‘Jeopardy!’ contestant guesses that Babe Ruth broke baseball’s color barrier
Every so often, a video will go viral in baseball circles because a Jeopardy! contestant gave a horribly wrong answer to a question pertaining to the sport. For instance, in 2017, a contestant guessed that Hack Wilson hit 191 home runs in 1930. The clip got a Deadspin post and everyone had a laugh about it.
I have generally not a fan of shaming these contestants for their wildly wrong answers. Not everyone grew up being immersed in baseball lore, so I’m hesitant to poke fun at someone for this, even if, for example, the idea of a player hitting 191 home runs in one season is funny to think about.
With that being said, a contestant on Wednesday’s episode of Jeopardy! gave such a wrong answer to an easy baseball question that I actually feel comfortable having a laugh at her expense. In the category “Unique College Courses,” host Alex Trebek read the $1,000 clue: “One of the topics covered in a Major League Baseball course at Arizona State is this player who broke the color barrier in 1947.”
The contestant Xiaoke, wearing a USC sweatshirt, buzzed in and answered, “Who is Babe Ruth?” The wrong answer caused her to drop to negative $400. Her competitor, Marshall, could be seen shaking his head in disappointment. The other contestant, Nathaniel, correctly answered, “Who is Jackie Robinson?”
Roger Cormier of Baseball Prospectus has the clip:
The question is apropos as today is Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson’s legacy is one that transcends the sport as it had wide-reaching effects on the entire country over the course of decades. Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier is taught in classrooms. It’s referenced in all kinds of pop culture. You can’t miss it. So I’m with the crowd on this one, having a chuckle at Xiaoke’s expense.
Xiaoke, however, went on to win the game, as Cormier notes. So she ultimately had the last laugh.
Control hasn’t been Joe Kelly‘s forte over the course of his eight-year career. In 2016, for example, the right-hander issued 24 free passes in just 40 innings of work. Overall, he has unintentionally walked 267 batters in 676 2/3 innings.
It wasn’t surprising, then, to learn that Kelly accidentally broke the window of his own house while outside practicing throwing his change-up to a makeshift target. On her Instagram story posted on Wednesday, Kelly’s wife Ashley posted the video. She followed it up with a narrated video, captioned “Throwing Program is going well,” of her discovering the shattered window. Ashley said, “Wondering how quarantine is going? Joe is working on a change-up.” Then her phone camera pans to the window. She said, “Yeah, that’s cool. Rad.”
Kelly explained what he was throwing:
According to Baseball Savant, Kelly threw his change-up 12.6 percent of the time last season. Batters actually didn’t fare well against it, batting .241. That’s lower than batters’ aggregate performance against his four-seamer (.259) and his sinker (.368).