Sports Numbers You Need to Know

Simply the best.

Simply the best.

So in honor of Derek Jeter’s historic sendoff last night, I thought I would compile a quick list of these sports stats and numbers you often hear in bar conversations, on Sports Center, and even in rap songs (scroll to :46 for a Jay-Z reference to #5).

So here is a baker’s dozen (and just a FEW–bear with me, I’m writing this on a coaster), so please feel free to comment with other biggies.

I’m listing the numbers first for a little quiz fun, then scroll down for the answers.

Let’s go!

1 — 2

2 — 12th Man

3 — 60 feet, 6 inches

4 — 23

5 — Game 6

6 — 42

7 — 17-0

8 — 158.3

9 — 100

10 — 99

11 — 2,131

12 — 18

13 — Oh let’s go for the baker’s dozen: 1,098. Now you may scroll….


1 — Derek “Captain” Jeter, Yankees shortstop for 20 years, retiring after 2014.

2 — Slogan (with a super cool history) of Texas A&M and Seattle football (and a host of others), meaning the crowd’s noise and support as the additional team member to the 11 on the field.

3 — Distance from professional pitcher mound to home plate.

4 — Michael Jordan’s jersey number.

5 — Famous 1998 NBA Finals game between the Bulls and the Jazz; Bulls won 87–86, their sixth NBA Championship in eight years. It was also the final game with the Bulls for Jordan and coach Phil Jackson. It earned the highest TV ratings of an NBA game of all time. Jordan hit a jump shot with 5.6 seconds left to put the Bulls on top for good 87–86.

6 — Jackie Robinson’s jersey number – first African-American to play in Major League baseball.

7 — Final 1972 record of the Miami Dolphins, still the only fully undefeated NFL season.

8 — A “perfect” passer rating for a quarterback’s game. Stat is calculated using a player’s passing attempts, completions, yards, TDs and interceptions. NFL rates QBs from 0 to 158.3. College football uses a different formula and ranks from -731.6 to 1261.6. (Shrug.)

9 — Number of points Wilt Chamberlain scored in a single game in an NBA win over the Philadelphia Warriors, 169-147, on March 2, 1962. (Another key number: 20,000, the number of women he claims to have bedded.)

10 — Wayne Gretzky’s jersey number, the first ever to be retired league-wide by the NHL.

11 — Number of consecutive games played by the Oriole’s Cal Ripken to surpass Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record (2,130).

12 — Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 career major championships.

13 — Number of all-time wins by Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, before retiring in 2012 due to dementia. She is the only coach in NCAA history, and one of three college coaches overall, with at least 1,000 victories.


11 Sports Trivia Answers You Should Know

I have found a new reason for ladies to read my blog. But I warn you, it is not for the timid. It is not pretty. It involves excruciating tests of will. Men and women sacrificing one another for the trophy. Kinda like “The Hunger Games,” but with beer.

100 points yes, and sex with 20,000 women. Is there a Hall of Fame for that?

100 points yes, and sex with 20,000 women. Is there a Hall of Fame for that?


And last night my pal Kathy was the new host, so I showed up for moral support (and half-price wine til 8 pm).

I’ve been to a few of these quiz quells in my time, and I know three things: 1) Gender doesn’t matter; 2) Prizes–and PRIDE–are on the line, and 3) There are ALWAYS sports questions.

And sure enough, last night had plenty. So if you want to fare better at your next trivia game, or holiday party, here’s a sampling of sports questions/answers that are considered fairly common knowledge (or at least according to the writers at

I won’t lie, I think I got only about 65%, but I was by myself. (With half-price wine.)

OK here we go (answers below). Enjoy!

  1. How many teams play in the NFL?
  2. How many regular season games do NBA teams play?
  3. What sport has Cooperstown as its Hall of Fame home?
  4. What sporting event has the mint julep as its signature drink?
  5. In golf, what is a sharp bend in the fairway called?
  6. What was the site of the first Muhammad Ali/Joe Frasier fight?
  7. What athlete is the only one to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series?
  8. Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain scored his historic solo 100 points against what team, in one game, in 1962?
  9. The movie “National Velvet” with Elizabeth Taylor was about what sport?
  10. What athlete has been awarded the most MVPs of any sport?

And the bonus question, my favorite: What pro teams (we covered this for college teams a few months ago) of the four major male U.S. sports (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA) have mascots that DO NOT end in “s”?

