For Pete's Sake

KC area guy on ‘Jeopardy!’ gets a sports question right in his wheelhouse

Andy Hyland
Andy Hyland

Andy Hyland didn’t win when he appeared on “Jeopardy!” and in a way, maybe that’s a good thing.

You see, some may have thought things were rigged for Hyland, who lives in Mission. Although it was recorded on April 18, the episode featuring Hyland aired on Monday, and it had a Kansas City-specific question.

In a video clue, the three contestants were asked: “You can buy a replica home jersey of the 1942 Kansas City Monarchs at the museum honoring this organization that existed from from 1920 to 1960.” A man held a Monarchs jersey as he spoke.

Hyland buzzed in first and answered: “What is the Negro Leagues?”

This was the equivalent of an uncontested slam dunk for Hyland, but he also felt a bit of pressure.

“When it popped up, I saw the Monarchs jersey, and I knew I had to get this right,” Hyland said. “I knew that everyone I knew would let me know about it if I missed it.”

Hyland, who is an assistant director of strategic communications at the University of Kansas, is a softball umpire and he loves the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

“I’m a huge fan on that institution,” Hyland said. “I think it’s a treasure for our city and the country, really.”

Hyland, 34, has been watching “Jeopardy!” since he was in high school, so appearing on the show was like a thrill.

“It as just incredible. Everybody there is an absolutely professional. ... Alex Trebek was amazing,” Hyland said. “They focused on making the experience as great as it could be for us, the contestants. It was surreal to be there. To see the big board, and actually ring the buzzer and stand on the podium, it was amazing. I had a wonderful experience.”

Hyland said the response to his appearance on the iconic show has blown him away. Nearly everyone he knows has made a point to compliment him on his second-place finish.

“It was a dream,” Hyland said. “It really was. Just to go on that show is an honor. I’m not upset that I didn’t win. I would have liked to have won, but I was happy to be on.”

Hyland had a watch party Monday for the episode and took note of the reaction to the Negro Leagues question.

“People said he better get this one,” Hyland said.

He did.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff