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Baseball: BASEBALL TRIVIA QUESTION #4

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posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 02:05 AM
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One of the feats which Steroid Ball and HGH Ball have really trivialized is the formerly great feat of hitting 50 HR's in one season.

Prior to World War Two, there were only 4 players who had ever done it. The only National Leaguer, notorious alcoholic HACK WILSON, hit 56 HR's in 1930, the greatest year for hitters prior to the 1990's, and the same year in which he drove in 191 runs--a still-standing record which I doubt I'll live to see broken.

In the American League, JIMMIE FOXX hit 58 HR's in 1932 and 50 HR's in 1938, the same year that HANK GREENBERG hit 58. And, of course, BABE RUTH did the deed... FOUR times, in fact, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921, 60 in 1927 and 54 in 1928.

So, prior to WWII, the Babe had exactly 1/2 of the eight 50-HR seasons which the four guys named above had put up to that point in MLB history.

Then, in the 10-year span from 1947-1956, the list doubled to 8 members. In 1947, JOHNNY MIZE and RALPH KINER both hit 51 HR's. (Kiner would also hit 54 in 1949.) In 1955, WILLIE MAYS hit 51 HR's. And in 1956, MICKEY MANTLE hit 52 HR's. (Both repeated the feat, with Mantle hitting 54 in expansion year 1961 and Mays hitting 52 in 1965.)

The list stood at 8 for five years, then ROGER MARIS joined his famous teammate in 1961, but outdid him by 7, hitting his famous 61* HR's. A long 16 years later, GEORGE FOSTER brought the list to ten members, hitting 52 HR's for the Reds.

Then came the 1980's. Dave Kingman hit the bejesus out of the ball (when he hit it), but never hit 50. Mike Schmidt won the HR crown almost annually in the NL, and was every bit as great as his HR crowns make him look, but he couldn't hit 50 under the prevailing conditions of play, either. By the final year of the decade, a lot of articles had been written and a lot of comments made by fans to the effect that the 50-HR club was perhaps frozen for all time.

Yeah, right! Ha ha ha.

In 1990, pretty much from out of nowhere, CECIL FIELDER up and hit 51 home runs. And in the 14 seasons which have been played since 1990, another ELEVEN players have hit 50 or more HR's at least once, with Sammy Sosa hitting 50 once and over SIXTY three times, though he never won the crown with his over-sixty seasons, a ludicrous comment on the times.

So the once-sacred 50 HR club, which as recently as 1989 had only 5 members in the AL and 5 members in the NL, now has a total of 22 members.

Of these 22 guys, however, FOUR have also managed something else in their careers: having at least one season in which they hit 50 or more DOUBLES.

The titanic HANK GREENBERG (a good 6'7", despite what the MLB record books say about his being "six-four") not only had a 58-HR season in 1938, but also hit 50 doubles in 1940 and a whopping 63 doubles in 1934. I'd have liked to see that, because he was famously slow and clumsy, being one of the most uncoordinated players in MLB history, and having enormous feet.

Also, Alex Rodriguez not only hit 57 HR's in 2002 and 52 in 2001, but also hit 54 doubles in 1996.

BUT: There is one man who not only put up a 50-HR season and a 50-double season, but did it IN THE SAME SEASON. This occurred in the 1990's.

NAME THE PLAYER.




posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 10:10 AM
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This is the easist one so far. I won't answer it, but i wll say he was ROBBED of the MVP (maybe the worst MVP selection ever), and should receive far more HOF consideration, then the 6% vote he got. He gave me a baseball btw.

Don't put too much into the 50 hr explosion. Had MLB had 30 team watered down pitching, like the 90's had, there would have been plenty more 50 hr years. Watered down pitching (expansion), new hr parks, umps refusing to call high strikes, have made hrs go up. Steroids have been around 30+ years, and more pitchers have been busted then hitters. Steroids isn't the reason 50 hrs happened.



posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 06:43 PM
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Originally posted by HOOTIE
This is the easist one so far. I won't answer it, but i wll say he was ROBBED of the MVP (maybe the worst MVP selection ever), and should receive far more HOF consideration, then the 6% vote he got. He gave me a baseball btw.

