Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. My pick at first base is a relative consensus among baseball sachems. He batted .340 lifetime on the way to hitting 493 homers and driving in 1,990 runs. Though not brilliant defensively, he would eventually earn a decent reputation playing the bag while providing team leadership as Captain of the Yankees. Who is this all-time all-star?
2. At second base, I have perhaps the most obscure player here. He is perpetually underrated, possibly because he never won a batting title on the way to his .333 career batting average. Never the less, he amassed 3,315 hits and 744 stolen bases, as well as a sterling reputation for great defense and a longstanding record of 512 sacrifice hits that will probably never be broken because of changes in how the game is played. Who was this Columbia scholar turned dean of second basemen?
3. My pick at third base was an all-around great at the position. In his eighteen seasons, he slammed 548 home runs (leading the league eight times) and snagged ten gold gloves. He was honored with three regular-season MVP awards and was World Series MVP in 1980. Who was this dominant player at the hot corner?
4. I will not challenge conventional wisdom which has honored one man as the greatest shortstop in the history of the game for most of the last century. He won eight batting titles on the way to a lifetime average of .327, and was often said to be the greatest defensive talent of his age at ANY position he chose, only settling in at shortstop after six seasons of playing wherever he was needed on a particular day. Who is this charter member of the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown?
5. In left field: this is the hardest question I have ever had to write. I am not a fan of my left fielder, and I am not the one to apologize for his actions, either apparent or proven. Never the less, he has broken major league career records for home runs and walks, stolen over 500 bases, and taken home eight gold gloves in left field en route to winning an unprecedented seven MVP awards. Who is this polarizing figure?
6. In center field, I'll take one of the most memorable players of his or any other day. This second-generation baseball star slammed 660 home runs, stole 338 bases (mostly in the 1950s, when the running game was sorely neglected) and took home twelve gold gloves to go with his two MVP awards and twenty-four All-Star Game selections. Who was this spectacular, multitalented giant of the game who made the most-rebroadcast catch in baseball history during the 1954 World Series?
7. In right field, my pick needs neither introduction nor defense. His career stands with the reign of Caesar Augustus and the Florentine Renaissance among the noblest achievements of humanity. In several polls, he ranks with Abraham Lincoln and John Wayne among the most recognizable Americans. Who is this twentieth-century colossus who redefined the game en route to swatting 714 home runs, batting .342, and, defensively, boasting a throwing arm that allowed him to go 94-46 as a pitcher?
8. Behind the plate, I will resist the temptation to pick Josh Gibson (who, in all honestly, probably would not have been a catcher in major league baseball) in favor of this man, a ten-time gold glove winner who slugged 45 and 40 home runs in his two MVP campaigns. Who was this Cincinnati Red whose manager refused to compare him to anyone else to save other catchers the embarrassment?
9. Though my personal philosophy ranks the idea of the designated hitter right up there with melba toast, I am overlooking my principles to include this great baseball man in this lineup. He batted .344 lifetime with a slugging average of .634. He didn't set any major records for career tallies, mostly because he was away from the game as a flight instructor in World War II and as John Glenn's wingman in the Korean Conflict. Who was this dedicated student of the game who literally wrote the book on modern batsmanship?
10. I cannot really pile on the statistics about my starting right-handed pitcher because there are none - that I can rely on, anyway. For most of his career, he would alternate - sometimes day to day - between facing good, solid lineups and mowing down semipro squads thrown together for the honor of facing him. As such, he could claim feats like pitching fifty no-hitters and winning 2,000 lifetime games, albeit against decidedly sporadic opposition. Who was this astounding talent who was inducted into Cooperstown in 1971?
11. My starting left-handed pitcher also lacks monster career statistics, albeit for entirely different reasons. For six years he toiled in obscurity for the Dodgers - first in his native Brooklyn, then in Los Angeles - posting records that can charitably be called mediocre. In 1961, he had an epiphany, emerging as the most overwhelming pitcher in the game. Over the next six seasons, he led the league in ERA five times, in strikeouts four times, and in wins three times on the way to winning three Cy Young awards, an MVP award (he finished second two other years), and three career World Series rings. Then, as quickly as he emerged, he was gone, retiring before his 31st birthday. Who was this man?
12. The relief ace is a relatively recent phenomenon in baseball history, and remains a rather liminal figure in the game - infinitely valued when it comes to finishing a close contest, but still carrying the onus of not playing anywhere close to the full nine innings. Indeed, a good case might be made that most of the great starting pitchers would have been better relievers than those who made their careers in the role. I am taking that tack in selecting my closer, an extraordinary fastballer who developed an effective curve and an occasional shocking forkball on his way to leading the American League in ERA an astounding nine times. Who was this dominant lefthander, who was also exemplary pitching in relief?
13. For a utility player, my pick is an athlete whose accomplishments as an American figure often overshadow his play on the field. Baseball elder statistician Bill James' "Win Shares" defensive analysis places him among the top 10 second basemen for all who have played 5,000 innings at the position. It also places him as the best third basemen ever (in limited action there), and an elite corner outfielder whose statistics, compiled late in his career, place him among defensive luminaries like Al Kaline and Roberto Clemente. He also batted .311 lifetime, ran the bases like an All-American halfback (which he was), and picked up a Presidential Medal of Freedom in addition to about every other award available to a United States citizen. Who was this player whose Rookie of the Year campaign made front page headlines - and whose name that award now bears?
14. For my field manager, I'm going the boring route and choosing the skipper with the highest winning percentage in the history of major league ball (.615). True, this percentage is bolstered by his astounding offenses, which may have had a thing or two to do with his having players like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio in his lineups, but he also had the ability to coax superlative performances out of players like Hack Wilson, who could barely stay in the league under other managers. Who was this supremely successful molder of teams?
15. My all-time general manager should come as no surprise. In the 1920s, he was among the first major league figures to begin making working agreements with minor league clubs or buying them outright. His system of using lower-level teams both as training tools and as pipelines to his St. Louis Cardinals - later known as the "farm system" - would later become the standard for all of organized baseball. Later in life, his influence stretched beyond the game as the next team he headed became the first to sign - and play - African-American athletes. Who was this paragon of both foresight and moral courage?
Source: Author stuthehistoryguy
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