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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….

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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.

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Good Guys Do Finish First. Even if Overshadowed by the Worst.

Beamer, Benz or Bentley? Mazda.

Beamer, Benz or Bentley? Mazda.

So this week the Baltimore Ravens finally released Ray Rice for literally knocking the flipflops off his fiancée in a casino elevator (and TMZ became a reputable news outlet).

This after months of other NFL suspensions for pot, PED’s, and a little Percocet promenade by a team owner. NOT to mention Roger Goodell et. al. imposing sentences for these infractions that would give you whiplash (2 games-4 games-6 games-8, what don’t fans appreciate? Arbitrary penalties, that’s what.)

So for some relief, I asked my Facebook friends to tell me their favorite football players—no, any athletes—who demonstrate the good, honest, charitable side of sports–and just human nature. And they delivered (pro wrestlers! Woot!).

By the way, I’m focusing only on the fellas here, not because women athletes don’t have legal issues (Hope Solo, come on, honey), but it’s the gentlemen who have dominated the police blotters of late.

So here, in no order, are just a FEW gallant guys who are using their athletics platform (or just plain old good hearts) to make the world a place of shiny, happy people holding hands, not punching women with them:

Grapplers Giving Back
The longtime WWE favorite “Mankind,” Mick Foley, now donates hours lobbying against sexual assault with the group RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). John Cena has granted more than 400 “wishes” for the Arizona Make-A-Wish Foundation, making him the current record holder.

Stop or I’ll Shaq!
Countless NBA players have or support charities—James, Jordan, Battier… But as the kid of a homicide detective, I find it quite touching that Shaquille O’Neal has applied to become a reserve police officer in Doral, Florida—a job he did once before in Miami 2005. That’s 7-1, 325 pounds of serving and protecting.

Feel-Good Football Players
I’ve written before about St. Louis’ Scott Wells and his three adopted Ugandan children. Now I have to give a nod to my Redskins, particularly Darrell Green, whose name was mentioned a LOT today. Not only an amazing athlete and Hall of Famer—maybe the best the nation’s capital has ever seen—but a true philanthropist, founding or supporting children’s charitable organizations, September 11 relief, education efforts and numerous boards and councils.

That said, I find running back Alfred Morris pretty awesome just for driving, still, his 1991 Mazda 626 that he bought for $2 from his pastor. OK it’s been fully restored, but it’s nice to see a player keepin’ it real.

Many friends like Holly Peterson Linder and Michelle Burstion Young pointed out not just one player but the entire Bengals organization not only for keeping defensive lineman Devon Still on the practice squad after being cut, but donating all proceeds from the sales of his jersey to pediatric cancer research. His daughter Leah is in Stage 4 with a 50-50 chance of survival. The good news is at this time his jersey is the highest selling Bengals jersey ever.

Don’t Mess With Widows
As for hockey, a classic name came up today. Mark Messier has served on a number of boards, including the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, and the Tomorrow’s Children Fund, as well as helped bring more ice rinks to the city. The NHL created the Mark Messier Leadership Award in his honor.

But most important, says my friend H. Paul Brandes, “Leading the Rangers to their only Stanley Cup in my lifetime should be considered a charitable act in and of itself.”

Children’s Home…Runs
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw received rousing votes today from Vin Scully cousin Patti Shea and others, and it’s easy to see why. He and wife Ellen raised money to build an orphanage in Zambia and he recently hosted a massive ping pong tournament on the field of Dodger stadium as an ongoing part of “Kershaw’s Challenge.” He has already received the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award for his humanitarian work – Cy Young is probably next, for, you know, like garden variety pitching and stuff.

The Phillies’ Chase Utley and wife Jennifer work closely with animal causes like the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and encourage people to adopt pets, not buy.

The Rays’ Evan Longoria is a downright superhero here when he saves a reporter from a stray ball.

I also still love how the Mets’ Daniel Murphy missed opening day this year for the birth of his son, despite some announcers’….different (dumbass) views of paternity leave and C-sections.

And finally, my friend Jeff Jackson sums it up: “Real athletes don’t tell everyone the good things they do, they just do it! Derek Jeter!”

Yes indeed, Shortstop, Number 2, Derek Jeter. Number 2.

