Wednesday, September 5, 2007

? No. 37: A bag of baseballs

The old saying, "Let's trade him for a bag of baseballs" is given credence by a certain Oakland A's minor league prospect, who in 1983 was dealt to the Tigers for $100 ... and a bag of baseballs. This left-handed pitcher eventually made the majors and enjoyed a brief career as a reliever, spending most of his days with the Padres and Mariners in the late-'80s. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: Welcome back Listmaker. You are correct, Glenallen Hill it is!

Friday, August 31, 2007

? No. 36: Arachnids out to getcha

Sorry for the delay. I'd love to blame it on a 4-day bender, but alas, I've just been busy. Today's question is an odd one*. In 1990, this Toronto Blue Jays outfielder had a nightmare about spiders attacking him. While dreaming, he began sleepwalking and eventually toppled into a glass coffee table. The fall didn't wake him up, and he continued crawling across the floor — through the broken glass. He sustained several serious cuts which landed him on the DL. Said outfielder was a rookie that season, and wasn't a member of the Blue Jays World Series teams. He enjoyed his best season in 1995 with the San Fran Giants, and in his 13-year career he also played for the Indians and Cubs in a largely platoon role. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: Alex Rodriguez.

*And comes courtesy of the book, The Unofficial Guide to Baseball's Most Unusual Records.

Monday, August 27, 2007

? No. 35: Happy birthday to me

Since it's my birthday today, I'll stick with a birthday themed question. White Sox outfielder Carlos May made sure he would never forget his birthday when he selected his jersey number, 17. The back of his jersey read "May 17", which just happened to be his birthday.

But he's not the subject of today's trivia question. Tell me who this player is: He hit a walk-off grand slam on his birthday in 2002, giving his team a 10th-inning victory over the A's. Three other facts about this player: 1) His middle name is Emmanuel; 2) He's won a Gold Glove and a Sliver Slugger; 3) He has since switched teams once.

Yesterday's Answer: A couple pitchers have actually topped Owings' 6 RBIs. In a game I remember seeing the highlights of on SportsCenter, Robert Person notched 7 RBIs in the Phillies 18-3 drubbing of the Expos in 2002. He had two longballs in that game. But the record is held by the Braves' Tony Cloninger. In a game that I've read about in a book I edited, Cloninger collected an astounding 9 ribbies off three hits, two of them homers. Atlanta beat San Francisco 17-3 that day, and Cloninger pitched a complete game. Person's feat was a bit more remarkable, if only because he only lasted 5 innings in his game and hence had just four plate appearances to Cloninger's five. Cloninger clubbed 11 career home runs, but he was only a mildly successful hitter. For whatever reason, he hit the cover off the ball in '66, smacking 5 homers and collecting 23 RBIs and 7 multi-hit games. Two other pitchers have tied Owings' mark: Blue Moon Odom (a very good hitting pitcher) and Dave Giusti, both in the '60s.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

? No. 34: Pitchers swinging a mighty stick

Getting back to pitchers that can hit a little, last week D-backs rookie pitcher Micah Owings went 4-for-5 with two home runs, four runs, and six RBIs at the plate and got the win on the mound, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out seven over seven innings. He is the first pitcher with four hits, four runs, and six RBIs in the same game. No player over the past 50 years has hit three home runs in a regular season game. But plenty have hit two. And three pitchers have even accomplished that feat twice. Today's question: Has any pitcher in the past 50 years topped Owings' RBI total in a game?

Yesterday's Answer: Seems I jinxed Mr. Webb, since he lost his scoreless streak in the first inning on Wednesday night. Since 1940, only Hershiser, Don Drysdale (58), Bob Gibson (47), and Sal Maglie (45) have thrown more consecutive shutout innings than Webb's 42 and change. That means Terrific Tom Seaver and Ron Guidry are the odd men out from that list. Seaver's longest streak was 19 innings; Guidry's longest streak was 18.1. Guidry did pitch back-to-back shutouts five times during his vaunted 25-3, 1.74 ERA season of 1978.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

? No. 33: Besting Brandon Webb

Last Friday Brandon Webb -- my fantasy league ace right now after Dan Haren has cooled off -- threw his third consecutive shutout. In the process he extended his scoreless streak to 42 innings, dating back five starts. He's just two shutouts from breaking Orel Hershiser's all-time record of 59 innings, which still seems nearly impossible despite Webb's herculean effort to date. He pitches tonight against Milwaukee, and for the sake of both my fantasy team and my Cardinals, I hope he continues his streak. What's remarkable is that Webb's 42 scoreless innings is only the 12th best streak in history (but it is the longest since Orel's). Most of those 10 other pitchers on the list between Webb and Hershiser achieved their feat before 1940. Since '40, only three pitchers (not named Orel) have topped Webb. Two of the following pitchers do not belong to that short list. Who are they?

A) Don Drysdale
B) Ron Guidry
C) Bob Gibson
D) Tom Seaver
E) Sal Maglie

Yesterday's Answer: The answer is Craig Biggio, who in 1997 went 619 at-bats without grounding into a double play. That's the record Granderson is after. Granderson just passed Corey Patterson, who last season went 463 at-bats without hitting into a twin killing. Both Lofton and Furcal have had seasons where they hit into just one, with Furcal's coming in a season with 664 at-bats.

Monday, August 20, 2007

? No. 32: Avoiding the dreaded GIDP

Jayson Stark recently reported that Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson could be the first American League player since the division-play era to make it through an entire 162 game season without grounding out into a double play. If Granderson continues his current pace, he would have the most at-bats (627) -- regardless of league -- without a GIDP since GIDP became an official stat in 1939. Take a wild guess as to whose record would he be breaking?

A) Rafael Furcal
B) Craig Biggio
C) Kenny Lofton
D) Corey Patterson

Yesterday's Answer: Here's the (complete?) list of players to have played for both the Cards and Cubs since 1980. The asterisk denotes that the player transitioned directly from one team to the other via trade or free agency.

