Baseball quiz: Has the quizmaster lost touch with reality?

I know it’s 2022, the year the Astros won the World Series not by cheating but by being the best team in baseball. While the post-postseason is in full swing, our weekly get-together, I’m happy to say, continues. I’m so appreciative that you take the time to write to me ([email protected]) to tell me you’re having fun.

Now, I want to include you in the quiz. Send me a date, or just a year, and I will try to craft a quiz question around it. It could be a birthdate, an anniversary or just a random date, and I will credit you in the quiz with your first name and last initial. Type “YEAR” in the subject line in your email, and let’s see what happens. I make no guarantees. OK, let’s get started.

1. On Nov. 12, 1944, the outstanding play-by-play announcer Al Michaels was born. While Michaels is now known primarily for his football work (and for making the “Miracle on Ice” call), he was one of the great baseball announcers, as well, as evidenced by being inducted into the Hall of Fame as the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award winner. Among other highlights of his career, Michaels was the announcer for what is known as the “Don Denkinger” game in the 1985 World Series. Who was Denkinger?

a. The Cardinals pitcher who came within an out of a no-hitter.

b. A Royals outfielder who dropped an easy fly ball.

c. The first-base umpire who blew a call.

d. A fan in the left-field bleachers who grabbed a ball in play.

2. On Nov. 12, 1958, the incredibly funny Megan Mullally was born. You know her from “Will & Grace,” “Parks & Recreation” and “Party Down” and for being married to Nick Offerman. That year also marked the first season of baseball in California for the San Francisco Giants (formerly the New York Giants) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers). Those Dodgers would play in the 1959 World Series against the White Sox. In 1958, a Chicago player won the MVP award. Who was he?

a. Nellie Fox

b. Luis Aparicio

c. Ernie Banks

d. Jungle Jim Rivera

3. On Nov. 12, 1877, Archibald Wright Graham was allegedly born (there is some discrepancy as to his actual year of birth). Graham played for the 1905 world champion New York Giants. He never came to the plate, and he never threw a pitch. His sole MLB experience consisted of the last two innings of one game. But, as a result, W.P. Kinsella built the character of ”Moonlight” Graham in the 1982 novel “Shoeless Joe” around him. The book later was adapted into the movie “Field of Dreams.” Who played Graham in that iconic movie?

a. Burt Lancaster

b. James Earl Jones

c. Kirk Douglas

d. Lee Marvin

4. On Nov. 12, 1945, the great musician Neil Young was born. Early next month, a new documentary about his 1972 album “Harvest” is set to be screened in cinemas. Harvest included “Heart of Gold.” If you listen to it carefully, you can hear background vocals by Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. Two of these Hall of Famers were not rookies in 1972. Who are they?

a. Goose Gossage

b. Mike Schmidt

c. Dave Winfield

d. Don Baylor

5. This past postseason, old friend Kyle Schwarber completed a feat that has never been done across numerous games. What did he do?

a. Get a hit in an AL and NL wild-card game/series, an AL and NL Division Series, an AL and NL Championship Series and a World Series.

b. Strike out in an AL and NL wild-card game/series, an AL and NL Division Series, an AL and NL Championship Series and a World Series.

c. Homer in an AL and NL wild-card game/series, an AL and NL Division Series, an AL and NL Championship Series and a World Series.

d. Make an error in an AL and NL wild-card game/series, an AL and NL Division Series, an AL and NL Championship Series and a World Series.

6. On Nov. 12, 1920, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected the first baseball commissioner by team owners in response to the Black Sox scandal. Landis also made a conscious effort to block MLB’s integration. His successor, who oversaw the initial days of integration with Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, served only one term. Who was he?

a. Ford Frick

b. Happy Chandler

c. Bart Giamatti

d. Fay Vincent

7. What year was this? Dusty Baker (who is finally a World Series-winning skipper) managed the Cubs. Nomar Garciaparra was on the team. So was Greg Maddux. Ozzie Guillen managed the White Sox. Frank Thomas was on the team. So was Mark Buehrle. The TV show “Lost” premiered. So did “House” and “Desperate Housewives.” I ask again: What year was this?

a. 2003

b. 2004

c. 2005

d. 2006

8. What year was this? “Mad About You” debuted. So did “Melrose Place.” “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men was the top single. “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred was a big hit. Speaking of big hits, Juan Gonzalez led the AL in homers, and Fred McGriff led the NL. Ryne Sandberg led the Cubs in homers, and George Bell led the White Sox. I ask again: What year was this?

a. 1989

b. 1990

c. 1991

d. 1992

9. Welcome, Pedro Grifol, to the White Sox and the quiz. I hope you will participate and learn more about Chicago baseball. Grifol is only 52. As @SoxNerd points out, discounting interims, the 25-year age decrease in back-to-back managerial hires is the largest in Sox history. Grifol was born on Nov. 28, 1969. Which of these is Pedro older or younger than?

a. The Mets’ first world championship

b. Pringles Potato Crisps

c. Hamburger Helper

d. Mariano Rivera


1. If we ever needed a replay review, it was in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Don Denkinger incorrectly called Jorge Orta safe to lead off the bottom of the ninth and enabled the Royals to snatch victory from defeat. They went on to win Games 6 and 7 against the Cardinals.

2. OK, this question was an excuse to write “Jungle Jim” Rivera. It was also a bit of a ruse because the correct answer is ”Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks, who hit .313 with 47 homers and 129 RBI.

3. In his final role, Burt Lancaster played the man who ultimately became the town doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota. In real life, Graham’s first stop was a residency at the Chicago Ear and Throat Hospital.

4. Schmidt and Winfield were the class of the rookies in 1973.

5. Schwarber has one homer in each of an AL and NL wild-card game/series, an ALDS and an ALCS. He has two homers in an NLDS and three in the World Series. He didn’t strike out in his one AL wild-card game.

6. Happy Chandler wrote in his autobiography: ”If the Lord made some people black, and some white, and some red or yellow, he must have had a pretty good reason. It isn’t my job to decide which colors can play big-league baseball. It is my job to see that the game is fairly played and that everybody has an equal chance. I think if I do that, I can face my Maker with a clear conscience.”

7. The Sox won the World Series. Unfortunately for Chicago fans, it was the Red Sox. The year was 2004.

8. Dennis Eckersley was the MVP and Cy Young winner in the AL, and Barry Bonds was the MVP and Greg Maddux the Cy Young winner in the NL in 1992.

9. The Mets won their first title on Oct. 16, 1969. Pringles were introduced in 1968. Hamburger Helper first arrived in 1971. Mariano Rivera was born on Nov. 29, 1969, one day after Grifol.

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