Monthly Archives: August, 2011

Brewers end “division leader on September 1” drought

Milwaukee Brewers

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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus posting “SIX STATS…” published every Friday.

Prior to the beginning of the 2011 MLB season, six teams had never led their division on September 1 since 1994 when baseball went to three divisions in each league. The six: Toronto, Kansas City, Florida, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Colorado. The Milwaukee Brewers, however, will wake up tomorrow, September 1, and find themselves in the unfamiliar leader slot in the NL Central with one month remaining in the 2011 season.

In the 102 races since 1994 (17 years times six divisions), 82 (80.4%) of the teams that led their division on the morning of September 1 went on to win the division that year. Ironically, last year three teams that had the division lead the morning of September 1 did not win the title, the first time three September 1 leaders failed to win the division in a season since that first year of six divisions.

(WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: Can you name the three teams that led their division on September 1 last season but did not win the title? Answer at the end of the blog.)

Here’s a look at how far division leaders were ahead of their closest pursuer on September 1 and if they won the division that year. Based on the numbers below we see that of the 56 teams that had a lead of five or more games on September 1, 55 of those won the title that year. The only blemish was in 1995 when the California Angels had a 7.5 game lead in the AL West on September 1  but lost out to the Seattle Mariners for the AL West crown.

Sept. 1 leader games ahead in standings                                 Times                       Titles

0.5, 1 or 1.5 games ahead                                                                             16                                 10

2 or 2.5 games ahead                                                                                     9                                   2

3 or 3.5 games ahead                                                                                    10                                  6

4 or 4.5 games ahead                                                                                    10                                  8

5 or 5.5 games ahead                                                                                    10                                 10

6 or 6.5 games ahead                                                                                     8                                   8

7 or 7.5 games ahead                                                                                    11                                  10

8 or 8.5 games ahead                                                                                     6                                   6

9 or 9.5 games ahead                                                                                     0                                   0

10 or more games ahead                                                                              21                                 21

(Note: In one division race, 2007 NL West, two teams (Arizona and San Diego) were tied for the lead on Sept. 1. Arizona won the division.)

TRIVIA ANSWER: The three teams that had division leads last year on September 1 but did not win the title were the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.

Did you know: Of the 30 teams that had a division lead of three games or less on September 1 since 1994, 16 did not win the division that season.


One yard to go: Run or Pass for the score?

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

Imagine your favorite NFL team is on the one-yardline and is ready to punch it in for a score. Does your team run for that tough yard or do they implement some sort of play action and pass for those precious three feet?

Last season in the NFL, there were 172 offensive touchdowns of one yard during the regular season. Of those 172, 126 (73.3%) were rushing TDs and 46 were TDs via a one-yard pass play. Before we talk about how the game has evolved to more passing TDs from one yard out, here’s a look at each NFL team last season and how many one-yard TDs they had rushing and passing. The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers topped the list with 10 one-yard TDs; the Pack also tied with the New England Patriots for most passing one-yard scores; Seattle had the most running one-yard TDs with eight.

Team, one-yard running TDs/one-yard passing TDs

Arizona      2/0

Atlanta     4/1

Baltimore     6/0

Buffalo     2/0

Carolina     1/0

Chicago     3/0

Cincinnati     5/3

Cleveland     3/1

Dallas     4/3

Denver     6/1

Detroit     3/1

Green Bay     6/4

Houston     5/1

Indianapolis     3/3

Jacksonville     2/3

Kansas City     4/2

Miami     3/0

Minnesota     5/1

New England     4/4

New Orleans     5/2

New York Giants     2/1

New York Jets     4/1

Oakland     4/1

Philadelphia     2/1

Pittsburgh     7/0

San Diego     6/0

San Francisco 3/2

Seattle     8/0

St. Louis     3/1

Tampa Bay     3/3

Tennessee     4/3

Washington     4/3

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the oldest player to score a one-yard TD last season? Hint: It was an NFC quarterback. Answer at end of the blog.

Here’s a look at the players who had the most one-yard touchdowns in 2010:

6: Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh; Mike Tolbert, San Diego

5: Cedric Benson, Cincinnati; Marshawn Lynch, Seattle; Adrian Peterson, Minnesota

4: Arian Foster, Houston; BenJarvis Green-Ellis, New England; Chris Johnson, Tennessee

Did you know… the most one-yard passing TDs came in the second quarter (17 of the 46, 37%).

Did you know… there were 10 one-yard TDs in last year’s playoffs, nine rushing and only one passing.

As we mentioned above, 73.3% of the one-yard TDs in 2010 were rushing. In 2000 the percentage of one-yard TDs via the run was 81.2%; in 1990 it was 88.1%; in 1980 it was 94.4%; in 1970 it was 95.2%; in 1960 it was 94.4%. It’s safe to say that the one-yard passing TD has become more prevalent in today’s NFL!

TRIVIA ANSWER: Former Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck last season was the oldest player to score a one-yard TD. He was 35 and 92 days.

SIX STATS you might not know about… University of Wisconsin football team

Bucky Badger 2003-Present

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SIX STATS…  is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’

1. The Badgers football team has never won 10 or more games three seasons in a row. They won 11 in 2010; 10 in 2009.

2. Three Wisconsin coaches have won a bowl game with the Badgers: Barry Alvarez won eight bowl games; Bret Bielema has won two; Dave McClain won one.

