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Trivia Answers Thursday

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Deacon Phillippe, a five-time twenty-game winner with the Pirates.
baseballhistorycomesalive.com

It seems that when I’m writing Trivia Tuesdays, I spend a lot of time counting. I want to be accurate and not make myself look like an idiot, but I was an English major in college and numbers are kind of not my thing, so there are a lot of checklists and the occasional Excel table involved. Math is hard, yo.

Thanks to SABR.org, Pirates Prospects and good ol’ Baseball Reference for help with this week’s quiz. Let’s see how we all did.

How many Pirates pitchers have had twenty-win seasons?

A. 27 B. 24 C. 18 D. 31

Answer: A. Or ... D

The answer is contingent on whether or not you throw in the history of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in with the Pirates. If you do, the answer is D. If you don’t, the answer is A. If you want to start a bar fight over whether or not a name change connotes a new team, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Of those, how many had multiple twenty-win seasons?

A. 14 B. 3 C. 12 D. 5

Answer: C

Again, we’re going by the Pirates, not the Alleghenys and the Pirates. The early part of the twentieth century saw the best Pirates’ multiple twenty-plus winners, including Hall of Famers Jack Chesbro, Vic Willis and Deacon Phillippe. Interestingly, while looking for pictures of Phillipe I came across a ton of pictures of actress Reese Witherspoon’s eldest son, who is also named Deacon Phillippe. Turns out that modern-day Deacon was named for the Bucs’ Deacon, courtesy of his dad and the original Deacon’s relative, actor Ryan Phillippe. Worlds collide.

On the Pirates’ collective World Series-winning teams, how many twenty-game winners were there?

A. 7 B. 6 C. 1 D. 3

Answer: D

Great pitching will definitely get a team to a World Series, but twenty-game winners are not a necessity. Only the 1909 and 1960 World Series champion Bucs had twenty-game winners. Howie Camnitz and Vic Willis were on the former team, while Vern Law was on the latter. For reference, the wins leader on the 1979 team was John Candelaria, who had ... 14.

Who was the last Pirates pitcher to have more than one twenty-win season?

A. Bob Friend B. Rip Sewell C. John Morrison D. Lee Meadows

Answer: B

Rip had back-to-back twenty-game-win seasons in 1943 and 1944. He spent all but one season with the Bucs. He started out with the Detroit Tigers, but he got into a fight with the Tigers’ star first baseman Hank Greenberg that involved each of them insulting the other’s heritage and turning ugly enough to have the police called in. Tigers manager Mickey Cochrane basically told him that he had thirty pitchers and one first baseman, so for him it was an easy choice about who to cut.

This Pirates pitcher had back to back twenty-win seasons, but only won 34 more games over the course of his MLB career:

A. Al Mamaux B. Jack Chesbro C. Al Leifield D. Carmen Hill

Answer: A

Mamaux compiled 42 wins in the 1915 and 1916 seasons for the Bucs, but was ineffective in his subsequent stints with the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) and Yankees. His main claim to fame was managing and playing for the minor league Newark Bears, including the 1932 team, which featured a load of future MLB players and is considered one of the best minor league teams ever. SABR.org has a really interesting article about him, including the fact that he was a vaudeville singer in the winters. Pay attention, Steven Brault.

See you next Tuesday!