By Glen Sparks
The old Milwaukee Brewers began play in the Western League in the late 19th century. In 1901, they joined the newly formed American League. The following season, the team moved to St. Louis and changed its name to the Browns, the original moniker of the National League’s St. Louis Cardinals.
More often than not, the Browns battled it out for last place in the A.L. “St Louis-first in booze, first in shoes, last in the American League.” The Browns made it to one World Series, in 1944, against the Cardinals. The Cards won the Streetcar Series in six games.
The Browns nearly moved to Los Angeles in 1942, but World War II intervened. They almost moved back to Milwaukee and finally left for Baltimore in 1954. Rechristened the Orioles, the franchise has won six pennants and World Series in 1966, 1970 and 1983.
Good luck with the quiz!
- Which Browns outfielder hit above .300 every season from 1919 through 1925, including a .355 mark in 1920 and .352 in 1921?
- Which Browns first baseman batted better than .400 twice and won the MVP award in 1922?
- Which Browns pitcher threw a no-hitter in his first start, May 6, 1953?
- Which Browns pitcher made his debut with the team at the age of 44 and compiled an 18-23 won-loss record over three seasons?
- Which Browns first baseman led his team with a .438 batting average in the 1944 World Series (minimum 10 at-bats)?
- Which Browns outfielder was the first player in MLB history to reach the 30-30 mark (30 homers, 30 steals) in one season?
- Which Browns shortstop, nicknamed “Little Slug,” led the A.L. in RBI (109) in 1944 and home runs (24) in 1945?
- Which Orioles outfielder, described by his former team as “an old 30,” won the MVP and Triple Crown for Baltimore in 1967?
- Which Orioles pitcher beat the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax 6-0 in Game 2 of the 1966 World Series at the age of 20?
- Which Orioles pitcher, with a 78-79 lifetime record, put together a Cy Young season in his next-to-last campaign?
- “Baby Doll” Jacobson. Supposedly, they called William Chester Jacobson “Baby Doll” because when he came up to bat once in the minors in 1912, the ballpark band was playing “Oh, You Beautiful Doll.” Jacobson promptly hit a home run and a lady fan shouted, “You must be that beautiful doll they were talking about.” He spent most of his career with the Browns and hit .311 over an 11-year career (.317 with the Browns.)
- George Sisler. He was the greatest Brownie of them all, no question. He played 12 of his 15 seasons in St. Louis, enjoying a .407 season in 1920 and .420 in 1922. Sisler also led the league in stolen bases three times. The Hall of Famer hit .340 lifetime.
- Alva Lee “Bobo” Holloman. Holloman only went 3-7 in the major leagues, all of that in 1953. He made four relief appearances and kept bugging Browns manager Marty Marion to give him a start. Marion finally gave in, and Holloman no-hit the Philadelphia A’s on a rainy afternoon in front of about 2,500 fans. He never came close to repeating that effort and was out of the majors for good by July 19, never to return.
- Satchel Paige. He established himself as a legend in the Negro leagues. Baseball policy kept him out of the big leagues for much of his career. Finally, in 1948, at the age of 41, Paige made it to the Majors with the Indians. He spent three years in St. Louis and made two All-Star teams.
- George McQuinn. Several fine players put on the Browns uniform through the years. McQuinn, from Virginia, was another standout. He hit .283 in eight seasons with St. Louis. McQuinn recorded seven hits in 16 at-bats against the Cardinals in the 1944 Series. He hit just .130 (3-for-29) for the Yankees in the 1947 Series against the Dodgers.
- Ken Williams. The lefty batter belted 196 home runs in his career and swiped 154 bases. He was never better than he was in 1922. Williams hit .332 and drove in a league-high 155 runs. He also led the league with 39 homers and stole 37 bases.
- Vern Stephens. The shortstop broke in with the Browns in 1941 and played his first seven seasons in St. Louis. He made three All-Star teams during that time. Later, with the Red Sox, he played on four more All-Star teams and led the league in RBI in 1949 (1959) and 1950 (144). Stephens slugged 247 homers in his career.
