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.

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