Monthly Archives: February, 2012

The 10 greatest athletes born on Leap Day!

English: Montreal Canadiens locker room displa...

Henri Richard's locker at the Hockey Hall of Fame... Image via Wikipedia

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

Here’s a list you’ve probably never seen…

The greatest athletes born on February 29, Leap Day. Enjoy!

1. Henri Richard (born in 1936): “The Pocket Rocket,” Richard is a National Hockey League Hall of Famer (enshrined in 1979). He played 20 years for the Montreal Canadiens, playing in 1256 games and scoring 358 goals and handing out 185 assists. He won 11 Stanley Cups with Montreal.

2. Raisa Smetanina (born 1952): A Russian cross-country skier, Raisa was the first woman to win 10 medals in the Winter Olympics. She won gold twice in 1976, and once apiece in 1980 and 1992. She took part in five different Olympics.

3. Al Rosen (born in 1924): Rosen was the 1953 American League MVP and a four-time All-Star. He had 1063 career hits, 192 home runs and a career batting average of .285, playing his entire ten-year career (1947-56) with the Cleveland Indians. Was later an executive with the Yankees, Astros and Giants.

4. John Niland (born in 1944): Niland was the fifth overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1966 NFL draft. He spent nine seasons with the Cowboys as an offensive lineman. He was twice an all-pro selection and made the Pro Bowl six times.

5. Pepper Martin (born in 1904): A four-time All-Star and two-time World Champion, Martin played for the St. Louis Cardinals and starred in the 1931 World Series for the Cards. He had a career .298 batting average. He was selected the Male Athlete of the Year by the AP in 1931.

6. Bryce Paup (born in 1968): A linebacker, Paup spent five years with the Green Bay Packers and had stints with Buffalo, Minnesota and Jacksonville. He played in four Pro Bowls and was voted the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1995.

7. Chucky Brown (born in 1968): The lone NBA player, Brown had a 13-year career in the NBA playing for 12 different teams. He had 4125 career points and 2148 career rebounds. He was a member of the 1995 champion Houston Rockets team.

8. Cullen Jones (born 1984): The youngest member of the group, Jones is an Olympic swimmer who won gold as a member of the 4×100 freestyle relay in the 2008 Games. He is the second African American to hold or share a world record in swimming.

9. Simon Gagne (born in 1980): Gagne won hockey gold as a member of Team Canada in 2002. He was the 22nd overall pick in the 1998 NHL draft. Played the first 10 years of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, twice winning the team’s MVP award.

10. Dick Wood (born in 1936): A quarterback with five different teams in the American Football League, Wood had 51 TD passes in his career. He was the first QB to ever throw a TD pass at Shea Stadium.

Can the Heat break NBA record of most consecutive wins by 10 points or more?

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

Dwayne Wade shooting a free throw for the Miam...

Miami's Dwyane Wade... Image via Wikipedia

The Miami Heat went into the All-Star break with an eight-game winning streak. That streak, however, was also colored with eight victories that were each won by 10 points or more. The eight straight wins by 10 points or more by the Heat made them the 14th team in NBA history to accomplish this feat.

So the question becomes, can LeBron, Dwyane and the Miami gang break the record for most consecutive wins by 10 points or more… 10 straight games? To do it, they will have to win three straight games by double-figures on the road. After the break they face Portland on March 1, travel the next night to take on the Utah Jazz, and, if they win both of those games by 10 points or more, go for the record against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Following are the teams which have won the most consecutive games by 10 points or more. In addition, I’ve also listed those teams which have won the most consecutive games by 15 or more points, 20 or more points, and 25 or more points.

Consecutive wins by 10+ points, Teams, Year

10: Washington, 1946… New Jersey, 2004… Houston, 2008.

9: Boston, 2007… Cleveland, 2008… Miami, 2010

8: NY Knicks, 1969… Milwaukee, 1971… Portland, 1990… LA Lakers, 1990… Chicago, 1996 (twice that year)… Detroit, 2004… Miami, 2012

Consecutive wins by 15+ points, Teams, Year

8: Detroit, 2004

6: Cleveland, 1989…. Phoenix, 1990

Consecutive wins by 20+ points, Teams, Year

5: Milwaukee, 1970… Portland, 1978

Consecutive wins by 25+ points, Teams, Year

4: Houston, 1993

Daytona 500: To pole or not to pole… to victory

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

English: Dale Jarrett's 2000 Daytona 500 winni...