- Frank Robinson. A six-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson was dealt to the Orioles before the 1966 campaign. In his first year in Baltimore, he led the league in home runs (49), RBI (122) and batting average (.316). Robinson slammed 586 homers in his career and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
- Jim Palmer. The future Hall of Famer was in his second season in the majors and just 20 years, 11 months when he beat Koufax. The Orioles swept the Dodgers in the best-of-seven Series.
- Steve Stone. The stocky right-hander had a career losing record before going 25-7 and winning the 1980 Cy Young. He retired after a 4-7 campaign in 1981, with a lifetime record 107-93.
By Glen Sparks
They are the team of The Nation and The Monster. They play in historic Fenway Park, in the same place Cy Young and Babe Ruth played and Ted Williams played and David Ortiz, “Big Papi”, plays today. They were the Boston American first, from 1901-1907, and the Red Sox ever since. They have won 13 pennants and eight World Series titles, most recently in 2013. Good luck with the quiz.
- Which Boston Americans/Red Sox pitcher led the American League in wins from 1901-1903, going a combined 93-30?
- Which Boston Americans outfielder was the first player to hit two home runs in a modern World Series game?
- Which outfielder broke in with the Boston Americans and was nicknamed “The Grey Eagle”? He batted .345 over his long career, with 3,515 hits.
- Which Red Sox pitcher went an amazing 34-5 in 1912 with a 1.91 ERA and 258 strikeouts?
- Which Red Sox pitcher walked one batter on June 23, 1917?
- Which Red Sox pitcher retired 26 straight batters on June 23, 1917?
- Which Red Sox slugger belted 50 home runs in 1938, a team record that would stand for 68 years?
- Which Red Sox great hit just .254 in 1959, 63 points below his previous season-ending low?
- Which Red Sox outfielder played on four national championship teams at USC and led Boston to the 1975 World Series?
- Which Red Sox Hall of Famer is that team’s oldest living player, the oldest living Hall of Famer and the last man alive to play in the major leagues during the 1930s?
- Cy Young broke in with the Cleveland Spiders in 1900. He spent nine seasons by Lake Erie, went to St. Louis for two years and pitched eight years in Boston before going back to Cleveland. He won 511 games in his 22-year career.
- Patsy Dougherty only hit 17 regular-season home runs in a 10-year career. He did, however, belt two in Game 2 of the 1903 World Series. The Americans beat the Pittsburgh Alleganies 5 games to 3 in a best-of-nine affair.
- Tristram “Tris” Speaker, from Hubbard, Texas, spent nine seasons in Boston (1907-15) before going to Cleveland. He remains fifth on the all-time hits list and six on the all-time batting average list.
- Smoky” Joe Wood came up with Boston as a hard-throwing right-hander. He was never better than he was in 1912. Wood went 117-57 as a pitcher in his career, but switched to the outfield in 1918 after suffering an injury . “Smoky” Joe later served as head baseball coach at Yale University for several years.
- Babe Ruth, the greatest slugger of all-time, came up to big leagues as a hard-throwing left-hander. On June 23, 1917, in a road game against the Washington Senators, Ruth walked lead-off batter Ray Morgan on four pitches. The Babe proceeded to throw a punch at the umpire and was ejected.
- Ernie Shore entered the game in relief of Ruth. The runner on base was caught trying to steal, and Shore mowed down the rest of the Washington hitters in order. Shore compiled a 65-43 won-loss mark over seven seasons as a journeyman pitcher.
- Jimmie Foxx—“Double X”—slammed 534 home runs in his career, 222 of them during his seven years in Boston. He hit 50 in 1938, although he did not lead the league. (He was second. Hank Greenberg hit 58 for the Detroit Tigers.) He did finish first in RBI (175), batting average (.349), slugging percentage (.704) and several other categories. David Ortiz passed Foxx on the team’s single-season home run list in 2006 with 54.
- Ted Williams batted .344 lifetime. He won six batting titles in his career, including ones in 1957 and 1958 before slumping to .254 at the age of 40. Teddy Ballgame rebounded and hit .316 in 1960 before retiring.
- Fred Lynn played on the 1972 USC football team that won the national championship and the 1971-73 Trojan baseball teams that won titles. The Red Sox drafted Lynn in the second round of the 1973 draft. He hit .419 in 43 at-bats during a late-season call-up in 1974 and won the MVP in ’75. Lynn made nine All-Star teams, six with the Red Sox. He hit a memorable grand slam as an Angel in the 1983 game.
- Bobby Doerr, born April 7, 1918, in Los Angeles, is 97 years old and counting. A second baseman and life-long Red Sox player (1937-44, 46-51), batted .288 with 223 home runs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
By Glen Sparks
Baseball in Cleveland harkens to the days of the Forest Citys of the 1860s. This baffling quiz does not travel quite so far back in time. Major League baseball in the city by Lake Erie began in 1901 with the Cleveland Bluebirds (often shortened to “Blues). By 1902, the Bluebirds had unofficially become the Bronchos (or Broncos). From 1903-14, the team was the Naps. Since 1915, they have been the Indians.
Cleveland has won five American League pennants and two World Series titles, in 1920 and 1948.
- Which Indians second baseman won four batting titles in Cleveland after batting a career-high .426 for the 1901 Philadelphia A’s?
- Which Indians shortstop died after being hit in the head with a pitch in 1920?
- Which Indians center fielder compiled a .345 lifetime batting average for the Tribe and three other teams?
- Which Indians ace once struck out 17 batters at the tender age of 17?
- Which Indians shortstop won the 1948 MVP?
- Which Indians batter flew out deep, and memorably, to Willie Mays in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series?
- Which Indians fire-baller was hit in the eye by a Gil McDougald line drive on May 7, 1957?
- Which Indians pitcher struck out 19 batters in a 10-inning game in 1968?
- Which Indians player-manager belted a home run on April 8, 1975?
- Which Indians pitcher hurled a perfect game on May 15, 1981.
- Napoleon Lajoie, out of Woonsocket, R.I., hit .338 during a 21-year Hall of Fame career. The Philadelphia Phillies signed Lajoie in 1906. The Frenchmen jumped to the A.L.’s Philadelphia A’s in 1901 before being traded to Cleveland early in the 1902 campaign.
- Ray Chapman liked to crowd the plate. Carl Mays liked to throw inside. On Aug. 16, 1920, that was a fatal combination late in the afternoon at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan. Mays’ pitch nailed Chapman in the head. His skull fractured, Chapman died about 12 hours later.
- Tris Speaker, from Hubbard, Texas, recorded 3,514 hits in his great career, 1,965 of them with Cleveland. The Grey Eagle also played nine years for the Boston Red Sox and one season apiece for the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia A’s,
- Signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1936, teenager Bob Feller made his Major League debut on July 19th of that year. On Sept. 13, he fanned 17 Philadelphia A’s batters. The Heater from Van Meter (Iowa) retired with 2,581 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career.
- Lou Boudreau impressed baseball people with his talent and his intelligence. Before the 1942 season, Cleveland owner Alva Bradley promoted the 25-year-old shortstop to player-manager. Boudreau managed the team through the 1950 season and to a World Series title in 1948. The Hall of Famer batted .295 in his career, most of it spent with the Indians. He hit .355 in ’48 with a .453 on-base percentage.
- Vic Wertz batted .277 and made four All-Star teams during a 17-year career. He is most famous today, though, for a 450-foot drive that he hit in the 1954 World Series. New York Giants great Willie Mays tracked the ball down.
- Experts called Herb Score a left-handed Bob Feller, and it looked that way for a while. He struck out 245 batters in his rookie season of 1955 and followed that with 263 the following year. On May 7, 1957, a month shy of his 24th birthday, Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees ripped a line drive in the first inning that struck Score in the face. The damage to his eye eventually healed, but Score hurt his arm soon after the incident. He retired early in the 1962 season with a 55-46 won-loss record and 837 strikeouts in 858.1 innings.
- It was the year of the pitcher, 1968, and Luis Tiant was one of the best. The right-hander from Cuba went 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA (186 ERA+, 8.4 WAR) that season. He struck out 19 Minnesota Twins in a 1-0 victory on July 3.
- Frank Robinson enjoyed one of the greatest careers in baseball history. He batted .294 with 586 home runs and 1,812 RBI. The Indians hired him as the game’s first African-American manager in 1975. Robinson also served as the team’s designated hitter that year. In his first at-bat, he hit a home run off Doc Medich of the New York Yankees.
