Monthly Archives: February, 2013

MLB: A look at the 90-win season

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers. Postings appear every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

English: The Chicago White Sox celebrate after...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everybody loves trivia, right? Let’s see how well you do on these trivia questions. The topic: 90-win seasons in major league baseball. (You’ll be able to find the answers to these questions in the narrative written following the five questions.)

1. Nine teams had 90-plus wins last season. Of those nine teams, name the three teams that also won 90 or more games in 2011.

2. Since 2000, the New York Yankees top the majors with 11 90-win seasons. Three National League teams are tied for the top spot in the N.L. with seven 90-win seasons. Can you name those three teams?

3. Three teams have not had a 90-win season in this century. Two are A.L. teams, one is an N.L. team. Name the three.

4. Seven franchises have never won 90 or more games in three consecutive seasons. How many of the seven can you name?

5. In addition to the seven teams that have never won 90-plus games in three straight seasons, one team has not won 90-plus games since 1928-30. Can you name that team?

A pair of American League teams last season won 90-plus games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in their franchise history. The Texas Rangers won 93 games last season giving them their third straight year with 90-plus wins. The Tampa Bay Rays won 90 games last year giving them three straight years with 90-plus wins for the first time in their history.

The New York Yankees have the current longest streak of 90-plus win seasons. With their 95 wins in 2012, the Yanks have won 90-plus in four straight seasons.

The Yankees have the most 90-win seasons since the 2000 season with 11. Two teams, Baltimore and Washington, won 90 games last season; for both, it was their first 90-win season this century.

Following are the number of 90-win seasons for each MLB team since the turn of the century.

90-win seasons since 2000, Teams

11: N.Y. Yankees
7: Atlanta, Boston, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis
6: L.A. Angels
5: Minnesota
4: Arizona, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tampa Bay
3: Chicago White Sox, L.A. Dodgers, Texas
2: Cincinnati, Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, N.Y. Mets
1: Baltimore, Chicago Cubs, Miami, San Diego, Washington
0: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Toronto

As mentioned above in the trivia quiz, seven franchises have never won 90-plus games in three consecutive seasons. The seven are: Arizona, Colorado, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, San Diego and Washington. For the remaining 23 teams, some of them have been waiting a long time to get three consecutive season with 90-plus wins. The longest wait? The Cubs; they have not won 90-plus games in three straight seasons since 1928-30.

Following are the last time the remaining 23 MLB teams won 90 or more games in three straight years.

Team, last time they won 90-plus games in three straight seasons

Chicago Cubs 1928-30
Chicago White Sox 1963-65
Detroit 1967-69
Cincinnati 1974-76
Kansas City 1976-78
L.A. Dodgers 1976-78
Baltimore 1978-80
N.Y. Mets 1986-88
Pittsburgh 1990-92
Toronto 1991-93
Cleveland 1999-2001
St. Louis 2000-02
Seattle 2001-03
Minnesota 2002-04
Oakland 2002-04
San Francisco 2002-04
Arizona 2003-05
Boston 2007-09
L.A. Angels 2007-09
Philadelphia 2009-11
N.Y. Yankees 2010-2012
Tampa Bay 2010-12
Texas 2010-12

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The success of the undrafted players in the NFL

NFL Scouting Combine

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers. Postings appear every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Over the past several days hundreds of college football players have been putting their skills and abilities on display for NFL teams via the NFL Scouting Combine, professional football’s version of a casting call for those looking to find jobs in the NFL in 2013. Many of the players at this year’s combine in Indianapolis will be drafted and find spots on NFL teams next season.

The NFL draft first came into being in 1936. In that year, 81 players were selected in nine rounds. Today, there are seven rounds of selections with about 250 collegiate players getting drafted by NFL teams.

Most, if not all, teams have done a great deal of homework trying to determine whether or not a player will have what it takes to play in the NFL and whether or not they have a chance to make their roster. But there are times when a player goes undrafted, he signs with an NFL, and he goes on to a big career in the league.

