Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Most Diabolical Hall of Fame Quiz Ever

I don't know if "diabolical" is the right word or not for this quiz. I've been working on it for a few weeks, and at different times it has seemed demented, ingenious, absurd, hilarious, or just plain sick. The one person I ran some of it by e-mailed me a few days later to call me a "sneaky son of a bitch" because an answer suddenly jumped into his head as he was driving down the highway. I took that as a compliment.

I'm offering a prize to the first person who comes up with the complete solution to this matching-game puzzle: signed copies of all three books available on this website. So please don't post answers as comments on this site, because you'll be helping other people solve it. Instead, e-mail your solution to me at gschechter@nycap.rr.com. I'll answer all e-mails and let you know how you did, and when the prize is awarded I'll post the solution on this site.

So here you go. There are three columns with 20 names apiece to befuddle you. The first column contains first names, nearly all of them the first name or nickname of a Hall of Famer. The second column contains surnames, and these are all names of Hall of Famers. The first thing you need to do is match these up to create full names. For instance, "Al" and "Kaline" would make a logical combination.

The tricky part is matching up those combined names with the names in the third column, which are all full names of Hall of Famers. The connections are not obvious--certainly not as obvious as the example that "Al Kaline" sounds like the quality of a battery, so if you saw "Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra" in the third column, you'd make the connection with that Hall of Fame battery. For a more typical example, one connection I failed to make was a Hall of Famer to go with "Smoky Ashburn". That sounds like a cigarette or cigar so I wanted to find the name of a brand, but until Jeff Kent is elected to the Hall of Fame I don't think there is one. So "Smoky Ashburn" will have to wait. Likewise, "Happy Day" would have worked if there was a Hall of Famer named Hawkins, since Edwin Hawkins originally recorded the song "Oh Happy Day". But no.

The connections can be made in all kinds of ways. Some refer to character or personality traits of the Hall of Famer in the third column. A lot of them involve wordplay or puns, either the sound of one of those names or the meaning of a word. Some involve a non-baseball association with the name, and others are baseball-related. A few of them might be considered unsavory, and I've been told that a couple of them are politically incorrect (though I resisted the temptation to identify Effa Manley as a "Pie Baker").

Without further ado, here are the names, in alphabetical order. Good luck--and above all have fun with it!

FIRST NAMES: Andy, Ban, Bid, Burleigh, Catfish, Curt, Dizzy, Early, Hack, Heinie, Josh, Juan, Luke, Manny, Raul, Rich, Robin, Ty, Waite, Warren

LAST NAMES: Banks, Bender, Brouthers, Chance, Combs, Feller, Fingers, Flick, Hunter, Keeler, Lemon, Mathewson, Nichols, Palmer, Ruffing, Slaughter, Speaker, Traynor, Wright, Wynn

Grover Cleveland Alexander
Walter Alston
Wade Boggs
Mordecai Brown
Ed Delahanty
Joe DiMaggio
Dennis Eckersley
Charlie Gehringer
Lefty Gomez
Harry Heilmann
Rogers Hornsby
Reggie Jackson
Tony Lazzeri
Rube Marquard
John McGraw
Gaylord Perry
Kirby Puckett
Branch Rickey
Albert Spalding
Don Sutton


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