- No pitcher had thrown a perfect game since Catfish Hunter tossed one May 8, 1968, against the Minnesota Twins. Len Barker tossed his perfecto, the 10th in MLB history (eighth of the modern era), on May 15, 1981, against the Toronto Blue Jays.
By Glen Sparks
(This is another in my series of quizzes that each focus on a particular Major League team. Prepare to be baffled.)
One of the original American League ballclubs, the Chicago White Sox have been playing on the city’s south side since 1901. They first called South Side Park home, moved to Comiskey Park for 80 years and left for New Comiskey Park (now Cellular Park) in 1991. The Pale Hose have won six A.L. pennants and three World Series, most recently in 2000.
- Which White Sox player batted .375 in the 1919 World Series?
- Which White Sox player batted .226 in the 1919 World Series?
- Which White Sox pitcher led the league in wins twice in the 1920s and finished third in the A.L. MVP race in 1927?
- Which White Sox shortstop was known as Ol’ Aches and Pains?
- Which White Sox pitcher made seven All-Star teams from 1953 through 1961?
- Which White Sox player finished fourth in the MVP voting four times in his career, three times with the Sox?
- Which White Sox player led the 1959 pennant-winning “Go-Go” Sox in stolen bases?
- Which White Sox pitcher started both ends of a doubleheader in 1973?
- Which White Sox player caught his last game at the age of 45, two years after making his 11th All-Star team?
- Which White Sox infielder enjoyed an NCAA-record hitting streak while playing at Oklahoma State University?
- “Shoeless Joe” Jackson. The man from Pickens County, S.C., hit .356 in his great career. He broke in with the Philadelphia A’s and later played with the Cleveland Naps/Indians. He is most famous, or, most infamous, for his time with the White Sox, particularly in the 1919 World Series versus the Cincinnati Reds. Jackson was among the “eight men out,” kicked out of baseball for allegedly throwing the World Series. His role in the “Black Sox” scandal is still debated. What isn’t debated is that he led all players in batting average during the Series (minimum 10 at-bats).
- Eddie Collins. One of the great hitters in the early 20th century, Collins retired with a .333 batting average. Like Jackson, Collins spent part of his career with the A’s but was better known as a Chicago White Sox player. He was never accused of being one of the infamous Eight, but he did slump in the Series.
- Ted Lyons. Lyons is a curious case. He won 20 games three times and led the A.L. in wins twice. He also picked up MVP votes in nine different seasons and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1955. But … he also is the only pitcher in the Hall of Fame with more career walks (1,121) than strikeouts (1,073). He also endured a 20-36 two-year slump in the prime of his career.
- Luke Appling. The infielder from High Point, N.C., played his entire 20-year career with the White Sox. He was never better than in 1936 when he batted .388 and drove in 128 runs despite hitting just six home runs. Appling finished runner-up in the MVP race to the great Lou Gehrig that season. Late in his career, his body tired, Appling frequently complained about his ailments, leading to his nickname.
- Billy Pierce. He stood just 5-feet-10 and weighed only 160 pounds. The lefty from Detroit didn’t let his small frame get in the way of big league success. Pierce broke in with his hometown Tigers and ended his career with the San Francisco Giants. Even so, 186 of his 211 victories came with the White Sox. Pierce won 20 games twice and posted a 1.97 ERA in 1955.
- Minnie Minoso. The Cuban Comet played 17 seasons in the majors, a dozen of them with the Pale Hose. He finished fourth in the MVP race one time with the Cleveland Indians (1951) and three times with the White Sox (1953, ’54 and 1960). Minoso combined power, speed and batting average. He made seven All-Star teams. The Comet, who died in March, may still get into the Hall of Fame someday.
- Luis Aparicio. The so-called Go-Go Sox really didn’t steal a ton of bases. Jim Landis swiped 20, the only player other than Asparicio to finish in double figures. Luis stole 56 and was caught just 13 times. In his career, Aparicio stole 506 bags but was even more famous for his defense, winning nine Gold Gloves.
