Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wild Card Wednesdays: Quiz By Numbers

In this edition of Wild-Card Wednesdays, we test the limits of numbers in defining the history of the great sport.

Baseball- a team game if there ever has been one- places a microscopic focus on individual statistics. Theoretically, every important achievement or skill within its bounds is quantifiable- including, until recently, the very qualifiable but subjective matters as defensive abilities and "value".

The language of baseball is spoken in numbers. Numbers. They are what separate hall-of-famers from regular players, and what separate baseball from every other major sport.
Quickly basketball fans- Kareem Abdul Jabbar scored more points than any other player in history- how many? How many goals did Gretzky score in his storied career? Now tell me the next two highest.

I thought so.

With that in mind, it's time for a BFT-proctored quiz. We're going to delve into some pretty specific numbers here. The questions differ markedly in their difficulty, but in the end, we hope that these digits, like any good baseball numbers, add to your appreciation of the greatest game.

Take out a #2 pencil, a blank sheet of paper, and let's begin:

The infield-fly rule
1. In what decade was the infield-fly rule put into effect?
a) 1890's
b) 1910's
c) 1930's
d) 1950's
*Extra credit:
True/False- With one out, a man on first, and a pop up to the second baseman, the batter isn't automatically out

The Ground Rule Double
2. In what decade was the Ground Rule Double put into effect?
a) 1910's
b) 1920's
c) 1930's
d) 1940's
*Extra credit
Before the instatement of ground rule doubles, what was done with balls that made it over the fence on a hop?

Designated Hitter
3. On April 6 of what year did Ron Blomberg of the Yankees become history's first DH?
* Extra credit:
What is one non-interleague situation involving a DH where an AL team must use its pitcher (or a pinch hitter) to bat? Assume there are adequate men left on the bench.

We're #2!
Sure, fans all well-versed in the career leaders in many offensive statistical categories- but let's see how well you know the runner-ups. Name the #2 career leader in the following categories:
4. AVG
5. RBI
6. Extra-Base Hits
7. Intentional BB
8. At Bats/HR

The Longest Bomb
9. How far was the longest estimated HR in MLB history?
a) 600-625 feet
b) 626-650 feet
c) 651-675 feet
d) 676-700 feet

In Stitches
10. How many stitches are on a regulation baseball?

The answers:
1. a. The rule was put into effect in 1895, as players complained of defensive errors made on purpose in order to turn easy double or triple plays. *The statement, in fact, is true. In order for the infield fly rule to take effect, there must be less than two outs, and either: bases loaded, or runners on first and second. Dropping a ball on purpose with a man on first base in order to get him out at second only exchanges the man on first with the batter (source).
2. c. The AL adopted the ground rule double in 1930 and the NL in 1931. *Prior to those dates, a ball that landed in the stands on a hop was a home run (source).
3. 1973. *If a DH during the game takes a position, he forfeits his role as DH and the pitcher now must hit for himself (source).
4. AVG: Cobb .366 Hornsby .359
5. RBI: Aaron 2297 Ruth 2217
6. XBH: Aaron 1477 Musial 1377 (Ed. note: interestingly, Rafael Palmiero is #6 on the all-time list with 1192, behind only Aaron, Musial, Ruth, Bonds and Mays)
7. IBB: Bonds 607 (through 2005) Aaron 293
8. AB/HR: McGwire 10.61 Ruth 11.76 (Bonds is 3rd) (source for 4-8)
9. b. On Sept. 10, 1960, Mickey Mantle hit a shot estimated at 634 feet (source).
10. There are 108 double-stitches, or 216 stitches, on a regulation baseball.

Wild Card Wednesdays appears every Wednesday


Blogger said...

The other instince where in an interleague game a pitcher must hit for himself would be when the AL team plays in a NL park? Would this also be correct :)

take care, keep up the blog...


Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine