Tuesday

NBA Athlete Number 98 - Chet Aubuchon

No one has chosen to wear the number 97 in the NBA to-date, so it's on to number 98. And I'm bending the rules a bit here with this choice too. Why? Because technically, this jersey number was only worn in the Basketball Association of America, the NBA's predecessor.

Chet Aubuchon, out of Michigan State, wore number 98 for the Detroit Falcons in 1946-47, netting 65 points that season.

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Thursday

NBA Athlete Number 96 - Ron Artest

Could it be?  Ron Artest again?  Yep.  Artest has worn, among others, 15, 37, 93 and 96.   He was in jersey number 96 for his brief, but productive, stint with the Rockets.

Artest had his third highest single season scoring total while a member of the Houston Rockets, netting 1,181 points in the 2008-09 season.

Did you know...........Artest scored 203 points in 13 playoff games for the Rockets in 2009?

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Wednesday

NBA Athlete Number 93 - Ron Artest

Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, is the best NBA athlete to wear number 93, in addition to number 37.



Artest has worn a plethora of jersey numbers in his NBA career, this one being worn while he was a member of the Sacramento Kings.   He played for them between the 2005-06 and 2007-08 NBA seasons.

After a trade sent Artest from the Indiana Pacers to Sacramento, in exchange for Peja Stojakovic, he would spend just about half of the 2005-06 season as a King.

The St. John's graduate proved his offensive worth immediately.  In 40 regular season games, Artest scored 674 points.  He was no slouch defensively either, pulling down 159 defensive boards.  Artest saw his only playoff time with the Kings in that season, scoring 87 points in 5 games.

Did you know..............Artest was the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2004?



  

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Tuesday

NBA Athlete Number 92 - DeShawn Stevenson

The number 23 overall draft pick in the 2000 NBA draft is the only NBA player, as of this post, to wear the jersey number 92.

DeShawn Stevenson wore the numbers 2 and 9 while with the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.  He would combine those numbers, in reverse, upon joining the Dallas Mavericks for the 2009-10 season.


After a relatively short, 24 games with the Mavs in 2009-10, he would see much more court time in Dallas, playing in a hefty 72 games.  In those 72 regular season games, Stevenson would score 383 points, while pulling down 106 boards.

Did you know............that the best NBA athlete to wear number 90, Drew Gooden, was involved in Dallas' trade for Stevenson?

sources:  wikipedia.combasketball-reference.com

Best Number 92 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 92
NHL Number 92

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Sunday

NBA Athlete Number 91 - Dennis Rodman

He was on this list for number 10, 73, and now here he is again at number 91.    It was in this jersey number that Rodman won three NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls.

While playing in the Windy City, Rodman would twice lead the league in offensive rebounds, and once lead the league in total rebounds.   In fact, he had his second highest career total for rebounds in the regular season, with 1,201 in 1997-98, his last in Chicago.

Did you know...............Rodman pulled down 248 boards in the 1997-98 playoffs, the most in his single season playoff career?

Best Number 91 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 91
NHL Number 91

source:  basketball-reference.com

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Wednesday

NBA Athlete Number 90 - Drew Gooden

He's worn three numbers (counting zero as a number) using both 0 and 9.  0, 9 and 90.  Drew Gooden is being recognized here as the best NBAer to ever wear number 90.

Gooden, taken with the 4th overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft by the Grizzlies out of Kansas,
would begin his rookie season in Memphis, but finish it in Orlando.  It wasn't until he reach
Cleveland in 2004-05 however, that he would begin wearing jersey number 90.

It was while wearing number 90 with the Cavaliers, that Gooden would score over 1,000 points.  He had two and a half more very productive offensive seasons in Cleveland, before spending parts of two seasons as a Bull, while again wearing 90.

Gooden was committed to the number 90, wearing it in stints with the Kings, Spurs and Mavericks over the next two seasons.

Did you know...............Gooden was named the Player of the Year in 2002 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, for his play as a Kansas Jayhawk?  

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NBA Athlete Number 89 - Clyde Lovellette

Clyde Lovellette wore the jersey number 89 for the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954.  He would score 588 points in 72 games that season, and would go on to change his jersey number to 34, except for a brief stint with the Celtics in 1963, when he would wear number 4.

