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Three Jeopardy! contestants whiffed on a slam-dunk Hall of Fame answer

Jan 17, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

Roger Clemens Red Sox

In the interest of full disclosure before I jump into the meat of the subject and poke some fun at some Jeopardy! contestants, I consistently whiff on a good 99 percent of Jeopardy! clues. But when it’s Teen Jeopardy time, or if there’s a baseball category, I’m ready to risk it all on a Daily Double.

Recently, three Jeopardy! contestants ran into a question involving Roger Clemens:

354 wins did not overcome the controversy as this ex-Red Sox pitcher didn’t make the Hall of Fame cut in 2013

Gudrun, the first contestant to buzz in, guessed Pete Rose. Rose was neither a pitcher nor a member of the Red Sox, and he was — ahem — not on the ballot in 2013.

Stacy, buzzing in second, guessed Curt Schilling. All things considered, not a bad guess. Schilling was on the Red Sox, on the 2013 ballot, and occasionally controversial, but he retired with only 216 wins.

Sarah, last but not least, guessed Mark McGwire, which was only the second-worst guess of the three. McGwire was not a pitcher, though he was on the ballot and was, of course, involved in some controversy.

Trebek’s response to Sarah was a snide “heh, no”. Listen to it on an infinite loop at Deadspin. Make it your ringtone.

Trebek revealed the answer, Roger Clemens, to the row of contestants. He added, “Obviously, you’re hoping that baseball does not come up as a topic in the second round.” No word on if Trebek quit “once and for all, really“.

You can watch the clip on YouTube here.

  1. rje49 - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Yes, that was the Jeopardy show where actual Hall of Fame voters were contestants.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      They lacked the requisite moral indignation.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:20 AM


      Well said.

  2. historiophiliac - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Thanks for scrubbing the “Girls stumped by,” Bill.

    How much do you think it stung Clemens that Schilling and McGwire came to mind and he didn’t?

  3. musketmaniac - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    jeopardy is awesome. depending on the columns I am a genius or an idiot

  4. 4d3fect - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    It could be argued that very few people, even Jeopardy geniuses, care much about HOF votes.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:05 AM



  5. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    Alex Trebek: [ shakes head ] Let’s just go with Foreign Flicks for $800. [ Connery buzzes in. ]
    Sean Connery: Ursula Andress.
    Alex Trebek: What?
    Sean Connery: Ursula Andress, Catherine Deneuve, and Charo, twice.
    Alex Trebek: That’s Foreign Flicks, Mr. Connery. Foreign Flicks. Mr. Reeves, why don’t you pick?

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Those were the best.

      “Light urple?”

  6. peopletrains - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:40 PM


  7. km9000 - Jan 18, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    Garza and Price were texting each other about how Jeopardy is a man’s game.

    • paperlions - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      …and Jack Morris was just shaking his head while muttering something about them wanting to be in the locker rooms.

  8. Jack Marshall - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    Not at least knowing that Pete Rose isn’t a pitcher fails the basic cultural literacy minimum.

    • km9000 - Jan 18, 2014 at 3:04 AM

      The weird thing is, she knew Rose was a ballplayer, and associated him with Hall of Fame controversy. But she didn’t know he wasn’t a pitcher.

      Same with the McGwire guesser. As for the Schilling guesser, well, Clemens did go from one team to another after Boston.

  9. braxtonrob - Jan 18, 2014 at 3:02 AM

    I beg to differ, Bill. Although, technically, the Pete Rose guess was the worst, the McGwire guess seems only 3rd best to me.

    I want to take a moment to thank these contestants for enabling me to feel ‘smart’ at the end of the day.
    Thank you.

  10. schke - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    3 women didn’t know that. Is that supposed to be surprising? Like Alex, I chuckled, but c’mon now.

    /Didn’t mean for that to be sexist
    /Those gals know more than I do

    • poysine - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      Sexist remark.I am a woman and I bet I know more about baseball than ANY man.The Jeopardy question was ridiculously easy.

  11. paulhargis53 - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    An Album cover…..

    Anal bum cover.

    Suck it Trebek, suck it long, suck it hard.