- Wilbur Wood. Will this ever happen again? It helped that Wood threw a low-stress knuckler. The native New Englander-sometimes called “Wilbah”-started both ends of a double-dip on July 20, 1973. He lost both games. Wood threw an amazing 359.1 innings in ’73, down from 376.2 in ’72. He won 24 games each year. What a workhorse.
- Carlton Fisk. Another New England guy, Fisk began his career with the Boston Red Sox. He famously encouraged his home run ball to stay fair in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fenway Park. Fisk, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, left Boston for Chicago in 1981. He went into the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox cap, but–Did you know?–Fisk played more seasons and more games with the White Sox.
- Robin Ventura. The infielder from Santa Maria, Calif., hit in 58 straight games for the Cowboys in 1987. Then, he went on to enjoy a solid career in the majors, most of it with the White Sox. He hit 294 home runs in 16 seasons and won six Gold Gloves. Ventura currently manages the White Sox.
The Philadelphia Phillies began play in 1883 at long-gone Recreation Park. The team took nearly 100 years to bring home a World Series, finally winning it all in 1980. Philadelphia’s 2008 club also won the Series.
The Phillies also have spent many seasons in the cellar or close to it. Fans grumbled through harsh decades in the 1920s, ’30s and more. Despite several runs of losing seasons, though, the Phillies have had many great players in their franchise history. Do you know “Which Phillie” is the answer to the questions below? Good luck!
- Which Phillies outfielder stole at least 100 bases in a season three times for the Phillies? Hint: His modern-day namesake also likes to run.
- Which Phillies pitcher led the league in wins and strikeouts in five of his seven full seasons with the team?
- Which Phillies slugger hit 24 home runs in 1915 to set what was then a modern-day record?
- Which Phillies outfielder led the N.L. in home runs twice, batting average twice and RBI three times?
- Which Phillies Hall of Famer drove in 1,305 runs during a career that lasted just 1,410 games?
- Which Phillies pitcher won at least 20 games in six straight seasons, 1950-55?
- Which beloved Phillies player once hit a foul ball into the stands that struck a fan and then hit another ball that struck the same fan while she was being carried off in a stretcher?
- Which Phillies pitcher later served two terms as a U.S. senator from Kentucky?
- Which Phillies reliever recorded the final six outs to end the 1980 World Series?
- Which Philadelphia Phillies great won the National League MVP in 1980, 1981 and 1987?
- “Sliding” Billy Hamilton. The speedster from Newark, N.J., the son of Irish immigrants, broke in with the Kansas City Cowboys of the American Association in 1888 and stole 111 bases. Sold to the Phillies in 1890, Hamilton led the league in steals five times and stole 912, 914 or 937 bases during his Hall of Fame career, depending on your source. The current Billy Hamilton in baseball, with the Cincinnati Reds, also is a frequent threat to go.
- Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander. Named in honor of the former president, of course, Alexander went by “Pete” most of the time. He broke in with the Phillies by winning 28 games in 1911 and collected 190 of his 373 career wins in Philadelphia. He won at least 30 games three times. His top strikeout total was 241 in 1915.
- “Cactus” Gavvy Cravath. Born in Poway, Calif., in 1881 (or nearby Escondido, depending on the source), Cravath supposedly was the first major leaguer to hail from the San Diego area. He led the league in homers six times, the first player to do so.
- Ed “Big Ed” Delahanty. Out of Cleveland, Ohio, the right-handed batter hit .400 three times and .346 lifetime. The Hall of Famer collected 2,596 in his career, spent mostly with the Phillies.
- Sam Thompson. The right-fielder from Danville, Ind., sported a nifty handlebar mustache and a dangerous bat. What a run producer. He drove in 166 runs in 127 games for the 1887 Detroit Wolverines (forerunner of the Tigers) and 147 in 102 games for the 1894 Phillies. He also scored more than 100 runs in both seasons
- Robin Roberts. The right-handed workhorse put together a series of big years for the Phillies. He logged lots of innings (six seasons of 300-plus innings and 97.1 in another) and won lots of game, including 28 in 1952. From 1951-54, he finished with WARs of 8.0, 8.3, 9.8 and 9.0, respectively. A Hall of Famer, he won 286 games in a 19-year career.