Did you know..........Lovellette won the 1952 NCAA Championship in 1952 while playing with Kansas?

sources:  wikipedia, basketball-reference.com

Best Number 89 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 89
NHL Number 89


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Tuesday

NBA Athlete Number 88 - Nicolas Batum

No number 87, so we're on to number 88.  And Nicolas Batum, the 25th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, taken by the Houston Rockets, is the best to wear the number.  Batum was born in 1988, so is it possible that's the reason he wears the number, a la Sid-the-Kid in the NHL?

Batum was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-team trade on draft day.  In three seasons with the Trail Blazers, Batum has scored 1,791 regular season points with 722 boards.

Did you know........Batum was born in France?

sources:  nba.com, basketball-reference.com

Best Number 88 in Other Pro Sports
NHL Number 88
NFL Number 88



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Sunday

NBA Athlete Number 86 - Semih Erden

Nobody has chosen to wear jersey number 86 until 2011.  So, it's kinda strange that two athletes on the same professional team would choose to wear the number in the same season.  

Both Semih Erden and Chris Johnson wore 86 for the Boston Celtics in 2011.  Now, we know from previous posts, that the Celtics are running out of numbers to give to athletes, because they've retired so many.  Still strange to see that number worn twice in a season, though.  

Semih Erden gets the nod here, because he wore the number for a longer period of time, and therefore put up more stats, and because I like his first name.  First time I've come across that name.  

Erden scored 150 points in 37 games for the Celts in 2011.  

Did you know....................Erden was born in Turkey?   

source:  basketball-reference.com

Best Number 86 in Other Pro Sports

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NBA Athlete Number 85 - Baron Davis

Another high jersey number, another unpopular jersey number.  85 has been worn by one NBA athlete, Baron Davis, for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011.  Davis supposedly wore number 85 to honor his Grandparents who lived on 85th street in Los Angeles, CA.

Davis has primarily worn jersey numbers 1 and 5 throughout his NBA career, spent with the Hornets, Warriors and Clippers.  While in Cleveland in 2011, Davis played in just 15 regular season games with the Cavs, netting 208 points for a 13.9 per game average.

Did you know...............Davis was the 3rd overall draft pick in 1999 out of UCLA?

source:  basketball-reference.com

Best Number 85 in Other Pro Sports
NHL Number 85
NFL Number 85

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NBA Athlete Number 84 - Chris Webber

Plenty of numbers available for NBA athletes who want to make a number their own.  The numbers 78, 79, 80, 81, 82 and 83 are all up for grabs.  Kind of hard to believe actually.  When you look at a league like the NHL or the NFL, where a player has worn every jersey number from 1 through 99, it's kind of hard to believe that there are so many open jersey numbers in the NBA.

But, here we are.  And jersey number 84 has only even been worn in one season, by Chris Webber of the Detroit Pistons.  In 2007 Webber wore 84 in 43 regular season games for the Motor City NBA team.

Webber, of course, had a long a distinguished NBA career.  We won't go into all of his accomplishments over his career here.  What we will say, is that Webber scored 486 points and pulled down 288 boards in his time with Detroit.  (If you want to see all of his career NBA stats go to basketball-reference.com.)

Did you know..............Chris Webber was born in Detroit?

Best Number 84 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 84
NHL Number 84

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Friday

NBA Athlete Number 77 - Gheorghe Muresan

The best NBA athlete to wear number 77, is also one of the tallest players ever in professional basketball.  Maybe not so coincidentally, Gheorghe Muresan stood on the court at 7 feet 7 inches, while wearing the jersey number 77.

The 30th overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft taken by the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), Muresan would play four seasons in D.C.  He would top out with 1,104 points scored in his third season, 1995-96.  This performance would earn Muresan the Most Improved Player award, which was also assisted by his 172 shots blocked (8th overall that year).  

After a release by the Bullets, Muresan joined the New Jersey Nets in 1999, playing in just one game.  He would round out his career by playing in 30 games the next season with the Nets.

Over six NBA seasons, Muresan would score 3,020 points, block 455 shots, and pull down 1,957 boards.

Did you know........Muresan twice led the NBA in field goal percentage?

sources:  basketball-reference.com; wikipedia.com

Best Number 77 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 77
NHL Number 77

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Tuesday

NBA Athlete Number 76 - Shawn Bradley

No one has worn, as of this post, numbers 74 and 75.  So we're on to number 76.  And there's one big man who has worn this number.  He's the only NBA athlete to wear this number as of this post.

Shawn Bradley, it just so happened was 7' 6" tall.  And it just so happened that the Philadelphia 76ers had drafted him.  So what number do you think he wore?  Naturally, number 76.

The 76ers took Bradley out of BYU with the second pick of the 1993 NBA draft.  Bradley would play two and change seasons with Philly, posting fairly strong rebound numbers and very strong
block numbers.

Bradley was dealt to the New Jersey Nets during the '95-'96 NBA season.  Parts of two seasons were spent by Bradley in the Meadowlands, before he was dealt once again, this time to the Dallas Mavericks.

Stability would be found in Dallas.  Bradley finished out the '96-'97 season as a Maverick, and would remain one through the 2004-05 season.  He would finish in the top 5 in blocks over 4 separate seasons in Dallas, leading the league for the 2000-01 NBA season with 228 swats.

For his career, Bradley wound up with 2,119 blocked shots and a 2.5 blocks per game average.

Did you know..............Bradley is a German-American dual citizen?

For more Shawn Bradley statistics, visit basketball-reference.com.

sources:  basketball-reference.com, wikipedia.com

Best Number 76 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 76
NHL Number 76

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Friday

Best Home Run Hitter by Decade - 1900 to 1909

Do you know, off the top of your head, the most prolific home run hitter of the first decade of the 20th century?  If you're a casual baseball fan, you almost certainly don't.  If you are a SABR member, you probably do know.

Well, let's end the suspense here.  The home run king of the 1900 to 1909 decade is none other than........Harry Davis.  He's not a Hall of Famer, but a case could certainly be made that he should be.  Davis hit 67 dingers between 1900 and 1909.  Doesn't sound like a lot based on today's homer totals does it?  Well, consider this:  Davis led the majors in home runs in four consecutive seasons in that decade.

Davis' single season high was 12 in that decade, when he led the Athletics, and the league in 1906.  Between 1904 and 1907, Davis was the home run champ every year.  In that same time span, Davis also lead the league in RBI twice, doubles twice and runs once.

Yes, Davis' numbers don't match up with the likes of Mickey Mantle.  But when you judge him against his peers in the same era, Davis ranks at the top in power.


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Best Performances - October 20, 2011

Unfortunately, his performance didn't translate into a win.  But it was a great pitching performance nonetheless.  Jaime Garcia allowed only 3 hits over 7 innings, with no earned runs, 7 strikeouts and only 1 walk.



In the NHL, Alex Ovechkin netted two goals on only 3 shots, to lead the Capitals past the Flyers.

 

 

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Thursday

Best Performances - October 19, 2011

Lance Berkman went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI as the Cardinals won World Series game 1 at home over the Rangers.  Both Chris Carpeneter and C.J. Wilson pitched well, however Carpenter gave up one less earned run and that was enough to win the game.

Tony LaRussa used 5 relievers after Carpenter exited.  Combined, those 5 relievers gave up a total of one hit and one walk with no earned runs.    

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Wednesday

Carson Palmer - Oakland Raider Jersey Number...........

If the Raiders.com store is accurate, it looks like Carson Palmer will be wearing jersey number 3 for the Oakland Raiders, shedding the familiar number 9 he wore for the Bengals.


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Best Performances - October 18, 2011

The Rangers had no goals against the 2010-11 Western Conference Champion Canucks, through two periods of play. That didn't matter much, because their netminder, Henrik Lundqvist, denied all scoring attempts. Netted at 0-0 heading into the third, the blushirts broke out for four goals, while Lundqvist continued to deny all shots on goal. The result was 40 saves for the New York goalie wearing jersey number 30, and a 4-0 victory for the Rangers.

Vancouver dropped their third contest, while the Rangers got their first win of the 2011-12 NHL season.

