The Farmer’s Almanac defines “the dog days of summer” as a period of particularly hot and humid weather occurring during the summer months of July and August in the Northern Hemisphere. Well, that doesn’t sound fun. And to me, dogs are only fun.
My dog, Casey, is truly one of the joys of my life. I love him, and I hate hot and humid weather. So, there you go. Casey is by my side as I write quizzes, books and emails. (I will share any emails from you with him.) My dog was named for Casey Stengel and for the star of “Casey at the Bat.” I have had only two doggies in my life (I don’t call myself a “dog owner” since they own my heart), and I truly feel they have made me a better person. They say that a dog is a human’s best friend, and I don’t disagree.
However, I spend each day trying to be Casey’s best friend. If you have a dog or even know a dog, make sure the pooch has plenty of water on these hot days, give the dog a treat, tell the pup it’s from the quiz master and see if you get a quizzical look.
1. I need to give a loving remembrance to the first dog in our family, Mookie, named for the outfielder Mookie Wilson. Many years ago, I met Wilson and showed him some pictures of our wonderful Wheaton Terrier. He told me that he would frequently get mail from someone who named their pet after him and that he felt so honored to be a part of so many families. Wilson is a part of World Series lore, and he’s associated with which former Cub?
a. Anthony Rizzo
b. Bill Buckner
c. Davey Lopes
d. Greg Maddux
2. At the same time that Mookie was a part of our family, we had a wonderful cat named “Wilson.” It was then that I fully understood George Carlin’s great line, “ ‘Meow’ means ‘woof’ in cat.” A recent inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame went by the nickname of “Kitty.” Who is he?
a. David Ortiz
b. Jim Kaat
c. Minnie Miñoso
d. Tony Oliva
3. My first cat was named “Mickey Charles Mantle Chuck.” My dear friend Lorelei named her cat “Mickey Charles Mantle Chuck Jacob.” Mickey Mantle (the Yankee) first learned to play baseball at 319 S. Quincy St. in Commerce, Oklahoma. From the time he was 4, Mantle waited six afternoons a week for his father to come home from the coal mines at 4 p.m. to play baseball, and he learned very well. In his career, Mantle hit 72 of his 536 homers against the White Sox. He never played against the Cubs. What was Mantle’s dad’s name?
a. Snoop-Dog Mantle
b. Mutt Mantle
c. Schnauzer Mantle
d. Jock Mantle
4. Year after year, on the top-10 list of most popular dog names is “Max,” which happens to be my wife’s name (it’s really Maxine, but she hates that). One of the great pitchers in the game today is Max Scherzer, who has a non-debilitating condition called Heterochromia Iridis. His dog has it, as well. What is this?
b. Excessive drooling
c. Color blindness
d. Each eye is a different color
5. What makes Chicago fans great baseball fans is their respect for talent, no matter what team the opponent plays for. With that in mind, here’s a shout-out to Yadier Molina, who is Hall of Fame-bound (IMHO). Yadier is one of three Molina-catching brothers who have been inhabiting the majors since 1998. One of his brothers is Jose. What is the name of the third Molina brother?
a. Snoopy Molina
b. Bengie Molina
c. Odie Molina
d. Jock Molina
6. In Walnut Creek, California, Tony and Elaine La Russa have created a terrific organization to rescue dogs and cats before they run out of time at shelters. Its unique, dual mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People® is a model for many other organizations. What is the acronym for the establishment?
7. There was a wonderful time in my professional life when I worked for the Brockton Rox, an independent league team in Massachusetts. There’s a special kind of fun for the fans with independent baseball (I presume you’ve heard of the Savannah Bananas?), and I encourage you to enjoy the experience by seeing the Chicago Dogs, managed by Butch Hobson, who played eight years in the big leagues, mostly with the Red Sox. There are many doggies named “Butch,” but few go by Hobson’s given name, which is what?
a. Clell Lavern Hobson
b. Cletis Shirley Hobson
c. Bear Bryant Hobson
d. Dogg Snoop Hobson
8. “Blue” is another name that frequents the top 10 of popular dog names. The two baseball Blues that immediately came to me were Vida Blue and Blue Moon Odom, both of whom achieved fame pitching for the A’s in the early 1970s. One of them ended his career pitching for the White Sox. Which one?
a. Blue Moon Odom
b. Vida Blue
9. On the TV show “Frasier,” the well-trained Jack Russell Terrier was named “Eddie.” Which of the following Eddies is not a Hall of Famer?
a. Eddie Murray
b. Eddie Stanky
c. Eddie Mathews
d. Eddie Collins
1. Let me quote the great Vin Scully from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series: “So the winning run is at second base ... with two out ... three and two to Mookie Wilson. Little roller up along first ... BEHIND THE BAG! IT GETS THROUGH BUCKNER! HERE COMES KNIGHT, AND THE METS WIN IT!”
2. Jim “Kitty” Kaat won 16 consecutive Gold Gloves pitching for five teams (including the White Sox) over a 25-year big-league career. He also has been an outstanding broadcaster.
3. Mickey’s dad was Mutt Mantle.
4. The right-hander’s left eye is brown, and his right is blue. Heterochromia Iridis causes color differences in the iris (the colored part of the eye). Scherzer has adopted dogs with the same characteristic.
5. It wasn’t exactly the movie dog Benji, but Bengie Molina was close enough for me.
6. Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) can be found on the web at https://arflife.org/.
7. Clell Lavern Hobson played football for Bear Bryant at Alabama.
8. On July 28, 1976, while pitching for the White Sox, Blue Moon Odom combined with Francisco Barrios to no-hit the A’s. Odom allowed no hits but issued nine walks in five innings.
9. Eddie Stanky started his career with the Cubs and went on to manage the White Sox. That’s his consolation for not being in Cooperstown.
A quick astronomy lesson before departing today: This period of sweltering weather coincides with the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius is part of the Canis Majoris constellation, aka the “Greater Dog.” Not including our Sun, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky. Have a great week and be cool. Send questions for and about the quiz to me at email@example.com.
Check out Bill Chuck’s new book, ‘‘In Scoring Position: 40 Years of a Baseball Love Affair,’’ a love letter to the game of baseball from sports columnist Bob Ryan and our favorite baseball historian and statistician.