Bruce Sutter*, Dennis Eckersley, Leon Durham*, Ken Reitz*, Lary Sorensen, Chris Speier, Ivan DeJesus, Bill Campbell, Pat Perry, Steve Lake*, Ray Burris, Lance Johnson, Todd Zeile*, Frank DiPino*, Bob Tewksbury*, Jamie Moyer, Lee Smith, Mark Clark, Mike Perez, Donovan Osborne, Hector Villanueva*, Les Lancaster, Paul Kilgus, Erik Pappas, John Mabry*, Rick Sutcliffe, Danny Jackson, Mike Morgan*, Tony Fossas, Alan Benes*, Gary Gaetti*, Mike Difelice, Delino DeShields, Manny Aybar, Kent Mercker, Kent Bottenfield*, Shawon Dunston, Heathcliff Slocumb, Rick Wilkins, Dave Veres*, Miguel Cairo*, Jeff Fassero*, Joe Girardi*, Tony Womack, Ray King, Julian Tavarez, Mark Grudzielanek*, Jose Vizcaino, Todd Wellemeyer.

Friday, August 17, 2007

? No. 31: From one rival to the other

Here's an easier question -- maybe -- at the request of Mr. Gerard. The Cards-Cubs rivalry gets stirred up again today with a four-game series at Wrigley. There's plenty at stake as these two teams jockey for position in the pathetic Central. It's quite possible that either the Cubs or the Cards -- thought to be nearly out of it by their fan base as recently as two weeks ago -- could end the series in first place. Unfortunately, the Cards won't get a shot at Jason Marquis, a former Cardinal hurler (emphasis on HURL), as Marquis took the mound on Thursday. Marquis is one of many former and current major leaguers to have played for both the Cards and the Cubs. Lou Brock is, of course, probably the most famous. See if you can name five that have played for both the Cubs and the Cards since the year 1980. (Marquis doesn't count!) If you're having a hard time thinking of 'em, relax, it'll come to you: By my count, there's at least 49! (Bonus if you can name five, like Marquis, that went directly from the Cards to the Cubs -- or vice versa -- via trade or free agency.) Remember, since 1980.

Yesterday's Answer: The four 30-homer guys for the '77 Dodgers were: Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Dusty Baker (30), and Ron Cey (30). (Rick Monday was also a good guess, as he hit 32 in the previous year for the Cubs. But he just 15 that year for the Dodgers.) L.A. out-homered its opponents that year by a margin of 191-119.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

? No. 30: Bombers in Blue

I'm currently reading The Bronx Is Burning, which is all about NYC circa 1977. Of course, the Yankees play a big role in that story, as does racial tensions, the city's near-bankruptcy, the mayoral race, and a certain serial killer. At work, I am supposed to be editing a book right now on the team the Yankees played that year in the Series, the Dodgers. This book was to focus on L.A.'s vaunted infield of Garvey, Lopes, Cey, and Russell. But one of those four wouldn't agree to be interviewed for the project, so we shelved the book. Looking at that great Dodger team of 1977, which featured a steady veteran rotation and an explosive offense, one thing stands out statistically: They had four guys hit 30 or more home runs. Who were they?

Yesterday's Answer: Not Nellie Fox, who died in 1975. It's former Red Sox 2-bagger Bobby Doerr, who is 89. Lee MacPhail is the oldest member of the Hall. He's also 89 but has Doerr beat by six months or so. In the on-deck circle for players is 88 year-old Bob Feller.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

? No. 29: The oldest living legend

The oldest living Hall of Famer is now dead: The Scooter, Phil Rizzuto, passed away at the age of 89. Rizzuto makes the case for the disbandment (or at least the reconstruction) of the Veterans Committee, who continue to allow players with suspect Hall of Fame credentials entrance into the Big Hall, while barring others who are more deserving. Rizzuto benefited mightily from his team's success: The fact that the Yankees won nine World Series titles during Rizzuto's career undoubtedly raised his profile considerably. How else can you explain a guy with a career .706 OPS gaining entrance? Rizzuto, a shortstop, is often credited as having played the game the right way, i.e. he was fundamentally sound and did a lot of the "little things" that don't always show up in the box score, like sacrifice hit and bunt. He is also noted as having gotten the most out of his talent, i.e. he was a short, skinny man. So does that mean David Eckstein belongs in the Hall, too?

I don't mean to be too harsh on the guy on the day that he died. So lets change gears. With Rizzuto's passing, who is now the oldest living Hall of Fame player? A few clues: He was also inducted by the Veterans Committee, was Rizzuto's peer, and was also a middle infielder who played his entire career for one AL team. No peeking, just guess.

Yesterday's Answer: Congrats to Jason for deducing Mr. Eddie Murray as the correct answer. Steady Eddie was recently let go by the Dodgers.

Monday, August 13, 2007

? No. 28: Name that player on unemployment

Only two players pop up on the following Top 10 lists for career numbers: intentional walks, sacrifice flies, RBIs, total bases, and ground into double plays. One is Hank Aaron. Who is the other? A couple clues: This player never hit more than 33 homers in a season, and he was recently fired.

Yesterday's Answer: Ankiel hit two home runs on Saturday, and in doing so equaled the total number of homers he had hit as a pitcher. He's got 3 now as a MLB position player versus 2 as a pitcher.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

? No. 27: Ankiel goes yard!

Tonight Rick Ankiel gets his first cup of coffee as a major league outfielder. I'm following the game on the internet as it's blacked out on TV. Ankiel is currently 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts, but then again he is facing Chris Young, the man with an ERA under 2.00. I saw Ankiel make his second big-league start, his first at home. It was two days after my birthday in 1999, and a friend and I drove down for the day game and purchased scalped tickets. We ended up spending a little extra for great seats on the lower level, about 30 rows back of home plate. I still vividly recall Ankiel's high striped socks and spectacular curve ball. He didn't pitch particularly well that day -- five hits and five walks in six innings -- but allowed just two runs. The Cards dropped the game, though. Some guy named Smoltz was throwing for the Braves that day.

I was back at Busch just over a year later when the eventual Rookie of the Year took the mound as the surprise starter for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves. Much different ballgame for Ankiel that day, as that's when his implosion began. I don't recall nearly as much about that particular day, in part because it all happened so fast (those pitches sure did fly to the backstop in the blink of an eye) and because ultimately the Cards knocked around Greg Maddux and won that game ... so I left Busch with a happy feeling. At that point, we didn't know that we had just witnessed a pitcher permanently unravel. In that fateful game, the wild pitches started in the third inning. The amazing thing is that even after he had obviously lost his control, he still managed to strike Chipper Jones out.