(PS I paraphrased these questions and answers – they belong entirely to, and any typos are my own.)
******* Scroll down for answers *******


  1. 32
  2. 82
  3. Baseball
  4. Kentucky Derby
  5. “Dogleg”
  6. Madison Square Garden
  7. Deion Sanders
  8. New York Knicks
  9. Horseracing
  10. Wayne Gretzky with 9


NHL: Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning

NBA: Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat

MLB: Red Sox, Chicago White Sox

NFL: None

High 5 Headlines! Rose Wilts, Worries for Winston, and Puppy Snuggles Cost Me the BEST NFL GAME EVER!


Football, or fuzzy kisses? Chester is the clear winner, no OT.

1) It is a testament to the snuggliness of my dog (and maybe some wine) that I fell asleep with him on the couch last night and missed the end of an incredible NFL comeback. Denver visited Boston and brought along many storylines: two of the best quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squaring off again; Denver receiver Wes Welker returning to play his former Patriots for the first time, and coming off a concussion last week; and temperatures colder than polar bear poop. Denver led 24-0 at the half, but Tom Brady returned reborn in the second,  completing more than 80 percent of his passes to erase the deficit–that Manning shredded with one last touchdown, sending the game into OT. Boston won on a field goal 34-31. Brady inked his 38th career game with 3+ TD passes and no interceptions, the second-most all-time to–guess who–Peyton Manning (42).

2) By the way, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick isn’t the only coach in the family. His daughter Amanda, a Wesleyan University grad, is the head women’s lacrosse coach at Wesleyan, where Dad himself played lacrosse in the early 70s. Both Belichicks were captains of their teams as seniors.

3) That slapping sound you are hearing is Chicago NBA fans’ collective foreheads this week as Bulls star (aka Michael Jordan 2.0) Derrick Rose is once again out for the season, requiring surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. He missed last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Rose has been Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and an NBA All-Star, so his frustration must be only slightly worse than Adidas, who just launched his new shoe collection and “The Return of D Rose” campaign. (Or the frustration of Memphians like me, who had our national-runner-up 2008 season erased by the NCAA over allegations that Rose had someone else take his SATs for him. Sigh.) But Rose is only 25, having turned pro after just one year of college play (otherwise snarkily known as a “one and done”). Steve Nash (39, Lakers) and Manu Ginobli (36, San Antonio Spurs) are just a couple of superstar starters playing for super teams well into their 30s. And Chicago still has their NHL champion Blackhawks, currently among the top of the Western Conference.

4) The slapping sound you are still hearing is me. My forehead. Because it just couldn’t be a football season without a sexual assault case. Oh wait, my bad. Just before the season, a group of Vanderbilt players were indicted on counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery against a victim in a dorm room. (The case is ongoing and getting uglier). Now, Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston is at the center of a potential rape charge stemming from an encounter in December 2012. Details are still unclear, but we at least know the following: 1, The victim reported the event a year ago and asserts it was not consensual. 2, The case was only referred to the Florida State Attorney General two weeks ago. 3, There is a DNA evidence match confirmed. 4, Some affidavits support Winston; others support the alleged victim. And 5, Winston is a redshirt freshman leading the Seminoles to their first potential championship since 1999. Whatever the outcome, we can hope whoever is telling the truth will see justice, and that the athletes of a storied program won’t see their hard work overshadowed by scandal. But I have to wonder if either will happen.

5) OK, let’s end on a funny note. If you missed it last weekend (and I did because I haven’t found “Saturday Night Live” reliably funny since 1982. Yeah, I said it. Except for episodes with Justin Timberlake, also from Memphis. Naturally.), SNL really did come through with a parody of “The Red Zone” channel. Each Sunday, Red Zone allows fans to see any potential NFL scoring play–when the ball is within 20 yards of the goal line, aka “the red zone.” (I must admit I do have this channel.) But if you’re not into sports, you now have “The Rosé Zone“–a women’s channel with all the best (worst?) reality TV moments without the charity benefits and fashion shows. As one “viewer” puts it, “B*tches be crazy. But not all the time. Sometimes b*tches just be standin’ around and thinkin’.” <cut to Kim Kardashian staring vacantly>. “And mama ain’t about that.” Hilarious.

Word UP! The Infield Fly Rule

Cameo Word Up

(Some days I’m really glad I saved my old albums.)

“Yo, pretty ladies around the world, got a WEIRD thing to show you, so tell all the boys and girls…!”