There are quite a few players who went undrafted after their collegiate playing days but had long careers in the NFL. Let’s take a look at those players who were undrafted but played in 225 or more games in the NFL.

First, let’s start with kickers, many of whom are not drafted during a typical NFL Draft. Here are the placekickers and punters who went undrafted but played 225-plus games in the NFL:

Undrafted Placekickers, NFL games
John Carney, 302 games
Norm Johnson, 273 games
Lou Groza, 268 games
Jan Stenerud, 263 games
Nick Lowery, 260 games
Adam Vinatieri, 259 (active)
Pat Leahy, 250 games
Al Del Greco, 248 games
Ryan Longwell, 240 (active)
Olindo Mare, 235 (active)
Steve Christie, 229

Undrafted Punters, NFL games
Jeff Feagles, 352
Sean Landeta, 284 games
Matt Turk, 244 games
Bryan Barker, 238 games

Now for the undrafted non-kickers who played 225-plus games in the league.

David Binn: Played 256 games in the NFL. Was a center with the San Diego Chargers. Last played in 2010.
Eugene Robinson: Played 250 games in the NFL. A defensive back who spent 11 of his 16 NFL seasons with Seattle. Last played in 2000.
London Fletcher: Has played in 249 games in the NFL. Was active in 2012. A 15-year veteran linebacker who has played his last six seasons with the Redskins.
Mick Tingelhoff: Played 240 games in the NFL. Was a center with the Minnesota Vikings. Last played in 1978.
Ethan Albright: Played 236 games in the NFL. Was an offensive lineman with Washington. Last played in 2010.
Tony Richardson: Played 234 games in the NFL. A fullback, he played 11 of 16 seasons with the Kansas Chiefs. Last played in 2010.
Casey Wiegmann: Played 227 games in the NFL. Was a center for nine of his 16 seasons with the Chiefs. Last played in 2011.

Last season, 49 undrafted rookies played in 10 or more games in the NFL. Of those 49, four actually started 10 or more games for the team that signed them. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman started 15 games for the Colts; linebacker Vontaze Burfict started 14 games for the Bengals; wide receiver Josh Gordon stated 13 games for the Browns; and wide receiver Kevin Elliott started 11 games for the Jaguars.

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Tony Parker wants a 50-40-80 season

English: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs, 2007–08

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

In a USA Today article earlier this week, it was mentioned in the piece that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker had a shooting goal of 50-40-80 for the season. Parker is hoping that he can finish the season with shooting percentages of over .500 in field goals, over .400 in three-point attempts, and over .800 in free throws.

Through games of February 21, Parker is on the mark in two of the three categories: He is shooting .539 from the field; .379 from three-point range; and .835 from the free throw line. Looking at Parker’s career, he has never had a 50-40-80 season; in fact, if you look at the numbers in his career, he has shot over 50 percent from the field in only four of previous 11 seasons, but more importantly, Parker has never been over 40 percent on three-point shots and has never had a season over 80 percent in free throw shots in any season.

That’s not to say that Parker won’t reach those numbers this season. But Parker is not the only player in the league that falls short of these numbers. Again, through games of February 21, only two players (minimum of 30 games played) have reached 50-40-80 in their shooting percentages this year: Kevin Durant and Steve Nash.

In 2011-12, there was only one player who reached the 50-40-80 mark for the season: Parker’s San Antonio teammate, Manu Ginobli, whose season-ending shooting percentages were .526/.413/.871.

Looking at the history of the NBA, there have been 68 players who have reached these 50-40-80 numbers. Topping the list is the aforementioned Steve Nash. He has had seven such seasons in his career (and appears headed for an eighth). Following are the players who have had a least two 50-40-80 seasons in their NBA careers.