Fast forward nearly seven years, and Ankiel gets the call-up from the Pacific Coast League, where he was leading the league in round trippers with 32. If he would have stayed down there a bit longer, he may have earned his second Player of the Year award from Baseball America. (The first came as a pitcher in 1999, so how cool would that have been?) My question is: How many home runs did Ankiel hit in his big-league career prior to today? In other words, how many dingers did he hit as a pitcher in 96 plate appearances?

(Holy fuck! I kid you not ... while typing this question Ankiel went yard tonight! How can you not root for this kid?)

Yesterday's Answer: Lefty Grove is the correct answer. Old Lefty has 55 career saves. The Big Train is in second with 34. Niekro and Spahn both have 29. Lefty, who won precisely 300 games, split his career between the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox. He earned all but four of his saves in his nine seasons with the A's.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

? No. 26: Saving the 300 game winners

Hooray for Tom Glavine! Actually, I've never really liked the guy all that much, probably because he was a member of the boring Braves, who my Cardinals often had to defeat in the playoffs. (And lately, he's pitched for the Mets -- same story.) But I gotta give one thing to Tom: He's easier to like than Greg Maddux. Maddux just frustrates me to no end. He just doesn't look like an athlete. He looks like the dopey accountant down the hall. If he can win 300 games, so can I, right?

Anyway, in Glavine's honor today we'll focus on 300 game winners. Of the 23 men on that list, seven pitched a majority of their careers before the year 1900, including Cy Young. Of the remaining pitchers on the list, who has the most career saves?

A) Warren Spahn
B) Phil Niekro
C) Lefty Grove
D) Walter Johnson

Yesterday's Answer: In 1988, Gwynn reached base twice or more in 11 straight games. Not shabby. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search to see how some of Gwynn's non-slugging contemporaries compare in that category. Wade Boggs had streaks of 16 and 14 games. Rickey Henderson, an on-base machine, had streaks of 15, 12, 11, and 11. Tim Raines had an 11-game streak. Paul Molitor had three 10-game streaks. Kenny Lofton had a 13-game stretch. Chuck Knoblauch had a 12 and three 11s. Mark Grace had a 16 and 11. And Kevin Seitzer -- remember him? -- had a 10 game streak.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

? No. 25: Who knew Gwynn could hit?

As I write this question, I'm watching the Cardinals-Padres tilt on ESPN, enjoying the fine HD on my relatively new 37-inch TV. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn is at the game, so he'll be the source of my trivia question today. (David Wells, who is starting tonight, will have to wait for the "fattest pitcher ever" question, surely forthcoming.) Gwynn's longest hitting streak in his career was 25 games, and happened in just his second season in 1983. Other than that streak, his longest was 20. I guess I was surprised that Gwynn didn't have a bunch of 20-some game streaks, not to mention a streak in the 30s. But he did have a 19, two 18s, a 16, four 15s, a 14, five 13s, and eight 12s -- so I guess he could hit a little. My question today is: What was Gwynn's longest career streak for times reaching base twice in a game? Price Is Right rules.

Yesterday's Answer: Way to go Listmaker, using your powers of deduction! Mickey Lolich, believe it or not, is the only true answer. Best as I can tell, other than Gibby in '67, Lolich is the only starting pitcher since '65 not named Tiant to start three games in a World Series that his team eventually won. In Lolich's case, he actually was credited with the W in each of his games, too. Lolich took the hard road to get there. Typically, a pitcher needs to start Game 1 to have a chance at this feat, because that enables him to come back in Games 4 and 7. But in this case, Lolich started Game 2 and pitched a complete game as the Tigers defeated the Cardinals 8-1. He returned in Game 5 and spotted the Redbirds three runs in the top of the first, then blanked them for eight innings as the Tigers won 5-3. Three days later he took the mound in Game 7 to face Gibby. Both pitchers tossed nine innings -- Lolich's third complete game of the series -- but the Tigers edged the Cardinals 4-1. To no surprise, Lolich was the World Series MVP after posting a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings pitched.

As for the others... Randy Johnson started and won Games 2 and 6 of the 2001 Series, and picked up the win in relief of Game 7. So close, but no cigar for him. Ron Darling lost a Game 1 heartbreaker in 1986, 1-0. He won in Game 4 and started, but did not get the win, in Game 7. Koufax, who is possibly the best World Series pitcher ever (note the 0.95 ERA), was the loser in Game 2 of the '65 Series, then pitched a complete-game gem in Game 5 and came back on two days rest to throw a duplicate gem in Game 7. In 1991, Morris won Games 1 and 7 (the 10-inning complete game), but the Twins lost his Game 4 start, 3-2.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

? No. 24: World Series aces

I just finished Tom Adelman's The Long Ball, and I highly recommend it. The author's research is remarkable and his inferences refreshing. Go read it. But first, answer this question, inspired by the book.

1975 World Series between Fisk, Yaz, and the Spaceman's Red Sox and the Big Red Machine is always in the discussion when the question is, What is the greatest World Series ever? The Series featured Fisk's extra-inning, hand-waving home run that smacked into the Monster's foul pole, a whole lot of postponements due to rain, and easily one of the best postseason games ever (Game 6, with said homer by Fisk ending what had been a game with numerous highlights). In that Series, the Sox's Luis Tiant pitched in front of his Cuban parents for the first time in his big-league career, which at that point was 12 years and counting. El Tiante pitched brilliantly in the Sox's Game 1 win, tossing a complete game five-hit shutout. In Game 4 he battled for nine innings and 150-some pitches, getting just enough offensive support to win 5-4. After several rainy days pushed back Game 6 in Boston, he took the mound for his third start with the Sox on the verge of elimination and the hometown crowd chanting "Loo-ee" throughout the game. He was far from brilliant in the game, giving up 6 runs in 7 innings. But Dwight Evans bailed him out with a dramatic catch and Bernie Carbo and Fisk took care of the offensive fireworks. His team won all three of the games he started in the Series.

Of the following pitchers, who can make the same claim?