- Richie Ashburn. The centerfield only hit 29 home runs in his 15-year career. Even so, he collected 63.4 WAR points, in part due to his solid defense, in part due to his .396 on-base percentage (.308 batting average). And, yes, on Aug. 17, 1957, Ashburn konked Alice Roth twice with a batted ball. And, supposedly, they later became friends.
- Jim Bunning. The 6-foot-3-inch right-hander came up with the Tigers in 1955. He made five All-Star teams while in Detroit and was traded to Philadelphia before the 1964 season. Bunning was 32 years ago, but he wasn’t done. He made two more All-Star teams and probably should have been the N.L. Cy Young Award winner in 1966. Bunning won 20 games just once in his career, but the Hall of Famer won four times. A Kentucky congressman from 1987-99, the Republican went from there to the Senate.
- Frank “Tug” McGraw. The quirky relief pitcher from northern California appeared in 824 games in his career, only 39 as a starter. He split his career with the New York Mets and the Phillies. He pitched for the Miracle Mets of 1969, the “You Gotta Believe Mets” of 1973 and the first-ever World Series-winning Phillies squad.
- Mike Schmidt. Maybe the greatest third baseman of all-time and the greatest Phillie, Schmidt belted 548 home runs in his career. The first-ballot Hall of Famer led the NL in dingers eight times. He hit a career-high 48 in 1980. He compiled 106.5 WAR points in 19 seasons, 12 as an All-Star. Schmidt also won 10 Gold Gloves.
By Glen Sparks
This is something you may not know: The A’s have won nine World Series during their far-flung history. Only the New York Yankees (27) and St. Louis Cardinals (11) have won more. This club has a history of being really good or really bad. One of baseball’s great franchises in the early 1900s, the team sold off its good players and finished last every season from 1915 through 1921. The A’s revved it up again, won more than 100 games for three straight years (1929-31) and then quickly went back into the cellar. Never very good in Kansas City, the A’s built a dynasty in Oakland, turned into a laughingstock for a few years and still hope to win their first “Moneyball” title.
- Which Philadelphia A’s star played third base for the so-called “$100,000 infield”?
- Which pitcher for the Philadelphia A’s once played semi-pro ball for the Los Angeles Looloos?
- Which Philadelphia A’s star also played for the Chicago White Sox from 1915-26?
- Which Philadelphia A’s Hall of Famer grew up on the White Earth Indian Reservation near Brainerd, Minn.?
- Which Philadelphia A’s manager is first on the all-time list for wins and also all-time losses?
- Which ace for the Philadelphia A’s led the A.L. in wins four times, ERA five times apiece and in strikeouts seven times?
- Which Kansas City A’s player pitched three innings for the team in 1965 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971?
- Which Kansas City A’s outfielder later managed a major league team in K.C.?
- Which Oakland A’s pitcher threw the ninth perfect game in major league history?
- Which Oakland’s A’s player was the first to hit home runs in his first two World Series at-bats?
- Frank “Home Run” Baker. John “Stuffy” McInnis played first base, Eddie Collins played second and Jack Barry was at shortstop. Baker, a Hall of Famer, slugged 96 home runs in his career, a strong number during the deadball era. Baker led the American League in home runs four straight years, 1911-14. He went into the Hall of Fame in 1955.
- “Rube” Waddell. His life story was alternately funny and tragic. He was a heck of a pitcher, though. He threw for the Looloos one offseason. You can read more about the Hall of Famer in this post.
- Eddie Collins. Collins was both athletic and brainy. He graduated from Columbia University in New York City. Collins led the league in stolen bases four times and won the MVP in 1914. The Hall of Famer played 13 seasons with the A’s and 12 with the Chicago White Sox. He retired with a .333 career batting average and 3,315 career hits.
- Charles Albert “Chief” Bender. Bender was born in Crow Wing County, Minn., on May 5, 1884. They called him “Chief” because that’s what they usually called Native-American players back then. Bender compiled a 212-127 won-loss mark with the A’s. He the league in winning percentage three times and threw a no-hitter in 1910. Baseball writers elected him to the Hall of Fame in 1953.
