Featured question – full quiz follows.
Who is the only pitcher to lead both the NL and AL in shutouts – in the same season?
C.C Sabathia, who started the 2008 season with the AL Indians and went 6-8, with a 3.83 ERA and 2 shutouts (which tied with 7 others for the AL lead) and, in July, was traded to the NL Brewers and went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 3 shutouts (which tied teammate Ben Sheets for the NL lead.)
BaseBallRoundTable Trivia Top 99
After more than two decades – and more than 1,200 “Kwestions” – as the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Ball Park Tours Kwizmaster, your BaseballRoundTable.com editor is offering up a list of the BBRT’s 99 favorite baseball trivia questions (everybody does a top 100, and 99 formats better) – all tested by intrepid Ball Park Tours participants during long stints of baseball, beverages and bus rides. Some represent important milestones or events that committed baseball fans should be aware of, others document unique, quirky or off-the-wall facts that BBRT feels need to be shared. The questions can be old (question 6) or new (question 3). The answers can be ironic (question 2) or iconic (question 13) or even iconic and ironic (question 5). And, even if you find the questions overly challenging, take the time to read through the answers – you’ll find lots of additional tidbits there. And remember, baseball is just like life, only less trivial. Enjoy! (Note: Updated in January 2016.)
For the timid, click here to go right to the answers … you’ll find the link at the end of the Kwiz as well.
1. BBRT’s favorite kwestion. What was the score of the October 1, 1961 game in which Roger Maris hit his record-breaking 61st home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s 34-year-old single-season record? Hint: Think about why the kwizmaster might have thought the score was significant.
2. Let’s stay with 1961. How many intentional walks did Roger Maris get in his 61 home run season? Hint: He was usually hitting in front of Mickey Mantle.
3. Name the first player born in the 1990s to appear in a major league game. To make it easier, he tied a record (held by many) belting a homer in his first at bat and drove in a first-game record six runs. Hint: With this start, he’ll always be a “Star.”
4. Name the first AL expansion team to accomplish each of the following: Your hint is the year.
First Division Title (1976) ___________________________
First League Pennant (1980) ________________________
First World Series Champion (1985) __________________
5. Name the pitcher with the best won-lost percentage of any hurler with at least with 15 wins against the New York Yankees. Hint (but not a very good one), he was a 20-game winner twice, with a lifetime .671 winning percentage.
6. What was the original name of the NY Yankees franchise? Hint: A little birdie told me.
7. Early in the 2010 season, Albert Pujols broke the record for most home runs in the first ten seasons of a big league career. Who held the previous record (at 370 homers over the first ten years)? Hint: This Hall of Famer was featured on the cover of the first issue of Sports Illustrated.
8. Name the only player to hit a major league home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week. Hint: If he’d concentrated on one sport, this guy might have truly been “lights out.”
9. Sticking with multi-sport athletes, who is the only player to play on a championship team in both MLB and the NBA? Hint: Hurler / Forward.
10. On June 9, 1966, the Minnesota Twins became the first (and still only) American League team to hit five home runs in one inning – the 7th inning of a 9-4 home victory over the Kansas City A’s. In the National League, the feat of five home runs in an inning has been accomplished four times. This is one of those “ironic” rather than “iconic” questions. In each NL instance, the same team has been the victim. Name that team. Hint: This city gained some level of fame for a “dancing pig.”
11. Let’s stick with multiple home run games. Name the teams that hold the record for most home runs in a game in the NL and AL. Hint: One of these team has more often been victim than victor in record-setting slugfests (see question 10).
12. Question 12 focuses on batting and HR titles. Babe Ruth holds the record with 12 HR titles, while Ty Cobb earned 12 batting titles. Eight is the next most hallowed number, as second place on both lists (HR titles and batting titles) is held by players with eight of each (two tied with 8 batting titles.) Name these 8-time winners (all in da Hall.). Hint: 2 infielders and an outfielder – initials MS, HW, TG.
13. Everyone likes the long ball, so let’s include another home run question. In the decade of the 1960s (which I remember fondly) five players hit their 500th home run. All are now in the Hall of Fame. Name them. Hint: One also hit his 600th during the decade and three of them have last names that start with “M.”