A) Jack Morris 1991
B) Sandy Koufax 1965
C) Randy Johnson 2001
D) Mickey Lolich 1968
E) Ron Darling 1986

Yesterday's Answer: All good guesses, particularly Gwynn, whose name is on the list often. But the player I'm looking for is Nellie Fox. The longtime White Sox second baseman was just about impossible to strike out in his career. Over a span of 13 straight seasons with at least 582 plate appearances, Fox struck out a low of 11 times (twice) and a high of 18 times. That's just silly. If we go all the way back to 1900, there are a lot of players (from the deadball era) who went an entire season without striking out. Post-deadball era, the record is held by Joe Sewell, who twice struck out just three times (and in three other seasons tallied just four Ks).

Saturday, August 4, 2007

? No. 23: Hardest to K

Quick: Name the hitter currently leading the majors in strikeouts. It's an easy question, as Adam Dunn, who has 128 whiffs already, is always at or very near the top. He's currently one behind Ryan Howard, also a great guess. But turning the tables, can you tell me who the current leader is in fewest strikeouts? Of those qualified for the batting title, there are just two batters under 25 — Paul Lo Duca with 24 and Placido Polanco with 19.

Today's question takes this theme a step further. Since 1957, one batter has been particularly stubborn at the plate, striking out fewer than 20 times in a season on seven occasions in that span. Over his 19-year career, the bulk of it spent as an everyday player with few trips to the DL, he K'd just 216 times. He holds the record over that stretch of time for fewest K's in a season: 11, in a whopping 698 plate appearances. Who was this 15-time All-Star?

Yesterday's Answer: Believe it or not, two teams have scored 8-plus runs in the same inning only one other time in major-league history. The first occurrence happened on May 8, 2004, when visiting Detroit got eight runs and Texas countered with 10 in the fifth inning of the Rangers' 16-15, 10-inning win. The 16 runs combined were a record for a second inning, two more than the previous mark.

Friday, August 3, 2007

? No. 22: The makings of one long inning

Two Yankees questions in a row? You bet. Yesterday, the Yankees and White Sox did something shocking, even for A.L. teams with bloated payrolls: They each posted 8 runs in the 2nd inning. How many additional times in major league history have a pair of teams matched or bettered that feat, regardless of inning? (Easy question if you watched SportsCenter or read the game recap.)

Yesterday's Answer: You are all too good. Three correct answers is a first! Prince Fielder's (big) daddy is the correct response. Cecil was already in steep decline by the time the Yankees acquired him, even though he was just in his early thirties. He was making a huge pile of cash ($9 million per year), too, making the risk even more pronounced. The Yankees bit the bullet on that deal. By '97, Fielder's only full season with the Yankees, his slugging percentage had dipped to .410 and he was reduced to sharing time at DH with Mark Whiten, Wade Boggs, Mike Stanley, Rock Raines, Pat Kelly, and some dude named Scott Pose. Fielder was out of the bigs by the age of 35.

The Tigers wisely unloaded their former All-Star at the right time. Unfortunately, they also took on Ruben Sierra in the process. He wasn't exactly making chump change himself ($6 million, although the Yanks paid a mil of that), and he stunk to high heaven over the season's final two months. Shortly after the '96 season, though, the Tigers were able to unload Sierra on the Reds. Sierra wouldn't stop sucking until his stellar (steroids?) season of '01 at the age of 35, when he sported this line: 23 homers in just 94 games and a .561 slugging percentage. He then parlayed that effort into a payday with the Mariners, where he earned $1.9 million and promptly returned to mediocrity or worse for the balance of his career.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

? No. 21: First baseman to the rescue

The Braves made the biggest splash at the trade deadline this year when they landed first baseman Mark Teixeira, who only has 13 home runs so far this year but sports a .524 slugging percentage that is around his career average. Still, Teixeira will need to pick it up if he's going to approach his career-best .575 slugging percentage from 2005.

Eleven years ago, another slugging first baseman traded teams at the July 31 deadline, landing with the Yankees, who at the time held a 10 game lead over the Orioles but would need all the help they could get down the stretch. Ruben Sierra was the player he was traded for in this 1996 deal. I'm not specifying which team he came from (or Sierra went to), because it makes the question too easy. This first baseman hit a whole lot of bombs in the '90s, pacing the majors in home runs two straight years. He stuck around in a Yankees uniform for only one-and-a-half seasons, and was out of baseball altogether by 1999. Who was he?

Yesterday's Answer: Apparently I stumped all two of you: The answer is John Halama, who was 26 when the Mariners acquired him. At his best, he was a league-average hurler. After going 41-31 in four seasons for some pretty darn good Mariners teams, Halama bounced from Oakland to Tampa Bay to Boston to Washington to Baltimore, and hasn't made a big-league start since 2006.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

? No. 20: July 31st trade deadline blues

For as much hype as the trade deadline receives, teams rarely deal big-name players anymore in the month of July. That's especially true on July 31, the final day to deal before a player must clear waivers. For every Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs as part of a four-team deal (in 2004), there are twenty variations on the Shawon Dunston-for-Craig Paquette theme. The last truly jaw-dropping July 31st trade we had came in 1998, when the Mariners dealt Randy Johnson to the Astros in exchange for a batch of top prospects. Two of those prospects were destined to be All-Stars: Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen. The third, however, was not. He was the "player to be named later" in the deal, and spent four seasons in Seattle before bouncing around the rest of his career. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: I love my old copies of Who's Who in Baseball, the annual with the cover design that never changes. It's one of the few quick references available if I'm looking for minor league career stats for major league players. It tells me, and the internet verifies, that Sosa has hit 35 dingers in the minors, and that A-Rod has him beat by one, with 36. In 1994, Rodriguez hit a combined 21 in single- and double-A before getting a cup of coffee. He returned to triple-A the next year and hit another 15 before finally sticking with Seattle. Sosa, by contrast, spent part or all of four seasons in the minors before finally sticking with the White Sox in 1990. Griffey hit 27 minor league bombs in his two seasons in single- and double-A at ages 17 and 18. Thomas hit 23 in single- and double-A, and much later in his career hit another in 2005. Bonds hit just 20 — 13 in A-ball and then 7 the following year in triple-A.

