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.


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!

Tiger Tuesday and a Diamond in the Rough

A Swedish massage from ex-wife Elin Nordegren would be pretty good right now, right Tiger?

A Swedish massage from ex-wife Elin Nordegren would be pretty good right now, right Tiger?

So in a golf story that makes me feel very olllld, 38-year-old Tiger Woods withdrew from the World Golf Championship Bridgestone tournament Sunday on the ninth hole after straining his back on an awkward shot at the second hole.

Woods, who had surgery to alleviate a pinched nerve in his back March 31, deteriorated quickly after that, in his third tournament back on a Firestone Country Club course where he has won eight times. He opened the tournament with a 68 but got progressively worse and was 3-over par when he withdrew.

Now the golf world awaits whether Woods will appear in this weekend’s PGA Championship in Louisville. (Meanwhile the women of the world say, “tough nuggets, cheating moron.”)

While 38 is certainly not “old” for golf, Woods is not considered a spring chicken either, and he’s a chicken who has taken some battering both physically and spiritually the last decade. But he won his last major on a torn ACL six years ago, so don’t count him out yet. He is seeking his 15th major tournament win, four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18.

Meanwhile at the same tournament, Sergio Garcia (who is no buddy of Tiger’s after the two have accused each other of racism and cheating in the past) knocked the diamond from a fan’s ring with his tee shot on the third hole Sunday.

As fans tried to help her find it, Garcia, the leader at the time (he finished second to Rory McIlroy) still had to play. Normally a golfer will give an autographed ball or glove to a fan he hits, and he did, while also continuing to look for the diamond. He asked for her contact information, but luckily the diamond was found and returned.

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.

For Merely the Cost of One Vuvuzela,* You Can Cure “Sporticus Toomuchicus”

WASHINGTON, DC – Hospitals across America are spilling over with men of all ages, babbling, drooling, confused. Their hands are cramped like steel around TV remotes, tortilla chips and guacamole smeared on their shirts.

My balls are bigger than yours, soccer.

My balls are bigger than yours, soccer.

Women, meanwhile, are taking up 357 magnums (of wine) against this apocalypse and locking themselves into their compounds with their girlfriends, small dogs, Wok & Roll fried rice, and the new season of “Orange Is the New Black.”

What is happening?

“We’re not sure, but for now we’re calling it Sporticus toomuchicus, or ‘Oversportssaturation,’ said Dr. Gina Brower, attending ER physician at George Washington Hospital.

“It’s going to be tough for them,” she continued, stifling what seemed to be a small giggle. “I mean, a man can only watch so many sports. He only has two eyes and one brain. Well, maybe one brain. We’re not sure about that either.”

With that she hastened away to assist a patient, screaming and covered in blood. Or possibly hot wings sauce.

It’s an occurrence unlike that we’ve ever seen on the calendars before. Conditions were already difficult last week with concurrent professional hockey playoffs, professional basketball playoffs, the French Open, and the possible Triple Crown all jockeying with each other for attention (ha ha, see what we did there? “jockeying?”).

But now, the twisted conjurings of Wednesday’s full moon and next week’s summer solstice have added even more simultaneous ingredients to their dark magic: the men’s golf U.S. Open and the men’s soccer World Cup.

"I'm not laughing at you," says Brower. "I'm laughing at you...a LOT."

“I’m not laughing AT you,” says Brower. “I’m laughing at you…a LOT.”

In other words, as the NBA and NHL finals continue, now two other major world sports events have added even further layers of pressure to a country of men already reeling from Rafa Nadal’s fifth-straight consecutive French Open title and Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ perfect, 300-foot laser to punch out the Angels’ Howie Kendrick at home plate—possibly the best baseball throw ever.

Members of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee seemed confused at soccer’s sudden surge. “Starting a major tournament on a Thursday? Well, that’s just crazy. No one’s going to watch that,” said one rep who asked to remain anonymous as he stealthily began filling out a bracket of some sort.

Meanwhile, athletes themselves expressed frustration. “Wait, what do you mean ‘World’ Cup?” asked a puzzled Lebron James, massaging a calf cramp and drinking a Lebron-Sprite 6 Mix as we threw up in our mouths a little watching him drink it. “But I thought Miami was the World Champions. We have to share? Damn, I’m going back to Cleveland.”

“U.S. Open?” said Tiger Woods, sipping from a coconut on a Barbados beach. “Oh you mean that tournament I won six years ago as my last major before I completely jacked up my family’s lives? Nah, my back still hurts,” adding “Yeah babe, right there,” as he urged a massage from his girlfriend, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. Who looks nothing remotely like his last wife. At all.

Surely Landon Donovan, the only soccer player most American’s would recognize but was cut from the team last month, could help us understand.

“F*&% off.”

Finally, in New York, we spoke with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he practiced for Game Four against the L.A. Kings.

“Oh yes, well you see, soccer is a game of grace and strength. Being a goalie myself, I understand how the forwards and the defensemen must collaborate to…”

(Editor’s note: Being Americans, we kinda dozed off there, sorry.)

Despite our own lack of interest in the World Cup, it does seem we are in the minority. Men, and actually, quite a few women are in for some difficult days ahead as they attempt to follow multiple major contests until finally, July 4 everything ends and we can enjoy our AMURRRCAN independence holiday.

Then there’s only pro baseball for three months.

So be careful what you wish for.

Editor’s note: Most of this story is fake. There is nothing wrong with watching lots of sports. We women really do like sports. And wine. And some Americans even like soccer. *And those godforsaken vuvuzelas have been outlawed for the World Cup. So go USA!