50-40-80 seasons, player

7: Steve Nash
6: John Stockton
5: Jeff Hornacek
3: Larry Bird, Steve Kerr
2: Brent Barry, Brad Davis, Tim Legler, Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Drazen Petrovic, Mark Price

As the current season progresses and we watch to see if Parker can reach his goal, there are a couple of other players (in addition to Nash and Durant who are currently above those numbers) who still have an outside chance at having a 50-40-80 season. Let’s take the numbers down a bit and look at the list of players who are currently at .475/.375/.775 for this season (there are eight players in this category). They are: Jose Calderone (Detroit), Darren Collison (Dallas), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Jarrett Jack (Golden State), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Tony Parker (San Antonio), Steve Nash (L.A. Lakers), Thabo Sefolosha (Oklahoma City).

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The Daytona 500: Is Danica’s pole position a good omen for her?

English: Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patric...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

The big news in the world of sports this past weekend was Danica Patrick winning the pole position for the upcoming Daytona 500. The “Go Daddy” pitch-girl will start from the number one spot in Sunday’s race. She is the first woman to win a pole position in a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race.

Does starting from the pole position in the Daytona 500 translate to a successful race? If past history is any indication, not necessarily.

The last driver to win the Daytona 500 from the pole position was Dale Jarrett in 2000. In the 54-year history of the race, only nine pole sitters have won. Looking at the results of the 12 pole-sitters in the past 12 races (since Jarrett won from the pole in 2000), only three of the 12 finished the race in the Top 10. Eight of the 12 finished the race in the Top 15. The average finish of the 12 pole-sitters since 2001 was 17th.

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 54 races, 39 (72.2%) of the race winners started in one of the first nine positions.

Pole Position, Daytona 500 wins

#1………. 9 wins

#2………. 7 wins

#3 through #9………. 23 wins (last year’s winner, Matt Kenseth, won the race starting from the fourth position)

#10 through #19………. 10 wins

#20 though #29………. 0 wins

#30 through #39………. 5 wins

#40 or more………. 0 wins

Note: Six of the last seven winners of the Daytona 500 were first-time winners.

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No three-pointers in their NBA career

Anderson Varejão of the Cleveland Cavaliers. S...

Anderson Varejão of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

During his 15-year NBA career, Michael Cage was a hard-working defender who was known for his rebounding prowess. The 14th selection in the 1984 NBA draft, Cage amassed 8,646 rebounds, good enough for 50th place on the all-time list.

But there’s another, less-known, stat where Cage’s name sits atop the NBA all-time list. In his career, Cage attempted 25 three-point shots. He made none of them. Cage is thus the NBA player with the most three-point shots taken in a career who never made a three-pointer.

Here’s a look at the 14 players in NBA history who attempted 15 or more three-point shots in their careers who never made one of them. (Four of the players on the list are active players and will likely have an opportunity to get their names off this list.)

Player (last year in league), 3-pt shot attempts
Michael Cage (2000) 25
Wayman Tisdale (1997) 21
Ed Pinckney (1997) 18
Chris Wilcox (active) 17
Bernard Thompson (1989) 17
Zaza Pachulia (active) 17
Chris Kaman (active) 17
Marc Iavaroni (1989) 17
Armen Gilliam (2000) 17
Ollie Mack (1982) 16
Bobby Jones (1986) 16
Earl Cureton (1997) 16
Pat Cummings (1991) 16
Brandon Bass (active) 15

Of the 14 on the above list, Tisdale had the most career points in the league with 12, 878.

Looking at the stats through the first half of the 2012-13 season, five players had launched five or more three-pointers without making one. Boston’s Kevin Garnett tops the list with 10 three-point attempts and none made. He is followed by Brandon Roy (nine attempts), Marquis Teaque (seven attempts), and Anderson Varejao and Anthony Davis (each with five attempts).

Taking this stat a step further, there are seven players in NBA history who have made only one three-point shot in their career with 25 or more attempts. Topping this list is Franklin Edwards (he played in the league from 1982-88) who made one three-pointer in 33 attempts during his career. Current Cleveland forward/center Anderson Varejao (who is o-for-five this season from three-point land) has one three-pointer in his career on 32 attempts. The others who have only one three-point shot made in their career with 25-plus attempts: Sidney Green (27 attempts), Craig Smith (27 attempts), Phil Hubbard (26 attempts), Jerome Williams (26 attempts) and Jason Thompson (25 attempts).

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