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 18, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      You’re the expert.

  12. ningenito78 - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    That’s embarrassing.

  13. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Alex Trebek: I hate you! The answer was February. That’s the month that starts with Feb. It was last month!
    Sean Connery: Aha! A trick question!
    Alex Trebek: Yeah, it was a trick question, Mr. Connery. Why don’t you pick a category?
    Sean Connery: I’ve got to ask you about the Penis Mightier.
    Alex Trebek: What? No. No, no, that is The Pen is Mightier.
    Sean Connery: Gussy it up however you want, Trebek. What matters is does it work? Will it really mighty my penis, man?
    Alex Trebek: It’s not a product, Mr. Connery.
    Sean Connery: Because I’ve ordered devices like that before – wasted a pretty penny, I don’t mind telling you. And if The Penis Mightier works, I’ll order a dozen.
    Alex Trebek: It’s not a Penis Mightier, Mr. Connery. There’s no such thing!
    Nicholas Cage: Wait, wait, wait.. are you selling Penis Mightiers?
    Alex Trebek: No! No, I’m not.
    Sean Connery: Well, you’re sitting on a gold mine, Trebek!

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Thanks, silly.

  14. largebill - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Oddly, the one who ended up winning that day turned around and got an odd football question correct the next day.

  15. richwizl - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    More time watching baseball, less time reading at the library, people. Lol

  16. basedrum777 - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I was watching the show (yes I know I’m a nerd) and I didn’t get it b/c of how they phrased the question. (although its very possible none of the ladies would’ve gotten it otherwise). Clemens is not a redsox pitcher. He isn’t in the mind of many many people including most Yankees and most Redsox fans. He’s a Yankee. He won with the Yankees. Just saying I didn’t think of it b/c of that. I thought Schilling at first but knew it was wrong b/c that idiot never got to 300 wins.

    • whateveryousay77 - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Basedrum77 – apparently you would have missed it too considering Roger Clemens WAS IN FACT A BOSTON RED SOX PITCHER between 1984–1996

      • whateveryousay77 - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        Roger Clemens Career:
        Boston Red Sox (1984–1996)
        Toronto Blue Jays (1997–1998)
        New York Yankees (1999–2003)
        Houston Astros (2004–2006)
        New York Yankees (2007)

        So aside from his 5 years in NY, he was a

        9× All-Star (1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005)
        6× Cy Young Award winner (1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2004)
        1986 AL MVP
        1986 All-Star Game MVP

        2 World Series with NY yet he accomplished more with Boston and Houston, thus to REAL fans (not just of Boston and New York, but BASEBALL as a whole) HE WAS A BOSTON RED SOX PITCHER JUST AS MUCH IF NOT EVEN MORE THAN HE WAS IN NEW YORK.

      • km9000 - Jan 18, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        Obviously he made his name with the Sox, but I think a lot of us would immediately associate him with being a Yankee, because it’s most recent and he had those postseasons. Whenever he’s discussed on TV, his highlights are usually from that period.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 18, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        I immediately associate him with being a cheating dirtball.

        And if I have to attach a picture to the word “dirtball” it IS usually wearing a Yankee cap.

        So I see km’s point.

  17. musketmaniac - Jan 18, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    seriously, that’s a tough question for normal people. How bout a quantum physics question

  18. musketmaniac - Jan 18, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    does anyone have a quantum physics question to offer.

    • dannyboy1313 - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:42 PM

      how many quantum physicals do you have to have in order to reach your 404errorcare deductible?
      What if you can’t pee in all those cups?

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:57 PM


  19. nothanksimdriving123 - Jan 18, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Arguably worse was several years ago when the clue asked what the capital of Canada is, and none of the contestants even hit their buzzer. No guesses. Trebek somehow refrained from making any rude comments.

    • km9000 - Jan 18, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      But you get penalized for wrong guesses, so unless you’re pretty sure you should just pass.

      If the contestants on the HOF question took that route, Trebek probably would’ve just moved on.

  20. musketmaniac - Jan 18, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    I am the only person in my household that could answer that question.

    • gloccamorra - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Ottawa is your middle name, isn’t it?

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