September is back-to-school time, when we answer questions such as “Why don’t we work on Labor Day?” I spent many years as a student and many more years teaching in high school and college before I found my true calling as a quizmaster.
I kind of look at our Saturdays together as a way of teaching and discussing baseball-related topics in a fun way. My goal is for you to learn something, remember someone and maybe win a bet in a bar (and you can thank the quizmaster for the drink).
I love September: The weather becomes more bearable, and my eyes start turning to postseason baseball. Hey, I just heard the school bell. It’s time for you to head to your classes. Have a good semester.
1. GEOGRAPHY 302: Each of these states hosts two MLB teams. Which state’s teams had the most wins by this season’s All-Star break?
2. GREAT BOOKS 106 (the number of home runs hit by Rick Monday with the Cubs): Here are four great baseball books that will be required for this course: “The Boys of Summer,” “Ball Four,” “The Summer Game” and “Moneyball.” Match the following four authors with their books:
a. Michael Lewis
b. Jim Bouton
c. Roger Kahn
d. Roger Angell
3. MATH 101: Here are three Hall of Fame pitchers who spent a part of their careers with the White Sox: Early Wynn, Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton. They combined for 940 wins in their careers. Your Math 101 question is: Combined, they had which?
a. More than 101 wins with the White Sox.
b. Fewer than 101 wins with the White Sox.
c. Exactly 101 wins with the White Sox.
4. ANATOMY 202: Each of these MLB players has a body part within their name. Which of them (if any), played for a Chicago team?
a. Tony Armas
b. Bartolo Colon
c. Jim Ray Hart
d. Elroy Face
e. Heine Manush
5. RECESS: Time for a break. Which of these former Chicago players played in the Little League World Series?
a. Todd Frazier
b. Anthony Rizzo
c. Carlton Fisk
d. Lance Lynn
6. GENEALOGY 222: Each of these “juniors” have played in the major leagues. Which of them (if any) had fathers who also played in the bigs?
a. Stephen Souza Jr., who played for the Cubs in 2020.
b. Jackie Bradley Jr., who currently plays for the Blue Jays.
c. Cal Ripken Jr., the great Orioles Hall of Famer.
d. Lance McCullers Jr., who pitches for the Astros.
7. METEOROLOGY: Here are five players who have a meteorological connection in their names. But do any have a major-league Chicago playing history on their résumé?
a. Chili Davis
b. Storm Davis
c. Chuck Rainey
d. Curt Flood
e. Josh Fogg
8. THEOLOGY CI: My question pertains to the Cardinals of St. Louis, not the Cardinals of Vatican City. Which of the following players played for the Cardinals, Cubs and White Sox?
a. Don Kessinger
b. Bobby Bonds
c. Steve Cishek
d. Edwin Jackson
9. HISTORY 444: No Cubs player has hit for the cycle since Mark Grace on May 9, 1993. The cycle is nothing more than an interesting anomaly that becomes more interesting when the player hits a “natural cycle,” meaning he hits a single, double, triple and home run in order. Here are the nine Cubs who have hit for the cycle. Name the only one who had a natural cycle.
a. Mark Grace
b. Andre Dawson
c. Ivan de Jesus
d. Randy Hundley
e. Billy Williams
f. Lee Walls
g. Roy Smalley
h. Babe Herman
i. Hack Wilson
Looking forward to hearing from you. If you have an opportunity, thank a teacher for her/his work.
1. The White Sox and Cubs were 81-103. The Guardians and Reds were 80-101. The Phillies and Pirates were 88-97.
2. “The Boys of Summer” was written by Roger Kahn. “Ball Four” was written by Jim Bouton. “The Summer Game” was written by Roger Angell. “Moneyball” was written by Michael Lewis. Extra credit reading: “In Scoring Position,” written by Bob Ryan and Bill Chuck.
3. Early Wynn had 300 wins, 64 for the Sox. Tom Seaver had 311 wins, 33 for the Sox. Steve Carlton had 329 wins, four for the Sox. They totaled 101 wins for the White Sox.
4. Bartolo Colon pitched for the White Sox in 2003 and 2009. None of the rest played for a Chicago team, including either Tony Armas Sr. or Jr. But I hope you caught all four body parts in their names: toe, knee, arm, ass.
5. Todd Frazier played for the 1998 Toms River East American Little League All-Star team. Frazier led the team to the finals, where they faced off against the Far East. In that game, Frazier went 4-for-4 with a home run and picked up the win as the team claimed the title. Lance Lynn was a key part of the 1999 Central Brownsburg Little League team. Lynn’s team came away as the champions of the Central Region but ultimately lost in pool play.
6. Lance McCullers, the elder, is the only one in this group. Cal Ripken’s dad managed the Orioles (and his son) but never played in the majors.
7. Chuck Rainey pitched for the Cubs in 1983 and part of 1984, and Josh Fogg pitched for the White Sox in 2001.
8. They all did. Kessinger played with the Cubs from 1964-75, 1976-77 with the Cardinals and 1977-79 with the White Sox. Bonds (the good one) played with the Cubs in 1981, 1980 with the Cardinals and 1978 with the White Sox. Cishek pitched with the Cubs in 2018-19, 2015 with the Cardinals and 2020 with the White Sox. Edwin Jackson (who has pitched for just about everyone) pitched with the Cubs in 2013-15, 2011 with the Cardinals and 2010-11 with the White Sox.
9. On July 17, 1966, Billy Williams hit for the natural cycle against the Cardinals.