Monthly Archives: March, 2015

Brewers Opening Day stars


One week from today the Milwaukee Brewers will begin the 2015 MLB season. Opening Day is always a great day; every team (and its fans) have unlimited optimism for a great season. It’s a new start for players and teams.

For some players, Opening Day has proven to be a big day in their careers. Case in point: For the Brewers, Sixto Lezcano had a few memorable games on Opening Day; in fact, he is the only player in MLB history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day twice, in 1978 and 1980… both times as a member of the Brewers.

Lezcano tops the Brewers with the most Opening Day home runs and RBIs. Here’s a look at those Brewers players who have the most HRs and RBIs for the Brewers on Opening Day.

Most HRs on Opening Day (Brewers)

3: Sixto Lezcano
2: Jeff Cirillo, Carlos Gomez, Larry Hisle, Ben Oglivie, Richie Sexson, Greg Vaughn, Robin Yount

Most RBIs on Opening Day (Brewers)

11: Sixto Lezcano
8: Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount
7: Paul Molitor
6: Jeff Cirillo
5: Ryan Braun, Larry Hisle, John Jaha, Geoff Jenkins, Don Money, Dave Nilsson, Ben Oglivie, Aramis Ramirez, Greg Vaughn

In looking at records back to 1914, we see that a couple of familiar names top the list of all players with HR and RBI success on Opening Day. Babe Ruth tops the list of most RBIs on Opening Day with 22, while Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey, Jr. and (surprise) Adam Dunn top the list each with eight Opening Day home runs. Here are the players with the most Opening Day HRs and RBIs since 1914.

Opening Day HRs
8: Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Robinson
7: Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth

Opening Day RBIs
22: Babe Ruth
21: Adam Dunn
19: Vladimir Guerrero

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Badgers ‘Elite Eight’ history


For all you Badgers fans who can’t wait until 5:07pm tonight for the game against Arizona to start, here’s a few stats that you may find interesting…

* Wisconsin has won their first three games as a Number One seed in the tournament. In the years since the NCAA went to a seeded format for this tournament, the Badgers have been a #4, #5 and #6 seed most often, each three times since 1979. Here’s a quick look at the team’s win-loss record as each seed since 1979:
Number 1 Seed: 3-0 (through games of March 26, 2015)
Number 2 Seed: 5-2
Number 3 Seed: 2-1
Number 4 Seed: 5-3
Number 5 Seed: 2-3
Number 6 Seed: 3-3
Number 7 Seed: 0-1
Number 8 Seed: 5-2
Number 9 Seed: 1-2
Number 12 Seed: 1-1

* The Badgers have made the Final Four three times, 1941, 2000 and 2014. They won two of those Elite Eight games by one point (1941 and 2014) and the other by a four-point margin (2000).

* This is the first time the Badgers have faced a #2 Seed (Arizona) in their regional.

* This will be the fourth time the Badgers have faced Arizona in the tournament. In 2000, they defeated Arizona, then a #1 seed, in the second round. In 2006 Wisconsin, the #9 seed, lost to Arizona, the #8 seed, in the first round of the tourney. Last season these two teams faced off in the elite 8 game with the Badgers (the #2 seed) defeating Arizona (the #1 seed) 64-63 in overtime.

* The Badgers have played in five Elite Eight games, winning three and losing two. The two losses occurred in 1947 and 2005. In the three games they won to go to the Final Four, the Badgers held their opponents under 64 points.

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“FOUR STATS” you may not know about… the Final Four


Here’s a look at a few stats you may not know about the upcoming NCAA men’s Final Four.

1. Five of the seven teams with 10 or more appearances in the Final Four are still in this year’s tournament. North Carolina and UCLA top the list with the most Final Four appearances with 18. Kentucky is next with 16 and Duke follows with 15. All four of those teams made this year’s Sweet 16. The other three teams on the list: Kansas with 14 Final Fours and Louisville and Ohio State with 10. Of those three, only Louisville is still alive in this year’s event.

2. Two teams that have made 18 or more NCAA tournament appearances but have never appeared in the Final Four are still alive and could possibly break those streak. Xavier has played in 25 (now 26) NCAA tourneys but has never made the Final Four, while Gonzaga has played in 18 (now 19) and has never made it to the Final Four.

3. Prior to this year, Kentucky has played in 35 Elite 8 games, winning 16 and losing 19. Their 19 losses in the Regional Final title game is most on the list. They are followed by Kansas State with nine, Villanova with eight, North Carolina with seven and Ohio State, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Connecticut and Arizona with six losses each. Texas, Oregon State, Illinois, Temple and Michigan have each lost five Regional Final title games. Of these teams listed, only three, Kentucky, North Carolina and Arizona are still alive in this year’s tournament.

4. Missouri tops the list with the most losses in the Regional Final title game with no appearances in the Final Four. Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Boston College and Davidson have each lost three Regional Final title games and have never made it to the Final Four.

