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Trivia questions 1 (With Answers)

A little holiday fun … here are some baseball trivia questions:

1. Only four players have hit 50-plus home runs for teams that won the World Series. Can you name the four?

Answer: This is one of my favorite trivia questions.

The obvious answer is Babe Ruth, who hit 50 home runs in 1927 and 1928. Fun fact: Lou Gehrig never hit 50 homers in a season, though he did hit 49 twice. Henry Aaron also never hit 50 homers in a season.

The second — Mickey Mantle. He also did it twice, in 1956 and 1961. Mantle you might know, won the Triple Crown in 1956, but he is not the only Triple Crown winner on a championship team. Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown in 1966 (with 49 homers) and his Orioles won the championship.

The third — Roger Maris. He obviously hit 61 homers in 1961. He continues to hold the record for home runs for a World Series champ.

The fourth — Luis Gonzalez. That’s the trick one, of course. Gonzalez’s 57 home runs in 2001 remains one of the oddest seasons in baseball history.

2. Only one pitcher has hit more than five home runs in a season when he also won the Cy Young Award. Name that pitcher! (Hint: He actually hit six home runs).

Answer: Ferguson Jenkins in 1971. He hit six home runs. Jenkins was not a good hitter … but he was for some reason in 1971. He was a .154 hitter with seven home runs in 784 plate at-bats for the rest of his career. But in 1971, he hit .243, slugged .478 and hit those seven homers.

3. Two pitchers in baseball history had more 20 wins and 10 balks in the same season. Can you name them? (Hint, they are are both fairly prominent in the game today, one as an announcer and the other as a front office man).

Answer: David Cone and Dave Stewart both pulled off the trick in 1988. I guess my hint could have been that that they had the same first name. Cone won 20 and balked 10. But Stewart outdid him, winning 21 and balking 16. Those 16 balks are also a modern record, which at first seems strange — you might expect that record to fall to someone with a serious balk move like Steve Carlton. But my guess is that Stewart was so big and lanky that his balks were OBVIOUS and would get called every time.

Here’s one for you: Of the 13 pitchers who had 10-plus balks in a season, 11 of them pitched in 1988. That was the year when, for some reason, MLB decided to really crack down on balks. I can’t remember the reason but I’m sure it was silly.

4. Over the last 50 years, only one non-pitcher has won an MVP award with five or fewer home runs. Who was it?

Answer: Pete Rose in 1973. Rose hit .338 with 230 hits, which is why he won the award. But even advanced statistics show that he was excellent that season, with a .401 on-base percentage and an 8.2 Baseball Reference WAR. Joe Morgan was better, but Joe Morgan was always better.

5. In the last 50 years, which player had the most errors in a season? Hint: He’s in the Hall of Fame.

Answer: Robin Yount in his first full season in 1975 had 44 errors at shortstop.

Since the turn of the century, nobody has approached 40 errors. I think part of this is improved defense and improved equipment. I wonder if part of it is also a change in the way the game is scored. Errors, it seems, are harder to come by, especially in home parks. But that just might be an observation.

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41 Responses to Trivia questions 1 (With Answers)

  1. Kevin says:

    1: ?
    2: ?
    3: ?
    4: David Eckstein, 2002-2007
    5: ?

  2. Chris says:

    Maris, Mantle, and Ruth are 3 of the 4.

  3. AndyL says:

    My first thought, after Ruth and Mantle, was George Foster but he hit 50 the year after the Big Red Machine’s 2 championships.

  4. s1rweeze says:

    5. Harmon Killebrew?

  5. Brian Rostron says:

    Most suspicious 50 home run season – Andruw Jones?

    • David Gardner says:

      I’d go with Brady Anderson over Andruw, but both seasons are suspicious…

      • Well, that was pretty obnoxious both of you.

        In the 10 year period from 1998, when Andruw was 21, until 2007, when he was 30, he hit: 31, 26, 36, 34, 35, 36, 29, *51*, 41, and 26 home runs. Playing part-time from 2009-2012 he hit 17, 19, 13, and 14 home runs. His CAREER isolated slugging percentage is higher than Mel Ott’s, Stan Musial’s, Reggie Jackson’s, and his teammate Chipper Jones’s.

        He wasn’t a great hitter because he never quite commanded the strikezone, but Andruw could (and did) always hit home runs. 51 is a bit of an outlier in the sense that he never hit that many in any other year, but we’re talking about a guy with 434 home runs…

        …and you two seem like you like to mouth off with out knowing what you’re talking about.

        • Bill Caffrey says:

          I have no idea whether Andruw Jones was or wasn’t clean but I’ve certainly never thought of his 51-HR season as suspicious. It’s just the high peak of a big-time HR hitter. And it came in his late 20s, which is right when you’d expect a power peak. It’s not remotely similar to Brady Anderson hitting 50 (at age 32) but only cracking 20 two other times (24 and 21). Anderson played for 15 seasons, hit 210 career HRs (meaning he hit nearly 25% of them in one season).

