Baseball quiz: 20-20 hindsight

Relax. You don’t need to score 20 runs to have success in our weekly baseball quiz.

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St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs

Dave Kingman hit three home runs in the Cubs’ 23-22 loss to the Phillies on May 17, 1979.

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On May 26, the White Sox lost 16-7, yet they still weren’t the Chicago team to allow the most runs that day. The Cubs were in Cincinnati and lost to the Reds (which is embarrassing enough) 20-5, the first time this century the Cubs allowed 20 runs in a game. 

The Cubs have allowed 20 or more runs 12 times in team history and, believe it or not, they are 1-11 in those games. Just about 100 years ago, August 25, 1922, to be exact, they beat the Phillies 26-23. In that game, the Cubs scored 10 runs in the second inning and 14 runs in the fourth and still had to hang on as the Phillies scored eight in the eighth and six in the ninth and ended the game with a strikeout with the bases loaded. The Phils got some measure of retribution against the Cubs on May 17, 1979, as they defeated the Cubs 23-22 in 10 innings despite three Dave Kingman homers and seven RBI from Bill Buckner. The Phillies were also the last team before this year to score 20 runs against the Cubs, winning 21-8 on July 3, 1999.

Let’s see how good your 20-20 hindsight is during this week’s quiz.

1. Two Cubs pitchers have had six 20-win seasons. Who are they?

a. Mordecai Brown  

b. Orval Overall

c. Fergie Jenkins  

d. Lon Warneke

2. Who was the last White Sox 20-game winner?

a. Jack McDowell 

b. LaMarr Hoyt

c. Mark Buehrle 

d. Esteban Loaiza

3. Since 1901, one Cubs pitcher had two seasons with 20-plus losses. Who is this ­unfortunate soul?

a. Larry Jackson 

b. Toothpick Sam Jones

c. Dick Ellsworth  

d. Bob Rush

4. Reader Peter Butler suggested I give a little love to former White Sox pitcher and knuckleballer Wilbur Wood, and I agree. Wood was a pitcher for the Red Sox and White Sox, and he was a workhorse. I’m going to make you work on this question. Please tell me if each of the following statements are true or false.

a. Wood was the last pitcher to make at least 45 starts in a season. 

b. Wood was the last pitcher to pitch at least 345 innings in a season.

c. On July 20, 1973, Wood started both ends of a doubleheader against the Yankees and won both.

5. What do Wilbur Wood, Walter Johnson and Phil Niekro have in common?

a. They are all Hall of Famers.

b. They each had four seasons of 300-plus innings pitched.

c. They each were known for their knuckleball.

d. They each had a season in which they won 20-plus games and lost 20-plus games.

6. Since 2010, who had more 20-plus homer seasons while playing for the White Sox or the Cubs?

a. Anthony Rizzo 

b. Jose Abreu 

c. The same

7. Who had more seasons with 20-plus saves while ­pitching for a Chicago team?

a. Lee Smith

b. Bobby Jenks

c. Bobby Thigpen

d. The same

8. The Cubs will face the Yankees next week. Alfonso ­Soriano played for both of those teams. From 2007 to ’12, who had more seasons with 20-plus homers, ­Soriano with the Cubs or Paul Konerko with the Sox?

a. Alfonso Soriano 

b. Paul Konerko 

c. The same

9. We recently lost a Goodfella, the prolific actor Ray Liotta. He was great in many films and TV shows, but it won’t surprise you that my favorite was his work in ‘‘Field of Dreams.’’ What role did Liotta play in that classic film?

a. Henry Hill

b. Shoeless Joe Jackson

c. Ray Kinsella

d. Moonlight Graham


1. Fergie and Brown are the six-timers. Warneke did it five times and Orval Overall (one of my favorite ­baseball names) twice.

2. Loaiza went 21-9 in 2003.

3. In 1962, Ellsworth was 9-20, and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he went 8-22 in 1966. All the rest lost 20 just once.

4. The first two are true, but the last one is true and false. Wood did indeed start both ends of the doubleheader. After Wood got no one out in the opener and the Sox lost 12-2, manager Chuck Tanner proved that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result. Wood started the nightcap, and he and the Sox lost 7-0.

5. Johnson and Niekro are enshrined in Cooperstown. Johnson had eight 300-plus IP seasons. Wood and Niekro were knuckleballers. In 1916, Johnson was 25-20. In 1973, Wood was 24-20. In 1979, Niekro was 21-20.

6. Since 2010, Rizzo had seven seasons with 20-plus homers, and so did Abreu.

7. They each had five seasons with 20-plus saves.

8. Soriano and Konerko each had seven seasons with 20-plus homers.

9. Liotta was wonderful as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

Shameless plug: My book with Bob Ryan, “In Scoring Position: 40 Years of a Baseball Love Affair,” will make a great gift for Father’s Day.

Write me at, and you might be a part of the quiz.

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