Author Topic: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread  (Read 14973 times)

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Offline alkeiper

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #150 on: October 19, 2018, 07:17:05 AM »
One of the oddities of pre-1950 baseball is that a player could have a real career in the minor leagues. By Speece pitched an inning in the 1924 World Series and only pitched 167 major league innings, mostly as a mop-up reliever. Open up his minor league record though and you see he won 229 career games. He's winning 20 games a season in a league where 60-75% of the players once reached the majors (or would in the future). The guy obviously had talent.

Offline alkeiper

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #151 on: October 26, 2018, 01:00:40 AM »
I'm going to preface this one right off the bat. It's all bullshit.

I saw a blogpost headline that referred to Whitey Ford as "the Greatest Living Yankee." We know intrinsically that Ford doesn't earn that distinction simply by being the best player. He's also one of the last living legends from that generation. I figured I would run an equation to multiply a player's WAR by 1.XX, XX being whatever their age is. For the Yankees...

1. Whitey Ford 108.11
2. Derek Jeter 104.26
3. Willie Randolph 88.56
4. Mariano Rivera  83.89
5. Roy White 81.9

Like I said, bullshit. But it gets you statistically where you want to be in the conversation.

Offline alkeiper

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #152 on: October 30, 2018, 07:01:40 AM »
Sweetwater Clifton was a basketball legend, one of the players who integrated the NBA. Turns out, he played minor league baseball in my home city of Wilkes-Barre!

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=clifto001nat

Offline Mr. S£im Citrus

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #153 on: November 02, 2018, 12:49:05 PM »
I was today years old when I learned that Michael Buffer's net worth is $400M.

Offline Saints_Fan_H

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #154 on: November 02, 2018, 12:54:16 PM »
How much of that was gained from WCW appearances? I know the appearance fee was pretty up there.

Offline Brodypedia

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #155 on: November 23, 2018, 09:05:49 PM »
Be gentle with me if this one is known:

I'm reading a book on Bart Starr's failed run as Packers coach. In 1977, Lynn Dickey suffered a broken leg. NFL rules at the time did not allow the Packers to sign either if the two QBs they had released during the pre-season because you could not sign someone you had earlier cut unless they were signed elsewhere first.

What in the name of what was this rule for?!!?!
--

It was also illegal at the time for teams to ask players from different colleges to meet at one spot to do a pre-draft tryout. The Saints and Packers violated this rule in back to back years. The Saints were penalized $5,000, while the Packers were stripped of a 4th round pick.

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #156 on: November 23, 2018, 09:23:23 PM »
Be gentle with me if this one is known:

I'm reading a book on Bart Starr's failed run as Packers coach. In 1977, Lynn Dickey suffered a broken leg. NFL rules at the time did not allow the Packers to sign either if the two QBs they had released during the pre-season because you could not sign someone you had earlier cut unless they were signed elsewhere first.

What in the name of what was this rule for?!!?!
--

It was also illegal at the time for teams to ask players from different colleges to meet at one spot to do a pre-draft tryout. The Saints and Packers violated this rule in back to back years. The Saints were penalized $5,000, while the Packers were stripped of a 4th round pick.

Interesting stuff. The latter I think was a rule partly in place to let teams only work players out at their local college campuses.

Offline Brodypedia

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #157 on: April 04, 2019, 11:28:23 PM »
Just finished a book covering the Packers under Dan Devine, the only non Lombardi disciple to coach for GB until 1987.

- Devine's 1972 Packers made the Playoffs behind a young bull at fullback named John Brockington. QB was largely a mess, with 2nd year 6th round pick Scott Hunter manning the spot most of the year.  Despite having still been an active player the year before, Bart Starr was named OC. The media loved him, and gave him praise and attention instead of Devine for the success.
When the playoffs came, Devine took away Starr's playcalling, and spent the whole game running into a 5 man front, instead of allowing Hunter to audible and throw. The Pack lost a boring 13-3 game to Washington. Starr could be seen standing alone, far from the action in the middle of the game.  Devine and Starr agreed to part at this point. Devine was so livid over not getting the glory, he actually resigned and had to be talked back. Starr went on to turn down other coaching offers, with his eyes on the Packers prize.
Devine had two more poor season's, culminating in Oct. of 1974 when Time magazine did a feature on Devine, where he revealed the locals accused his wife of being an alcoholic (she had MS), the kids called his daughters whores, and he implied that irate fans shot the family dogs. (He admitted 30 years later that it was an accident). 
So with the head coach burying the team, the official Packer PR man Chuck Lane was given room to respond, he said "The Players hate Devine and want him gone."  Turns out Lane was a double agent for Starr and was actively trying to get Devine to be fired/quit so Bart could take over.
Devine would go on to trade a 1st, 2nd in 75 and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in 76 for 34 year-old John Hadl. Hadl had just been benched after playing poorly against...the Packers.  The kicker ended up being that Hadl saw all those picks and refused to report without a big raise, so the Rams and Packers agreed to give him 200 grand each to get the matter passed.
The team was so fed up that they mutinied the last week of the year and almost decided to forfeit the game. Lombardi coach Dave Hanner was still coaching defense for Devine and lead the charge against him.