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Tuesday

Best Performances - October 17, 2011

4 passes defended, 2 interceptions and a 100-yard TD return for one of those INTs.  Yeah, I'd say that's the best performance, offensive or defensive, of the night in the NFL.  Darrelle Revis once again proved why he's one of the best, if not the best, defensive backs in the NFL, as number 24 led his Jets to a 24-6 victory over Miami in East Rutherford, NJ.



In the NHL, Kris Versteeg was one of 3 Panthers to score 4 points as he netted 2 and assisted on 2 more with a plus one on-ice rating in under 10 minutes of ice time and only 4 shots on goal.  Florida topped Tampa Bay 7-4.  

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Monday

Best Performances - October 16, 2011

In what may have been Prince Fielder's last outing with the Brew Crew, the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the NL pennant with a 12-6 victory.  The best performance of the game came from David Freese, who "froze" the Brewers pitching staff (sorry, couldn't resist that one).  Freese, the Cardinals third baseman wearing jersey number 23, went a hefty 3 for 4 with a homer, 3 runs and 3 RBI.

In the NFL lineup, Ahmad Bradshaw led his G-Men past the suprising Buffalo Bills, 27-24.  Bradshaw rushed for 104 yards and found the end-zone 3 times.  This was the first 3 TD performance for Bradshaw in his NFL regular season career dating back to 2007.

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Sunday

Best Performances - October 15, 2011

John Tavares is heating up.  He propelled the Isles over that other New York hockey team, 4-2 on Saturday, with a hatrick. He's now got 5 goals on the season.  Here's just one of his three goals from Saturday.



And of course, the other Rangers won the ALCS and advanced to the World Series for the second straight year. It was in large part due to Michael Young and his 3 for 6, 5 RBI peformance.

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NBA Athlete Number 73 - Dennis Rodman

Another number worn by only one NBA athlete.  Dennis Rodman, who is also the best NBA athlete to ever wear the number 10, wore number 73 in his brief stint in L.A.

As a Laker, he played in 23 regular season games, pulling down 258 boards.

Best Number 73 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 73
NHL Number 73

source:  basketball-reference.com

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NBA Athlete Number 72 - Jason Kapono

Number 72 has only been worn once in the NBA. Jason Kapono has worn this number during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 NBA seasons spent in Philadelphia.

He hasn't had a ton of playing time with the Sixers in his stay in the City of Brotherly Love, but
he has contributed, especially as usual, from behind the arc.

For his career spent with Cleveland, Charlotte, Miami, Toronto and Philly, Kapono has a .437 3-point shooting percentage. He twice led the league in that category: 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Did you know............Kapono won the NBA 3-point shootout twice?

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Saturday

NBA Athlete Number 71 - Willie Naulls

I was really hoping I could name McCoy McLemore as the best to ever wear number 71. Why? Just so I could write about that name. How cool!? Okay, at least I got to put it in print. Now I can move on.

The best NBA athlete to ever wear jersey number 71 is Willie Naulls.   Naulls only wore number 71 for part of one season in his career.  He spent the 1962-63 second half playing with the San Francisco Warriors.  Naulls scored 518 points in 47 games for the city by the
bay.

Over his career, however, spent mostly with the New York Knicks, Naulls would accumulate a hefty 11,305 points and 6,508 rebounds.  He currently stands at 75th all-time in the NBA for career rebounds.

Did you know............that Naulls was once named Mr. Basketball in the state of California?

Best Number 71 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 71
NHL Number 71

sources:  wikipedia.com, basketball-reference.com

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Best Sports Photos of the Day

Who let this guy onto the field to watch this play at second so closely?  At least he's wearing the proper uniform.

If Holliday's elbow is just a bit higher, Weeks is going to have a problem here.

Another view of that guy with the good seat.

You gotta be agile to play second base in this league.

One of the best hitters of all-time in high definition mid-swing.

Ya think this dude means business?  Take a look at his eyes.

Here's your NHL player of the day, in my opinion, in a full stretch.