Dale Jarrett's 2000 winning car... Image via Wikipedia

The last driver to win the Daytona 500 from the pole position was Dale Jarrett in 2000. In the 53-year history of the race, only nine pole sitters have won.

In 2009, Matt Kenseth won the race from the farthest starting position in the race history. Kenseth qualified 39th, but had to go back to the 43rd position due to changing to a back-up car.

Following are the Daytona 500 winners who won from the pole and those winners who started the furthest back in the pack.

Pole sitter victories

1962: “Fireball” Roberts

1966: Richard Petty

1968: Cale Yarborough

1980: Buddy Baker

1984: Cale Yarborough

1985: Bill Elliott

1987: Bill Elliott

1999: Jeff Gordon

2000: Dale Jarrett

Worst starting position to win Daytona 500

#43: Matt Kenseth, 2009

#34: Kevin Harvick, 2007

#33: Bobby Allison, 1978

#32: Benny Parsons, 1975

#32: Trevor Bayne, 2011

#19: LeeRoy Yarborough, 1969

#19: Michael Waltrip, 2001

#19: Ward Burton, 2002

#15: Lee Petty, 1959

#15: Jeff Gordon, 2005

Here’s a quick look at what pole positions have had the most victories in the Daytona 500. Of the 53 races, 38 (71.7%) of the race winners started in one of the first nine positons.

Pole Position, Daytona 500 wins

#1………. 9 wins

#2………. 7 wins

#3 through #9………. 22 wins

#10 through #19………. 10 wins

#20 though #29………. 0 wins

#30 through #39………. 5 wins

#40 or more………. 0 wins

Note: All of the last six winners of the Daytona 500 were first-time winners.

Ryan Braun’s biggest loss in his suspension appeal victory

 

Let me begin by stating that I am a big Ryan Braun fan. I love the way he plays the game… his approach to the game… his skills… his demeanor on the field.

Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I tell you this so you’ll know my bias as it relates to the recent overturning of his suspension. As a Braun fan and Brewers supporter, I am glad for the ruling. The thought of 50 games without Braun in the line-up was not a scenario I wanted to see the first two months of the 2012 season for the Brew Crew.

As writers, experts and commentators offer their opinions on the ruling in the Braun case, I want to focus on one word that Braun talked about after he heard the verdict overturning his suspension: REPUTATION.

Specifically, Braun said, that the ruling was “the first step in restoring my good name and reputation.”

The last thing Ryan Braun needs is my advice or opinion. But let me say: Ryan Braun will never get his reputation back. From the first report that Braun had tested positive, his reputation was damaged. I’m sure Braun would disagree with me, but my contention is that the recent ruling did little to make a clear case that he was innocent. Sure, his appeal was successful. He will not have to serve a 50-game suspension. For Braun, the Brewers and their fans, that is a victory. But the ruling did not exonerate Braun. He was not found innocent. For many, Braun got off on a technicality. They called it “improper protocol.” And believe me, sports talk radio, TV commentators and fans alike are choosing sides in the Ryan Braun case. To quote some, “Braun is still dirty, no matter what the ruling.”

But back to reputation. Here’s why I think Braun will never regain his reputation. Former Tampa Bay Bucs and Indianpolis Colts coach Tony Dungy in his book, “Uncommon” wrote that: “Others determine your reputation, but only you determine your integrity.” Reputation is the public’s perception of your integrity. Maybe we’re splitting hairs here, but I think Braun should be less concerned about reputation and more concerned about his integrity or his character, both traits that he controls. He cannot control his reputation. That’s what we, the general public do. In my mind, Ryan Braun’s reputation is damaged beyond repair. And he should stop worrying about it.

If Braun is a man of integrity and character, as I believe he is, then he should focus his attention on those. He is now a marked man. He will be scrutinized the remainder of his career. Just wait till that first game that he goes 0-for-4 with three strikeouts at Wrigley Field. “See, I told you he was juicing,” will be shouted from the rooftops across the street. There will be a cloud of doubt about him until he hangs up his jersey. But he can fight those demons with unwavering integrity and character. He has to remain clean; no more doubts can creep into his career. If he stays clean, puts up solid numbers the rest of his career and continues to play at the high level that he has these past five seasons, then he will be able to walk away with hopefully his integrity and character intact. But reputation? As I said before, reputation is our label to put on him. And some have already determined that Braun’s reputation has been compromised.

