Baseball trivia in search of a theme

Before taking this quiz, let’s take a moment to honor Tony Dow, ‘‘Leave it to Beaver’’ and its evocative tune.

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Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins sings the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field on July 5, 2015.

Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins sings the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field on July 5, 2015.

Jon Durr/Getty Images

Each week, I search for a theme for our weekly get-together.

You know how you can buy a greeting card and hear a tinny tune being played when you open it up? I wish you could open today’s quiz and hear the iconic theme to ‘‘Leave It to Beaver.’’ Obviously, the death of Tony Dow (Wally) brought back memories of a show so many of us frequently watched in reruns as children.

There was an episode that aired April 9, 1960, in which Beaver’s dad, Ward (crankily played by Hugh Beaumont), finds an autographed baseball signed by many of the biggest major-league players from his teenage days. Although the boys don’t seem too interested in it because they don’t know the names on the ball, Ward loves it so much that he displays it in his den. But then Beaver and his pal Larry Mondello decide to play catch with the ball. The ball ends up in the street, run over by a truck and destroyed. Beaver and Larry try to hide what they’ve done by replacing Ward’s memento with an old baseball of Larry’s and signing some names on it. But those aren’t the names of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Grove, Augie Galan, Kiki Cuyler, Bill Dickey and Grover Cleveland Alexander. Think of the value of that ball had it survived, and all that largesse would have been left to Beaver.

Have fun with today’s quiz.

1. Of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Grove, Augie Galan, Kiki Cuyler, Bill Dickey and Grover Cleveland Alexander, which played for a Chicago team? (Bonus points if you know which one.)

2. In 1952, a version of Grover Cleveland Alexander’s life story was the basis for the movie ‘‘The Winning Team,’’ starring Ronald Reagan as Alexander. Reagan, better known for his role in ‘‘Bedtime for Bonzo,’’ was a sports announcer for WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa, during the 1930s. He would call baseball games re-created from a telegraph operator, who was transcribing plays sent by Morse code. Which team’s game did Reagan recreate?

a. Chicago Cubs

b. Chicago White Sox

c. Iowa Cubs

d. Dubuque Dumpsters

3. Speaking of great TV theme songs, there were several memes circulating that George Jetson (of ‘‘The Jetsons’’) was born on July 31, 2022. His son, Elroy, is still to be born. Let’s just say Elroy was named after a baseball player. Which of these is a possibility?

a. Calvin Pickering

b. Satchel Paige

c. Roy Face

d. Roy Hobbs

4. ‘‘The Jetsons’’ were TV’s opposite of ‘‘The Flintstones’’ — ‘‘the modern Stone Age family.’’ The opening theme, which has become a jazz standard, was written by Hoyt Curtin. Which of these ‘‘Hoyts’’ played for a Chicago team?

a. Waite Hoyt

b. Hoyt Wilhelm

c. LaMarr Hoyt

d. James Hoyt

5. ‘‘The Greatest American Hero’’ was not a great TV show, but it did have a pretty great theme: ‘‘Believe It or Not,’’ performed by Joey Scarbury and later by George Costanza on ‘‘Seinfeld.’’ Which of the following from each Chicago team’s first 100 games should you believe (a fact) or not (fake news)?

a. Nico Hoerner and Luis Robert each had 67 singles.

b. Nick Madrigal was 0-for-23 with runners in scoring position.

c. Leury Garcia had seven doubles and seven walks.

d. Dylan Cease allowed 30 fewer earned runs than Lucas Giolito.

6. The opening theme to ‘‘The Sopranos’’ set a perfect tone for one of the great shows of all time. The theme was performed by Alabama 3. Which three of these players were born in Mobile, Alabama?

a. Ozzie Smith

b. Tim Anderson

c. Willie Mays

d. Willie McCovey

7. Schlemiel (‘‘a habitual bungler’’), schlemazel (‘‘an extremely unlucky or inept person’’), Hasenpfeffer (‘‘rabbit stew’’) Incorporated were lyrics from the ‘‘Laverne & Shirley’’ theme sung by one-hit wonder Cyndi Grecco. Which of these pitchers also had just one hit in their White Sox careers?

a. Orlando Hernandez

b. Lance Lynn

c. Jake Peavy

d. They each did

8. It takes 94 seconds for Marge to check out her groceries and land on the couch with the rest of the family on ‘‘The Simpsons.’’ Danny Elfman wrote this wonderful theme. Which of these players did not appear in this iconic series?

a. Wade Boggs

b. Ken Griffey Jr.

c. Ozzie Smith

d. Barry Bonds

9. It seems appropriate that I end this quiz with the problem I have each week in securing a theme: ‘‘Mission: Impossible.’’ One of the most recognizable theme songs of all time was written by Lalo Schifrin, and it reached No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. One Chicago pitcher had a 20-victory season in 1968. Who was he?

a. Tommy John

b. Wilbur Wood

c. Ferguson Jenkins

d. Bill Hands


1. Augie Galan played infield and outfield for the Cubs in 1934-41, Kiki Cuyler played outfield for the Cubs in 1928-35 and Grover Cleveland ‘‘Pete’’ Alexander pitched for the Cubs in 1918-26.

2. Ronald Reagan did play-by-play for more than 600 Chicago Cubs games.

3. Calvin Elroy Pickering played 95 games in the majors, so I don’t think that is our guy. Leroy ‘‘Satchel’’ Paige was one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Roy Hobbs was ‘‘The Natural,’’ which made him fictional (as opposed to the real George Jetson). Elroy Face was a great reliever for the Pirates. He went 18-1 in 1959, including 3-0 against the Cubs. He’s our guy.

4. Believe it or not, they are all true facts.

5. James Hoyt played for the Astros, Cleveland, the Marlins and the Angels. LaMarr Hoyt pitched for the White Sox for six seasons. Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt never pitched for a Chicago team, but Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm pitched for both the White Sox and the Cubs.

6. Tim Anderson was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey are the Alabama 3 from Mobile.

7. They each did.

8. Barry Bonds, who is not in the Hall of Fame and was not on this Hall of Fame TV series.

9. Fergie Jenkins went 20-15 with a 2.63 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 308 innings pitched. Wow!

Be safe. Be healthy. Be back next week.

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