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Best Performances - October 14, 2011

Matt Holliday continues to produce for the Cardinals, and if he and the Redbirds keep it up for one more game, they'll find themselves in the World Series, hosting game one on October 19.  Holliday went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI, as the Cards defeated the Brew Crew 7-1 on Friday night.  He has a .500 on-base-percentage in the NLCS and a sturdy .692 slugging percentage.

In the NHL, Cam Ward blocked a hefty 39 shots as his Hurricanes defeated the Sabres 4-3.  Ward led the NHL in saves last year with 2,191.  Here's one of Ward's 39 shot denials from last night.



sources:  sports.yahoo.com, nhl.com, hockey-reference.com, baseball-reference.com




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Friday

Is He the Best NFL Quarterback Ever?

Naming the best NFL quarterback ever will always be subjective.  There's really no way around it.  Until we see someone just destroy all the passing numbers in a short period of time, you can make an argument for more than a handful of quarterbacks as the best of all-time.

And that's kind of what's so cool about this topic.  You can debate and continue to debate about the best there ever was.  Is it my pick or your pick?  Do the experts agree?  Will there ever be another to throw 50 TDs in a season?  (Yes.)   

So, you can look at the numbers, but it doesn't tell the entire story.  If we're looking at straight up numbers, then you'll find the best NFL QB ever right here.  But, the fans and the readers of this blog tell a different story.  They don't think, as a majority, that he's the best of all-time.

Well, who is then, at least according to readers of this blog?  If you scroll to the bottom center of the blog, you'll find out.  But I won't keep you in suspense that long.  It's Joe.  Not Broadway Joe, but that other Joe that played for the Niners, Mr. Joe Montana.

I remember Joe Montana winning all those big games in the eighties.  The big pass to Dwight Clark.  The comeback in the Super Bowl, where he supposedly noticed John Candy in the stands on the final drive.

He was King of the Comeback.  And maybe that's why so many people remember him as the best quarterback of all-time.

And as of this post, he has more wins than any other NFL quarterback in the post-season.  He has the most Super Bowl TDs thrown, and the highest passer rating of any Super Bowl quarterback.  So, yeah, he's one of the best.  Can't really argue with that.

He did have the best wide receiver to ever play as his main target for much of his career.  And he had some not-too-shabby backfield mates in Roger Craig and Tom Rathman.








Joe Montana Magazine Covers
TIME
Sports Illustrated

Joe Montana Books
Joe Montana's Art and Magic of Quarterbacking: The Secrets of the Game from One of the All-Time Best
The Winning Spirit: 16 Timeless Principles That Drive Performance Excellence
Montana
Audibles My Life in Football


Joe Montana Career Stats

Joe Montana's Autograph

Joe Montana's rank in the Top 100 by NFL Network



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NBA Athlete Number 70 - Frank Selvy

Frank Selvy wore several numbers in his professional basketball career. Of those, he wore the number 70 briefly for the Minneapolis / L.A. Lakers. He also played for the Bullets, Hawks, Knicks, and Nationals.

Selvy was picked number 1 by the Baltimore Bullets in 1954 out of Furman University, and would play with them for one year before being selected by the Milwaukee Hawks in the dispersal
draft.

Over a pro basketball career spanning the years 1954 to 1964, Selvey racked up a cool 6,120 points, and 2,097 rebounds.

Did you know.............Selvy once scored 100-points in a college basketball game?!

Best Number 70 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 70
NHL Number 70
sources:  wikipedia.com, basketball-reference.com

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Best Performances - October 13, 2011

Ilya Kovalchuk is once again proving his offensive prowess in New Jersey.  Watch this sweet move as his Devils topped the L.A. Kings in a shootout.



With Nelson Cruz hitting another homer for the Rangers, let's take a look at his impressive 5 ALCS shots.  If the Rangers win this thing, it will be in large part due to Cruz' power.



Check out this follow-through on a dinger by Matt Holliday in game 4.  That's how you do it.  Holliday went 2 for 3 with the homer providing a run and RBI, and he also walked.  It wasn't enough for his Cardinals however as they dropped game four to the Brew Crew.  

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Thursday

NBA Athlete Number 68 - Milt Schoon

The Detroit Falcons must have been giving out only high jersey numbers, because here we have another number to be worn only once, and again in the NBA predecessor BAA.

Milt Schoon, out of Valparaiso, wore number 68 for the Falcons during the 1946-47 BAA season, scoring 120 in 41 games.

source:  basketball-reference.com

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Monday

Best Performances - October 10, 2011

Best NFL Performance
Jahvid Best - 163 yards on 12 carries with an 88 yard run and a TD
There were several strong performances in the Bears vs. Lions Monday night matchup.  Calvin Johnson, Jay Cutler and Matt Forte all showed their stuff.  But an 88 yard TD run?  Tough to beat that.  You can view video of the run here. It looks like he has a turbo booster, he accelerates so quickly.

Best MLB Performance
Nelson Cruz - Hit 1st walk-off Grand Slam in MLB postseason history
Nothing else needs to be said here except..........Awesome.


Best NHL Performance
Zach Parise - 2 goals in 4-2 Devils win over the Hurricanes
After being injured last year, Parise showed just how valuable he is to the New Jersey Devils as he notched two in the back of the net to help lead his team to victory.



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NBA Athlete Number 67 - Moe Becker

And we continue with the seldom worn jersey numbers.  Surprising, actually, the amount of jersey numbers that have been worn by only one athlete.  In this case, it's number 67, and technically again, it wasn't worn in the NBA.  It was the BAA.  So, you could argue that this number should be vacant.  I'd entertain that discussion.

But, more information, for those of us who can't get enough of it, is always better.

Moe Becker, out of Duquesne University, wore number 67 for the Detroit Falcons in 1946-47.  He tallied 41 points in 20 games for the Falcons.    

Did you know............Moe Becker also played for the Boston Celtics and the Pittsburgh Ironmen in the BAA?

sources:  basketball-reference.com, wikipedia.com

Best Athlete to Wear Number 67 in Other Pro Sports
NFL Number 67
MLB Number 67
NHL Number 67

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NBA Athlete Number 66 - Scot Pollard

Didn't we just see Scot Pollard, as the best NBA athlete to wear number 62? Yeah, we did. But he's also the best to wear number 66. Why? Well, for one, he's the ONLY NBA athlete to ever wear the number 66. And why did he choose that number when he landed in Boston? Let's just say that the Celtics have retired a number or two over their illustrious history.



Best to Wear Number 66 in Other Pro Sports


sources:  bleacherreport.com, basketball-reference.com,  

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Number 21 Retired in Colorado

Number 21 will never be worn again for the Colorado Avalanche. 21 was raised to the rafters in honor of Peter Forsberg recently. Although I've picked another NHL great as the best to ever wear the number 21, Forsberg certainly deserves consideration and the honor he recently received.

His 1.25 points per game puts him 10th all-time in that category. The '94-'95 Calder Trophy winner sits 4th all-time on the list of assists-per-game with .90.

He won two Stanley Cup Championships with the Avalanche and was named league MVP in 2002-03.

Did you know........Forsberg was drafted by the Flyers and traded (with others) for Eric Lindros?

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Sunday

Best TD Catch of the Day?

Which TD catch from today's games was better?

This one?



Or this one?



I'm going with the second TD catch. But they're both amazing.

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Best Sports Photos of the Day

I haven't done this for a while, and I figured it was about time I did.  Checking out all the sports photos on Yahoo!, I picked the best, in my opinion, and linked to them with a little commentary below.  Enjoy!

Ya think this guy's not pumped? He just may be his team's new QB.

Great picture here of Mark Sanchez in mid-throw.  Check out the wrist action.  So fast, his fingers are a blur. And then check out that brace on the left knee.  Can't be too mobile with that bulky thing on.

He put up over 400 yards and 3 TDs, but it wasn't enough to get his team past Seattle.  That's certainly a look of frustration.

This guy wears an odd jersey number for a feature back.  That's okay.  His yardage numbers and ability to find the end-zone will make that number popular up in Massachusetts.

Number 57 helped his Brew-crew upend the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS.

The Jets are back.  In Winnipeg.  Sportin' new uni's.




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Number 28 Puts One Deep

He may have quite a way to go before he can be called MLB's best to wear number 28, but if  he keeps hitting bombs like this one in clutch moments, he'll be there sooner rather than later.