- Cornelius McGillicuddy Sr. You probably know him as Connie Mack. He started managing the A’s in 1901 and didn’t retire until 1950 at the age of 87. You can do that sort of thing when you own the team. His clubs won five World Series, but none after 1930. His career won loss mark of 3,731-3,948 over 53 years (including three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates) made him a sub-.500 manager. His later teams were pretty bad. Mack never wore a uniform as skipper. He showed up for work in a suit and wearing a hat.
- Moses “Lefty” Grove. He may be the greatest left-hander in baseball history. Anyway, the argument is among Grove, Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson. Grove won the A.L. MVP in 1931, going 31-4 with a 2.06 ERA. Later, he led the league in ERA four times with the Boston Red Sox. He is, of course, a Hall of Famer.
- Leroy “Satchel” Paige. The legendary pitcher went 28-31 in the majors, and that’s embarrassing. He was a 42-year-old rookie in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians, and that’s also embarrassing. Paige, of course, earned his reputation in the Negro Leagues as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. The tall, slender right-hander out of Mobile, Ala., played in numerous exhibition games against some of the top big-league players. Joe DiMaggio supposedly said that Paige was the best pitcher he ever faced; Bob Feller said Paige was the best pitcher he ever saw. Satch, who warned everyone not to look back (“something might be gaining on you”), played for the Indians in 1948-49, the St. Louis Browns from 1951-53 and the A’s in ’65 for one game at the age of 58. Paige made it into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
- Whitey Herzog. Herzog played 12 seasons in the majors, mostly as an outfielder. He hit .268 in three seasons with the Kansas City A’s. Later, he gained a reputation as one of baseball’s top managers, first with the Texas Rangers and, later, more notably with the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. His teams won six division titles, three pennants and the 1982 World Series. The White Rat, as many affectionately called him, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010.
- Gene Tenace. The hard-hitting catcher broke in with the A’s in 1969. He hit home runs in his first two at-bats in Game 1 of the 1972 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Tenace also slammed homers in games four and five and was named Series MVP. In eight other postseason series, Tenace went homerless. 10. He hit 201 round-trippers in his career.
- Jim “Catfish” Hunter. The right-hander won 224 games in his career, relying on guile and off-speed stuff. On May 8, 1968, Hunter threw his perfecto against the Minnesota Twins. He tossed 107 pitches and struck out 11.
By Glen Sparks
The Chicago White Stockings played their first game in 1870 and took off two seasons following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The club played as the Colts from 1890-97 and the Orphans from 1898-1902. They have been the Cubs ever since. The franchise has won 16 pennants (10 since 1900) and two World Series. (None since 1908, but you knew that.) Wrigley Field opened in 1914 on the city’s north side. It’s worth a visit or two.
1. This pitcher retired in 1878 with a sparkling won-loss record of 252-65.
2. Before joining the Cubs, he enrolled at the University of California with the intention of becoming a dentist.
3. He shut out he Detroit Tigers in the clinching game of the 1908 World Series.
4. This catcher left the team in 1909 to become a professional pool player.
5. He gave up Babe Ruth’s supposed called-shot home run in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.
6. This player hit the home run that would go down in history as the Homer in the Gloamin’.
7. He played fast-pitch softball for a church league because his high school did not field a baseball team.
8. This pitcher went 7-19 in his three seasons with the team after being traded for one of baseball’s all-time greats?
9. Name the pitcher who was acquired, along with Adolfo Phillips and John Hernstein, for Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl?
10. He once held the National League record for consecutive games played.
1. Al Spalding. The right-hander packed plenty of wins into just six full seasons and a couple of weeks of another. Spalding actually accumulated 204 of his career victories with the Boston Red Stockings (forerunner of the Braves), then went 47-12 with the 1876 White Stockings. He retired early in the 1877 campaign but stayed on as manager and part-owner of the Cubs. He later co-founded the prominent sporting goods company that bears his name.
2. Frank Chance. Chance, a first baseman, did not play organized ball until he enrolled at Cal in the late 1890s. Cubs scouts saw him playing for an independent league team in California in 1897 and signed him to a deal. Chance became a Hall of Famer instead of a dentist. He was one/third of the Tinker to Evers to Chance combination in Chicago.
