Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving, the holiday you both love and dread. Yes, you love to eat and eat and eat until you drift into a tryptophan coma, but it’s the awake time you dread. They’re all there. Every relative you avoid all year long, all in one room. Look, there’s Uncle Scott. Over there is Aunt Melissa. The cousins, Max and Minnie, are there too. OMG! What will I talk to them about?
The Quizmaster is here to help save the afternoon/evening more than the Butterball Hotline. Each week, the quiz provides you with knowledge and fun. This week, I’m suggesting not to talk about politics or religion. Talk about some of the meaningless topics you learn from the quiz. You will find your relatives entertained, distracted or bored enough to go and talk to someone else. I will enjoy my tofurkey knowing that I helped you this holiday. Now you enjoy the quiz.
1. Which of these Thanksgiving baseball names is false?
a. Turkey Stearnes
b. Pie Traynor
c. Frank ”Turkeyfoot” Brower
d. Yammy Trump
2. Nov. 11 was Singles Day in China. Singles Day is an unofficial Chinese holiday and shopping season that celebrates people who are not in relationships. In 2022, Amed Rosario led the majors with 134 singles. Since 2020, Trea Turner has led the majors with 307 singles. One batter led Chicago in singles in 2022 and also led in singles from 2020 to 2022. Who is he?
a. Tim Anderson
b. Ian Happ
c. Nico Hoerner
d. Jose Abreu
3. One of the great fielding center fielders of the last decade, Kevin Kiermaier, has a special relationship with Chicago. What is it?
a. Kiermaier’s older brother, Dan, is the head groundskeeper for the Cubs.
b. Kevin went to college in Chicago.
c. Kevin stole four bases in a game against the Sox, his career high.
d. Kevin hit a leadoff home run against the Cubs and another against the White Sox.
4. On Nov. 8, HBO celebrated its 50th anniversary. Last spring, their iconic show ”The Wire” celebrated its 20th anniversary. Which team(s) play their home games in the city where ”The Wire” takes place?
a. White Sox/Cubs
(Be a part of 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.)
5. Chicago’s own Murph was kind enough to contribute a terrific date to share: May 1, 1951. It has great symmetry (5/1/51), and it also offers an amazing piece of trivia (which I also love). On that date, the Yankees topped the Sox 8-3 at Comiskey Park. In that game, three future Hall of Famers hit home runs (one hit his first). Which three?
a. Yogi Berra
b. Minnie Minoso
c. Nellie Fox
d. Phil Rizzuto
e. Mickey Mantle
6. Regular reader Bill S. sent me the date Feb. 2, 1876, and asked me to use it in a question. This is a great one — and not just because it was the first day I wore long pants. What happened of significance on that date?
a. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was born.
b. The National League was born.
c. Charles Comiskey was born.
d. Orval Overall was born.
7. Jim A. was kind enough to suggest 1951 as the basis for a question, and I am grateful to respond. In 1951, who hit arguably the most famous regular-season homer of all time? It has become known as ”The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
a. Jonas Salk
b. Ralph Branca
c. Bobby Thomson
d. Edward Jenner
8. Regular Bill F. sent in 8/8/88 for a question. This was the date, as you might recall, that the baseball gods decided, ”Not quite yet.” That was the scheduled date for the first official Cubs night game at Wrigley Field. The next night, Bill got to sit in the seats of the Sun-Times’ own Toni Ginnetti because the game the previous night was rained out. When the Cubs took the field on the night of Aug. 9, they beat the New York Mets and the pitcher who ended his career with more victories than any other born and raised in Hawaii. Who was he?
a. Ron Darling
b. Sid Fernandez
c. Shane Victorino
d. Don Ho
9. Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote a very famous poem, wrote letters for 17 years campaigning to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. What poem did she write?
a. ”Take Me Out to the Ball Game”
b. ”Casey at the Bat”
c. ”Mary Had a Little Lamb”
d. ”You Can’t Kill an Oriole”
1. Turkey Stearnes and Pie Traynor are in the Hall of Fame. Frank Brower played in the 1920s, and his nickname was ”Turkeyfoot.”
2. Jose Abreu had 256 singles in 2020-22, and exactly half of them — 128 — came in 2022 to lead the White Sox and the Cubs. I hope the big guy can stay in Chicago.
3. Dan Kiermaier is the head groundskeeper for the Cubs. Perhaps his free-agent brother will join him in the Friendly Confines.
4. ”The Wire,” which I consider to be the greatest series to air on television, takes place in Baltimore. In one scene, Detective McNulty takes his kids to the market and quizzes them on the numbers of Orioles players as they stroll around. There is also a great Gus Triandos mention that is NSFW. Watch it for the first time or watch it again. It really holds up well.
5. Mike, this was great fun. In this game, Minnie Minoso hit his first homer as a White Sox. He had one in 1949 for the then-Indians. Yogi Berra hit his first homer of the season and the 76th of his career. Nellie Fox went 0-for-4. Phil Rizzuto went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Mickey Mantle homered off Randy Gumpert for his first career homer.
6. This was great Bill; I thank you for playing. According to baseball historian John Thorn, 2/2/1876 ”marks the beginning of the National League and thus Major League Baseball, both structurally and statistically.”
7. Jonas Salk and Edward Jenner each developed vaccines (shots) that were world-changers — polio and smallpox, respectively. Ralph Branca threw the pitch that Bobby Thomson, who played two seasons with Cubs, hit to win the pennant for the New York Giants. Thomson is the only Glaswegian to play more than 10 seasons in the majors. Thank you, Jim, for this fun suggestion.
8. ”El Sid,” Sid Fernandez, had 114 victories and 96 losses from 1983 through 1997. Thanks for that one, Bill.
9. Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote ”Mary Had a Little Lamb,” had her wish come true when President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. My feeling is he did it to stop the spam from Ms. Hale.
This Thanksgiving, I thank my editor Chris De Luca and the great Sun-Times sports design team who assemble this madness each week. And a very special thank you to each of you, who are so kind to read and play the quiz every Saturday.