Monday, July 30, 2007

? No. 19: Minor League bombs

Since we're just passing time until Barry breaks the Hammer's home-run record, here's a question loosely based around Bonds. Of the active major leaguers to have tallied 499 or more home runs — Bonds, Sosa, Griffey, Thomas, and Rodriguez — who has hit the most home runs in the minor leagues? (Again, no peeking or googling, just make an educated guess.)

Yesterday's Answer: Listmaker guessed correctly again. The '87 Twins were the only World Series winner to yield more runs over the regular season than it scored. The Twinkies allowed 806 and scored 786, which came as a surprise to me since they had a slugging lineup including Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Kirby Puckett, and Tom Brunansky. Yes, they had Les Straker as a No. 3 starter. But the team also boasted Frank Viola and Bert Blyleven — not a bad one-two punch — and a pair of 42-year-olds named Joe Niekro and Steve Carlton. And Jeff Reardon as a closer. Lots of impressive pitchers on that list, but most had off-years during the regular season.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

? No. 18: Lucky World Series winner?

Today's question comes via Baseball Musings. Only one team since the inception of the modern World Series in 1903 won the world championship despite being outscored during the regular season. Was it the ...

A) 1985 Royals
B) 1987 Twins
C) 2003 Marlins
D) 2006 Cardinals

Yesterday's Answer: Jim Kaat. Oddly enough, the day his streak ended, he struck out two batters in one inning.

Friday, July 27, 2007

? No. 17: Can't buy a K

Over the last 50 years, pitcher Jack Spring holds the record for most consecutive appearances without a strikeout. He went 19 straight appearances without a K. The streak began in August of '63 while he was with the Angels, and ended in May of the following year. By that point he had been purchased by the Cubs. Over the streak, which lasted 15 innings, Spring posted a somewhat respectable 3.60 ERA.

But Spring doesn't hold the record for most consecutive innings pitched without a strikeout. That distinction belongs to a 3-time All-Star starter/reliever who also won an unbelievable 16 straight Gold Gloves and pitched well into his forties. This pitcher threw 22.1 innings without recording a strikeout in 1981 with the St. Louis Cardinals. His ERA over that span was a microscopic 1.21 and he saved 3 games. Who was he? Hint: His last name features the same vowel back-to-back.

Yesterday's Answer: C) 9. And they are...
Jaoquin Andujar: 1984-85
Roger Clemens: 1986-87; 1997-98
Tom Glavine: 1991-93
Randy Johnson: 2001-02
Greg Maddux: 1992-93
Jack McDowell: 1992-93
Roy Oswalt: 2004-05
Curt Schilling: 2001-02
Dave Stewart: 1987-1990

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

? No. 16: Winning 20 twice in a row

I have a love-hate relationship with Carlos Zambrano. The kid is a temperamental, cocky sonofabitch, traits that endear him to Cubs fans but cause just about everyone else in baseball to detest him. (Hating him is made easier by the fact that he is so good and typically puts the Cubs in a position to win.) But I still find myself enjoying the games he starts against my team (the Redbirds), because he's such a competitor. He reminds me of Joaquin Andujar in many ways. So I'll use Andujar as the basis of today's question. The feisty Dominican won 20 games in back-to-back seasons in 1984 and '85 for the Cardinals. Since the first season of his feat, 1984, how many pitchers have matched or bettered his accomplishment with back-to-back (or more) seasons with 20 wins? Is the answer:

A) 5
B) 7
C) 9
D) 11

Yesterday's Answer: It's not Willie Wilson or 24. But both are very good guesses. Wilson hit far more triples than anyone else in the 1980s, and he did peak with 21 three-baggers in 1985. And it just so happens that 21 is the correct answer. But, Wilson wasn't 30 years or older at the start of that season. He was 29. The correct answer is Lance Johnson, who hit 21 in '96 at the age of 32. Johnson posted a career-best .479 slugging percentage that season, thanks in part to also hitting 31 doubles, by far his personal best.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

? No. 15: Three-bagging 30 year-olds

Do you know who holds the record for most triples in a career? I was surprised to see the answer: Wahoo Sam Crawford, who played from 1899 to 1917 for the Reds and Tigers, collected 309 three-baggers. I already knew that during the "dead ball" era players hit a lot more triples, in part due to the distance from home plate to the fences and in part due to other irregularities in the shape and seating of ballparks. But I expected the answer to be Ty Cobb, simply because of the number of hits the man collected. Cobb is actually second, with 295.

If we look at the post-dead ball era — and for the purposes of this conversation we'll define that as post 1919 (as Ruth hit 54 homers in 1920) — Kiki Cuyler has the record for most triples hit in a season with 26 (1925). My question is this: What is the highest tally of triples hit in a single season over the past 25 years, dating back to 1981, by a player 30 years or older? (Bonus if you can guess who holds that record.)

A) 18
B) 21
C) 24

Yesterday's Answer: You can argue that Jose actually has another brother, his "Bash Brother," Mark McGwire. The answer is Ozzie and Jose Canseco, of course.

Monday, July 23, 2007

? No. 14: Baseball brothers

The Yankees just called up Shelley Duncan, son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and brother of Cardinals left fielder Chris Duncan. Shelley hit his first major league dinger the other day, and got me thinking about other baseball brothers. There's the DiMaggio brothers — Joe, Dom, and the oft-forgotten Vince. The Alomar brothers, Sandy and Roberto. The Benes brothers, Andy and Alan. Livan and El Duque. Pedro and Ramon. The Three Alous. The Catching Molina Brothers. The Drews — Tim, Stephen, and J.D. The Forschs, the Bretts, the Torres, the Giambis, the Madduxes, the Perrys, the Deans, the Ripkens, the Mays, and the Niekros. And of course, who can forget Pascual, Carlos, and Melido Perez?

Name the following pair of twin brothers. One was a 15th round draft pick, and came up in 1985. He appeared in 4 of 5 All-Star games between 1986-90. The other was a 2nd round draft pick of the Yankees, but didn't debut in the big show until 1990 (with another team). He only stuck around for 65 major-league at-bats over three brief call-ups, ending with the Cardinals in 1993. Who are we?