PS – some of the honorable mentions today: Tiger Woods; Ole Miss’ Deterrian Shackelford; Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf; Brandon Marshall; Russell Wilson; Warrick Dunn; Caron Butler; Andrew Luck; Mary Lou Retton; Joe Torre; Albert Pujols; Serena Williams; Ryan Zimmermann; Ted Williams; Stan Musial; Mario Lemieux; Jacob Tamme; Brett Keisel; Kenny Perry; Vincent Lacavalier; Brooks Laich; Nicklas Backstrom; and duh…OVIE!

High Five Headlines: They Are the World, They Are the Winners

Last week saw a foreign invasion as we watched two major sports taken by players born beyond U.S. borders, and another sport with no Americans playing at all (yet). Your High Five Headlines from the best stories last week…

I didn't realize my 6th grade solar system was part of the World Cup.

Even my 6th grade solar system is going to the World Cup.

1) German Martin Kaymer won the U.S. Men’s Golf Open on Sunday. Although none of the “big” names like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson finished near the top, and Tiger Woods sat out the tourney with back issues, there was still excitement watching the 29-year-old winner lead start to finish. Zach Johnson also sunk a hole-in-one on the famous “Pinehurst (N.C.) No. 2” course’s ninth hole.

But the most excitement may lie with the pro ladies, who this weekend will play their Open at Pinehurst. It’s the first time the men and women have played two Opens consecutively on the same course—and not an easy one. Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the world’s most famous and difficult venues and the site of more single golf championships than other American course.

Better yet, this nod to the women, despite concerns over a second tournament so soon harming the greens, and well, money—the Women’s Open loses $4-5 million while the men’s Open is responsible for more than 90% of the USGA revenue—some of golf’s most influential fellas, like former USGA executive director David Fay, were behind the idea and the decision (thanks guys!). Look for Natalie Elbis (sort of the pin-up girl of golf) and 17-year-old sensation Lydia Ko to tee off on Thursday.

2) San Antonio gave a butt-whoopin’ clinic at home Sunday night, taking down the two-time champion Miami Heat for the 2014 NBA title, 104-87. It was the Spurs’ fifth championship, and a Father’s Day gift for Tim Duncan,38, who has played his entire career with the organization. He wandered the floor in disbelief, carrying his son and daughter as other Spurs like Manu Ginobili (Argentina) and Tony Parker (France) celebrated a team that claims players from seven foreign countries.

Meanwhile, know who Lebron James is? Now how about Kawhi Leonard? No? You will now. The quiet, multi-talented, awww-shucks team-player seemed stunned when awarded the MVP trophy James claimed last year, thanking the “guys behind him” for the “surreal” experience.

Ronaldo. Yup.

Ronaldo. Yup.


3) The World Cup continues today with, let’s face it, probably the only soccer game most of us will watch in four years, the U.S. vs. Ghana at 6 p.m. ET. I won’t pretend I can expound on soccer much, but perhaps the biggest storyline thus far is The Netherlands’ upset of reigning champion Spain, 5-1. And four of Holland’s goals came in the second half. Spain defeated Holland for the title four years ago—will revenge come this year?

A few other items to watch for:

  • Ronaldo. One word: Injured. (and Gorgeous. OK, two words.) How will the world’s best player fare? Not well, hopes America; Portugal is in our group.
  • Lionel Messi, the world’s other best player, scored a goal to help Argentina to a 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Look for him in the 173 Gatorade soccer commercials currently running.
  • World Cup Crowds: The costumes are genius, the team spirit electrifying, and maybe even more entertaining than the games.

4) Scottish tennis champion Andy Murray lost at the Aegon Championships after 19 unbeaten matches on grass. However, his loss has raised eyebrows not just because grass is his favorite surface, but he has a new coach, Amelie Mauresmo.

(Who happens to be a woman.) Yes, the French former Wimbledon champ herself was hired personally by Murray after his previous coach, legend Ivan Lendl, became weary of the travel. Naturally her presence is being heavily scrutinized. But it must be said Lendl was a notorious grump and an inexperienced coach—who then led Murray to the 2012 Olympic and 2013 Wimbledon titles.