14. Here’s one of those “off the wall” questions, but one baseball fans should be (or become) aware of. Juan Marichal was the starting pitcher in Major League Baseball’s only Hispanic-American All-Star Game, won by the National League by a 5-2 score. Your question – In what year was the game played? Hints: It was the last MLB game ever played at the Polo Grounds in New York and Vic Power (honored as MLB’s top Latin American player) was a Minnesota Twin at the time.
15. Back in 1966, Jim Kaat of the Minnesota Twins won 25 games and did not win the Cy Young Award. (From 1956-66 there was only one Cy Young winner each year, and Kaat lost out to NL 27-game winner Sandy Koufax.) But Kaat had no reason to complain. Can you name the NL pitcher who won 25 or more games three times and never won the Cy Young? Hint: He could also hit, just ask Johnny Roseboro.
16. Let’s stick with pitching honors. What major league pitcher racked up the most career wins without ever winning the Cy Young Award? Hint: This is an irony kwestion.
17. How the game has changed! This hurler, now in the Hall of Fame, averaged – yes, averaged – 301 inning pitched per year for the decade of the 1950s, completing 237 of 370 games started in that ten-year span. Can you name him? Hint: Not really a hint, but a hint of irony – made the 1956 NL All-Star team in a year in which he led the league in losses.
18. As noted, the answer to question 17 made the All-Star team in a year in which he led NL in losses. The AL calls and raises one MVP. Can you name the only player to win an MVP Award while leading the league in errors as a fielder and strikeouts as a hitter? Hint: Despite his 39 errors, this shortstop won his second Gold Glove in his MVP year.
19. A case of less is more? Perhaps. Name the player who holds the low- water mark for the lowest batting average ever by a league leader. Hint: A Triple Crown winner and member of the Hall of Fame.
20. 1968 was considered the year of the pitcher (Hey, maybe that can help with #19). What was the score of the All-Star Game that year? Here’s a bonus query, who got the game winning RBI? Hint: Again, it was the year of the pitcher.
21. 1968 may have been the year of the pitcher, but that year, this big bopper set a record with ten homers in one week … six games … only 20 at bats. Can you name him? Hint: Former All-American in basketball and baseball at Ohio State, he was one big guy.
22. Which pitcher holds the MLB record for the most strikeouts in a single game? Hint: A very weak hint, it’s not Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood or Randy Johnson, and I didn’t say a nine-inning game.
23. With only 23 perfect games in MLB history, 2012 proved a boon, with three perfect games in the regular season. Here’s a multiple kwestion. Who threw 2012’s “perfectos?” Finally, a bonus, what is the most popular score for a perfect game – with seven of the 23 ending with this tally? Hint: You rise to the level of the competition.
24. Retired numbers are pretty common these days, but they had to start somewhere. Whose number was the first ever retired by a MLB team? Hint: Some iron-y here.
25. Can you name the Hall of Famer who led the NL in home runs as a rookie … and went on to win the HR crown in each of his first seven seasons. Hint: Eddie Mathews broke the string of home run titles in 1953. Not much of a hint, but I did get to mention my favorite player – Mathews.
26. The 1969 TOPPS #10 baseball card (1968 Pitching Leaders) featured three NL hurlers who all went on to the Hall of Fame. One was Juan Marichal. Can you name the other two? Hint: The other two both played for the Harlem Globetrotters (like that’s gonna help).
27. Can you name the pitcher who holds the record for striking out ten consecutive batters in a game. Hint: Think Gotham.
28. Who is the only pitcher (and he was still active in 2015) to lead (tie) both the Al and NL in shutouts in the same season. Hint: I “initially” wasn’t going to include this one.
29. Name the Oakland A’s player who, in the late 1970s, scored 33 runs and stole 31 bases without ever making a plate appearance – and is the only player to have his positioned listed as “pinch runner” on his baseball card. Hint: Michigan State All-American sprinter with a president’s last name.
30. What to the following Hall of Famers have in common? Sparky Anderson. Tom Seaver. Babe Ruth. Rube Waddell. Hint: Ken Griffey, Jr. will join this “club” with his 2016 HOF induction.
