Tuesday, October 29

The Debunker: Did Bill Buckner's Error Cost the Red Sox the World Series?

by Ken Jennings

To true American sports fans, October means only one thing: Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season baseball’s mythic World Series! Jeopardy!’s Ken Jennings is from Seattle, where the baseball season never extends into October, so he has plenty of time this month to take a swing at four popular misconceptions about four of the league’s most storied ballplayers.

The Debunker: Did Bill Buckner’s Error Lose the 1986 World Series for the Red Sox?

It’s Exhibit A in any explication of “the Curse of the Bambino,” that 86-year period of futility and self-flagellation that defined being a Red Sox fan in the 20th century. The 1986 World Series against the Mets, as many fans remember it, was decided by first baseman Bill Buckner, who let an easy ground ball roll between his legs in the bottom of the tenth inning, costing his team the series. Never mind the guy’s twenty-year career, 2,715 hits, and 1980 National League batting title. He was forever the goat, the pariah, the guy who choked. Red Sox fans sent Buckner death threats and heckled him on the field until the team released him the following year.

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Tuesday, October 15

The Debunker: Did Roger Maris Get Asterisked?

by Ken Jennings

To true American sports fans, October means only one thing: Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season baseball’s mythic World Series! Jeopardy!’s Ken Jennings is from Seattle, where the baseball season never extends into October, so he has plenty of time this month to take a swing at four popular misconceptions about four of the league’s most storied ballplayers.

The Debunker: Did Roger Maris’s Home Run Record Have an Official Asterisk?

It’s the punctuation mark so epic that Billy Crystal made an HBO movie about it. When the Yankees’ Roger Maris was on pace to best Babe Ruth’s 34-year-old single-season home run record, traditionalists sniffed that Maris was taking advantage of a modern 162-game season to do what Ruth had done in 154.

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Tuesday, October 08

The Debunker: Who Was the First Black Major League Ballplayer?

by Ken Jennings

To true American sports fans, October means only one thing: Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season baseball’s mythic World Series! Jeopardy!’s Ken Jennings is from Seattle, where the baseball season never extends into October, so he has plenty of time this month to take a swing at four popular misconceptions about four of the league’s most storied ballplayers.

The Debunker: Was Jackie Robinson the First African-American in the Major Leagues?

It’s hard to overstate Jackie Robinson’s achievement—and grace under pressure—when he made his major league debut during the 1947 season. Yes, Robinson broke a well-established “color barrier” in baseball, winning Rookie of the Year honors while putting up with racial abuse from opponents and teammates alike. He was the only black player in baseball at the time the Dodgers called him up, and that was no accident: despite the talent obviously available in the Negro Leagues, the major league teams (and players, and fans) had a deeply engrained “whites only” view of the game. But often Robinson’s achievement is inadvertently embellished, to claim he was the first African American player ever to play in the majors. And that’s not true.

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Tuesday, October 01

The Debunker: Who Was The "Baby Ruth" Candy Bar Named After?

by Ken Jennings

To true American sports fans, October means only one thing: Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season baseball’s mythic World Series! Thanks to its century-plus of bizarre rules and colorful characters, the history of major league baseball is plagued with more myth and misinformation than any other sport. (For example: Abner Doubleday, despite what you’ve heard, had nothing to do with its invention.) Jeopardy!’s Ken Jennings is from Seattle, where the baseball season never extends into October, so he has plenty of time this month to take a swing at four popular misconceptions about four of the league’s most storied ballplayers.

The Debunker: The “Baby Ruth” Candy Bar Was Named After President Cleveland's Daughter Ruth.

The Baby Ruth is a peanut/caramel/nougat chocolate bar beloved by American heroes from Hellboy to, uh, Sloth from Goonies. Since 1921, when the Curtiss Candy Company retooled its flagship Kandy Kake bar into the modern Baby Ruth, the company has straight-facedly denied that the name had anything to do with New York Yankees slugger George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Instead they claim (and trivia fans have long parroted) that the confection is actually named for Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of president Grover Cleveland.

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Thursday, July 05

Baseball Weirdness: True Or Not?

by Sam Kemmis


It's Keep America Weird Week on Woot, and we ask: Is there anything weirder of more American than baseball? The game's 150-plus-years of history are positively packed with oddity, bizarreness, and good ol' fashioned incomprehensibility. 

But how well do you know your weird baseball history? Below are six eldritch baseball tales. Three are true, and three are wholly fabricated. Can you separate baseball fact from baseball fiction? (Answers in the link at the bottom)

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Thursday, June 14

 

Thursday, April 19

The Trivial Eye: Baseball Team Colors

by Jason Toon

If you're a baseball fan, you have no trouble identifying the cap emblems and jersey logos of Major League Baseball teams. But what about the team colors? Can you spot the subtle differences in the various shades of red and blue? Are you aware of the sometimes-esoteric third and fourth official colors of every team? I've used the "team color" info on Wikipedia, including the precise RGB codes, to put together these swatches for eight big-league teams. Can you name the teams that wear these colors?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

 

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