As the unendurable monotony of the offseason ends, celebrate baseball’s return with mental calisthenics. Everyone knows it was former Atlanta Manager Dave Bristol who said, “Only trouble I ever had with chewing tobacco was that the orthodontist said my daughter was going to have to give it up because of her braces.” But do you know:
1. What pitcher in a 25-3 season had more complete games than home runs allowed?
2. What four players hit home runs in four decades?
3. What three players hit home runs as teenagers and after their 40th birthdays?
4. What two teams lost a World Series after being one strike away from winning?
5. Which National League team has won the most World Series games?
6. Which four players won multiple MVP awards between 1940 and 1949?
7. Since the Cy Young Award began in 1956, what player won 25 or more games three times but never won the award?
8. Which team has had the most Cy Young winners?
9. Which four National League pitchers have won two consecutive Cy Young Awards?
10. Who received the highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes in history?
11. What four former MVPs have won the Manager of the Year awards?
12. Of the 106 switch-hitters with at least 5,000 at bats, which two hit .300 or better from both sides?
13. What switch-hitter holds the record of hitting home runs from both sides in 13 games?
14. Which two Hall of Fame second basemen were on the woeful (66-96) 1964 Houston Colt .45s?
15. Who pitched no-hitters at ages 43 and 44?
16. What Hall of Famer participated in 12 double plays in 1929 playing right field?
17. Who led the majors in hits in the 1980s?
18. Who has the highest stolen base success percentage (minimum 500 attempts)?
19. Who holds the record for most shutouts (69) by a left-handed pitcher?
20. Who is the only reliever who had a season with more saves than baserunners allowed?
21. What two third basemen have hit 400 home runs while playing third base?
22. What was the last World Series in which a pitcher on each team pitched three complete games?
23. Which two all-time leaders in sacrifice flies were teammates in their prime years?
24. What pitchers threw the most one-hitters?
25. Which Minnesota Twin won batting titles in his first two full seasons?
26. Which Hall of Fame pitcher retired the side with nine pitches and nine strikes, once in each league?
27. Which two players hit more than 400 home runs and more than 150 triples?
28. Who hit more than 40 home runs and batted over .400 in the same season?
29. Among active players with 100 or more career home runs, which two have more walks than strikeouts?
30. What pair of teammates hit home runs in the same game the most times?
31. How many Hall of Fame pitchers did Joe DiMaggio face during his 56-game hitting streak?
32. Who played on the losing team while setting the record for most RBIs (12) in a seven-game World Series?
Bonus Question: What Hall of Famer said, “The Mets just had their first .500-or-better April since July of 1992”?
1. Ron Guidry (1978)
2. Ted Williams, Willie McCovey, Rickey Henderson, Omar Vizquel
3. Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub, Gary Sheffield
4. 1986 Red Sox, 2011 Rangers
5. Cardinals (56)
6. Stan Musial (1943, 1946, 1948), Joe DiMaggio (1941, 1947), Ted Williams (1946, 1949), Hal Newhouser (1944, 1945)
7. Juan Marichal
8. Dodgers (Don Newcombe, 1956; Don Drysdale, 1962; Sandy Koufax, 1963, 1965, 1966; Mike Marshall, 1974; Fernando Valenzuela, 1981; Orel Hershiser, 1988; Eric Gagne, 2003; Clayton Kershaw, 2011.)
9. Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum
10. Tom Seaver (98.84 in 1992)
11. Frank Robinson, Don Baylor, Joe Torre, Kirk Gibson
12. Frankie Frisch, Chipper Jones
13. Mark Teixeira
14. Nellie Fox, Joe Morgan
15. Nolan Ryan
16. Mel Ott
17. Robin Yount
18. Tim Raines
19. Eddie Plank
20. Dennis Eckersley (1990)
21. Mike Schmidt (509), Eddie Mathews (486)
22. 1968 (the Tigers’ Mickey Lolich, the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson)
23. Eddie Murray (128), Cal Ripken (127)
24. Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan (12)
25. Tony Oliva
26. Nolan Ryan
27. Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig
28. Rogers Hornsby (42 and .401 in 1922)
29. Albert Pujols, Todd Helton
30. Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews (75 times)
31. Four (Bob Feller twice, Hal Newhouser twice, Lefty Grove, Ted Lyons)
32. Bobby Richardson (1960 Yankees)
Bonus: Ralph Kiner, of course.
George Will’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.