Spring Brain Training
In which we solve the mystery of how a team hit into a triple play without any fielder touching the ball.
George F. Will
From the magazine issue dated Apr 6, 2009
Spring training for a fan requires limbering up that lobe of the brain devoted to baseball arcana. Not "baseball trivia." Nothing about baseball is trivial. Anyway, a quiz:
1. Which player got more than 500 hits with four different teams?
2. What Hall of Famer hit into four triple plays in his career?
3. Which two players won the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards simultaneously?
4. Who won the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards in the same season?
5. Who is the only player to be a Rookie of the Year, MVP and Triple Crown winner?
6. Who won MVP awards in both leagues?
7. Who is the only pitcher to win consecutive MVP awards?
8. Who has the highest career batting average among National League lefthanders?
9. What player had the name of his home town on the back of his uniform?
10. To what was Cesar Geronimo referring when he said he was just "in the right place at the right time"?
11. Who led the NL in home runs the most consecutive years?
12. In 1953, the St. Louis Browns' Bobo Holloman threw a no-hitter in his first major-league start. What was his career won-lost record?
13. Shoeless Joe Jackson was one of eight White Sox players banned from baseball for intentionally losing the 1919 World Series. What did he bat in the eight games?
14. What event in the life of what player provoked Oscar Levant to say, "It proves that no man can be a success at two national pastimes"?
15. What rookie was on deck when the New York Giants' Bobby Thomson hit the home run that defeated the Dodgers in the 1951 playoff?
16. Off which Hall of Fame pitcher did Willie Mays get his first hit—a home run?
17. Which two Hall of Famers pitched all 16 innings against each other in a 1963 game that another Hall of Famer won with a home run?
18. What was baseball's most musical name until Placido Polanco came along?
19. What pitcher faced both Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle?
20. Only once did someone pinch-hit for Ted Williams. And only once did someone pinch-hit for Carl Yastrzemski. Who was the pinch hitter both times?
21. What hitter averaged better than .400 over five seasons?
22. What did the 1966 Yankees do that no Yankee team had done since 1912?
23. Which two Hall of Famers stole second, third and home in the same inning—four times?
24. Who did what in the 1920 World Series that has never been done in a Series before or since?
25. What center fielder played so shallow that six times he made unassisted double plays, catching flies and crossing second base before the runners could get back?
26. Who is the only player since 1900 to get seven hits in a nine inning game?
27. Who got nine hits in an 18-inning game?
28. What Hall of Famer with a .306 career average went 0-for-10 in a 24-inning game?
29. What pitcher hit two grand slams in one game?
30. What player hit two grand slams in one inning?
31. What Hall of Fame pitcher did not record a victory until he was 29?
32. Who was the last player to win a batting title without hitting a home run?
33. Who holds the record for most hits, triples, runs and RBI before age 20?
34. What team lost a World Series in which it hit a record .338?
35. What team won a World Series while its pitching staff recorded a horrendous 7.11 ERA?
36. Who led his league in ERA a record nine times?
37. Who won batting and home-run titles in the same season three times?
38. How many 200-hit seasons did Ted Williams have?
39. Who made the last out of a World Series attempting to steal second?
40. Who hit a triple but was called out for missing both first and second?
41. Who was the youngest manager of a pennant winner?
42. Who allowed nine walks while pitching a complete-game shutout?
43. Who is in both the NFL and baseball Halls of Fame?
44. Before the Indians' Cliff Lee won last year's Cy Young Award, only one Cy Young winner and one MVP had three-letter surnames. Who were they?
45. Who struck out only 114 times in a 14-year career?
46. Who is the only player since Ruth to lead the majors in RBI for three consecutive years?
47. Who batted .360 over an eight-year span without winning a batting title?
48. What pitcher won 363 games and got 363 hits?
49. Who got 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 on the road?
50. How did a team hit into a triple play without any fielder touching the ball?