Happy Friday, sports fans and wanna-bes! Trying a new feature this week: Word Up! in which I take sports rules and terms and explain them in plain English. This week, a classic, and a great smug-buster for any guy who challenges whether you know sports: baseball’s Infield Fly Rule.

Try to imagine, if you can ladies, this scenario that never, ever could possibly happen in a million years: You come home from a crap day at work, and find your husband snoring with his feet propped up on the coffee table. Again. Meanwhile, you go into the kitchen, slip in pee from the dog your daughter didn’t walk, and discover the sinkful of dirty dishes your son didn’t wash like you asked.

It’s tempting to go all “Cell Block Tango” on everyone. But then you realize they will think you are a crazy person, and you’ll feel guilty, then wind up doing it all yourself anyway… So you settle instead for dropping a frozen pizza and some paper plates in hubby’s lap, grabbing the keys and meeting the girls out for dinner, leaving the ingrates to fend for themselves.

See? In the end, by being patient and thinking big-picture, you reap the best rewards. The infield fly rule exists for much the same reason–so players will be patient and win the game fairly. It prevents greedy infielders from pretending to drop a pop fly when there are runners at first and second, or bases loaded, therefore giving the infielders more possible outs (a double or triple play) as opposed to only one (the batter with the pop fly if it were caught).

If the ump invokes the rule, the batter is out, but the other outs are negated. (That’s the simplest explanation; here’s a cool video description of the finer points of infield fly-situation plays if you want to know more.) The situation isn’t common, but grabs headlines when it does arise. Still, most athletes choosing to be honest and earn their win.

Unless you’re A-Rod, or Lance Armstrong or…nevermind, enjoy the video:

High Five! Mickelson, Video Game Scandal, and a Snake Surprise

Took a small break this week along the Chesapeake Bay—you know, the usual vacation activities: playing guitar, strolling craft shops, pulling up a crab trap to find a VERY LARGE SNAKE. As sports go, it’s kind of hard to top snake-wrangling, but here’s this week’s High Five anyway…

A trophy fit for a British Open champ--or a British duchess in her 11th hour of labor.

A trophy fit for a British Open champ–or a British duchess in her 11th hour of labor.

1) Playing what he called the best round of his career, lefty golfer Phil Mickelson won his first “Claret Jug” and British Open Championship (on the 20th try) Sunday in Gullane, Scotland, zipping from behind past names like Tiger Woods and Ernie Els to a 5-under-par 66. The win was particularly satisfying after last month’s crushing runner-up finish at the U.S. Open—for the sixth time.

2) Adding more joy to Chicago fans still excited over the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win, Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is reportedly finally 100% cleared to play after missing last season with a torn ACL. Rose says he feels completely healthy and even coach Tom Thibodeau says he will play “normal minutes” during pre-season.

3) Houston rookie outfielder Brandon Barnes hit for the “cycle” Friday night against the Seattle Mariners, becoming only the second player to do so this year (Mike Trout, Anaheim Angels, May 21, also against Seattle). The cycle occurs when a hitter achieves a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game. (The triple, actually, tends to be the toughest of the four to nail.) Unfortunately, the Astros still lost, 10-7.

4) As national college football “media days” take place, a huge spotlight is on…video games. More specifically, how EA Sports use images of actual college sports stars to benefit themselves and the NCAA—but not the players, who, being considered amateur college student-athletes, are not allowed to receive compensation. That’s a very simplified version of the ongoing “O’Bannon Case,” a class-action suit centering around former UCLA hoops star Ed O’Bannon. Plenty more to come on this, but here’s a great Sports Illustrated story explaining the history.

5) It’s not just male players and coaches who are making headlines lately around alleged bad behavior. Oakland University (Rochester, Mich.) women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis was fired in June after multiple player allegations that she harassed them about their eating habits, sexual lives, and religious beliefs. Her firing also occurred the same day school president Gary Russi–her husband—announced his retirement.

Earlier this year, former Baylor basketball star Britney Griner, now an openly gay WNBA Phoenix Mercury rookie, opened up about Baylor coaching staff pressure to keep her sexuality under wraps. And in April, Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for verbally and physically attacking players. Bottom line, we may not know what goes on behind locker room doors, but we can teach our kids that no one, no matter how famous, has a right to tell them how to live their lives.

