Friday, April 1, 2016

Ship of Fools

What do all of the following players have in common? All were born on April 1st. Pretty much everything you read on the internet today will be total nonsense, but the following facts about each of these guys is 100% True.
"Le Grand Orange" Rusty Staub was in the bigs seemingly forever. As a pinch hitter he lasted well into the 1980s. In the photo above, he's still below the legal drinking age. He's one of only 4 guys to have a home run before turning 20 and after turning 40. Can you name the other three?

 When Curt Flood refused to be traded to the Phillies in 1969, Willie Montanez was the player that ended up taking his place. Willie was up in the big leagues for good in 1971, and responded with a 30 homer campaign. He had several good seasons in the majors, but none quite as good as his rookie year. He was part of several big trades in his career- the aforementioned Curt Flood trade sent Tim McCarver to Philly and Dick Allen to Saint Louis. In 1976 he played in 163 games, he was traded mid season from San Fran to Atlanta in a deal that included Darrell Evans. He was also part of the massive four team deal in 1978 that included Al Oliver, Bert Blyleven, and various other pieces that changed teams between Atlanta, the NY Mets, the Pirates, and the Texas Rangers. The Rangers later traded Montanez to San Diego for yet another Hall of Fame pitcher. Can you name him?
Phil Niekro is the winningest pitcher of the April Fools, and the only Hall of Famer (Though Staub may have a case with the veteran's committee some day). He won over 300 games, struck out over 3,000 batters, and pitched in more than 800 games for more than 5,400 innings. His signature pitch was the knuckleball, and he has more wins than any other pitcher with that specialty in their arsenal. Along with his brother Joe, they hold the record for most combined career wins by siblings. His 300th win was a shutout, which set another record. He was the oldest pitcher to record a shutout at the time. Do you know who broke that record?

 Ron Perranoski (not so sneakily wearing a Dodgers uniform under that magic marker) played for the Saint Paul Saints and the Minnesota Twins - a feat that is now quite commonplace, but at the time was much more rare. He has 4 World Series rings -- 2 as a player and 2 as a pitching coach -- all with the Dodgers. He led the American League in Saves in 1969 and 1970 as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
 He Struck out 6 batters in a row in 1966 - who has the most consecutive strikeouts, with 10?
 Rich Amaral was a pest to left handed pitching in 1993, his rookie season. By that time, Amaral was already 31 years old. His road to the majors was a long one, but his persistence paid off. He ended his playing career with nearly 500 major league hits, which is nothing to sneeze at for anyone, especially considering he had a late start.
 He was the PCL batting champ in 1991, which finally propelled him to the big leagues. He managed to play for parts of 10 seasons in the majors after that. 31 is old, but which rookie was the oldest?
 Frank Castillo came within a few inches of a no-hitter in 1995. Pitching for the Cubs against Saint Louis, Castillo had two outs in the ninth inning without surrendering a hit. Cardinals outfielder Bernard Gilkey hit a liner out towards Sammy Sosa. Despite a diving effort, the ball skipped away to the wall and ended up as a triple. Castillo managed to salvage the shutout, and the process reached a career high of 13 strikeouts. Gilkey's hit ruined Castillo's no-no -- which active player has broken up 3 no hitters with a 9th inning hit in his career?
 The Ax Man is still slinging the ol horsehide today- he signed a 2 year deal with Oakland this past offseason.
Back in 2011, John Axford tied for the league lead in saves with 46. He converted a total of 49 straight save opportunities from 2011 and into 2012. In 2015, Axford took over the closer role in Colorado, and ended up saving 25 games for the Rockies, his highest season total in 3 years. Axford is second all-time among Canadian born pitchers in saves. Who is number 1?
Fresh off some big time postseason heroics (and one flub he'd rather forget), Daniel Murphy took his talents to the nation's capital this offseason. His six consecutive postseason games with a home run set an MLB record, and also set a Mets team record for most homers over the course of an entire postseason. Murphy's new team hasn't had many chances at post-season glory, but which batter has the most homers in a postseason for Washington? 


  1. Great trivia questions, there. I'm tempted to look them up, but my lazy self will probably just wait and watch to see who answers them, LOL.

  2. Replies
    1. Arod for the hr question. Seaver 10 consecutive k's

    2. Yep- ARod is one of them, and Seaver is a Terrific answer.

  3. The only trivia I was pretty sure of right away was the Canadian Saves leader...Eric Gagne

    1. Gagne is the guy- Axford could possibly pass him by the end of his A's contract if he gets the closer role.