Monthly Archives: June, 2014

TRIPLE PLAY: Sports Movies

hoosiers

(One subject… three questions… Can you answer the three questions correctly and complete the TRIPLE PLAY?)

1. In the movie “Hoosiers,” Hickory wins the state championship when Jimmy Chitwood hits a game-winning basket at the buzzer. What was the final score of that state championship game?

2. In the movie “Tin Cup,” Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy tees off on the 18th hole of the final round with a chance to win the U.S. Open. Instead of playing it safe, McAvoy dumps several shots in the pond short of the green. What score did McAvoy get on that final hole?

3. In the movie “Remember the Titans,” the Titans from T.C. Williams High School win a state football championship. In what state did the Titans win their title?

ANSWERS

1. Jimmy Chitwood’s buzzer-beater gave Hickory a 42-40 win in the championship game.

2. After hitting his tee shot, McAvoy dumped five shots in the pond short of the green and then finally holed a fairway shot to score a 12 on that final hole.

3. The Titans won the Virginia state football title.

Kawhi Leonard’s surprise MVP honor in NBA Finals

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was selected the NBA Finals MVP after his team won the title in five games over the defending champion Miami Heat. Leonard became the second youngest player to ever win the series MVP (Magic Johnson is the youngest). Considering that Leonard was not one of the Spurs’ Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or  Manu Ginobli, his MVP honor was a surprise… and probably not predicted by any basketball pundit prior to the start of the series.

Leonard averaged only 12.8 points per games in the regular season for the Spurs, which was third-best on the team behind Parker and Duncan. His 12.8 pts/game average in the regular season is now the third lowest of a player who won the NBA Finals MVP that same season. The lowest was in 1978 when Washington Bullets center Wes Unseld won the ’78 NBA Finals MVP after only scoring 7.6 points per game in the regular season that year.

Of the 46 players who have been selected NBA Finals MVP since the award was first instituted in 1969, 30 of them averaged 20 or more points in the regular season that year.

Here’s a look at the NBA Finals MVPs who averaged less than 20 points in the regular season in the season they won the finals award.

Wes Unseld, 1978… 7.6
Willis Reed, 1973… 11.0
Kawhi Leonard, 2014… 12.8
Wilt Chamberlain, 1972… 14.8
Cedric Maxwell, 1981… 15.2
Dennis Johnson, 1979… 15.9
Chauncey Billips, 2004… 16.9
Joe Dumars, 1989… 17.2
Magic Johnson, 1980… 18.0
Isiah Thomas, 1990… 18.4
Tony Parker, 2007… 18.6
Magic Johnson, 1982… 18.6
Bill Walton, 1977… 18.6
JoJo White, 1976… 18.9
Paul Pierce, 2008… 19.6
James Worthy, 1988… 19.7

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TRIPLE PLAY: The NBA Finals

2014 NBA finals

(One subject… three questions… Can you answer the three questions correctly and complete the TRIPLE PLAY?)

1. With their win over the Miami Heat last night to win the 2014 NBA Championship, the San Antonio Spurs became the third NBA franchise to win the NBA title in three consecutive decades. Can you name the other two franchises?

2. The Miami Heat lost their second NBA title in four years. Name the last franchise to lose back-to-back NBA championships.

3. Which NBA franchise has won an NBA title in the most decades?

 

ANSWERS

1. The Boston Celtics won NBA titles in four consecutive decades (50s, 60s, 70s and 80s); the Detroit Pistons won titles in three straight decades (80s, 90s, 00s)

2. The New Jersey Nets lost back-to-back NBA championships in 2002 and 2003. They lost to the Lakers in 2002 and the Spurs in 2003.

3. The Lakers have won NBA titles in six different decades. The Celtics have won in five different decades.

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HR sluggers who didn’t strikeout much

Victor Martinez

(Victor Martinez)

When we think of home run hitters, we usually think of players with great power who also strikeout quite often. It is rare to find that player who hits a lot of home runs but doesn’t strikeout that often. In recent years, Albert Pujols comes to mind as a player with great HR power who also has a great eye at the plate.

This season we have a player who may make a name for himself as a power hitter who doesn’t strikeout that often. Detroit’s Victor Martinez has hit 15 home runs in 60 games with the Tigers but has fanned on only 15 of his 253 plate appearances. He is the only player this year with 10 or more HRs and fewer than 20 strikeouts.

Looking back in MLB history, there have been 45 players with 20 or more home runs who had more home runs than strikeouts. The last player to achieve this feat was in 2004 when Barry Bonds had 45 HRs and only 41 strikeouts thatseason.

Let’s look at a couple of lists that help define a few of these great power hitters with great eyes at the plate. First, here are the players in MLB history who have hit 30 or more home runs with less than 30 strikeouts in a season.

Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, 1941 (13 strikeouts, 30 HRs)
Lefty O’Doul, Philadelphia, 1929 (19 strikeouts, 32 HRs)
Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, 1939 (20 Strikeouts, 30 HRs)
Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, 1938 (21 strikeouts, 32 HRs)
Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, 1952 (24 strikeouts, 30 HRs)
Ted Williams, Boston, 1941 (27 strikeouts, 37 HRs)
Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, 1956 (29 strikeouts, 30 HRs)

Let’s bump up the numbers a bit. Here are the players who hit 45 or more HRs in a season with less than 45 strikeouts.

Lou Gehrig, 1934 (31 strikeouts, 49 HRs)
Ted Kluszewski, 1954 (35 strikeouts, 49 HRs)
Joe DiMaggio, 1937 (37 strikeouts, 46 HRs)
Ted Kluszewski, 1955 (40 Strikeouts, 47 HRs)
Barry Bonds, 2004 (41 strikeouts, 45 HRs)
Johnny Mize, 1947 (42 strikeouts, 51 HRs)

Note: Of the 43 players who hit 50 or more home runs in a season, Mize is the only one who had fewer than 50 strikeouts that season. In fact, 25 of those 43 players had 100 or more strikeouts in that 50-plus HR season.

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A’s-Giants hoping for another ‘one-state’ World Series

Angels-Giants

Take a look at the MLB standings this morning and you’ll see that a pair of California teams have the best records in the American and National leagues. The San Francisco Giants have the majors best record while the Oakland A’s top the American League.

It got me thinking about two teams from the same state that faced off against each other in the World Series. The last such series was in 2002 when the Giants and Anaheim Angles played seven games with the Angles winning the Fall Classic that year. Teams from the same state facing each other has happened 21 times in World Series history. The first time was in 1906 when the two teams from Illinois, the Cubs and White Sox squared off; the White Sox won the series in six games.

There have been nine different in-state rivalries that have met in the World Series:

Illinois
Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox (1906)

New York
New York Giants vs. New York Yankees (1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, 1937, 1951)
New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers (1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956)
New York Yankees vs. New York Mets (2000)

California
Oakland A’s vs. Los Angles Dodgers (1974, 1988)
Oakland A’s vs. San Francisco Giants (1989)
Anaheim Angels vs. San Francisco Giants (2002)

Missouri
St. Louis Cardinals vs. St. Louis Browns (1944)
Kansas City Royals vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1985)

Note: Of these 21 in-state World Series, the American League team has won the title 16 times.

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