31. Another Hall of Fame combo. On April 30, 1946, Bob Feller no-hit the Yankees (winning 1-0) … the first time the Yankees had been no-hit at Yankee Stadium. Can you name future Hall of Famer who started in centerfield in that game? Hint: As the Brits say, “Bob’s your uncle!”
32. Name the only player ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams. Hint: You’ll get some career perspective knowing he also pinch-hit for Carl Yastrzemski and hit his first home run pinch hitting for Roger Maris. Oh yeah, and he caught four touchdown passes for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1955 NFL season.
33. Can you name the only two players to hit five homers in a double header? Hint and a bit of irony: An iconic National Leaguer accomplished the feat in 1954 and when he did, a future major leaguer (who, in 1972, would become the second National Leaguer to achieve the feat) was in the ballpark (at 8-years-old) as a fan.
34. Name the only pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters. Hint: He was no Johnny-come-lately.
35. Easy one here. Name the five original HOF electees. Hint: 1 infielder; 1.5 outfielders; 2.5 pitchers.
36. A rarity, only twice in ML history has a player driven in 12 runs in a single game … and both times it was a St. Louis Cardinal. I’ll give you the first one, “Sunny Jim” Bottomley, who drove in 12 runs with six hits (2 HR, 1 2B, 3 singles) as the Cardinals bested the Brooklyn Robins (later Dodgers) at Ebbetts Field on September 16, 1925. Name the other 12-RBI Cardinal. Hint: The year was 1993 and this player also tied a major league record with 4 home runs in the game.
37. Let’s go iconic again. Rank the iconic power combinations below in terms of holds home runs as teammates (one holds the record at 863.) Hint: The leading combo had one hitter on each side of the plate.
Babe Ruth / Lou Gehrig Hank Aaron / Ed Mathews
Willie Mays / Willie McCovey
38. As long as we’re talking long ball, let’s take a look at the most exciting long ball – the Grand Slam. We’ll go through a series of grand slam question, getting progressively more difficult – some might say more inane, or even more insane. First, what player holds the record for most career grand slams at 25? Hint: Yankee ties.
39. This shouldn’t be too hard, it got plenty of publicity. Who was the only player to hit two grand slams in one inning? Hint: They were a couple of long “Tat-ers.”
40. Just a little more difficult, name the only major leaguer to a grand slam hitting right-handed and left-handed in the same game. Hint: Red Sox, 2003.
41. A tougher grand slam question. Who was the first National Leaguer to hit two grand slams in one game? Hint: A good argument against the DH.
42. One more grand slam question, then we’ll give the pitchers a chance. Players have hit two grand slams in a game 13 times. How many times this has been accomplished in the hitter’s home park. Hint: Lots of disappointment for the fans in this one.
43. Okay, this will take you back, but not as far as you might expect. Name the last major league hurler to notch a season of 30 or more victories. Hint: You might have a “hard time” with one.
44. In 1968, an NL hurler tossed a still record six consecutive complete game shutouts on the way a record 58 consecutive scoreless innings. Twenty years later, that scoreless innings streak was broken by another National Leaguer. Name these two hurlers. Hint: Both were Dodgers.
45. Way back now. Name the pitcher who in 1884, playing for the National League’s Providence entry, compiled a 59-12 record (disputed, some say it was 60-12, either way a record for wins in a season), pitched a record 678 2/3 innings, tossed 73 complete games in 75 starts, achieved a 1.38 ERA and 441 strikeouts. Due to the suspension of Providence’s second-best pitcher, this stalwart started 40 of Providence final 43 games, winning 36 and bringing Providence the pennant.
46. Name the HOFer who is the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter. Hint: “Express” your inner baseball self.
47. Enough fastballs (another hint to #46) how about a change of pace? Name the Hall of Famer who holds the career record for hitting into triple plays (4 times). Hint: Ironically known for his glove work, he hit into one more triple play than he participated in as a fielder.
48. More on triple plays, what was the score of the game in which the Minnesota Twins became the only team ever to turn two triple plays in a single game? Hint: See question 1
49. Barry Bonds hold the career record for intentional bases on balls at 688. Hank Aaron is number two. Within 25, how many IBBs did Aaron amass in his career?