“High Five”: A Jockey’s Triumph, Rainbow Gorillas, Goodbye to a Golf Great

I know I say this a lot, but the reason I write this meager little sports offering isn’t home runs and hockey goals, but the stories that stay with you, get you thinking. Or are just uber-cool. Here are five of the best headlines (out of dozens), and some other notes to know for the upcoming week:

1. Higher Power at the Preakness
Kentucky Derby winner “Orb” didn’t take the Preakness, but the real story Saturday was jockey Gary Stevens. Already a Hall-of-Famer, now-fifty-year-old Stevens retired in 2005 with debilitating knee pain and became a TV commentator. But he returned to the track in January this year after struggling with alcohol, depression, and a sense of loss that only racing could fill. Undergoing an intense physical and psychological rehabilitation program last year, he shed 25 pounds and embraced total sobriety. Riding Oxbow, Stevens led wire to wire for the win.

"Rudy" or "Rrrrow"? Either way, he will be missed.

“Rudy” or “Rrrrow!”? Either way, he will be missed.

2. Venturi Highway to Heaven
I admit I had never heard of Ken Venturi when it was announced the golfer had died of pneumonia complications at age 82. Great people die every day, and 82 is a pretty solid life.

But Venturi was the “Rudy” of golf (though quite a handsome devil). He overcame a severe stutter, suffered repeated just-this-close losses in big tournaments, struggled with lasting injuries from a car crash, and endured a years-long slump that would have most people typing up new resumes. Then in 1964, in 100-degree heat and with life-threatening dehydration, Venturi finally won his first major title at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., nearly collapsing in tears of joy and exhaustion. He became a longtime CBS golf analyst and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

PS–2013’s “Congressional” as most call it (officially the “AT&T National,” but I won’t say that until AT&T’s 4G isn’t full of it) with Tiger Woods and his frenemy Sergio Garcia starts June 27.  And on a lighter note, take a look at the video of Belgian golfer Nicolas Colsaerts at the weekend’s Volvo World Match Play, in which his ball lands in, let’s just say, a place that caused some “toilet humor.”

3. Baylor Stars Speak out on Gay Rights…and Wedding Gifts
After years of the speculation that—come on, people, we all do (out loud or in our own minds) about people with certain affectations–Baylor basketball phenom Brittney Griner has publicly confirmed she is a lesbian. Now an alum of the private Baptist school, the Phoenix Mercury WNBA rookie is openly discussing what she feels is the rainbow gorilla in the room of women’s college basketball—don’t ask, don’t tell, just rebound. She claims coaches and other advisors told her not to discuss her sexuality because it would hurt Baylor’s recruiting. More to come in the next ESPN the Magazine.   

Meanwhile, Baylor-star-turned-Redskins-QB Robert Griffin III is getting married July 6, and naturally some fans located his gift registry on Bed, Bath & Beyond. But when the 2013 Rookie of the Year Tweeted a picture of thanks—him standing in front of a mountain of opened boxes—detractors spoke then and did not hold their peace. Obviously a star athlete hardly needs help from the public to furnish a 10,000-square-foot house, so demands for him to return or donate the gifts to charity flooded his phone (as well as jokes—“put a better defense on the registry” said one Skins fan). Whatever he does, I personally want to thank him, at least, for his store choice. As a multi-platinum bridesmaid who once attended a bride registered at Tiffany, a $30 Lazy Susan option is always appreciated.

4. Jayhawks Hatch Fledgling High School Star
Whenever you doubt your kids will emulate you, take heart in this one. The #1 high school basketball recruit, Andrew Wiggins, announced last week he will attend Kansas. The 6-8 small forward (here I demonstrate “small forward” with awkward family photos) can play multiple positions and is as good a defender as offensive player. His father is former NBA player Michael Wiggins, and his mom is Canadian Olympic sprinter Marita Payne-Wiggins. They gave him great athletic genes, but they also ensure he maintains his 3.2 GPA at West Virginia’s Huntington Prep.

But, Wiggins is already a heavy favorite for the 2014 NBA Draft. Like, next year. Which is something to discuss with your kids as this year’s draft starts tomorrow. Should a player be allowed what they call a “One and Done?”—one year of college, then on to the pros? What is the proper balance between money and education? How do you prepare for a future if your original dream fails? Lebron James is doing just fine, and he didn’t go to college at all. But far more professional athletes find that dreams of fame and money lead to bankruptcy, addiction, and worse. Speaking of Lebron…

5. Playoffs Continue on Court, Ice
The Memphis Grizzlies/San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers/Miami Heat NBA matchups are now underway. Winners of the two series will meet for the finals beginning June 6. Sadly, my hometown Grizzlies (key names: Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph) were declawed Sunday 105-83 (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, once married to “Desperate Housewives’” Eva Longoria), but the teams meet again in the best-of-seven series on Tuesday. The Pacers (Roy Hibbert) will meet Lebron’s Miami Heat for Game 1 on Wednesday.

