Each day I receive trivia questions about baseball players. If I pay attention it can be quite an education. Going forward I'll reconfigure the end of the week answer sheet into a blog post, mostly for my own benefit.
Each week's questions contribute to an overall theme for the week, which you'll see at the bottom. Tough stuff. Every now and then I'll know and answer, but usually not.
PETE ALEXANDER [SABR Bio] still holds the record for most complete-game shutouts thrown in a single season - 16 in 1916. He once started a season at age 36 with a record 52 innings without walking a batter. His modern era rookie record of 28 pitching wins is probably not in danger any time soon - 28 W in 1911, leading the majors. (Joe McGinnity had won 28 G in each of his first two seasons in 1899 & 1900, leading the majors both times.)
FRED CLARKE [SABR Bio] was the youngest manager to reach 1,000 career victories - 1,000th win in 1908 @ his age 35. Was joined by Joe Torre as the only major leaguers with 2,000 hits as players and 1,500 wins as managers - Clarke = 2,678 H + 1,602 W as mgr (Torre = 2,342 H + 2,326 W as mgr). His parents took him by covered wagon to settle in Winfield, KS, then later to Des Moines, Iowa. He grew up and attended school in the Des Moines area. He took part in the Cherokee Strip, Oklahoma land dash on 16-Sep-1893, but was unable to stake a suitable claim. Had he succeeded in acquiring land in Oklahoma, it is likely he would not have pursued his baseball career.
MONTE IRVIN [SABR Bio] the centenary of the birth of the Hall of Fame Alabamian was last month. Born 25-Feb-1919. The hamlet he was born in had circa 300 people living there at that time. It had barely 100 in the 2010 census. His nickname is felonious: "Mr. Murder." Roy Campanella said he, "…was the best all-round player I have ever seen." Campy further explained, "As great as he was in 1951, he was twice that good 10 years earlier in the Negro Leagues."
JOE CARTER [SABR Bio] is the only player to played more than 500 consecutive games while competing for more than two teams - 507 G for CLE 1998-99 + SDP 1990 + TOR 1991-92. He was the first over-all position player taking the year he was drafted - chosen #2 out of Wichita State University (behind only pitcher Mike Moore) in the 1981 MLB June Amateur Draft. int: He made his major league debut as a pinch-runner for Ron Cey - debut 30-Jul-1983 w/CHI. He had five hits in a game three times one season - 5H X 3 = 10-Jun-; 29-Aug-; & 06-Sep-1986.
STEVE O'NEILL [SABR Bio] after becoming the third batter hit by a pitch in the inning, threw the ball back at the Yankees pitcher. In the 8th inning of a game 25-Aug-1922, Yankee starter Bob Shawkey hit Cleveland's Larry Gardner. Harry Harper replaced him and plunked Joe Sewell. O'Neill was the 3rd HBP in the inning and decided to reciprocate. SABR calls him "…arguably the best all-around backstop in the game" during his career. He managed an American League team to their second World Series title - Detroit Tigers, 1945.WS. The had first won in 1935, also over the Cubs. Three of his brothers made it to the majors, but their careers combined didn't add up to half of his. Brothers Jack, Jim & Mike played in 5, 2 & 3 seasons respectively, but their career WARs came to -0.1; 0.9; & 4.1 compared to his 24.2.
WILLIE HORTON [SABR Bio] the former Blue Jay's apparent 300th career home run bounced off a speaker of his team's ballpark, resulting instead in a single. Speaker that was hit was in the Kingdome in Seattle 05-Jun-1979. Played for TOR in 1978. A statue was erected in his honor, however at a different major league park. Statue is in Detroit at Comerica Park. He hit 26 more home runs with that team. His first round-tripper in the majors was at age 20 off a future Hall of Famer. Career HRs = 325, the final 137 w/SEA. HR #1 14-Sep-1963 off Robin Roberts.
MARQUIS GRISSOM the former Atlanta Brave was the first player to end a League Championship Series game by stealing home. Stole home in the 12th inning of G 3, 1997 ALCS. He was voted MVP of that ALCS. No major leaguer had more at-bats from 1991 through 2000. Ten years of AB = 5,836, leading the NL in 1992. He won Gold Gloves for teams in two different countries. GG for MON 1993-94 (Led the team in WAR both seasons.) then for ATL in 1995-96 (Finished behind only HOFers in WAR in 1996).
FRANCIS XAVIER "Big Jeff" PFEFFER [SABR Bio] struck out 15 in a classic college game where the opposing (losing) pitcher was future Cubs star was Ed Reulbach. College G: Reulbach's Notre Dame vs Pfeffer's Illinois ended 1-0. In the majors, he once suffered a 20-loss season, but not until three other teammates had hit that mark in the same year. On the 1906 rotation of the NL's Boston Beaneaters (now Braves), all 4 starters lost at least 20: Irv Young 15-25; Vive Lindaman 12-23; Gus Dorner 8‑25; and Pfeffer 13-22. They accounted for 95 of the team's 102 losses. He played on a college football team that had six future major league baseball players on the roster. Teammates on the University of Illinois football team included Carl Lundgren (halfback), Jake Stahl (tackle), Fred Beebe (punter/end), Claude Rothgeb (fullback), Jim Cook (end), and Ray Demmitt (guard).