'Jeopardy' is doing their Teachers Tournament right now, so James Holzhauer has a few weeks off before he returns to the game show. In the meantime, he made an appearance on the MLB Network (in his Cubs jersey!) to talk about growing up in Naperville and even answered a few trivia questions. One tripped him up! See which one. You can also read more about his appearance on MLB below.
Here are a few takeaways from the Chicago Tribune:
1. Holzhauer eventually got the trivia question that appeared to stump him, but it was a rough ride, so to speak.
Host Brian Kenny presented Holzhauer with two Cubs trivia kernels in “Jeopardy!” fashion for the quiz-show sensation to answer in the form of a question.
The first, under the heading “Before & After,” he aced without a problem: Cubs player to lead MLB in slugging percentage in 2005 and Ryne Sandberg’s first Cubs manager.
The correct question from Holzhauer: What is Derrek Lee Elia? (Although Holzhauer pronounced “Elia” closer to “Ellia.”)
The second, under “Presidential Cubs,” proved trickier. The answer: One-time Cubs lefty named for the 26th president.
“I would think the answer would be Grover Cleveland Alexander, but Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president,” Holzhauer said. “The 26th was Teddy Roosevelt, so I’m not really sure what you’re going for there.”
Kenny said it was a recent Cubs lefty, which prompted Holzhauer to offer up Roosevelt Brown, who batted left and threw right.
Eventually, however, he came up withTed Lilly, whose full name it turns out is Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III.
2. Holzhauer owes baseball a debt. Not literally, of course.
Turns out bookmakers were slow to avail themselves of analytical data when calculating odds for MLB bets, so stat-heads like Holzhauer could crunch the numbers and make a killing for a time.
“When I got started, baseball was really the best game in town,” Holzhauer said. “(Oddsmakers) were making some big mistakes, especially in the futures markets, pricing the long shots incorrectly — and that was how I got a big enough bankroll to play with.”
Alas, the loopholes for baseball have closed since then, he said.
3. Chicago TV made Holzhauer who he is today.
“I like to say my whole life path was shaped by when I came home from school as a kid,” he told Kenny. “I had a couple hours with the TV when my dad was still at work.
“In Chicagoland they had afternoon ‘Jeopardy!’ and afternoon Cubs games when they were at home, so that was basically what I would watch and it’s what got me interested in ‘Jeopardy!’ and sports statistics at an early age.”