50. Back to a bit of irony or, perhaps tom-foolery. Name the future Hall of Famer who was pitching when pitcher Joe Niekro smacked his only career homer, in 1976? Hint: Think about why this might have caught the kwizmaster’s attention.
51. Brotherly love is wonderful (hint to number 50). Can you name the trio of brothers who, in the eighth inning of a game played on September 15, 1963, made history by playing together in the outfield for the San Francisco Giants. Hint: The team was the San Francisco Giants and the NL leader in hits came from among these brothers in 1966, 1968 and 1969.
52. Ouch! Name the ex-Twin hurler who holds the career record for most losses without ever notching a win. Hint: Lots of folks “felt” bad for him.
53. Another “How the game has changed.” Name the pitcher who holds the NL and AL records for most appearances in a season. Hint: Only one answer.
54. Don Mattingly set the Major League record for grand slams in a season with 6 in 1987 (tied by Travis Hafner in 2006). How many grand slams did Mattingly hit in his 14-year career. Hint: Think irony.
55. Time for a little “guesswork.” Get within three of the fewest number of pitches ever thrown in a nine-inning complete game. No hint, you’re supposed to be guessing.
56. Guess again. If you liked that last exercise in the informed guess, how about this one? How long (time) did the major league’s shortest doubleheader last? Count it right if you get within 45 minutes. Note: Do not include the time between games (usually 20 minutes).
57. Not a serious question, just proof that baseball fans will count anything. Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton, of the small hats and violent follow-through, holds the record for the most times having his hat fall of in a World Series game. What is the record? Hint: If you guess 37, you’ll be right.
58. How many innings was the longest game (innings) in major league history? Not a hint, but another look at how the game has changed – both starting pitchers went the distance in a 1-1 tie.
59. On August 25, 2011, the Yankees hit a record 3 grand slams in a nine-inning game, topping Oakland 22-9. How many (another record) plate appearance with the bases loaded did NY record? Hint: They went 6 for 13 with the sacks full, but remember the question asks for plate appearances not at bats.
60. Only four players have hit home runs before they turned twenty and after they turned forty. Can you name two of the three? Hint: A peach, an orange, a chef (sp.) and a player who created a lot of “suspense;” one is active and others played their final games in 1928, 1985 and 2009.
61. Only four players have won the home run title in both the American and National Leagues. The first was Buck Freeman, who led the NL in 1899 and the AL in 1903, then came Sam Crawford, who captured the NL title with the Reds in 1901 and the AL title with the Tigers in 1908. Name the other two. Hint: Their last names each started with the same three letters – all consonants.
62. Someone you can count on. Name the Oakland A’s hurler who pitched in all 7 games of the 1973 World Series; notching 2 saves as the A’s beat the Mets 4 games to 3. Hint: I “know” you’ll like this one.
63. Everyone recognizes Jackie Robinson for breaking baseball’s color line in 1947 (April 15, to be exact), and for racking up a list of “firsts” for black players: to get a hit; win Rookie of the Year; earn MVP honors; lead the league in hitting; play in a World Series and more. Who was the second black to cross the MLB color line and be the first black: American Leaguer; to lead the league in home runs; to homer in a World Series? Hint: Initials are LD.
64. Other side of the integration coin … in what year did the last major league team integrate? As a hint, I’ll give you the team and player: Red Sox, Pumpsie Green.
65. Another color line question. Name the principles in the first instance of a black pitcher facing a black hitter in the major leagues. Hint: 1949, Dodgers versus Giants.
66. Final color line question. Who was the first black pitcher to play in a World Series? Hint: This is one of those iconic questions.
67. The “save” was ordained an official baseball statistic in 1969. In a bit of an irony, who recorded the first “official” save (historians later went back to compute earlier saves) on April 7, 1969. The irony? The hurler who earned that 3-inning save pitched in 40 more games that year (all starts) and MLB’s first official save was the only one he recorded that year (to go with a 20-12 record). Hint: He was a Dodger … and his name would do Frank Sinatra proud.