Yesterday's Answer: The five franchises to have never had the honor of an MVP winner are Arizona, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos, and (drumroll) the New York Mets. That last one surprised me. The Mets have been around a long time, had some great teams, and a handful of great hitters (Strawberry and a pair of exceptional hitting catchers, Gary Carter and Mike Piazza, come to mind). Anyway, I'll go on the record now and say I bet Jose Reyes gets them their first MVP.

Friday, July 20, 2007

? No. 13: MVP tally

Today's question revolves around the MVP award. The Yankees, with 21, have claimed move MVP award winners than any other team. Second are the Cardinals with 18. That would seem to make sense, since those two franchises are Nos. 1-2 in terms of World Series rings. I want to focus on the other end of the spectrum. Since the MVP award debuted in the 1911 season (winners: the Cubs' Frank "Wildfire" Schulte and the Tigers' Ty "The Georgia Peach" Cobb), five franchises have had a lone winner. However, five other franchises have never had a winner. Three of those franchises are probably somewhat obvious, but the other two are not. Who are all five? (By the way, when I say "franchise," the Montreal Expos count as part of the Washington Nationals franchise, since the team moved from Montreal to Washington.)

Yesterday's Answer: Listmaker was right: Eric Young was but a distraction. He did walk 5 times in a game, but he's no Gold Glover. Bonds, who has walked five times in a game on three occasions, and Helton, who has done it once, are both Gold Glove winners. But the answer is Bagwell, who also won a Gold Glove in 1994.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

? No. 12: A whole lotta walking going on

Over the past 50 years, only two players have walked six times in a single game. One of them was first baseman/designated hitter Andre Thornton, who in early May of 1984 walked six times as his Indians beat the Orioles 9-7 in a 16-inning game. Two of those were intentional walks. Oddly enough, he only scored one run, and that was due to a throwing error.

The other occurrence was in August of 1999 in another 16-inning game. This player was also intentionally walked twice and only scored one run in the game, which his team won 6-4. The opposing team was the Marlins, whose hurlers walked a mind-boggling 17 batters in the game. Starter Ryan Dempster walked 7 batters himself in 3-plus innings. Who was this Gold Glove-winning player?

A) Todd Helton
B) Jeff Bagwell
C) Barry Bonds
D) Eric Young

Yesterday's Answer: Craig Biggio. The dude could flat out hit for a catcher turned second baseman. He's past his prime now and will likely retire at the end of the year now that he's reached 3,000 hits. But in his late 20s and early 30s he was a premier second bagger — I'd even say nearly the equivalent of the vaunted Joe Morgan. He had speed, power, plate discipline — nearly the whole shebang.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

? No. 11: Grace ain't that amazing

If you didn't already know this, you'll have it beaten into your head in a couple years when Mark Grace is eligible for the Hall of Fame: No hitter in the decade of the 1990s collected more hits than Gracie's 1,754. (Raffy Palmeiro is second, just seven hits away.) Grace also paces the majors in doubles for that time span with 364. Some (Cubs) fans will argue 'til they're blue in the face that he was the best pure hitter of the decade. His average over that time span was .310, a very respectable number no doubt but still only one percentage point higher than Rusty Greer and two points lower than Jason Kendall. Average doesn't tell the whole story of course. But anyway you cut it, there were several hitters better than old Grace in the '90s. Let's see how many I can name off the top of my head: Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, Robbie Alomar, Jeff Bagwell, Bernie Williams, Barry Bonds, Jim Thome, Barry Larkin, Will Clark, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones, Albert Belle, Juan Gonzalez, Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff, the aforementioned Palmeiro. Do you want me to go on?

Well, there's one more player I'd definitely add to that list, and he's the subject of this trivia question. This player is third on the list of hits for the decade of the '90s, second in doubles, twelfth in walks, eighth in steals, third in times on base, and second in runs. He went to the playoffs three times in the decade, but his team never advanced past the first round. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: As of the end of Saturday's games, the four major leaguers on pace to qualify for the batting crown with a slugging percentage over .600 were Prince Fielder, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Pena (no, really), and Chipper Jones. Leading the majors in OPS was our old standby, Barry Bonds, despite a very un-Bonds like slugging percentage in the mid-.500s. (The on-base percentage near .500 sure helps.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

? No. 10: '07 sluggers

A question about this baseball season. So far, we've seen some breakout seasons from young sluggers with something to prove, guys like Hunter Pence and Curtis Granderson. In the majors — as of end of games Saturday — only four players are slugging over .600 who have played in at least 55 games (and are on track to qualify for the batting crown). Two of them are oldies, and two of them are young'uns. You win if you can guess three of the four. (No peaking at a stats sheet!)

Bonus question: None of those four guys are currently pacing the majors in OPS. Who is?

Yesterday's Answer: Giants slugger Willie McCovey went by Stretch, Mac, and Big Mac. No responses on this question. Hmmm, I thought the All-Star festivities and all the talk of his cove might have him on the tip of your tongue.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

? No. 9: Nicknames & hicknames

We're getting away from stats for today's question. Nicknames used to be commonplace in baseball, especially for the league's best players. Today, we mostly have boring variations on abbreviations – I-Rod, A-Rod, K-Rod. Blah. That's a far cry from Cool Papa, Wahoo Sam, Spaceman, Penguin, and Pudge. Did you know that Jim Hunter got his nickname – Catfish – from his team's owner, Charlie Finley, who thought his star player needed a "hickname" to add to his appeal?

The most common nickname in baseball is Lefty, to no real surprise. That's too easy for a question. Try this one: Prior to Mark McGwire, baseball had another Big Mac, who also went by Stretch. He's in the Hall of Fame. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: Two responses, and both were 2/3 of the way there. The other three players to land in the Top 5 in steals from 1980-89 are: 1) Tim Raines; 2) Willie Wilson; and 3) Ozzie Smith. Here's the top 11 for the helluva it:

1) Rickey Henderson, 838
2) Tim Raines, 583
3) Vince Coleman, 472
4) Willie Wilson, 451
5) Ozzie Smith, 364
6) Steve Sax, 333 (that was a good guess!)
7) Lonnie Smith, 331
8) Brett Butler, 307
9) Mookie Wilson, 293
10) Dave Collins, 284
11) Paul Molitor, 281

Friday, July 13, 2007

? No. 8: Relentlessly running in the '80s

Baseball Reference has this new research tool called the play index that is so cool. You can fool around with it for free, but you gotta pay to get the complete results of your search. (Just $29/year, a steal if you're a total stats nerd like me.) Today's question — like yesterday's — comes via this search engine.

