Baseball Trivia Quiz

While cleaning out the garage, I found some Major League Baseball trivia books from which I adapt the following quiz. Google not and see how many of these you can get right:

1. No player has hit .400 since major league baseball extended the length of the season from 154 to 162 games. Who was the last player to hit .400 over 154 games?

2. On the final day of the 1910 season, Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie was in second place in the American League batting race. The St. Louis Browns gave him some help by placing their fielders in the wrong positions and “losing fly balls in the sun”. LaJoie benefited with 8 “hits” in the doubleheader. The Browns assisted Lajoie because everybody hated the guy who was leading the batting race. Who was he?

3. Lajoie had the highest batting average in the league that year, but did not win the batting title. Why not?

4. The legendary Bob Feller pitched his first no hitter in 1940. What was his ERA at the end of the game?

5. Hitting for the cycle is an extremely rare feat and only one player in history accomplished it three times across two leagues. Who was he? Hint: Think of a word people might use for an infant, and, the father of the Munster family.

6. In 1973, Yankee Ron Blomberg drew a bases-loaded walk off of Luis Tiant and thereby made baseball history. How?

7. In 1979, Atlanta Braves pitcher Phil Niekro led the league in wins with 21. Who led the league in losses?

8. Los Angeles was a hitter’s nightmare in the early 1960s. Don Drysdale won the Cy Young Award in 1962 and his teammate Sandy Koufax won in 1963 and again in 1965 and 1966. What L.A. pitcher won in 1964?

9. Bob Gibson had perhaps the most dominant performance by a pitcher in world series history in 1967, when he pitched three complete game victories, giving up only 3 runs in total and netting 26 strikeouts. Yet he only won 13 games during the 1967 season. Why?

10. Knuckleballer Ed Rommel once gave up 29 hits in a game but won anyway, but if he is remembered at all it is because of something he introduced to baseball after his playing days ended. What was it?

Answers after the jump

1. Wade Boggs, who did it from June 1985 to June 1986 (note that I said over 154 games, not over a 154-game season). Incidentally he also hit .400 over 162 games.

2. Ty Cobb.

3. One of Ty Cobb’s games, in which he went 2 for 3, was erroneously counted twice in the season-ending statistics. The error was not caught until many years later, and the league decided not to make Lajoie the 1910 official batting champ even though between the statistical error and his final day’s “hitting performance” he had the highest average for the season.

4. Zero – it was opening day.

5. Babe Herman (No, not George Herman “Babe” Ruth; he never hit for the cycle).

6. By being the first designated hitter to drive in a run. The position was new that year and it was opening day.

7. Phil Niekro, with 20. What a workhorse!

8. Dean Chance of the Los Angeles Angels.

9. Not long after the All-Star game, Roberto Clemente hit a line drive that fractured Gibson’s leg, leading him to miss almost the entire second half of the regular season. Incredibly, he kept pitching after his leg was fractured until it snapped completely. Do not mess with Bob Gibson!

10. He became an umpire and was the first one to wear glasses (though surely not the first to have people scream that he needed them).

If you got 5 or more correct, I for one will be impressed. Please post your score below.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

13 thoughts on “Baseball Trivia Quiz”

  1. I got 4 – #’s 2,4,6,9, with some ambiguity. I believe Blomberg was the first DH, as well as the first to get an RBI. That was my response. My answer to #9 was not precise, but rather the obvious guess that he was injured. Does that count?

    Number 1 reminds of the fact that in 1961 Roger Maris, asterisk notwithstanding, did in fact hit 61 HR’s in 154 games – the last 154. Indeed, his first HR came in game 11.

    1. Does that count?

      With a quiz this hard, I suggest everyone be generous is scoring it.

  2. Tough quiz. I got #s 2, 4, 5 (thanks to the clues — even though it means copping to having watched The Munsters as a kid), and 7.

    1. Gee, looks like I got #9 right, after all. Don’t think it should be counted, however — it’s like answering #3 “he lost the title due to a statistical error”; the specificity is what makes the answer unique. But then I’ve always been a hairsplitter.

  3. Got 2, 4, 6, 7, and 9. Should have had #10 (I knew that!), but had a brain cramp. Would have had #8 (as anyone would) if I’d headed over to Baseball Reference.

  4. Got 2, 4, 5 and 7; but 2 and 7 were educated guesses, and 5 needed the extra clues. Tough quiz.

  5. I got 2, 7, 9 partially, and 3 partially.

    I knew that in the early days, the League would sometimes award titles to the #2 or #3 batting average or ERA when they “deserved” it more. For instance someone pitched like 161 innings with a tiny ERA, but the #2 ERA was only modestly behind yet pitched 250+ innings. This is mentioned somewhere in the New Historical Baseball Abstract.

    For a while in 2010 it looked like we might get something like this. Omar Infante was way ahead in Batting Average — so far ahead that he might have won even with 50-100 extra outs that he needed to get to 502 PA — but the Braves started playing him full time, his batting average dropped, and Gonzalez & Votto surged. So the whole thing was mooted on several accounts.

  6. Should I post a cricket trivia quiz? Or cycling? Stop press: England are up 2-0 in the Ashes series (tautologically, against Australia) and Kenyan South African Briton Chris Froome has just won the Tour de France. Maybe history hasn’t yet come to a .

  7. I got three. Should have gotten 6, as I should have known Babe Herman, Dean Chance (I knew it was an Angel but guessed Bo Belinksy), and the reason Cobb had a better batting average (I remember the story about the double counted game).

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