68. What are the original names of the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros? Hint(s): The names didn’t last long – 1 year and 3 years – and the changes were driven by a move to a new city for one team and objections from a well-armed opponent and a new stadium for the other.
69. Get ‘em on and then get ‘em out. What is the highest number of base runners allowed in a nine-inning no-hitter?
70. Lovable loser. Who is the only World Series MVP to play for the losing team? Hint: Hit .305 in a total of 36 World Series games.
71. Power and speed. Name the two players to hit fifty homers in one season and steal 50 bases in another. Hint: A Giant and an Oriole – and, while Willie Mays would be a good guess (he did lead the league in homers and stolen bases four times each) – that would be wrong. This all happened between 1990 and 2001.
72. Power and patience. Tommy Holmes of the Boston Braves led the NL in homeruns in 1945 with 28 – while striking out only 9 times in 636 at bats (the best percentage ratio of homers to strike outs ever for a league leader). Going less obscure, only ten times in MLB history has a player hit 40 or more homers, while striking fewer times than he hit round trippers. It’s been done by six players, name four of them. Hint: Initials, in the order they accomplished the feat. Are: MO, LG, JD, JM, TK, BB. A bonus if you can name which one of these gentlemen achieved this feat 3 years in a row.
73. 1968 was, indeed, the year of the pitcher. Name the two pitchers who captured both Cy Young Award and MVP honors that year. Hint: A Tiger and a Cardinal. Bonus kwestion, name the three relief pitchers who have won a Cy Young and MVP in the same season. Hint: A Brewer, a Tiger and an A.
74. Catchers with speed are a rarity. Name the two catchers who have led their league in triples. Hint(s): Both played in games for the Boston Red Sox during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, both played in four different decades and one led the NL in triples as a Cardinal and one the AL with the Red Sox.
75. On the topic of MVP awards, who was the last switch hitter to win the American League MVP award? Hint: He was a five-time All-Star in the 1970s – and the only other AL switch-hitting MVP was Mickey Mantle.
76. Since the first All-Star game in 1933, more than two dozen players have won the MVP in same season they earned their first All-Star appearance. Rarer is the player who won an MVP before ever being selected to an All Star team. That’s happened only 3 times: Justin Morneau, AL MVP in 2006, first All-Star selection in 2007; Terry Pendleten NL MVP in 1991, first All-Star game 1992; and Hank Greenberg, AL MVP in 1935, first All-Star team in 1937. Can you name the only MVP Award winner (NL) to never make an All-Star team? Hint: He was also an American League Championship Series MVP, albeit in a different year.
77. This question goes back to the 1979 All-Star game, which was interrupted by the planting of a kiss on future Hall of Famer George Brett. Name the kisser. No hint, I’m giving you a good part of the name.
78. Name the HOF pitcher who won the most games (in a single season) for a last place team. Hint: A lefty.
79. Name the Twin who, on July 4, 1961, hit the first inside-the-park home run at the Twins original home, Met Stadium. Hint: Not considered the fleetest afoot.
80. What do baseball fans have Reuben Berman to thank for? Think souvenirs. Hint: I had a ball with this question.
81. In 2011, two unique streaks came to an end, consecutive years striking out 200 or more times and consecutive years with a .300+ batting average, 30+ home runs and 100+ RBIs. Name the two players whose streaks were broken. Hint: One of these players was the only player to ever strike out 200 times in a season until joined by the Reds’ Drew Stubbs, who whiffed 205 times in 2011. The other was not a Red, but a Redbird.
82. Name the two players, who are the only two-time MVP winners who are eligible but are not in the Hall of Fame. Hint two outfielders, one from each league, last names start with M, both won consecutive MVP Awards.
83. Name the two switch hitters who share the career record for most games with a home run from both sides of the plate at 14. Hint: They were teammates from 2009-2012.
84. Can you name the three players have hit home runs from both side of the plate in one inning? Hint: Their initials and teams: CB (Indians); MB (Cubs); KM (Angels).
85. Name the first switch hitter to win a batting title in the AL and the first switch hitter to win the NL title. Hint: Once of them once said of the other: “If I’d had to hit all those singles, I would have worn a dress.”
