Question: Who was the youngest player in the history of major league baseball? -- L.R., St. Pet ersburg, Fla.
Answer: Joe Nuxhall was a few weeks shy of his 16th birthday when he appeared in his first major league game, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds on June 10, 1944. He pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and five runs. He was sent to the minor leagues, but was called back to the majors in 1952.
Nuxhall pitched through the 1966 season, compiling a record of 135 wins and 117 losses. His lifetime batting average was .198. After retiring from baseball, he became a radio announcer for the Reds until 2004. His trademark closing was: "This is the Ol' Left-hander, rounding third and heading for home."
Q: Tin Lizzies and fliv vers are common nick names for the Ford Model T car. How did the names come about? -- E.C.S., Midland, Texas
A: I checked every encyclopedia and dictionary I have at my disposal. They all agree about the term "flivver": It's slang that refers any old and inexpensive automobile. The origin of the word is lost, and it went out of style in the late 1930s.
Now for "Tin Lizzie." One source said that the Tin Lizzie name comes from the common name of horses back in that era, Elizabeth, or a shortened version, Lizzie. The automobile, being made of metal, would be a tin Lizzie. Makes sense to me. If any reader has more on this, please let me know.
Q: When and where was the first rock concert held? -- E.R.T., Chicopee, Mass.
A: Most sources agree the first rock and roll concert took place when Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed hosted his Moondog Coronation Ball -- a live dance event -- at the Cleveland Arena on March 21, 1952. More than 20,000 people showed up to hear Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers and Tiny Grimes and the Rocking Highlanders. The event had to be canceled soon after it started because of the huge crowd, which was more than double the capacity of the venue.
Q: Jason Alexander played George Costanza on the TV comedy "Sein feld." What is his real name? Where was he born? -- J.H.C., Conway, N.H.
A: Born Jason Scott Greenspan on Sept. 23, 1959, in Newark, N.J., the future George Costanza took on the name Jason Alexander while only 15 years old. He adopted the name Alexander because it's his father's first name.
Q: I enjoy the work of actress Demi Moore. How did she come up with such an unusual first name? -- G.V., Redding, Calif.
A: There is some controversy regarding Moore's first name: Some sources say she was born Demetria, but others say she was born Demi. Moore was born with the last name Guynes in 1962 in Roswell, N.M.; her professional last name is from her first husband, Freddy Moore. She got her break in show business on "General Hospital" as Jackie Templeton in 1982.
Q: What happened to recording star Grace Slick? Where was she born? Is Grace Slick her real name? -- K.W., Bremen, Ind.
A: Grace Slick retired from rock and roll in 1989 and began to concentrate her talents on visual arts. Her artwork is shown in some of the top galleries around the world.
Slick was born Grace Barnett Wing on Oct. 30, 1939 in Evanston, Ill. While still a youngster, her family moved to California, where she attended high school. Grace went on to study art at two universities, one in New York and one in Florida. She returned to the Bay Area, where she became a model and married Jerry Slick. Together they formed a band, The Great Society. Shortly after that, in 1966, she joined Jefferson Airplane.
Q: When the president enters an area, the band plays "Hail to the Chief." What about the vice presi dent? Does he have an entrance song? -- O.R., Auburn, Maine
A: Yes, there is an entrance song for the vice president: "Hail, Columbia." Philip Phile composed the song in 1789 for George Washington's inauguration. Joseph Hopkinson wrote lyrics for the song in 1798. "Hail, Columbia" was the unofficial national anthem of the United States until it was replaced by "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1931.
Q: I think one of the great comedians of our time was Minnie Pearl. She often talked about Grinder's Switch, Tenn. Is that where she lived? Was she born there? -- N.B.H., Florence, Ariz.
A: Grinder's Switch is a railroad switch outside of Centerville, Tenn. Minnie Pearl was born Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon in Centerville. As a child, Cannon accompanied her father to the switch and its depot, where she began developing the Pearl character. She died in 1996 at age 83.
Q: What does CVS stand for in CVS/pharmacy? -- B.L., Lees port, Pa.
A: CVS stands for Consumer Value Stores. The first CVS store was opened in Lowell, Mass., in 1963. Today there are more than 7,500 stores.
Q: My family is from the coal region of Penn sylvania. A good friend of my grandfather's was a man named Peter Wyshn er. As a kid, Wyshner was involved in an accident and lost his right arm. That didn't stop him from playing baseball. As a matter of fact, he became a good semi-pro player and supposedly even went to the major league. Well, this is according to my grandfather. I can't find anything about him in any baseball encyclopedia. Is Granddad mistaken? -- H.F., Pottsville, Pa.
A: Peter Wyshner, who later changed his name to Peter Gray, was born March 6, 1915, in Nanticoke, Pa. Your grandfather is correct about the accident and the fact that he played semi-pro baseball.
In 1945, during World War II, the St. Louis Browns called him up to the major leagues. He played in 77 games, with 234 at-bats. He had a .218 batting average, 13 RBIs and five stolen bases. When the war ended, Gray was sent down by the Browns. He continued playing in the minors and played exhibition teams into the early 1950s. After hanging up his glove, he retired to his hometown. He died in 2002.
Q: On the list of col leges my daughter is con sidering is Bryn Mawr in Bryn Mawr, Pa. What does the name mean? -- W.T.R., Hay Springs, Neb.
A: Bryn Mawr is located about ten miles outside of Philadelphia. Originally, the town was known as Humphreysville. In 1869, the Pennsylvania Railroad arrived and the name of the town was changed to Bryn Mawr, which is Welsh and means "big hill."
The college was founded in 1885 to give women educational opportunities that were not being offered to them.
Q: Tony Curtis starred in an entertaining movie called "The Great Impos tor." I recall reading some time ago that the movie was based on a real-life impostor. Is this true? Who was the guy? -- M.U., Sidney, Ohio
A: Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. (1921-1982) was born in Lawrence, Mass. He masqueraded as many people, including a monk, a cancer researcher and even a prison warden. He joined the Army and Navy under assumed names, going AWOL both times. He was caught and sent to prison. He also served prison time for impersonating a schoolteacher. In 1960, Demara was given a small acting role in the horror film "The Hypnotic Eye," where he portrayed a hospital surgeon. Just before his death in 1982, he worked as a Baptist minister. As for the 1961 movie, "The Great Impostor," critics called it highly fictionalized.
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.