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Best NHL Save of the Day

With a hat tip to Bleeding All Blue, check out this sick save by Lundqvist against the Ducks.



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Saturday

Don't Be So Sure He's Wax

Troy Polamalu may one day be considered the best NFL athlete to ever wear the number 43.  And what he did in the video below can only help his cause.




Hat tip to The Last Angry Fan.

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NBA Athlete Number 65 - George Ratkovicz

NBA numbers 63 and 64? Not gonna find them. They haven't been worn. But, there was one NBA athlete who wore the jersey number 65.

George Ratkovicz played for the Syracuse Nationals in 1949-50 while wearing 65. That was the first of his six NBA seasons, where he would score 3,141 points and pull down 1,937 boards.

sources:  wikipedia.com, basketball-reference.com

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Friday

Congrats to Number 68 on 1600

The best professional athlete to ever wear number 68 has now scored 1600 points in his NHL career.  Playing in the first NHL game of the 2011-12 season for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, Jaromir Jagr assisted Claude Giroux on the game-tying goal by the Flyers in the first period.

The right-winger, who last played in the NHL during the 2007-08 season, now has 646 career goals and 954 career assists.  He stands at ninth all-time in the NHL with his 1600 career points.

The Flyers would go on to win this game 2-1.  

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2011 ALDS Top Performers - Yankees vs. Tigers (Tigers win in 5)

So, with the 2011 ALCS now set between the Tigers and Rangers, lets take a look at who performed the best in the Yankees vs. Tigers series.  Some of this might surprise you.

Batting

Experience counts.  You can just take a look at the Yankees top hitter in the ALDS.  Jorge Posada, whose had his share of post-season highlights, led the team with a .579 OBP (for batters with more than 2 at-bats;  Posada had 14 by the way), and led the team with a .429 batting average.  He also led in OPS with a 1.150 mark.


Now, the Yankees didn't win, but I'd bet the brass in the Bronx isn't unhappy that they kept Mr. Posada on the roster.

For the Tigers, Magglio Ordonez led the team in both OBP, with a .500 mark, and batting average, with a .455 mark.  Delmon Young, the Tigers August pickup, was the slugging leader with a 1.170 mark supported by three dingers.

Pitching


Of the Yankees starters, the much maligned A.J. Burnett was their top performer.  In his one start, lasting 5.2 innings, he notched a 1.59 ERA and 1.412 WHIP.  (Note:  5 of the 7 Yankee relievers did not let up a single run, and the two who did let up only one run each).

For the Tigers, Max Scherzer was the man.  In 7.1 innings pitched, he had a minuscule 1.23 ERA and 1.091 WHIP.  (He was second on the Tigers in the regular season in wins, with 15, behind Verlander).


It's extremely interesting to note that the two Yankees who performed so well in this series, Posada and Burnett, were the two who arguably struggled the most during the regular season.

Note:  All statistics referenced in the post are courteous of www.baseball-reference.com.


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Wednesday

Squirrel Comes to Bat in Phillies-Cardinals Game

Have you seen this yet?  If not, check it out.  Pretty funny.




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Monday

Best Sports Debates - Best NFL Defensive Back Ever

A defensive back, a cornerback or safety, has a few jobs. You gotta be able to defend passes. It's even better if you can pick them off. You gotta be able to tackle, both the receivers, if you let them catch the ball, and all rushers if they get that far. And on blitzes, you gotta be able to bring down the QB.

Unlike some of the other sports debates, this one can't be done with stats alone. Why? Well, the NFL didn't start tracking some of these stats until "recent" times. For example, a sack wasn't tracked as a stat until 1982. So, I'll state right here that this "best ever" will be a bit subjective.

One of the stats that has been tracked for a while, which we can look at here, is interceptions. So, who are the all-time leaders?

Paul Krause - 81 total, 0.36 per game (regular season)
Emlen Tunnel - 79 total, 0.47 per game
Rod Woodson - 71 total, 0.30 per game

Dick "Night Train" Lane - 68 total, 0.43 per game
Ken Riley - 65 total, 0.31 per game

Okay, so once a defensive back makes the interception, what do you want him to do? If you're like most coaches, you want him to fall to the ground so your offense can take over! But, some coaches actually do want them to run with the ball, and gain as many yards as possible. So, of the five DBs above, who has gained the most yards on INTs?

