Thorn: Trivia Time Capsule, 1985

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on January 4, 2012:

In mid-1985, when I was a struggling baseball writer, someone at the NBC television network called to ask whether I might wish to develop a baseball-trivia segment for a new hour-long prime-time program, American Almanac, that would be hosted by Roger Mudd. I would be the interlocutor for the segment, the staffer said, asking questions of a range of “personalities,” ranging from Pete Rose and Pearl Bailey to David Eisenhower, Abigail Van Buren (“Dear Abby”), and Governor Mario Cuomo. Do I misremember a detail or three? Very likely. But I recall that  I was filmed in warm weather, posing the questions from a grandstand seat at Doubleday Field. My stumpers were then  put before the respondents in other locations, with the entirety coming together for airing as maybe a six-minute piece on October 21, 1985.

This last point, so specific, I obtained just now from, which offers no clip for viewing (I am thus spared) but does offer this uncorrected text, aiding my recall. I think they spelled my name correctly in the episode, but maybe not. If they went on to misspell Bobby Thomson’s name too, and Masanori Murakami’s, I was at least in good company.


Incredibly to me, I found on my hard drive–created in a CPM version of that old favorite word processing program WordStar–the 55 original trivia questions I had prepared for the segment (not all were used, clearly). I wondered  how many answers would still be correct. I have had to alter a few, but the vast majority held up. Some of the answers,  such as the very first one, changed because of recent research. Others changed simply because of the march of time had rendered the question absurd or the answer ambiguous.

Anyhow, I thought you might have some fun with this, a trivia quiz designed for average baseball fans.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 4, 2012. Last Updated: January 4, 2012.