Don't put too much into the 50 hr explosion. Had MLB had 30 team watered down pitching, like the 90's had, there would have been plenty more 50 hr years. Watered down pitching (expansion), new hr parks, umps refusing to call high strikes, have made hrs go up. Steroids have been around 30+ years, and more pitchers have been busted then hitters. Steroids isn't the reason 50 hrs happened.



I will not reignite our debate about steroids, except to say that you surely realize the enormous weight of public opinion is against you. That's fine, and it even makes your stance somewhat courageous. Hell, I'm unequivocally opposed to the death penalty, even for big-time war criminals (I won't give an example
), and I know that puts ME in a small minority--even here in California.

As for the other factors you cite, I agree with you on each, except that I think the disappearance of the outside strike (esp. the firing of Eric Gregg) has been bigger than the high strike.

And re this guy's disrespect and overt hatred by the media, I wrote a lengthy rant about it several weeks ago. It drives me nuts. IMO, he's a Hall of Famer, and he got almost zero votes. What a joke.

It's almost as bad as the jack@ss I saw say that Pedro is not a Hall of Famer. Yeah, the greatest Adjusted ERA of all time, by FAR, screwed out of one Cy Young on a ridiculous gift to Zito, inescapably given 3 others, and he's not a Hall of Famer. That kind of idiot should never be allowed to vote.

This guy (the answer to this question) is nowhere near as open-and-shut a matter as Pedro Martinez, but I consider him a Hall of Famer, and the matter is CERTAINLY arguable. His microscopic percentage of votes is perhaps the Hall's most shameful moment not having to do with Frankie Frisch, and it is indeed possible the failure to give him the MVP in his 50-50 year was the biggest travesty in MVP history.



posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 09:58 PM
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OK, time for some clues:


CLUE ONE: He had a higher lifetime slugging average than Mays, Mantle or Aaron (though he retired young and thus missed his "decline phase"), and a better HR/AB ratio than Mays and Aaron, narrow losing out to Mantle.

CLUE TWO: He played from 1989 to 2000, and is one of very few players to hit over 20 HR's in his final season.

CLUE THREE: Since Tommy Davis knocked in 153 runs in 1962, the 150-RBI barrier has only been broken 7 times. This guy did it once, in 1998.

CLUE FOUR: This guy also had seasons with 49 and 48 HR's, and a season with 148 RBI's. He was a poor defensive player, but, in his short career, one of the greatest offensive players of modern times. As Hootie's reply suggests, it was a joke and a disgrace that he received so few votes from the news media, who hated him from Day One, were blatant about it, and never let up for a moment.

He played in only TEN real seasons, yet finished with over 1,200 RBI's. He was a recovering alcoholic who, like many others (including me), had anger management issues. (I've been sober nearly 27 years, though.) Once the news media knew that, they exploited the angry-black-man stereotype like a bunch of hyenas.

Bob Costas once went so far as to say this man had a chance to have a career of historic proportions, yet was likely to be the most hated great player since Ty Cobb. NONE of his teammates backed that up, and instead portrayed him as a great player who just wanted to be liked and understood.

He was never given the chance, and unless the Veterans' Committee does the right thing some day, likely long after I've shuffled off this mortal coil, he'll never get into the Hall of Fame, where he belongs. The sportswriters long wrung their hands about how Frankie Frisch's old cronies, almost none of whom were even arguably Hall of Famers but almost all of whom got in, were Exhibit A as to why the Veterans Committee should not exist.

The minuscule percent of votes this guy received from the sportswriters this year is Exhibit A as to why the Veterans Committee MUST exist.

B.H.N.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 11:00 AM
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Clue: In the minors he went by his 1st name. He switched to his middle name, once in the bigs.

Clue: He was busted for a corked bat.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 12:38 PM
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CLUE: The corked bat episode became famous, because a small, slender teammate had to crawl through some vents to get to the umpires' room and replace the corked bat with an uncorked bat of an obviously different weight. Another teammate's later explanation for why they didn't just take one of [THE ANSWER'S] bats along:

"All of [THE ANSWER'S] bats were corked."

This I doubt very much. If I believe it, I would never have written my remarks about the Hall, though I would still have gone off on the sportswriters and announcers, for the way the crawled all over him.

B.H.N.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 05:38 PM
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Would someone please put this question out of its misery?

TRD? IA Clonz?


Baseball History Nut



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 02:39 PM
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The answer to this question has, just now, been posted under a separate thread titled "The Answer to Baseball Trivia Question #4."

B.H.N.



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