3. Orval Overall (one of my favorite names). The pitcher from Farmersville, Calif., (He attended Cal just like Chance) compiled a 108-71 life-time mark with Cincinnati and Chicago. He won a game in the 1907 World Series, helping the Cubs to their first title, and two in 1908 against Detroit, including the three-hit shutout in the clincher. The Cubs were the first team to win back-to-back Series.
4. Johnny Kling. One of the great defensive catchers, the Kansas City, Mo., native also played a great game of pool. During exhausting contract disputes, Kling usually threatened to retire from baseball and become a professional billiards player. He made good on his threat in 1909 but returned to the Cubs in 1910.
5. Charlie Root. This episode, played out at Wrigley Field on Oct. 1, 1932, remains a source of mystery and controversy. Ruth did point, grainy film attests to that. But was he pointing to the center-field bleachers, to Root, or to something else? We do know that the score was 4-4 and in the fifth inning of Game 3. Root had one strike against Ruth when the Babe pointed. Root hung a curveball on the next pitch. Ruth crushed the ball to the deepest part of centerfield. The legend of the “called shot” began shortly thereafter. Root was in the midway point of his career at that point. He won 201 games before retiring after the ’41 season. He broke in with the St. Louis Browns in 1923 but won all of his big league games as a Cub.
6. Gabby Hartnett. The Hall of Fame catcher out of Woonsocket, R.I., hit 236 home runs in his career. None is more famous than the one he blasted Sept. 28, 1938, as a player-manager with the Cubs. It was edging toward darkness at lightless Wrigley Field with the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates tied 5-5. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the count against him at 0-2, Harnett connected on a pitch from Mace Brown. The ball headed straight for the bleachers, a Homer in the Gloamin’. The expression was a take-off of a popular play, Roamin in the Gloamin. “Gloamin” is a region term for twilight.
7. Ernie Banks. The man who made “Let’s play two” lettered in football, basketball and track at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. Booker T. did not offer baseball. Instead, Banks played fast-pitch softball for a local church and baseball for a semipro team in Amarillo. Banks played his entire 19-year career with the Cubs and hit 512 home runs. He was a two-time National League MVP and first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1977.
8. Ernie Broglio. Brock for Broglio. You hear it all the time in St. Louis. “Brock for Broglio. HA! HA! HA! What a steal.” And, of course, Lou Brock did steal 888 of his 938 bases as a Cardinal, en route to the Hall of Fame. But, Broglio was a good pitcher in St. Louis. He went 21-9 in 1960 with a 2.74 ERA (league-leading 148 ERA+) and finished 18-8 in 1963 with a 2.99 ERA (119 ERA+). Brock, meanwhile, was still learning the game in Chicago. When the two were traded for one another (There were other players involved, but it was essentially indeed Brock for Broglio), on June 15, 1964, Brock learned fast, helping his new team to a pennant. Broglio, meanwhile, had a sore arm and couldn’t do much for the Cubs. He had gone 70-55 in St. Louis. … Apparently, he is a pretty good sport about the whole “Brock for Broglio. HA! HA! HA!” thing.
9. Ferguson Jenkins. The 6-foot-5 right-hander was originally a Philadelphia Phillie. He played on four other teams in his career, but won 167 of his 284 games with the Cubs. Jenkins put up six straight 20 win seasons in Chicago (1967 to 1972. He also won 25 games for the Texas Rangers in 1974.) In 1971, Fergie earned an N.L. Cy Young Award, going 24-13 with a 2.77 ERA (141 ERA+). He threw more than 300 innings five times in his career and finished in the top six in the Cy Young voting six times. The first person born in Canada to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he made it on the third ballot.
10. Billy Williams. Williams was a part of that Hall of Fame quartet that the Cubs had during much of the 1960s and early ‘70s. Along with Jenkins, Banks and Ron Santo, Williams kept the Cubs in the race but the team could never quite make it over the hump. Williams hit 426 career home runs (392 with the Cubs) and was a six-time All-Star. Twice he was runner-up in the MVP voting. He played in 1,117 straight games from 1962-71, a mark that stood until Steve Garvey broke it. Williams was elected to Cooperstown on the third ballot in 1991.