If you grew up in the '80s like me, then you undoubtedly fell in love with the stolen base. It's not so much that there were more great basestealers from that era, but the stolen base as a weapon was certainly more valued. Or maybe that's just my own version of revisionist history, having rooted for the Runnin' Redbirds. At any rate, the benchmark for a stellar season on the basepaths nowadays is more or less 60 steals. That's enough to put you in the running for league honors. But for a bulk of the '80s — precisely from the 1980 season through the 1989 season — 60 steals would leave you a distant third. We all remember Rickey Henderson, who just got the nod as the Mets new hitting coach. And who can forget the other guy to top 100 swipes in a season that decade, Vince Coleman? But can you name the other three basestealers who round out the Top 5 in total steals from 1980 to 1989?

Here's a clue for each:
1) I played the entire decade of the '80s for a team that's now defunct.
2) I led the majors in triples hit during the '80s, and legged out 21 in 1985 alone. I also won a World Series ring in the '80s.
3) I'm the only Hall of Famer of the five.

Yesterday's Answer: (D) Believe it or not, Salomon Torres is the Ironman of baseball relievers. He's the only pitcher since 2000 to appear on the list of 90+ innings pitched three times. From 2004-06, he threw 92, 94, and 93 innings for the Pirates in a total of 256 games.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

? No. 7: The Ironman of recent relievers

Another question with roots in Tom Adelman's The Long Ball. During the 1974 season, reliever Mike Marshall did something unheard of: He threw 208 innings — all in relief. The poor guy appeared in 106 games for Walter Alston's Dodgers — at one point in the season appearing in 13 successive games — and posted a 15-12 record and a 2.42 ERA. And that was coming off a season with the Expos in which he threw 179 innings of relief. It's no surprise that Marshall spent a good deal of the '75 season on the DL after being worked so heavily. Those innings pitched marks are by far the highest of any reliever of the past 40 years. Matter of fact, there are only five other relievers to have topped 150 innings pitched in that span, and no one has done it since Mark Eichhorn threw 157 innings for the Blue Jays in 1986.

I wanted to know who the modern day equivalent of Mike Marshall was. Here's what I found out: Since 2000, there have been only eight occurrences of relievers throwing 100 or more innings. I limited my search to pitchers who relieved in 95% of their appearances, meaning they were used almost exclusively from the pen. Using those parameters but lowering the innings pitched bar from 100 to 90 broadens the list to 39 occurrences. My question for you is which pitcher appears on that latter list the most times?

A) Scott Sullivan
B) Guillermo Mota
C) Brad Lidge
D) Salomon Torres

Yesterday's Answer: Xavier Nady. Leave it to the Mets fans to nail this one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

? No. 6: Skipping the minors entirely

The list of major league players who skipped the minors entirely is short. There are plenty of Hall of Famers, from Koufax and Killebrew to Sisler and Yount. There are a few highly touted prep stars who went on to mediocre careers, like Pete Incaviglia, Moe Drabowsky, and Darren Dreifort. Plus a few who went on to relatively distinguished careers, like Bob Horner and John Olerud. There's one notable black player who went straight from the Negro Leagues to the big leagues — Ernie Banks. And there's even a one-handed pitcher — Jim Abbott.

But today's trivia question doesn't involve any of them. I want to know who the most recent player is to have skipped the minors. Here's a few clues. He was originally drafted in 1997 by the Cardinals in the fourth round, but opted to attend the University of California instead. After slugging .729 in college, he was taken in the second round of the 2000 draft by the Padres. Here's where the loophole comes into play: This player signed a major league contract, and played one game in the majors — in which he singled and scored a run in his lone plate appearance — before going to the minors for a few seasons. (So, he's only on this list due to a technicality.) In the minors, he was the Padres 2001 minor league player of the year. Since his rookie campaign in 2003, he's played for the Padres, Mets, and Pirates, primarily manning the outfield. He currently has 56 career home runs. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: A two-time All-Star with a career postseason ERA of 2.47, two World Series rings, 287 career wins, and 3,701 career strikeouts — Bert Blyleven. Bert allowed 96 home runs combined during the 1986 and '87 seasons. Granted that was in over 538 innings pitched and toward the end of his career. Throughout the first two-thirds of his career, he never allowed more than 24 homers in a season. The Metrodome was not so kind to him.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

? No. 5: Trade happy

All this talk of the White Sox trading Mark Buehrle has my interest peaked, mostly because the Cardinals are one of the discussed suitors. That's been long rumored, as Buehrle has openly discussed his desire to play in St. Louis, having grown up a Cardinals fan. A big part of me wants him; he's having a very solid year and would give me one reason to get excited to watch the Redbirds once every five games. (I need all the reasons I can get. This team is hard to watch.) But a bigger part of me wants him to go to a big-spending team like the Red Sox, eat up 50-some million dollars of their payroll over the next four years, and trend downward. In that scenario, the Cardinals become sellers — not buyers — this July and actually attempt to lure some cheap, decent talent to the Lou. Anyone remember the last veteran, "proven winner" lefty the Cards traded for? Mark Mulder. And who did we give up to get him? Dan Haren. Ouch.

Which brings me to today's question. Name this starting pitcher: He was first traded in June of 1976 from the Twins to the Rangers. The following winter the Rangers dealt him in a four-team trade that has to be one of the most massive deals in MLB history — at least from a personnel standpoint. In a ten-person trade, the Rangers shipped him to the Pirates. In 1980 he was then traded to the Indians, who traded him five seasons later back to the Twins to complete the circle. Finally, in 1988, he was traded to the Angles. Final clue: he's given up more home runs, 50, in a single season than any other starter.

Yesterday's Answer: The seven active players who have hit more home runs than Gary Sheffield's 475 are Barry Bonds (751), Sammy Sosa (602), Ken Griffey Jr. (586), Frank Thomas (501), Alex Rodriguez (493), Manny Ramirez (481), and the most difficult one to figure out, Jim Thome (485). Of those guys, the only player in addition to Sheffield to have never won a home run crown is Thomas.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

? No. 4: Why did I ever dump Sheffield?

