Quiz – Modern Day Starting Pitchers (stumped)

2015 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta is one of the twelve pitchers below to record a certain single game pitching accomplishment in the past twenty seasons (since 1996). What is this unusual feat?

  1. Jake Arrieta
  2. John Danks
  3. Brian Anderson
  4. Kris Benson
  5. Jamey Wright
  6. Brian Moehler
  7. Ross Detwiler
  8. Aaron Laffey
  9. Francisco Cordova
  10. Glendon Rusch
  11. Kevin Millwood
  12. Esteban Loaiza

Hint #1: Roger Clemens is the only other Cy Young Award winner to accomplish this feat.
Hint #2: Since 1914, no pitcher has accomplished this feat on his birthday.

Looks like this one was a stumper. The key to the solution was observing that these twelve pitchers were born on only 6 dates, two pitchers per date. In fact, only these pitchers have started a game since 1996 in which the the two starters shared a common birth date (i.e. born same day and year). More after the jump.

Here is the complete list of games since 1914 in which the two starters shared a common birth date, with the pitchers from the quiz highlighted.

Birthday Year Starter Starter Games
16-Jan 1891 Marv Goodwin Ferdie Schupp 1917-08-18(1)
06-Mar 1986 Jake Arrieta Ross Detwiler 2012-06-24
15-Apr 1985 John Danks Aaron Laffey 2009-09-28
26-Apr 1972 Brian Anderson Francisco Cordova 1998-09-03 1999-09-14
31-Jul 1892 Art Nehf Erv Kantlehner 1915-09-24
04-Aug 1962 Roger Clemens John Farrell 1990-06-03 1990-06-08
11-Aug 1907 Bobo Newsom Gordon Rhodes 1934-05-18
01-Oct 1894 Ray Kolp Duster Mails 1922-05-07 1922-07-02
07-Oct 1939 John O’Donoghue Phil Ortega 1965-05-04
19-Oct 1965 Mike Gardiner Dave Haas 1992-09-21
07-Nov 1974 Kris Benson Glendon Rusch 2002-06-08 2003-07-09 2004-09-24
17-Nov 1933 Orlando Pena Dan Osinski 1963-05-26 1963-06-10
24-Nov 1967 Cal Eldred Ben McDonald 1992-09-13 1993-09-17 1994-06-22 1995-05-03
24-Dec 1974 Jamey Wright Kevin Millwood 2000-05-23 2005-06-16
31-Dec 1971 Brian Moehler Esteban Loaiza 1999-08-30 2000-05-30 2005-09-28

Thanks to Richard Chester for the idea for this quiz. Richard had read on another blog the assertion that one of these games had not occurred since 1992. That, of course, is not the case as, with more teams and games, this quirky event has become more commonplace in recent years.

When will the next of these games occur? Watch for Henderson Alvarez and Anthony DeSclafani to meet up sometime next season.

Leave a Reply

19 Comments on "Quiz – Modern Day Starting Pitchers (stumped)"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Complete game shutout and perfect day at the plate.


Can’t be a CG or Shutout, since Laffey doesn’t have any of those. Laffey and Detwiler are probably the two to look at, since they have the shortest careers.

And wow, Aaron Laffey is still in the majors? I remember being excited about him as an Indians prospect, but he flamed out just like every other soft-tossing lefty that’s come through our system in the past 16 years or so.

Richard Chester

And it says it is a pitching accomplishment.

Brendan Burke

Hint #2 is an interesting one. Maybe it’s something weird like comparing strikeouts to birthdays.

Richard Chester

Maybe it has to with some stat higher than 31.


Birthdays are definitely something too look at.


I was considering something with Age and Game Score, but I can’t find anything that would be nearly this exclusive. Age = GS gets you hundreds of games.

Richard Chester

Same story for Age = BF.


Nothing to do with Game Score or Batters Faced.

Is related to Age, in the way that birthdays are related to age.


Detweiler’s birthday is March 6, which is in Spring Training. His half birthday would therefore be September 6. He débuted on September 7th, and has made only one appearance on September 6th; he pitched the 7th that year, retiring the side on 15 pitches.

Danks has his birthday in April (as well as his MLB début) and has not pitched deep enough into October to reach his half birthday.

e pluribus munu
Wow. I usually don’t attempt the quizzes because I don’t know enough and I’m not a B-R subscriber, but because Aaron Laffey had so few games to review, I devoted time to this one. It seems to me you’d almost have to guess the answer in order to track down the first clue, although since the list is pretty limited, perhaps good familiarity with the players would have called up a picture of some facing one another. I’m not sure why this is so rare. It seems to me the odds are that this would happen about once every 500… Read more »
Richard Chester

The blog that I originally read was on the baseballgauge web-site. It mentioned that the Eldred-McDonald game listed above was the last such game. I did a little research and found the Gardiner-Haas game, also listed above. Doug has found the 6 others since then. I suspect he deliberately went back to only 1996 for the quiz because otherwise I might have come up with answer if the 4 names I mentioned in this blog appeared on the list. But then again I might not have.


[…] identifying a considerably larger number of such games, which were the subject of a January 2016 Quiz post. I’ve expanded that study since then and added a bit of narrative on the protagonists. So, if […]