Trivia, and sports trivia in particular, is something I have always enjoyed. I dont claim to be an expert but over the years have gotten calls at all times of the night from people wanting me to answer a question to settle a bet. Those people were normally about three sheets to the wind.
Some of my favorite sports trivia questions center around an athlete who was the only person to do something. Two are fairly easy, the remainder not so much. Check these out and see how you fare:
Who is the only athlete to play in a World Series game and the Masters? If you know this one, you have too much time on your hands. Are you familiar with the name Sam Byrd? Well, he is the man.
Byrd, who was born in Bremen, played Major League Baseball from 1929 to 1936 for the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds. His nickname was Babe Ruths legs because he would often replace the great Bambino as a pinch-runner at the end of games in the latter part of Ruths career. Byrd appeared in a game in the 1932 World Series as a defensive replacement for Ruth in the bottom of the ninth inning. He quit baseball in 1936 to pursue a golf career and played in the Masters five times. He had a third-place finish in 1941 and a fourth in 1942.
Next up, who is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play in a basketball Final Four? The answer is Terry Baker, Oregon States only winner of the famed statue. In winning the Heisman in 1962, he became the first player to claim that award west of Texas and the only one to win from the Pacific Northwest. He won 14 player of the year awards that season. He was a member of the Beavers Final Four team in 1963 that finished fourth, losing to Duke in the consolation game. In Oregon States 80-46 semifinal loss to Cincinnati, Baker went 0-for-9 from the field and 0-for-1 from the free-throw line.
Who is the only player to play on an NCAA, ABA and NBA championship team? That honor goes to Tom Thacker. He was on Cincinnatis 1961 and 1962 NCAA title teams, the Boston Celtics NBA championship squad in 1968 and the ABA champion Indiana Pacers in 1971. The 6-foot-1 native of Covington, Kentucky, was a consensus All-American in 1963. He and Baker played against each other in the Final Four that same year. That was the game in which Baker failed to score while Thacker had 13 points.
Now for the easy ones. Who is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play in the NBA? We should all know that distinction goes to Florida States Charlie Ward, who played high school sports at Central in Thomasville. He won the Heisman in 1993 while leading he Seminoles to a national championship. Ward, who also starred in basketball at Florida State, was a first-round draft choice of the New York Knicks and went on to play in the NBA for 12 seasons.
The only player to score an NFL touchdown and hit a Major League Baseball home run within a week is also the only man to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series, and he is Prime Time Deion Sanders. He homered for the New York Yankees against Seattle on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1989, and the following Sunday, Sept. 10, he scored a touchdown for the Atlanta Falcons against the Los Angeles Rams on a 68-yard punt return. He played in the World Series with the Braves in 1992 and won Super Bowls with Dallas and San Francisco.
You might recall that Sanders doused broadcaster Tim McCarver (four times) with water the night the Braves beat Pittsburgh to clinch a spot in the World Series in 1992 after McCarver had criticized Sanders for leaving the Braves during the baseball playoffs to play football.
In another note about Sanders, he suited up for the Falcons against Miami and the Braves against the Pirates on the same day.
And who is the only man to ever play in a Major League Baseball All-Star game and the NFLs Pro Bowl? Vincent Bo Jackson, who also won the Heisman Trophy in 1985. He was a baseball All-Star star in 1989 while playing for the Kansas City Royals and was MVP in the annual midsummer classic that year. Two years later, in 1991, he was named to the NFL Pro Bowl as a member of the Los Angeles Raiders. ESPN named Jackson the greatest athlete of all-time.
Two other trivia notes: Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn recorded 363 wins during his career. Know how many base hits he had? 363. ... Stan Musial recorded 3,630 hits during his career. He had 1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road.
Bobby Pope is the executive director of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org