86. Name the last pitcher to lead the league in wins and losses in the same season. Hint this Hall of Famer tied his brother for the league lead in wins that year.
87. MVPs are supposed to deliver victories. Right? Four players have won the MVP while playing for a losing team. Try this multiple question. Name most recent player to do it; the only player to win two consecutive league MVP awards while playing for a team with a losing record; the only player to win a league MVP award while playing for a last place team. Get one of three to count this as correct. Hint(s): Your answers come from the Cubs and Rangers
88. Who is the only catcher to win three batting titles? Hint: Bet he eats Twinkies.
89. To date, 15 pitchers have notched wins against all 30 major league teams. I won’t ask you to name them all, just the first to accomplish this feat and the most recent. In between these two, the 30-team mark was hit by Kevin Brown, Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson, A.J. Burnett, Woody Williams, Javier Vazquez, Vincente Padilla, Derek Low, Dan Haren, Kyle Lohse and Barry Zito (not in that order). Your hints: The initials are A.L. (first) and T.H., who joined this “club” in 2015..
90. No sophomore jinx here. Who is the only player to lead the league in batting average in his rookie and sophomore seasons? Hint: Hard to believe you could stay this hot in a place so cold.
91. Talk about getting off to a great start. In 1898, Philadelphia pitcher Bill Duggleby hit a grand slam home run in his first major league at bat. It wasn’t until 2005 that anyone duplicated that accomplishment (Jeremy Hermida, Marlins). Since then, two players have gone Duggleby and Hermida one better, hitting a grand slam not only in their first at bat, but on the first pitch they ever saw in “bigs.” For one point each, name them. Hint: Initials, year and team. KK, Indians, 2006; DN, Red Sox, 2010.
92. Only twice in MLB history has a team boasted four twenty game winners in a single season. The 1920 White Sox (Red Faber – 23; Lefty Williams – 22; Dicky Kerr – 21; Ed Cicotte – 21) and the 1971 Orioles (Dave McNally – 21, Mike Cueller – 20; Pat Dobson – 20) and the answer to this question: Who was the other Oriole who won 20 that year and also became the only player to draw two bases loaded walks in a single World Series game?
93. And they say fans shouldn’t vote on the All-Stars. Each year the Rawlings Gold Glove is awarded to the premier fielder at each position, based on a vote of managers and coaches. In 1999, the Gold Glove Awards set a new low – particularly in terms of games played in the field by a GG winner. Name the player who that year played a record low number of games in the field for a Gold Glove winner. Hint: It was this AL player’s third consecutive, and appropriately final, Gold Glove.
94. Back-to-back homers are not that rare, but how about back-to-back homers by the same two teammates twice in the same inning? It’s happened just once. Name the two players. Hint: 2002 Seattle Mariners.
95. Can you name the five pitchers to toss two no-hitters in a season? Hints: Initials of the five pitchers to: JVM; AR; NR; VT; MS. Note: Roy Halladay would be a sixth hurler on this list if you count the post-season as part of the season.
96. In 2010, Roy Halladay (This could that help with #96) became the second pitcher to toss a no-hitter in the post season. Name the other hurler to toss a post-season no-hitter. Hint: He was a Yankee and it was a perfect game. Bonus: Name the other two Yankees to toss a perfect game. Hint: They shared the same first name.
97. 2011, saw the release of the movie Magic Trip (about the 1964 LSD-fueled, cross-country trip of author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and his Merry Pranksters. On June 12, 1970, one major league pitcher took an even more impressive “trip”, tossing a no-hitter while high on LSD. Name him. Hint: This Doc has his own pharmacy.
98. Like father, like son. Name the only father-son combination to hit back-to-back homers in a major league game. Hint: The pair were a “senior” and “junior” and were both outfielders.
99. Finally, what do the following players have in common? George Brett, Royals; Walter Johnson, Senators; Al Kaline, Tigers; Ted Lyons, White Sox; Stan Musial Cardinals; Mel Ott, Giants; Cal Ripken, Jr., Orioles; Brooks Robinson, Orioles; Willie Stargell, Pirates. Hint: Think staying power.