5) Finally, Father’s Day was especially lucky for the dad below, who caught a baseball bare-handed, while holding his baby in the other hand, at the San Francisco-Colorado game.

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

chester

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.

10 Must-Know Sports Miracles (or Forget Slippers, Cinderella Wears a Sports Bra)

As I watched Florida Gulf Coast University celebrate advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, the first-ever 15-seed to do so, my buddy Jorge suggested I revisit some of sports’ other upsets, unusual runs, and astonishing accomplishments we never tire of seeing replayed because they remind us that anything is possible.

These are just a fraction of hundreds of heroic moments any sports fan should know—and I just stuck to the ones in my own lifetime!—but feel free to post suggestions of your own. Now, in no particular order…

Dolphins Defeat…Everyone
It’s my birthday this week, so let’s start with the second most awesome event of 1972. The Miami Dolphins achieved the only perfect NFL season thus far, beating the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII to finish 17-0.

ripken

Click here to see Ripken reach 2,131 consecutive games. (Courtside Tweets)

The Iron Man
Cal Ripken’s accolades would take up half of IBM’s servers, but the Baltimore Oriole infielder is best known for surpassing Lou Gehrig in consecutive games played (2,131 in 1995). He continued his streak to a voluntary end at 2,632 in 1998 and retired in 2001 a 19-time all-star.

That Slam Dunk…No, the Flu Game…No…His Return…No…
Like Ripken, it’s almost impossible to pick the best Michael Jordan moment. So I’ll go with what is simply called “Game 6.” Chicago was visiting the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals. Jordan hit a jump shot with five seconds left to put Chicago ahead 87-86, giving the Bulls their sixth title in eight years.

America’s Sweetheart Sticks it to the Competition
In Montreal 1976, Romanian Nadia Comăneci became the first woman ever to score a perfect 10 (uneven bars) in Olympic history and elevating women’s gymnastics to primetime.

Eight years later, Mary Lou Retton would trail another Romanian, Ecaterina Szabo, by .15 at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Retton (who was nursing a knee injury) nailed two perfect-10 vaults, becoming the first American to earn the all-around gold medal and Wheaties boxes everywhere.

The Chase for Home Run History
In 1961, Yankees right fielder Roger Maris surpassed Babe Ruth’s 1927 record of 60 season homers. But in 1998, for weeks, Americans watched in awe as not one but two hitters chased the record—and exceeded it: St. Louis’ Mark McGwire (70 HRs) followed by the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa (66). Sadly, steroid allegations against McGwire have since added a silent asterisk to the honor.

Bra-va!
You probably don’t remember what it was (Women’s World Cup Soccer Finals) when (1999) where (Rose Bowl) or even who played (U.S. and China), but you will recall Brandi Chastain’s topless knee slide across the turf after scoring the fifth shootout penalty kick to win the U.S. the title. Attired in exultation and a sports bra, Chastain became one of the most photographed female athletes in history.

Red Sox Redemption
Things were looking pretty great for Boston in 1918. They had won five baseball world titles. They had the best player, Babe Ruth, on the roster. Gin and jazz for everyone!

And then it all fell apart. The team sold Ruth to their arch-rival Yankees (where Ruth went on to post historic numbers—see Roger Maris, above). And so began the legendary “Curse of the Bambino”—an 86-year championship drought until 2004, when the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals, never trailing in the series, and even Yankee fans had to smile.

“Hail Flutie”
At only 5-10, Boston College’s Doug Flutie was not your usual quarterback. But he made an unusually successful career, winning the Heisman Trophy and playing pro ball in both the U.S. and Canada. His prowess was due in large part to his last-second “Hail Mary” pass to Gerard Phelan to beat defending-champion Miami, November 23, 1984. The play is considered perhaps the greatest in college sports history.

Sampras Survives
Tennis has many historic rivalries and matches—Billie Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in 1973’s “Battle of the Sexes”; Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert; John McEnroe and…everybody.

