Go Figure: Enjoy 8 sips from these cups of coffee

  • Cincinnati Reds third baseman Pete Rose relaxes with a cup of joe in 1978.

    Cincinnati Reds third baseman Pete Rose relaxes with a cup of joe in 1978. Associated Press

By Matt Baron
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 5/16/2020 9:37 PM

Have you had a cup of coffee today?

For most people, the question is straightforward. But in Major League Baseball parlance, the expression refers to players who are in the big leagues only long enough to have that metaphorical hot drink before they are sent back down to the minors.


Perhaps while sipping on your own cup of joe, see how well you fare with these trivia brainteasers. Most relate to players who had only brief stints with the Cubs or the White Sox.

Q1. On June 16, 1970, this player made his big league debut as the Cubs shortstop. He grounded out twice before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning. It was his only appearance for the Cubs before being traded in the off-season to the Houston Astros.

There, he led the National League in triples twice over the next three seasons. Who was it?

(Cesar Cedeno, Enos Cabell, Roger Metzger)

Q2. This "cup of coffee" comes with an asterisk: he was a lefty-hitting, lefty-throwing Cub first baseman whose only trip to the mound was mop-up duty in an Independence Day blowout loss to the Montreal Expos at Wrigley Field.

Of the four outs that he recorded, three came on strikeouts. Alas, he also surrendered three home runs -- and six runs overall, for a bloated 40.50 ERA. Who was it?

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(Larry Biittner, Mark Grace, Fred McGriff)

Q3. In 2002, a Cubs coach managed the team for one game (a 4-3 loss to the Braves) after Don Baylor was fired and before Bruce Kimm was named interim manager for the remainder of the season. Previously, in five full and three partial seasons as manager of the Mariners, Brewers and Marlins, this single-game skipper had never posted a winning record. Who was it?

Q4. In his only major league outing, on June 9, 2017, Seth Frankoff was tagged with the loss after a two-run, fifth-inning home run by Charlie Blackmon put the Colorado Rockies ahead of the Cubs, 4-3 -- a lead they never relinquished.

But during his two innings on the mound, Frankoff also struck out two players who have appeared in multiple All-Star Games -- shortstop Trevor Story and a fellow infielder who played in 37 games for the Cubs in 2011 before going on to great success with the Rockies and Yankees. Name him.

Q5. The White Sox bullpen coach for 19 years (1980-1987 and 1997-2007) was Art Kusnyer. During his four-game call-up as a White Sox rookie in 1970, he managed one single in 10 at bats. The hit came off the father of a future White Sox player whose 2016 retirement involved a flap over his 14-year-old son's clubhouse access. Can you name the MLB-playing father-and-son combination?


Q6. In 1983, their playoff season of "Winning Ugly," the White Sox had the services of this longtime star relief pitcher for all of two outs, during the season's second game.

A three-time All-Star pitcher, he was known to sport one of the bushiest beards in baseball. In 1982, in fact, he had worn out his welcome with the Cincinnati Reds by defying their clean-shaven mandate, prompting his trade to the White Sox in late August that season. Who was it?

(Jim Kern, Jeff Reardon, Rob Dibble)

Q7. On August 19, 1951, in one of the shortest cups of coffee in MLB annals, 3-foot-7 inch Eddie Gaedel became the shortest player in big-league history when he walked on four pitches for the St. Louis Browns. The Chicago-born Gaedel was the team's leadoff hitter in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. The gimmick, coordinated by Browns (and future White Sox) owner Bill Veeck, included an unusual number on Gaedel's uniform. What was it?

(One-eighth; one-half; three-sevenths)

Q8. Did you know that the character in the 1989 film "Field of Dreams" who appeared in one game, but never got up to bat, was based on an actual real-life person? Archibald "Moonlight" Graham played right field for the New York Giants on June 29, 1905.

Can you name the 24-year-old Giants pitcher who won that game over the Brooklyn Superbas? (Hint: it was the 110th of this Hall of Famer's eventual 373 career victories)


1. Roger Metzger; 2. Larry Biittner; 3. Rene Lachemann; 4. DJ LeMahieu; 5. Dave LaRoche and Adam LaRoche; 6. Jim Kern; 7. One-eighth; 8. Christy Mathewson

• Matt Baron is an Oak Park-based freelance writer. He supplements his baseball brainpower with Retrosheet.org for much of this research.


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