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.