 

Offline Brodypedia

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #158 on: May 02, 2019, 03:45:30 AM »
Between 1955 and 1957 the Steelers drafted Johnny Unitas and Len Dawson, as well as picked up Jack Kemp on waivers from the Lions.  All went on to big time careers elsewhere while the Steelers sunk into mediocrity.

Offline alkeiper

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #159 on: July 22, 2019, 07:19:33 AM »
Decided to rewatch some classic baseball innings. Not as time consuming as games, but more in depth and context than a simple baseball highlight. I think it will make sense when I dig in.

1986 World Series Game 6: Bottom of 10th Inning

Most of us know the basics here. Red Sox haven't won a Series in 58 years but they lead 5-3 in the bottom of the tenth and they hold a 3-2 series lead. It's in Shea. Vin Scully is on the mike, Joe Garagiola is doing color. Dave Henderson hit the go ahead home run and they tacked on another run. Roger Clemens went seven innings. Calvin Schiraldi is on the mound for the Sox.

Scully never puts this one in the bag for the Sox. Nor does he ever mention their long championship drought. He is very good at keeping the game in the moment and not trying to overdramatize it. We get our share of camera shots of players in the dugout but not close-ups of fans.

Two quick outs. Backman and Hernandez both fly out to center and right, respectively.

Gary Carter gets a line drive single to left. Kevin Mitchell follows with a liner to center, kind of a jam shot. Schiraldi gets two strikes on Ray Knight but Knight lines another to center, scoring one. 5-4 Red Sox, Mitchell at third and Knight at first.

At this point, McNamara gets Stanley from the bullpen. Stanley battles Mookie Wilson, working him to a 2-2 count. Stanley throws one inside, catcher Rich Gedman fails to grab it and Mitchell scores from third. Tie game, full count. Mookie pops it foul. Mookie barely gets ahold of the next pitch to line it foul. On a replay, Joe Garagiola notes Gedman was out of position trying to catch the wild pitch. Mookie either gets a new bat or adds some substance. Next pitch, grounder, Buckner whiffs and we get the famous call.

Vin Scully holds the silence for a full 1:45 as the broadcast gives us the crowd noise and visuals and replays. Buckner is never mentioned by name but we see him clearly hobbling off the field. Of course it's delirium in Shea, an all time great Mets franchise moment.

A couple takeaways:

-Of course Buckner has always carried the blame, but the score was tied when he made the error. It was still a costly play, the second most important of the game according to Win Probability Added.

-That said, Buckner clearly should not have been out there. He had just batted, he would have been due up eighth if the game continued. Clear, clear spot for a defensive replacement.

-Smart fans look at the summary and say of course the wild pitch was the clear miscue. But Stanley didn't even bounce the pitch. Gedman deserves just as much blame, IMO.

-Bob Stanley overpowered Mookie Wilson. He nearly struck out Wilson and induced a weak grounder, actually the weakest ball the Mets hit in the inning.

-The lions' share of the credit really should go to the Mets' bats. The Red Sox made two crucial mistakes during the Wilson at bat, but the Mets got three key hits to get to that point.

-Vin Scully is the man. Credit to the broadcast team though for doing a great job around him.

Offline strummer

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #160 on: July 25, 2019, 11:10:50 AM »
Great write up Al

Can't believe how many people still believe the Red Sox were still winning the game when Buckner's error occurred.  It was tied damnit!! In fact within the last year a caller to the Michael Kay show made the same mistake before being corrected.

Also I've seen a bunch of people incorrectly believe this was a series clinching win for the Mets

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #161 on: July 30, 2019, 04:25:05 AM »
Really great video of Dante Hall discussing his Human Joystick return era


Offline alkeiper

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #162 on: August 14, 2019, 05:35:25 AM »
1985 World Series Game 6: Bottom of the 9th inning

The St. Louis Cardinals are in Kansas City, playing the Royals. The Cards are up three games to two and hold a 1-0 lead in game six. The Cards had won a World Series in 1982, the Royals had never won a World Series.

Ken Dayley, a lefty, is the pitcher of record for the Cardinals. Whitey Herzog waits for the Royals to use Darryl Motley as a pinch hitter before bringing in righty Todd Worrell. Dick Howser counters with another pinch hitter, lefty Jorge Orta.

Orta watches one and fouls two. 0-2 count. Orta hits a weak chop, Clark fields it, throws to Worrell, safe. One of the most famous blown calls in World Series history. Three quick replays confirm Orta was out. The Cardinals argue and Whitey Herzog comes out. The biggest surprise in all this is that it took 1:10 from Orta hitting the bag to Steve Balboni stepping up to the plate. The call barely interrupted the flow of the game.

