Starting off, there were three members of the set that did not have a question.
|#175 Alfonso Soriano|
Alfonso Soriano, the longest tenured MLB player on the Cubs simply had too many statistics filling up the back of his card to squeeze in a question or even a one to two line anecdote.
|#399 Dale Sveum|
Dale Sveum, the manager had one long blurb. Makes sense with the format of this card to not include a trivia question. Not even one referring to being shot by a Hall of Famer...
Welington Castillo, one of six (I think) catchers the Cubs used last year has his complete Major and Minor League batting record shown on his card and therefore had no room. The only explanation I can think of is leaving out the minor league information left too much room on the card. Although a blurb and a trivia question probably would have filled in the space just fine.
On to the trivia!
|#49 Brett Jackson|
"Which was the 1st team, 1961, to hit 4 straight HRS?"
A quick internet search shows that 4 staright HRs has been accomplished 7 time in MLB history. But the question asks for the first team, which happened in 1961. The chart in the link shows the Milwaukee Braves with Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas going deep in the 7th inning on June 8, 1961 against the Cincinnati Reds. The first two home runs were given up by Jim Maloney, with Marshall Bridges giving up the next two.
Cubs connection? Frank Thomas (home run #3) played for the Cubs in 1960-61 and 1966.
|#96 Jeff Samardzija|
"Who was the 1st player to play 9 positions in 1 game?"
A search turned up Bert Campaneris on September 8, 1965 against the California Angels as the answer. Interestingly enough, as the link points out, Campaneris not only played all 9 positions but when he pitched, he threw left handed to left handed batters and right handed to right handed batters. Say, what? This was the only time in his MLB career that Campaneris pitched. His inning:
Jose Cardenal - popped out to second base
Albie Pearson - walk
Jim Fregosi - walk
Joe Adcock - single, Pearson scores, Fregosi to second
Bobby Knoop - strikeout, Fregosi thrown out trying to steal 3rd for a strike'em out throw'em out doubleplay
One run, one hit, two walks. Not too bad for a non-pitcher.
This feat has since been matched three times. Cesar Tovar of the Twins did it in 1968. Scott Sheldon of the Rangers and Shane Halter of the Tigers both did it in 2000.
Cubs connection? This is kind of a stretch because all four instances happened in the American League. But the first batter Campaneris faced was future Cub Jose Cardenal who played for the Cubs from 1972-1977.
|#145 David DeJesus|
"Who was the last NL catcher to win a batting crown before 2012?
I thought this one would be pretty easy to track down. Find a list of batting champions and go back until I found a catcher. As I started going further and further down the list, the names became a little more obscure. Was I missing something? Was there some player I associated with a different position but was previously a catcher? Like a Craig Biggio or Mike Piazza? (Not winners, just examples of position switches).
So after another search, I found an article proclaiming 2012 NL Batting Crown winner Buster Posey to be the first in seven decades. This was probably a big deal and common knowledge when it happened just a few months ago but I didn't pay much attention to leaders and awards other than Darwin Barney's Gold Glove.
The answer? Ernie Lombardi of the Boston Braves in 1942. In my "research" I discovered Joe Mauer is the only catcher from the American League to win a batting crown and has done it three times. Impressive.
Cubs connection? None that I can find relating to Cubs catcher and batting titles. The Cubs have had seven batting crown winners in their history with the most recent being Derrek Lee in 2005. Other winners include Heinie Zimmerman, Phil Cavarretta, Billy Williams, Bill Madlock (twice) and Bill Buckner.
Thanks for playing! Tune in tomorrow for another rousing edition of Heritage Trivia!