I drafted Gary Sheffield in the 8th round of my mixed league fantasy draft this year with pick No. 78. At that stage in the draft his .900+ OPS was a steal, even for an old fart. But he got off to a horrendous start in Tiger blue, hitting .200 in April with just five extra base hits. Thinking his old age had finally caught up to him, I dropped him. For Chris Duncan. Whom I also dropped. For Josh Hamilton. Who hit well for me for a while. But then I dropped him a few weeks ago. For Brad Hawpe. Anyway, you get the picture. Turns out, I dropped Sheffield a bit too soon, because now my arch-rival owns him, and he's hit 18 home runs since the day I dropped him. It also turns out that home runs is the one stat my first-place team is particularly weak in (Derrek Lee — you hear me talking to you?).

So Gary "Yeah, I've got an opinion about that and I'd love to share it with you" Sheffield is the subject of today's trivia question. Gary has played for seven teams — (in order) Milwaukee, San Diego, Florida, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, and Detroit — in his 20 seasons in the bigs. If he's got another season in him (and it sure looks like he does), he'll likely hit his 500th home run, as he's only 25 away right now. That's impressive considering he's never won a home run crown. Those 475 career dingers places him eighth on the active career list. My question for you is: Name the seven active sluggers who are ahead of him.

Yesterday's Answer: (C) Mike Schmidt. Old Iron Mike hit 38 bombs in 1975 to pace the majors, two ahead of Mr. October and Kingman. Schmidt was somewhat overshadowed by his younger teammate, Greg "The Bull" Luzinski, who hit 34 homers, drove in 120, and hit .300 — besting Schmidt in the latter two by a lot. Of course, Luzinski and Schmidt also combined to strike out 331 times that year. Ouch.

Friday, July 6, 2007

? No. 3: HRs in '75

I'm currently reading Tom Adelman's "The Long Ball," which is all about the 1975 baseball season. I'm only 75 pages in, but I've already learned so much about the characters of that baseball season, especially a couple of Reds — Sparky Anderson and Johnny Bench. The book is written in past-present tense, which is somewhat unique for historical books. Adelman spends much of his time recreating off-field scenes that delve into the personality of the players. Good stuff.

Anyway, today's question is specific to that season. The Red Sox made the World Series that year and faced the Reds in what many consider to be one of the finest World Series battles. Interesting side note about the Sox (and it's true for the Big Red Machine, too): no one on the roster made it to 30 dingers. A young Jim Rice paced the club with 22 homers, followed by a young Fred Lynn with 21. While the team had five others who hit double-digit homers, each of those players hit between 10 and 15. The team total was a relatively low 134, but that was actually good for fourth in the AL. (The Reds, by comparison, totaled just 124, but ranked third in the NL.)

It was a down year for dingers across the board, with the Angels at the bottom of the MLB barrel with 55. My question for you is, Who led the majors in home runs that season, with 38. Again, no googling the answer. Your choices are:

A) Reggie Jackson, Oakland
B) Dave Kingman, NY Mets
C) Mike Schmidt, Philly
D) Bobby Bonds, NY Yankees
E) Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh

Yesterday's Answer: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which was first known as D.C. Stadium, opened in 1961 and housed the Washington Redskins. One year later, the expansion Washington Senators debuted at RFK, making it the first of the concrete donuts in the majors. Interesting side note: The original Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1960. The following year, baseball expanded due to intense anti-trust pressure and placed a new version of the Senators in D.C. For the team's first year, it played at old Griffith Stadium.

Those other concrete donuts opened as such: Shea ('64), Atlanta-Fulton County ('66), Busch ('66), Three Rivers ('70), Riverfront ('70), and Veterans ('71).

Thursday, July 5, 2007

? No. 2: Ballpark firsts

Concrete donuts have long been bemoaned by baseball fans, and by my count we'll soon have none left to gripe about, as the last of the circular cookie-cutter stadiums — or giant ashtrays — are due to be replaced following this season. Both RFK Stadium and Shea Stadium (which most consider to be part of this group as it shares many similarities, including being a multi-purpose stadium) will join Atlanta-Fulton County, Riverfront, Busch, Three Rivers, and Veterans in the history books as demolished artifacts of the artificial turf era. (For purposes of this question, we'll exclude the domed stadiums, like the Metrodome, the Astrodome, and the Kingdome.)

My question is, which of the above mentioned donuts was the first to host a baseball game? Here's a clue: The first baseball game at the stadium in question got off to a poor start for the home team, as their first three batters each struck out. The home team eventually righted itself, however, and went on to win 4-1. The lone run scored by the visitors was driven in by nine-time Gold Glove outfielder Al Kaline.

No Googling allowed. You should be able to deduce this one without much help. Post your answer in the comments.

Yesterday's answer:
(A) The umpires decided that since no player had ever stole first base before — at least to their knowledge — and there was no rule covering this unique play, that Schaefer should remain at first base and be credited with a stolen base after going from second back to first. After the dispute was settled, on the very next pitch, Schaefer broke for second again. This time the White Sox catcher threw to second, and Milan broke for home from third. Schaefer was safe at second, and Milan scored the game-winning run with a steal of home. Schaefer was credited with three stolen bases.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

? No. 1: Stealing first

Washington Nationals versus Chicago White Sox — July, 1911

With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, runners on first and third, and Washington at bat, "Flaky" Herman Schaefer decided to force the action. He broke for second hoping that the catcher would throw to second base, which would allow Clyde Milan, the runner on third, to steal home in a delayed steal. But the Sox catcher didn't bother with a throw to 2nd, allowing Schaefer to take the base. But Schaefer wasn't through being the aggressor. With runners on second and third now, Schaefer pushed the action yet again on the next pitch by trying to draw the catcher's throw yet again as he sprinted back toward first base. But the strategy failed again, as the catcher declined to throw to first.

So, what call did the umpire make?

A) Schaefer was credited with stealing first
B) Schaefer stayed at first; no stolen base was credited
C) The umpire scratched his head while thinking to himself, "I don't want that guy on my team"

Without googling the answer, post your guess in the comments section. The answer will be revealed in tomorrow's post.

This question comes from the fine folks at