Now we've got Balboni, the power bat of the Royals. Announcers Al Michaels and Tony Kubek speculate on a bunt, but Balboni could win this game on one swing. First pitch is a pop up. Darrell Porter and Jack Clark converge near the 1B dugout and Clark whiffs on the pop up. It's precariously close to the dugout, there's no fence or barrier to keep players from falling in. Michaels notes that Clark was a career right fielder. "He came off the base and I'm not saying he made a mistake with the Motley ball..."

Todd Worrell is just throwing fastballs and trying to blow it past batters. The Royals are barely fouling these off. Balboni fouls the second pitch as Michaels notes Balboni is aiming for the freeway. But on the third pitch Balboni reaches and hits a hard grounder to LF. Orta to 2nd.

The most obvious move in the world. Onix Concepcion pinch runs for Balboni at first as the potential winning run. Herzog comes out for a mound conference. Worrell has thrown seven pitches, seven strikes.

Jim Sundberg is up to bunt. Two balls. Mound conference. One bunt foul lands in the seats. Second rolls foul on the first base line. Fifth pitch sees Sundberg lay down a two strike bunt. It bounces to the third base side of Worrell where he picks it and throws it to third. Orta is out at third, one out. Concepcion to second, Sundberg on at first base.

Hal McRae pinch hits for Buddy Biancalana. (The DH rule was not used in this World Series.) Ball one, low and outside. Second pitch is a rare slider. Porter clanks it, runners move up to second and third. Passed ball. The decision to go ahead and walk McRae is obvious.

That brings up Dan Quisenberry's spot, and Dane Iorg pinch hits. John Wathan pinch runs for McRae. (Wathan as a catcher once stole 36 bases in a season. His son Dusty stole 24 in his minor league career and I'm surprised he had that many.) The Cards are still up one, a double play wins the World Series. Taking stock of Worrell, he has thrown 16 pitches, 10 strikes.

First pitch to Iorg is low. Second pitch is lined to right, Andy Van Slyke is playing way too deep. Concepcion scores. Sundberg scores as the throw comes in but Porter can turn and make a tag fast enough. "He scores, we go to a seventh!" as Kansas City sets off the loudest celebration in their team's history.

My takeaways:

-The missed Orta call hurt, sure. By Win Probability Added it wasn't one of the five most important plays of the game.

-The Cardinals made two, maybe three key mistakes in that inning. The missed pop fly, the passed ball, and perhaps the Orta hit. It was like the Armando Galarraga play where the umpire's mistake compounded the original mistake that the first baseman fielded a ball the second baseman could've, and thrown to a pitcher running to the bag.

-The Royals had five offensive substitutions in that inning. Imagine that in today's game.

-There was absolutely no baserunning game at work here, beyond pinch runners. No runner stole or bluffed a steal, Worrell never threw over.

-Finally, this game was absolutely winnable for the Cardinals. They blew the World Series because they scored one run in their last 26 innings of baseball.

Postscript: The Cardinals shit the bed in game seven. John Tudor didn't make it out of the third inning. A sixth run fifth chased both Joaquin Andujar and Whitey Herzog. Bret Saberhagen pitched a complete game shutout as the Royals won their first World Series.

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #163 on: August 14, 2019, 06:32:57 AM »
Great stuff, Al. I always love looking back at games in hindsight and wondering the 'little' moments that changed a game from win to loss. Out of curiosity, what were the win expectancy for the situations you mentioned?

Offline alkeiper

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Re: Interesting Rarely Known Sports Facts/Tidbits Thread
« Reply #164 on: August 14, 2019, 06:55:32 AM »
Some of these are off 1% because of rounding

Start of Inning: Royals have 20% chance of winning

Orta 1B (Blown Call): 34% (+13%)
Balboni 1B: 52% (+18%)
Sundberg FC: 34% (-18%)
Passed Ball: 54% (+21%)
McRae IBB: 54% (-1%)
Iorg 1B: 100% (+46%)

That's what actually happened. I'm going to take a look at a win expectancy chart for some what if's.

If Orta's 1B becomes an out:
BEFORE: 20%
AFTER: 34%
IF OUT: 11%

If you look at win expectancy that way, you can argue it was a way more important play. Not as big as the final single, but big.

If Jack Clark catches Balboni's popup:
BEFORE: 34%
AFTER: 34% (It was a non-event)
IF OUT: 21%

Not catching that pop up and allowing Balboni to follow up with a single was a 30% swing.

If you include the what ifs, here's about where the most important plays rank:
1. Iorg's single. Can't be emphasized enough. If he rolls over on that ball and hits it to short the Cardinals are World Champions.
2. Jack Clark misses the pop-up. Because Balboni singled.
3. Brian Harper's go ahead single in the top of the 8th. Two outs, that was clutch.
4. Orta reaches on Denkinger's missed call.
5. The passed ball during McRae's at bat.

One last addition. I find it a little amusing that knowing a double play could end the game, the Royals still decided against having Hal McRae in there to take out the second baseman.