Go Figure: On the 27th anniversary of his farewell, looking back at Carlton Fisk
On June 28, 1993 -- exactly 27 years ago -- the White Sox released Carlton Fisk after he spent more than a dozen seasons as the team's catcher. To mark the occasion, we turn our "Go Figure" trivia lens to Fisk's illustrious career.
The Hall of Famer's Major League tenure spanned nearly a quarter-century and touched four decades. Even among casual fans, he is widely remembered for his iconic 12th inning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. That shot off the foul pole and over Fenway Park's fabled Green Monster propelled the Boston Red Sox to a decisive 7th game they would lose to the Cincinnati Reds.
But how familiar are you with other moments from Fisk's career? Take your best swing at these dozen questions.
Q1. Fisk's 2,226th, and final, game as a catcher came on June 22, 1993, six days before his release. The White Sox starting pitcher that evening was a mere 36 days old when Fisk made his MLB debut. Who was it?
(Alex Fernandez, Jason Bere, Wilson Alvarez)
Q2. The man who eventually broke Fisk's record for games caught was ejected in the first inning of Fisk's last game. Can you name this eventual Hall of Famer who was less than half Fisk's age at the time? Hint: he shared Fisk's "Pudge" nickname.
Q3. In the only full game that he played as a 21-year-old call-up to the Red Sox, Fisk caught a pitcher who was wrapping up a strong debut campaign with a 12-2 record. His season was good enough for second place in American League Rookie of the Year voting, behind future Fisk nemesis Lou Piniella. Who was it?
(Bill Lee, Mike Nagy, Ken Brett)
Q4. Fisk and his longtime rival, Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, both caught the same number of no-hitters during their careers. How many?
Q5. During the White Sox "Winning Ugly" season of 1983, Fisk finished 3rd in Most Valuable Player voting, the closest he came to winning the award. Finishing ahead of him were a pair of Oriole teammates, both of whom, like Fisk, had previously earned Rookie of the Year laurels. Can you name them?
Q6. Despite playing more years with the White Sox than the Red Sox, Fisk opted to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox cap. What percentage of his 2,499 career games came in a White Sox uniform?
(57%, 63%, 68%)
Q7. There have been only three other players with the first name "Carlton" in MLB history, and one player with "Carlton" as a last name, Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton. In 1986, at 41 years old, he started 10 games for the Sox. How many of those games did Fisk catch?
(0, 2, 7)
Q8. Name Steve Carlton's longtime batterymate whose record Fisk broke for career games as a catcher?
(Bob Boone, Tim McCarver, Tim Blackwell)
Q9. In his '72 Rookie of the Year season, Fisk led the American League in what offensive category?
(Doubles, Triples, Home Runs)
Q10. In his second-to-last career plate appearance, Fisk did something he hadn't done in five seasons. What was it?
(Tripled, sacrifice bunted, was intentionally walked)
Q11. Fisk's final big-league home run came on his first at bat of 1993 -- a solo home run against someone who later found his way to a Chicago baseball broadcast booth. Who was it?
(Jim Deshaies, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer)
Q12. In June 1974, Fisk suffered a major knee injury while defending home plate and getting bowled over by a player scoring the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning. The collision put Fisk out of action for 360 days. The next year, the player became an uncle to what future Chicago Cub player?
(Daryle Ward, Derrek Lee, Moises Alou)
1. Alex Fernandez; 2. Ivan Rodriguez; 3. Mike Nagy; 4. Zero -- the two White Sox no-hitters during Fisk's tenure (1986 & 1991) were both caught by Ron Karkovice; 5. Cal Ripken Jr. (1st in MVP voting) and Eddie Murray; 6. 57%; 7. Two, including a 15-inning game; 8. Bob Boone; 9. Triples; 10. Sacrifice bunted; 11. Jim Deshaies; 12. Derrek Lee (nephew of Leron Lee)
• Matt Baron is an Oak Park-based freelance writer. He supplements his baseball brainpower with Retrosheet.org for much of this research.