Category Archives: Baseball

Return to the ’80s Trivia – 4/27/21

rtt80s trivia

Question: What Yankees outfielder was cleared of animal cruelty charges, after Canadian officials decided he hadn’t intentionally beaned a seagull?


Last Question: What series aired episodes titled, It’s a Wonderful Job, Fetal Attraction, and I Am Curious…Maddie?

Answer: Moonlighting

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Return to the ’80s Trivia – 4/5/21

rtt80s trivia

Question: What Bloom County character dreamed of having an interspecies relationship with Diane Sawyer?


Last Question: What National League team posted the best overall record in baseball in 1981, but missed the playoffs thanks to the strike-spawned “split season”?

Answer: The Cincinnati Reds

The Reds finished the first half of the season in second place with a record of 35-21, just one-half game behind the eventual World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, and one-and-a-half games behind the Houston Astros in the second half, in which the Reds were 31-21, good for second place, again.

1981 Reds

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Return to the ’80s Trivia – 4/2/21

rtt80s trivia

Question: What National League team posted the best overall record in baseball in 1981, but missed the playoffs thanks to the strike-spawned “split season”?


Last Question: What miniseries was largely set at Drogheda, a sheep station in the Aussie Outback?

Answer: The Thorn Birds
This miniseries aired 38 years ago this week (1983)

Tweet of the Day: Back to the Future

Here is an awesome Tweet from the official Back to the Future. Thanks to my friend Jim for sending this my way! For those of you who don’t follow baseball, last night, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908. This was predicted in Back to the Future Part II. The only problem is that this took place in 2015 and not 2016. But this discrepancy is explained here. Congratulations to the Cubbies!

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Remember That Song: 9/3/15

Can you name the artist and song:

You played dead, but you never bled
Instead you laid still in the grass all coiled up and hissin’


Last Song: “Let’s Go Mets” (1986)

Great job Andy (@andytorah)!!!

This is actually a pretty good, rockin’ song. And look for the Joe Piscopo cameo.

We’ve got the teamwork
To make a dream work, let’s go

Big League Chew

“You’re in the big leagues when you’re into Big League Chew!”

Ah, the athelete’s answer to candy cigarettes – Big League Chew! Now that baseball season has kicked into full gear, it brings back memories of “dipping” (with gum instead of real chewing tobacco). Oh, who am I kidding? I very rarely got to have any Big League Chew. I was never allowed to have gum unless it was sugar free. I didn’t get to have Big League Chew. I didn’t get to have Bubble Yum. I didn’t get to have Hubba Bubba. But, you know what else I didn’t get? Cavities!! Yes, my teeth to this day, are cavity free.
But, I did feel envious of my friends that got to have Big League Chew. It was so different. Instead of unwrapping a square or rectangular shaped piece of gum, you got to open a pouch, and take out as much shredded gum as you wanted.

Big League Chew was invented by Rob Nelson and Jim Bouton. Jim Bouton was a good pitcher for the New York Yankees in the early to mid ’60s. He developed arm troubles so his career dwindled. He is best known for the book he wrote, called Ball Four. In the book, Bouton wrote about his baseball career. It was unique because it was basically a “tell-all” book, which was unheard of at the time. He wrote about his exploits along with his fellow teammates, which did not go over to well with them. Nowadays, “tell-all” books are commonplace. You might say that Bouton was ahead of the curve (pun intended)!

In the late ’70s, Bouton was pitching in the minor leagues. The following is from Jim Bouton’s web site:

Sitting in the bullpen one night, Bouton watched his much younger teammates chewing tobacco. Fellow pitcher Rob Nelson said it was too bad they didn’t make gum that looked like chewing tobacco.

After the season ended Bouton called Nelson and offered to put up the money and help sell the idea. They made a great team. Bouton designed a pouch, Nelson made gum in a frying pan and they chopped it up, stuffed it in pouches and showed it to the major gum companies, who all said the same thing. “That’s interesting, but we don’t make anything like that.” Bouton and Nelson said, “Precisely!”

Finally, Amurol Products, a novelty gum company in Illinois, introduced Big League Chew in 1980. To make a long story short, in the first twelve months Amurol sold $18 million at wholesale. Big League Chew still sells today, having replaced chewing tobacco at many high schools and colleges.

Ronald Reagan – Summer of Strikes

President Reagan’s first few months in office was anything but uneventful. Immediately after taking office, hostages were freed from Iran. Then there was the assassination attempt. This was followed by 2 major labor strikes in the summer of ’81 – one of which, President Reagan got heavily involved in.

Major League Baseball Strike

First was the Major League Baseball strike, which began on June 12. This was the first baseball strike I remember. There had been a strike in 1972, but I was way too young to know about that one. The strike in the 1981 season was pretty significant, as it lasted almost 2 months. That’s a big chunk out of the season.

However, this strike did not affect my baseball viewing to badly. The Triple-A level did not go on strike. Being from Rhode Island, I got to see the Pawtucket Red Sox more often. I enjoyed watching them more than the Boston Red Sox, so it was pretty cool that I finally got to watch the Pawtucket Red Sox on television.

On July 31, 1981, a compromise was finally reached. Major League Baseball resumed on August 9 with the All-Star Game in Cleveland’s Municipal stadium. Regular season games started the next day.

Since there was such a big gap in the season, a unique situation occurred. The owners decided to split the 1981 season into two halves, with the first-place teams from each half in each division (or a wild card team if the same club won both halves) meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The four survivors would then move on to the two best-of-five League Championship Series. It was the first time that Major League Baseball used a split-season format since 1892.

This format ended up screwing the Cincinnati Reds (National League West) and St. Louis Cardinals (National League East) as each failed to make the playoffs. This was despite the fact that they had the two best full-season records in the National League that season (and would have won their divisions under normal circumstances). St. Louis made up for it the next season by going on to win the 1982 World Series.
Not only did the Cardinals and Reds not make the playoffs, with their good records, but the Kansas City Royals made the playoffs even though they had a losing record overall. Here are the post-season results:

In the first round, the New York Yankees beat the Milwaukee Brewers (3 games to 2), the Oakland Athletics swept the Kansas City Royals (3 games to 0), the Montreal Expos beat the Philadelphia Phillies (3 games to 2), and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros (3 games to 2).

In the League Championships, the Yankees swept the A’s (3 games to 0), and The Dodgers beat the Expos (3 games to 2).

And then the Dodgers won the World Series by beating the Yankees 4 games to 2.

Air Traffic Controllers’ Strike

As the Major League Baseball strike was coming to a conclusion, another one was starting up.
On August 3, 1981, federal air traffic controllers went on strike. They were seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. However, by the union declaring a strike, they were violating a law that banned strikes by government unions. Ronald Reagan declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Only 1,300 of the nearly 13,000 controllers returned to work. Reagan held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, where he stated that if the air traffic controllers “do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”

Even though members of President Reagan’s cabinet were worried about political backlash, Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order to return to work, busting the PATCO union. He banned them from federal service for life. According to Charles Craver, a labor law professor at George Washington University Law School, the move gave Americans a new view of Reagan, who “sent a message to the private employer community that it would be all right to go up against the unions”.

The FAA then had to hire and train enough air traffic controllers to replace those that had been fired. This was challenging because it normally took 3 years to train a new controller. The fired controllers were initially replaced with nonparticipating controllers, supervisors, staff personnel, some nonrated personnel, and in some cases by controllers transferred temporarily from other facilities. Some military controllers were also used until replacements could be trained. The FAA had initially claimed that staffing levels would be restored within two years; however, it would take closer to ten years before the overall staffing levels returned to normal. PATCO was decertified on October 22, 1981. Some former striking controllers were allowed to reapply after 1986 and were rehired; they and their replacements are now represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which was organized in 1987 and had no connection with PATCO.

The lifetime ban that President Reagan placed on the striking air traffic controllers was rescinded by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Here are Ronald Reagan’s Remarks and Question and Answer Session held on August 3, 1981.

Daily Trivia – 5/19/12

Question: What cola had the slogan, “All the sugar, twice the caffeine”?


Last Question: What public figure helped announce a 1988 Cubs game saying: “In a few months I’m going to be out of work and I thought I might as well audition”?

Answer: President Ronald Reagan (Great job Jim!)

Born in Tampico, Illinois and raised in Dixon, Ronald Reagan grew up a Chicago Cubs fan. Before he became an actor, Reagan was a radio sports broadcaster. In the 1930’s, he announced the University of Iowa’s home football games. Then he moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for the Chicago Cubs, creating play-by-play accounts of games that the station received by wire. Then while traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. And the rest is history.

1988 was quite the historical year for Wrigley Field, the home of the Cubs. It was the last Major League field to install lights. In August of 1988, the first night game was held at the field. On September 30, 1988, just a few months before President Reagan left office, he made his last stop at Wrigley Field. He threw out the first pitch, and spent some time in the broadcast booth alongside Harry Caray.

Daily Trivia – 5/18/12

Question: What public figure helped announce a 1988 Cubs game saying: “In a few months I’m going to be out of work and I thought I might as well audition”?


Last Question: What apocalyptic 1983 TV movie aired its second half commercial-free, when sponsors declined to run ads after the nuclear war?

Answer: The Day After

Ah, how many of us remember getting “The Talk” in the ’80s? No! Not that “talk”! Not the one that you learned about in NOVA: The Miracle of Life! I mean the talk about nuclear war. In 1983, we were in the middle of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. There had been a huge fear of nuclear war for decades, and that fear was at a fever pitch in the ’80s. Remember these signs:

We constatly felt like World War III could break out at any minute, and did not know what would happen if it did. Then we found out the a television movie was going to show what nuclear war could look like.
So on November 20, 1983, over 100 million of us were glued to our television sets to watch The Day After.

The movie starred Jason Robards as well as newcomers JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg, and John Lithgow. The story centered around citizens of Kansas City. The beginning of the movie introduced the characters and their backstories. Then the middle showed the nuclear disaster, and the rest of the movie showed the effects of the fallout.

According to Daily Press, President Reagan himself wrote in his diary that the film was “very effective and left me greatly depressed.” Historians have speculated that the film encouraged Reagan to redouble his push for a missile-defense program despite critics who derided the notion as “Star Wars.”

Here is the nuclear disaster part of the movie:

Luckily we never had to experience this in real life.