We are a society that loves our answers in black and white. Got a problem? We want a solution that mirrors the latest episode of “CSI.” We’ll get back to you with the solution in 60 minutes, save for 13 minutes of commercials. That’s what we were hoping for in the Ryan Braun situation. Sure, Braun won’t serve the suspension because of the ruling, but the ruling still casts doubts on the process and on Ryan Braun. As Ken Rosenthal, baseball writer for Fox Sports wrote, “… even if Braun is not innocent, it doesn’t mean he’s guilty.” Detractors of Braun’s are taking a similar approach by saying, “Even if he won his appeal, that doesn’t mean he’s clean.” I think you get the picture.

Again, it takes us back to Braun and his desire to restore his reputation. Forget about the reputation part, is my advice. Focus the remainder of your career on your integrity and character is my two cents of wisdom to Braun. In another quote from Dungy’s book, the former NFL coach states, “Integrity does not come in degrees – low, medium, high. You either have integrity or you don’t.” I believe Braun is an athlete of integrity. I believed that up until the announcement of his drug test went public. I’ll admit, I had my doubts during the time waiting for the appeal ruling. Now that he has had his due process and won his appeal, my faith in his integrity has been restored. I don’t know all the facts, and probably never will. But I choose to line-up behind Ryan Braun.

So Ryan, here’s my take on your nightmare: Forget about trying to restore your reputation. Others determine that for you and some have already cast you in the category of athletes who got lucky, who got a break, who got off on a technicality. You won’t change their opinion of you. They will choose to use “bad” as the word just prior to reputation. They’ve already made up their mind. Don’t waste your time trying to restore something you have no control over. Worry about what you do control: Your character, your integrity and your performance on the field. That, my friend, is well worth your time and effort.

SIX STATS you might not know about… the NBA All-Star Game

“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published  every Friday.

2011 NBA All-Star Game

Image via Wikipedia

The 61st version of the NBA All-Star Game will be held this Sunday in Orlando. Here are a few interesting stats about the history of this game.

1. The team that has the lead at halftime has won 46 and lost only 12 (the game was tied at halftime in two contests). The East has a 26-3 record when leading at halftime.

2. Seven players have scored 20 or more points in the game and had zero assists in the game. Bob Pettit and Dominique Wilkins lead this contingent. Pettit had 29 points and no assists in the 1961 game; Wilkins had 29 points and no assists in the 1988 contest. Others: Paul Arizin (26 points/0 assists in 1952), Pettit (25 points/0 assists in 1963), Dave DeBusschere (22 points/0 assists in 1967), Willis Reed (20 points/0 assists in 1970), Karl Malone (28 points/no assists in 1993). Malone is the last player to “accomplish” this feat.

3. Of the previous 60 games, only 19 were decided by five points or less. However, five of the last 11 games have been decided by five points or less, including the last two. Ten of the 60 games have been decided by 20 points or more.

4. Based on a minimum of ten shots taken, eight players had a shooting percentage of .800 or above in an NBA All-Star Game. The eight: Oscar Robertson (1970, 9 of 11, .818), George Gervin (1985, 10 of 12, .833), Patrick Ewing (1990, 8 of 10, .800), Mark Price (1994, 8 of 10, .800), Tim Duncan (2000, 12 of 14, .857), Kenyon Martin (2004, 8 of 10, .800), Dwyane Wade (2006, 9 of 11, .818), Brandon Roy (2008, 8 of 10, .800).

5. The team that gathers more rebounds in the game has a slight 31-29 edge. The West has won the rebound battle in 35 of the 60 games. Remarkably, they have outrebounded the East in the last 13 games. The team that has a higher shooting percentage for the game has won 44 of the 60 games. Each team has had the better field goal percentage in 30 games. In eight of the last nine games, the team that has a higher field goal prcentage for the game has won.

6. Last season Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol combined for 54 points in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. They became only the fifth pair of teammates to combine for 50 or more points in the all-star game. The others: 1961-Hawks teammates Bob Pettit and Clyde Lovellette, 50 points; 1962-Lakers teammates Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, 50 points; 1965-Cincinnati teammates Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas, 53 points; 1967-Warriors teammates Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond, 54 points.