record of 1.36. 
25. The only player to hit at least .300, with at least 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBIs in 10 consecutive seasons. 
26. Which three pitchers won their league’s triple crown (wins, strikeouts, ERA) three times. 
27. The only current major-league city never to host a World Series. 
28. Who played the most games at shortstop and has the highest fielding percentage (minimum 1,000 games). 
29. The only team to make the playoffs while finishing last in the major leagues in home runs and walks. 
30. The pitcher with the most consecutive wins. 
31. Who is fifth, behind Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, and Jim Thome, in the best ratio of at bats per home run. 
32. Who won three of the first four American League batting titles. 
33. The two hitters with two 20-home-run seasons before their 21st birthdays. 
34. The leader in career games pitched. 
35. The pitcher with the most strikeouts in a season in the 1980s. 
36. The three players who hold their franchises’ records for singles, doubles, triples, and home runs. 37. How many times Greg Maddux led the league in strikeouts. 
38. The pitcher who had 999 walks with three games remaining in his career, and walked no one in those three. 
39. The highest career batting average for a career that began after WWII. 
40. The first National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs. 
Bonus question: Who, explaining how cold weather can shorten by 25 feet the distance a fly ball travels, said: “If the fence is 338 feet [away] and you hit the ball 338 feet, you’ll be 25 feet short.” 
Answers (after the jump):

1. Lou Gehrig 
2. Mel Ott, Gary Sheffield, Ted Williams 
3. Vince Coleman (1987) 
4. Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Omar Vizquel, Ted Williams 
5. Vida Blue 
6. 2014 
7. Don Baylor (1979) 
8. Joe Jackson and Lefty O’Doul 
9. Jack Morris (Detroit Tigers, 1984; Minnesota Twins, 1991; Toronto Blue Jays, 1992) 
10. Toronto Blue Jays 
11. Clayton Kershaw 
12. Clayton Kershaw, Pedro Martinez 
13. Clayton Kershaw 
14. Joe McCarthy 
15. Joe McCarthy (61.5) 
16. Fernando Valenzuela 
17. Fernando Valenzuela 
18. Ferris Fain 
19. Christy Mathewson (1903-05) 
20. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Christy Mathewson 
21. Walter Johnson (97, 1912–14) 
22. Gil Hodges 
23. Gil Hodges 
24. Albert Pujols 
25. Albert Pujols 
26. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax 
27. Seattle 
28. Omar Vizquel 
29. 2014 Royals 
30. Carl Hubbell (24 in 1936–37) 
31. Ralph Kiner (one home run every 14.1 at bats) 
32. Nap Lajoie 
33. Tony Conigliaro, Bryce Harper 
34. Jesse Orosco 
35. Mike Scott (306 in 1986) 
36. George Brett, Stan Musial, Robin Yount 
37. Zero 
38. Greg Maddux 
39. Tony Gwynn (.338) 
40. Mel Ott 
Bonus answer: Ralph Kiner, of course.

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