3. The last losing season for the Badgers was in 2001 when they went 5-7. Their longest streak of losing seasons was 10 from 1964-73.

4. Their current streak of nine straight winning seasons is not a record. The school had 18 straight winning seasons from 1892-1909.

5. Bret Bielema has started his career as head coach with five straight winning seasons. Three other head coaches had winning seasons in their first six seasons (or more). Phil King had eight straight winning seasons to start his coaching career at Wisconsin from 1896-1905. Two other coaches had six straight winning seasons to start their Wisconsin head coaching careers… JR Richards (1919-24) and Ivy Williamson (1949-54).

6. The highest the Badgers have been ranked in a preseason AP poll was #4 in 2000. The highest the team has been ranked in the AP poll at the end of a season is #2 after the 1962 campaign.

“Long time no see” in the postseason

Washington Nationals cap logo

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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus posting “SIX STATS…” published every Friday.

A few weeks ago (specifically July 20) I posted an item that looked at the professional sports franchises that have the longest streaks of winning seasons. Today we look at the other end of the spectrum: those franchises that have the longest drought when it comes to playoff appearances.

Every city that has a professional sports franchise in the four major sports leagues each year looks for their team to perform well and hopefully bring home a championship. For many teams, failure to make a postseason appearance is a major disappointment.

Each season 52 teams (eight in major league baseball, 12 in the NFL, 16 in the NBA and 16 in the NHL) make the playoffs. There are several teams, however, that have not seen the playoffs in this century, and a couple of teams that have not made the postseason in over 20 years.

Following are the five teams in each of the four major professional sports leagues that have the most numbers of years since their last postseason appearance.

Major League Baseball                                         Last postseason appearance

Washington Nationals (Montreal)                                               1981

Kansas City Royals                                                                           1985

Pittsburgh Pirates                                                                            1992

Toronto Blue Jays                                                                           1993

Baltimore Orioles                                                                            1997

(WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: What current American League manager was the skipper of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992, their last trip to the postseason? Answer at end of this posting.)

National Football League                                    Last Postseason appearance

Buffalo Bills                                                                                       1999

Detroit Lions                                                                                     1999

Cleveland Browns                                                                            2002

San Francisco 49ers                                                                        2002

Houston Texans                                                                               *****

(***** Have never been in the playoffs; came in to the league in 2002)

National Basketball Association                         Last postseason appearance

Minnestoa Timberwolves                                                              2004

Los Angeles Clippers                                                                      2006

Sacramento Kings                                                                           2006

Golden State Warriors                                                                   2007

New Jersey Nets                                                                              2007

National Hockey League                                      Last postseason appearance

Florida Panthers                                                                             2000

Toronto Maple Leafs                                                                     2004

Edmonton Oilers                                                                            2006

New York Islanders                                                                       2007

Winnipeg Jets                                                                                 2007

* Did you know? Seventy of the 122 professional sports teams in the four major sports have made it to the playoffs in one or both of the last two seasons.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Current Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland was the manager of the 1992 Pirates.

100+ win seasons: A guaranteed trip to the World Series?

Phillies logo

Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus posting “SIX STATS…” published every Friday.

The Philadelphia Phillies top the majors with 81 wins (as of August 21). They are 38 games over .500 and just need to go 19-19 to finish with 100 wins this season. There are a couple other teams that may challenge the 100-win mark this season: Boston and the New York Yankees, but they may have a little more of a challenge to reach 100 wins.

In looking at the history of major league baseball, how “magical” has the 100-win season been for teams? Better stated, does a 100 or more win season equate to success in the post-season? Let’s take a look back to 1903 when MLB had its first World Series.

*     Since 1903, there have been 92 teams that won 100 or more games in a season.

*     Of those 92, 62 went on to the World Series that year. Thirty-four 100-win (or more) teams won the World Series that same season.

*     In 1969, MLB went to two divisions in each league. From 1903-68, 47 teams had 100 or more wins in a season. Of those 47, 24 won the World Series that year. From 1969 to 2010, 45 teams won 100 or more games in a season; only ten of those 45 won the World Series that year.

*     Since 1980, 30 teams have won 100 or more games. Four won the World Series, seven lost in the World Series, eight lost in the league championship series, nine lost in the league divisional series, and two teams (San Francisco 103 wins in 1993 and Baltimore 100 wins in 1980) did not even make the playoffs in the year they won 100 or more games.

(WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the last team to win 100 or more games in a season and win the World Series that year.)

*     Since 2000, 13 teams have won 100 or more games. Only one team won the World Series, two lost in the World Series, three lost in the league championship series and seven lost in the league divisional series.

Following are the franchises that have won 100 or more games in the most seasons.

Team                             100 or more win seasons

New York Yankees                               19

Oakland/Philadelphia A’s                  10

St. Louis Cardinals                                8

San Francisco/NY Giants                     7

Atlanta/Milwaukee/Boston Braves   6

Did you know? These current franchises have never had a season with 100 or more wins: Colorado, Florida, Milwaukee, San Diego, Washington, Tampa Bay, Texas and Toronto.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The New York Yankees won 103 games in 2009 and won the World Series that season. Prior to that, the 1998 New York Yankees won 114 games and the title. The last National League team to win 100 or more games in a season and the World Series that year were the 1986 Mets who won 108 games.