Maybe it’s not really a “miracle,” but the match that stands out to me is the 1995 Australian Open quarterfinal between Pete Sampras and Jim Courier. Sampras’ coach Tim Gullikson had collapsed at the tournament (and was later diagnosed with brain cancer). Shaken, Sampras openly wept as he played, but won. He lost in the finals to Andre Agassi, but all I remember is his determination to honor his friend (who passed away the following year).

miracel on ice

Click here to relive the miracle moment. (curtchaplin)

Miracle on Ice
Of all American sports celebrations, this moment stands skates above them all—and I think even Jordan and Ripken will agree. It was a Cold War, literally and figuratively, for the U.S. hockey team during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. They were inexperienced underdogs facing an indomitable Russian squad with a 21-game Olympic win streak and considered by far the best team in the world. Yet somehow coach Herb Brooks led this group of amateurs and college players to defeat the U.S.S.R. and then go on to win the gold medal against Finland. Disney’s “Miracle” is the movie adaptation.

So will FGCU be the next miracle to remember? We’ll find out Friday night, 10 p.m. ET on TBS.

Like Winning? LIKE our New Facebook Fan Page!!!

Felicia sporting hometown rally spirit.

Felicia sporting hometown rally spirit.

Welcome, new Facebook fans! (And if you are not yet, please LIKE our new fan page!) If you are visiting from Facebook, then the answer to my lovely designer Felicia’s trivia question is as follows:

 A “rally cap” is a cap worn inside-out or backwards (all sorts of goofy ways, really) to “rally” a losing baseball (usually) team to a win late in the game.  (A Missouri gal, Felicia proudly models that of the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals).There are many theories as to the rally cap’s origin, but the most popular is from the 1986 World Series between the Red Sox and the New York Mets, who were trailing in Game 6.As some Mets players tinkered with their caps, Boston first baseman Bill Buckner bungled an easy play, essentially allowing the Mets to win the game and the championship.

Now, ladies, you really, REALLY need to know this one: Buckner’s play (around 1:28 in this clip) is widely considered the worst baseball blunder of all time, despite his otherwise solid 21-year career. He was taunted and even received death threats from fans desperate for a title since losing Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. But in 2008, Buckner returned to Fenway Park for, at last, Boston’s World Series ceremonies and was welcomed with a lengthy standing ovation.

Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen purchased the “Buckner Ball” at a 1992 auction for $93,000. (Charlie himself had pro baseball aspirations–see my entry on Romantic Sports Movies for more….)

Did I mention to LIKE US??? Thank you!!!

Put Down the “Big-Un’s,” Al Bundy! (or, Why It’s an Awesome Chicago Sports Week)

Wins, and all that jazz. (Jeff Gunn)

Wins, and all that jazz. (Jeff Gunn)

OK ladies, I know stats may seem dull, but (as I explain here), keeping up with the major ones can go a long way in making sports more fun. And Chicago is having fun right now.

Unless you were like me last night, watching the Washington Capitals’ Eric Fehr score the winning overtime goal after a jaw-dropping, let’s just leave early to beat the crowds comeback (0-3 to 4-3) against the Boston Bruins, you might have noticed a few other astonishing accomplishments by the Chicago Blackhawks. In defeating Minnesota, they nailed a 10-game, franchise-record win streak and extended their streak of “points” to 23 this season, and 29 straight since the 2011-12 season. (Two points are awarded, for example, for a team win.)

(Ladies, an interesting little fact is the Blackhawks’ 23 points are the same numeral as Michael Jordan’s famous jersey. Bet your husband didn’t catch that. See? Kinda cool.)

Speaking of Jordan:

Things were looking pretty good for point guard Derrick Rose when he was drafted number-one by the Chicago Bulls after one season at the University of Memphis. He got to return to his hometown and earned Rookie of the Year followed by MVP the next season, the youngest ever. Then came the ACL tear that has kept him benched for 10 months now.

But tonight, maybe, just maybe, the team Michael Jordan built might just get to see its phenom–oft-compared to Sir Michael himself–return to the court against the San Antonio Spurs. Coach Tom Thibodeau is calling Rose “day-to-day,” but he has reportedly been going full-contact at practices.

Unfortunately the Bulls will meet the NBA’s top team (47-14) at San Antonio. But at least the weather will be a little better–and the Spurs are currently missing their own injured point guard Tony Parker (sound familiar? He’s the former spouse of “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria–now, ironically, the new host of NBC’s new show, “Ready for Love.”)

Maybe Al Bundy will get to strike his famous “Polk High” touchdown stance once again.