In hockey, the Chicago Blackhawks (Patrick Sharp – or as I call him, “Why Wasn’t HE Cast Cast as the New Superman?”) and the Detroit Red Wings (Henrik Zetterberg) series continues this week, along with:

  • Boston Bruins (David Krejci) vs. New York Rangers (Derick Brassard)
  • Current champions L.A. Kings (Mike Richards – also Hollywood worthy) vs. San Jose Sharks (Logan Couture)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (Evgeni Malkin) vs. Ottawa Senators (Sergei Gonchar)

Now go forth into this good week and conquer, ladies, knowing that your kids look to you, that no one can tell you how to live your life, and that you can conquer anything if you just Don’t. Give. Up.

A Tuesday High-Five

Due to Sunday’s Mother’s Day festivities (actually my weekly Once Upon a Time/Game of Thrones/Nurse Jackie/Veep wine-and-wings-fest), this report is a tad late. But my sloth is actually good because the Monday sports stars aligned so perfectly.

Let me explain in a new little ditty I’ll be trying from time to time: “High Five”—five quick sports news bits to take into the new week:

Slag-nificent Seven
It’s playoffs time for pro hockey and basketball. But even industry experts bemoan the lengthy “best-of-seven” format—until two major matchups come down to that very seventh game, and on the same Monday night. Sadly for me, New York blanked my Washington Capitals 5-0 in DC last night. But the “Boston Strong” helped the Bruins rally from three goals down and beat the Maple Leafs in OT for a second round berth.

Real Golfers of the PGA Tour
He’s a feisty Spaniard who has never won a major tournament, forced to live in the shadow of…him. The one who hurts the ones he loves, yet still is cheered. The one who wins. Well, Sunday, Sergio Garcia had had about enough of Tiger Woods, claiming Tiger purposely distracted him during a swing. Tiger’s reaction? I believe it went something like this: Ptttttt.

Tied in the last round of The Players tournament in Florida, the two sniped at and about each other both on and off camera. But Tiger won the coveted title while Sergio painfully imploded on the 17th and 18th holes, hitting his ball into the water three times. His undoing had many recalling the movie “Tin Cup” (one of my “Most Romantic Sports Movies” picks), in which former golf pro Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) has a similar meltdown while trying to regain his life and love (Rene Russo).

Dwyane Wade and his Victory Garden.

Dwyane Wade and his Victory Garden.

Flower Power
Like golf, the NBA is seeing a serious snark spike, particularly in the Miami Heat/Chicago Bulls playoff series. This week had fights, “flops” (fake falls), technical fouls, and an elegantly-dressed Heat fan using her hand to direct Chicago’s ejected Joakim Noah where to go (and it’s not the locker room).

But the story that raised the most eyebrows Wednesday was Miami player Dwyane Wade’s post-game press conference wardrobe choice—a floral print Versace jacket. Though it cost $2000, jacket comments including words like “technicolor” and “dreamcoat” were inevitable. But with the Heat leading the series 3-1 after last night, florals apparently score.

A Mound of Trouble
Baseball is not immune to verbal jabs—just not between players on the same team. But that’s exactly what happened Sunday, when legendary Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera “shushed” nearby teammate Joba Chamberlain as reporters questioned Rivera. Chamberlain responded that “nobody shushes him!” Of course reporters and bystanders heard and told of the exchange. The Yankees PR department quickly Tweeted out a picture of the two hugging, assuring fans the bro-mance was still on.

Now Serving…Kale. To Linebackers?
The Northwest has long been a haven for the health-minded. Now former Oregon football coach Chip Kelly is bringing this thinking to his new position as the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach. No more taco bars and “Fast Food Fridays” (a real thing) as the team begins preliminary training. Instead, only healthy proteins ands vegetables instead of red meat and donuts. Bold step for the city that invented the cheesesteak.

OK, go boldly into this new week. Keep in mind other upcoming sports events—the San Antonio/Golden State and Indiana/New York Knicks NBA series continue tonight, and Kentucky Derby winner Orb will run in the second race of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, Saturday.