Are you ready to check your work? Here are the answers to this week's trivia questions. We'll be back next week with another trio of quizzical queries for you, so bone up on your research and get ready to get them all next time around!
What pitcher holds the record for most strikeouts in the final MLB season of his career?
ANSWER: SANDY KOUFAX
To say Koufax retired at the top of his game would be a Hall of Fame-level understatement. The Dodgers legend struck out 317 batters in 1966, to help him attain a 27-9 record with a 1.73 ERA and his third Cy Young award in the final four years of his career. Koufax decided to retire due to arthritis in his pitching arm. One team doctor said of Koufax that "(he) pitches in extreme pain that can only be overcome by his motivational urge."
Can you name the pitcher whose only 20-win season was in his 18th and final big league campaign? In the last 50 years, he is the only player to retire immediately following a 20-win season.
ANSWER: MIKE MUSSINA
Mussina went 20-9 with a 3.38 ERA in 2008 (his age-39 season) and finished out the year with a bang. He started three times between September 18-28, allowing just one earned run over 17 IP, winning all three games to get to 20 victories for the season and 270 for his career. A few months later, he surprisingly announced his retirement rather than keep going to try and get to 300 wins, "I didn't want to go out with somebody telling me it was time to go, that I'm trying to find a job and I can't find a job. I never wanted to bounce around from one team to another, to keep playing at 41 or 42, trying to scratch out eight wins this year and 10 wins the next year. I don't want to do it that way. I've never wanted to do it that way."
In 1985, his age-26 season, he was on fire, finishing seventh in AL Cy Young voting thanks to 18 wins (including four shutouts). The New York Yankees traded for him in the offseason, but he never again threw a major league pitch. Who is this pitcher?
ANSWER: BRITT BURNS
The last three starts of Burns' career were ugly indeed, as he went 0-3 with a 13.91 ERA. Burns had suffered from nagging hip problems throughout his eight years in the majors, so New York knew there was risk involved with the deal. Still, Burns was ultimately diagnosed with a degenerative condition that, as Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said, "would do him an injustice to ask him to pitch this year inasmuch as it could have a serious effect on his ability to lead a normal life later on." After a major surgery and an brief 1990 attempt at a comeback in the minors, Burns realized he would never be able to overcome the pain and officially retired.