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Yankees’ Derek Jeter joins MLB’s unique ’20-year club’


When New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter retired after last season, he became the 18th major league player to play 20 or more years in the majors all with the same team. Here’s a look at this noteworthy list:

23 years: Carl Yastrzemski (Boston), Brooks Robinson (Baltimore)

22 years: Al Kaline (Detroit), Stan Musial (St. Louis), Mel Ott (New York Giants)

21 years: Cal Ripken, Jr. (Baltimore), George Brett (Kansas City), Willie Stargell (Pittsburgh), Ted Lyons (Chicago White Sox), Walter Johnson (Washington)

20 years: Derek Jeter (New York Yankees), Craig Biggio (Houston), Tony Gwynn (San Diego), Alan Trammell (Detroit), Robin Yount (Milwaukee), Luke Appling (Chicago White Sox), Mel Harder (Cleveland), Red Faber (Chicago White Sox)

One of Jeter’s long-time teammates, Mariano Rivera, retire din 2013 after 19 seasons in the majors, all with the Yankees. He became the ninth player in MLB history to play 19 seasons in the league, all with the same team. Here are those nine players: Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees), Chipper Jones (Atlanta), Barry Larkin (Cincinnati), Lou Whitaker (Detroit), Dave Concepcion (Cincinnati), Jim Palmer (Baltimore), Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs), Ted Williams (Boston ) and Charlie Gehringer (Detroit).

Going back to the stat of players who played 20 or more seasons in the league, there have been 152 players who have reached that milestone. Above we noted the 18 players who are on this list that played for only one team during their career. There are also 17 players who played 20+ years in the league with only two teams. They are:

25 years: Eddie Collins
24 years: Ty Cobb, Carlton Fisk
23 years: Hank Aaron
22 years: Barry Bonds, Phil Cavaretta, Jimmy Dykes, Tom Glavine, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays
21 years: Fred Clarke, Eppa Rixley, Honus Wagner
20 years: Max Carey, Dwight Evans, Gabby Hartnett, Sam Rice

Note: Of the 152 players with 20 or more MLB seasons, five played for 10 or more teams. Leading the way is right-handed pitcher Mike Morgan. He played 22 seasons in the bigs with 12 different teams. He compiled a 141-186 record in those seasons. His longest stay was parts of five seasons with the Cubs.

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‘Takeo’ Honors: 2014 top performances by NFL players not in the playoffs


J.J. Watt: 2014 "Takeo" Honors Player of the Year

J.J. Watt: 2014 “Takeo” Honors Player of the Year

Each year, 12 of the NFL’s 32 teams get a chance to play in the playoffs. Familiar names like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wes Welker and Russell Wilson punctuated the rosters of the 12 playoff teams in 2014. But for the other 20 teams and their players, the off-season began once that 16th game was finished. Unfortunately, what gets lost when the playoffs start is the performances of some of those players whose teams didn’t make the post-season.

To honor those players on the 20 teams that did not make the 2014 NFL playoffs, I’ve created an honor to recognize the top performances from their seasons. In honor of Takeo Spikes, the San Diego Chargers linebacker who played 219 NFL regular season games in his career without ever playing in an NFL playoff game, I present the annual “Takeo” Honors. These honors are presented to the players from non-playoff teams who topped the list in 19 different statistical categories.

(Numbers for each of the statistical category leaders are based on only those players whose teams did not make the playoffs.)

2014 NFL “Takeo” Honors

QUARTERBACKS Most passing TDs: Drew Brees, New Orleans, 33; Highest Passer Rating: Drew Brees, New Orleans, 97.0

RUNNING BACKS Most rushing yards: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia, 1,319; Most rushing TDs: Matt Asiata, Minnesota, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City and Mark Ingram, New Orleans, nine each

RECEIVERS Most receptions: Julius Jones, Atlanta, 104;  Most receiving TDs: Odell Beckham, NY Giants, Mike Evans, Tampa Bay and Antonio Gates, San Diego, 12 each

POINTS SCORED Most points scored (non-kicker): Jamaal Charles, Kansas City, 84; Most points scored (kicker): Cody Parkey, Philadelphia, 150

KICKERS Most field goals made: Dan Carpenter, Buffalo, 34

DEFENSE Most sacks: Justin Houston, Kansas City, 22; Most tackles: Lavonte David, Tampa bay, 101; Most interceptions: Tashaun Gipson, Cleveland, six; Fumbles recovered: J.J. Watt, Houston, five; Fumbles forced: Ryan Kerrigan, Washington and Robert Quinn, St. Louis, five each

PUNTERS Highest average per punt: Tress Way, Washington, 47.5

KICK RETURNERS Highest yards per kickoff return (min. of 16 returns): Knile Davis, Kansas City, 28.6; Highest yards per punt return (min. of 16 returns): Marcus Thigpen, (three teams that did not make the playoffs, Buffalo, Miami and Tampa Bay) 13.8

MISCELLANEOUS Most yards from scrimmage: Matt Forte, Chicago, 1,846; Most all-purpose yards: Jarvis Landry, Miami, 1,912

2014 NFL “Takeo” Honors Player of the Year: My selection for the 2014 Takeo Honors POY is Houston’s J.J. Watt. He won the league’s Most Valuable Defensive Player and was given much consideration for the NFL MVP in 2014. Watt had five TDs, including three receiving touchdowns, all for the 9-7 Texans, who did not make the playoffs.

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