          • DB says:

            Andruw is kind of the wild card in GLU’s group of players. I do not know if he did anything or not but he hit 51 and 41 in back to back years (the year before he hit 29 and the year after he hit 26 (and never even hit 20 again after that season) while never hitting more than 36 in any other season) while playing what looked like to be a similar number of games (never less than 154 with the monster year going up to 160). This is the horrible thing about the PED era is that we cannot know. Is it just statistical noise or was it something else. Ott, Musial, Reggie and Chipper never hit 50 (Reggie (47) and Chipper (45) came close while Stan never even hit 40 (39) and Ott hit 42. Their biggest seasons are pretty close to their next biggest season Ott (4), Stan (3), Reggie (6) and Chipper (7). I agree with you that I never thought it suspicious but I can see why some people may have doubts.

  6. Joe says:

    3. Dave Stewart and Steve Stone.

    4. Nellie Fox.

    5. Mike Schmidt

  7. Brian Rostron says:

    Dave Stewart for #3. I’m shocked that Steve Carlton didn’t do it.

  8. 1 – Ruth, Maris, Mantle, Foster. 2- Don Newcombe. 3 – Kitty Kaat and Dave Stewart. 4 – Zoilo Versalles. 5 – Barry Larkin

  9. Scott says:

    #4 is Pete rose in 1973

  10. AndyL says:

    #4 — Pete Rose.

  11. ajgargano says:

    Number 1 is Ruth, Maris, Mantle and Luis Gonzalez. Thought maybe Ryan Howard had done it but he hit 48 the year Philly won.

  12. Bob in VA says:

    #5 Robin Yount

  13. dshorwich says:

    1. Luis Gonzalez (2001), Mickey Mantle (1956, 1961), Roger Maris (1961), Babe Ruth (1927, 1928)
    2. Ferguson Jenkins, 1971
    3. David Cone and Dave Stewart, both in 1988
    4. Pete Rose, 1973 (Nellie Fox and Dick Groat both won MVPs with 5 or fewer home runs, but more than 50 years ago).
    5. Robin Yount, 1975 (44 errors)

  14. AJ Taylor says:

    1. Ruth, 1927, Mantle, 1956&1961, Maris, 1961. The 4th I had to look up so I won’t post him.
    2. I’d have to guess either Don Newcombe, 1956 or Don Drysdale, 1962?
    3. Jim Kaat would have to be the broadcaster, right? Don’t know who the other is, but I’m shocked it’s not balk machine Steve Carlton.
    4. No idea.
    5. Robin Yount

  15. Jeff says:

    1. Maris, Mantle, Ruth, and ??? Ortiz?
    2. Drysdale
    3. Stewart and Stone
    4. Carew (based on Joe’s previous column)
    5. Schmidt

  16. 1988 was the year the umpires really emphasized calling balks, especially early in the season. A lot of pitchers set their career highs in balks that season.

  17. chlsmith says:

    1. Luis Gonzalez, Mantle, Ruth, Maris
    2. Jenkins
    3. David Cone and Dave Stewart
    4. PETE!!
    5. Robin Yount

  18. I’ve got one; the only pitcher (since 1950 anyway) to be intentionally walked by a position-player-as-pitcher while batting cleanup?

  19. tbliggins says:

    If my memory serves, the umps started enforcing the rule that when pitching from the stretch the pitcher had to come to a complete rest in 1988. They had been so accustomed to not stopping if they weren’t worried about the runner that they racked up historically high balk totals.

    • Gene says:

      I think the reason for the sudden interest in enforcing the “complete rest” in 1988 was because of the stink Whitey Herzog made about it during the 1987 World Series.

  20. Carl says:

    Hi E-migo Joe,

    1988 was the year that baseball enforced (w/o enforcing it in Spring Training) the rule that pitchers had to come to a complete stop from the stretch. Both Cone and Stewart were frequent victims as both never came to a stop and both were head-strong about it.

    To get 44 errors requires a lot of things which in 1975 for Robin Yount was the perfect storm:

    a) a team that had a regular DH so the poor fielder wasn’t able to be hidden @ DH. The Brewers had Hank Aaron as DH in 1975.
    b) a bad fielder on a team that wasn’t expected to compete – like the 1975 Brewers who had finished 5th in 1974 and would finish there in 1975 as well.
    c) a young player (Yount who was 19) who clearly wasn’t ready to field in the major leagues but before free agency, teams cared less about a player “learning on the job” as “the clock” wasn’t starting.
    d) a young middle-infielder (requires a lot of chances to make 44 errors) who can hit enough (Yount hit 267 w 52 RBIs) so that he doesn’t get sent down to the minors.

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