October 27, 2006
Pop Quiz, Hotshot
Back when I lived in Jersey City, my friends and I used to go to this dive bar that was something right out of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh--at least in terms of its age and the nature of its clientele. What set this place apart from other dive bars, though, was that it wasn't dank. Because all the light fixtures were gone, the place was lit by bare, bright fluorescent bulbs that illuminated the decrepitude of the interior as well as that of the patrons. I used to wonder why people would subject themselves to this experience. The answer is really pretty obvious: they wanted to be around like-minded individuals. They didn't want to go to a place where everybody knew their name but rather to a place where the patrons drank so much that names were the last thing they'd remember. They wanted to be around people who would not judge them lest they themselves would be judged.
Which leads me to why I belong to SABR.
Aside from the great publications, I like being in the Society for American Baseball Research because it gives me the chance to be around people who aren't going to question why I like baseball so much. I would bet that most of us spend a lot of time around co-workers and family members who think we have a screw loose for being baseball obsessives. SABR gatherings give us a chance to step out of a puzzled world and into an understanding one.
I'm in SABR's Rogers Hornsby Chapter of Central Texas. We get together once a month and talk about whatever comes to mind as long as it's baseball-centric. It's all interesting because it's baseball--at least, that's how I see it. It's a nice group, and I find it very relaxing. Our October meeting was held at Scholz Garden in Austin where we watched Game Three of the World Series together. In honor of the opponents, I decided to prepare a trivia quiz about the two previous Tiger-Cardinal World Series encounters which I brought to the meeting.
Now, I'm of two minds about trivia: it can be either empowering or humiliating. When one does well at it, one has a tendency to feel about ones head like an old-time phrenologist, wondering how so much information can be packed into such a relatively small portion of one's anatomy. When one does poorly, though, one begins to question the worth of the sum total of one's accumulated knowledge, the merit of the American education system and, in especially bad cases, the value of even having a brain at all.
Neither attitude is right. Trivia--especially sports and entertainment trivia --is for fun. If you don't know the answers, you'll be given them when it's over. If you never knew the answer, you've learned something. If you once knew the answer and simply forgot it, don't sweat it--there's a lot to know living on planet Earth.
So, with that in mind, here's the Tigers-Cardinals World Series Trivia Quiz, expanded and modified from what the SABR group was given during Game Three. If you've read Christina Kahrl's piece on the '68 Series, some of these will be second nature to you. Some are easy and some are vexing. In the interest of disclosure, I will confess that if somebody handed me this quiz out of the blue, I'd probably get a little over half of them right.
General.1: How many stadiums have hosted a Cardinals-Tigers World Series game?
General.2: The Cardinals won the World Championship on their very fist trip to the World Series in 1926. How many tries did it take the Tigers before they won one?
General.3: True or False? Heading into 2006, neither the Tigers nor the Cardinals have a winning record in total World Series games.
1968.1: In the course of their six starts in the 1968 Series, Mickey Lolich and Denny McLain nearly swapped each other's regular season ERAs. (1.96/3.24 for McLain and 3.19/1.67 for Lolich). So then, what Tiger pitcher started the one game that neither McLain nor Lolich did?
1968.2: This Cardinal regular managed a .115 World Series batting average over the course of his St. Louis career, including no hits at all in the '68 contest against Detroit.
1968.3: This future Hall of Famer and 1968 All-Star was exiled from the St. Louis rotation for the '68 Series.
1968.4: This man spent his entire 12-year big league career with Detroit, and was an awesome pinch-hitter in 1968, going .450/.531/.830 in that capacity in 49 plate appearances. However, he only pinch hit once in the World Series. Who was it?
1968.5: As everyone knows, Bob Gibson set the mark for most strikeouts in a World Series game in Game One of the '68 Fall Classic. Whose record did he break?
1968.6: Ed Spiezio got into one Series game with the '68 Cards while his son Scott is now playing for the 2006 edition. Name one of the other two '68 Cardinals Series participants who had sons go on to play in the major leagues.
1968.7: Roger Maris will probably never make the Hall of Fame, but he had his big-league swan song in Game Seven. Name the Hall of Famer who made his last big league appearance in Game Four of this Series.
1969.8: While the Cardinals had just been to the World Series the year before against Boston, only four members of the Tigers had previous postseason experience. One of the four is the answer to the previous question. Name just one of the other three.
1968.9: Picking from among Tigers Bill Freehan, Willie Horton, Dick McAuliffe, and Al Kaline, and Cardinals Lou Brock, Curt Flood, Orlando Cepeda, and Tim McCarver, name two of the three who were All-Stars in 1968.
1934.1: Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul combined to pitch about two-thirds of the Cardinals' innings in the 1934 World Series. Name one of the two future Hall of Famers on the Cardinals staff who combined for just two innings of relief work in the Series. (Hint: Neither is Burleigh Grimes, who pitched for them in the regular season but not in the Series.)
1934.2: The Deans were the fourth set of brothers to play in the same World Series. Can you name just one of the three pairs that preceded them? Note: two of the three previous pairs weren't on the same team.
1934:3: Who was the player removed for his own safety from Game Seven of the 1934 World Series by Commissioner Landis? (Bonus points: can you name the man who replaced him? If you can, we are not worthy to be in your presence.)
1934.4: Name three of the four Hall of Famers in the 1934 Tigers starting lineup.
1934.5: Which of the following is not a real nickname of a 1934 World Series participant? Tex, Spud, Ripper, Barnyard, Submarine, Chief, General.
1934.6: What is the last name of the '34 Tiger who set the single-Series record for doubles (six) that still stands today? Hint: if you're watching the World Series while you work on this, you're probably seeing the answer before your very eyes!
Answers will be provided in my next column. Or, if you're really desperate to know how you did, write me, and I'll send them to you.