Rod Woodson - 1,483 yards, 20.89 yards per INT (regular season)
Emlen Tunnel - 1,282 yards, 16.23 yards per INT
Dick "Night Train" Lane - 1,207 yards, 17.75 yards per INT
Paul Krause - 1,185 yards, 14.63 yards per InT
Ken Riley - 596 yards, 9.17 yards per INT

Incidentally, Ed Reed, Darren Sharper and Deion Sanders are all in the top 5 all-time for INT return yards. And, you can make a case that they have less interceptions total, due to the fact that QBs didn't throw their way as much. It's a valid argument. But, without the stat going back in NFL history to look at how many times the receiver they were covering was "targeted", we won't be able to look at the argument objectively. But we can certainly take the subjective view into consideration for this discussion.

Now let's look at some more subjective stuff, while we're on that topic. First off, you've probably heard of the NFL's 75th anniversary all-time team, right? It was voted on by media and NFL personnel in 1994. So which defensive backs made that list? Here they are:

Rod Woodson
Dick "Night Train" Lane
Mel Blount
Mike Haynes
Ken Houston
Ronnie Lott
Larry Wilson

Okay, so there's one list combining cornerbacks and safeties. And we see that Dick Lane and Rod Woodson are on both lists.

Let's now look at one NFL expert and writer's list. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, who has spent many years covering the NFL, and has proven his NFL knowledge, ranked his top all-time NFL cornerbacks. Who were the top 5?

1. Dick "Night Train" Lane
2. Mel Blount
3. Mike Haynes
4. Rod Woodson
5. Deion Sanders

There are those Dick Lane and Rod Woodson guys again.

A list put together by SI.com's Peter King in 2007 lists Dick Lane and Deion Sanders as the two best cornerbacks ever.

So, with the above information, two things have cleared up for me. Number 1: Dick "Night Train" Lane can be considered the best defensive back of all-time. (Rod Woodson comes in a close second).  Number 2: I am probably going to have to put out a separate list just for safeties. Look for that in a future post.

Other Best Sports Debates
Best NFL QB Ever
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Saturday

NBA Athlete Number 62 - Scot Pollard

Leave off the second t in Scot for "toughness".   Scot Pollard was a rebounding machine in his NBA days, pulling down 129 more boards than points scored over his career.

The Utah native played his college ball at Kansas, pulling down 850 boards in his four years as a Jayhawk.  He was taken by the Pistons with the 19th pick of the 1997 NBA draft, but would play with them only briefly, before being sent to Atlanta in a deal involving Duke alum Christian Laettner.

The Hawks waived him less than a month after the trade, but he was very quickly picked up by the Sacramento Kings, where he would have a lengthy stay.  He spent five solid seasons in California's capital, before being sent to the Pacers.

It was in Indiana where Pollard would wear jersey number 62 over three NBA seasons.  He would see court time in three seasons of NBA playoffs with the Pacers.

Pollard would bounce to Cleveland and Boston before winding up his NBA playing career.

Over 11 NBA seasons, he pulled down 2,351 rebounds.

Did you know............that Pollard was known for his unique hairstyles, wearing a Mohawk and shaving his head as two of them?

sources:  bleacherreport.com, wikipedia.com, basketball-reference.com

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Tuesday

Number 27 to be Retired by New Jersey

According to espn.com, the New Jersey Devils will retire the jersey number 27 in honor of Scott Niedermayer in a game against the Dallas Stars to be played on December 16.  My first reaction upon hearing this news was..."really?"  But, taking into account the fact that he was one of only five players to be a member of all three Stanley Cup Championship teams in 1995, 2000 and 2003, and his large contribution to those teams, it makes sense.  Then, look at how long he played for New Jersey.  He came up with them as an 18 year-old in 1991-92, and would play with them through age 30 and the 2003-04 NHL season, winning the James Norris trophy in that final season with New Jersey.

I guess the surprise here, on my part, is attributable to Niedermayer signing as a free agent with the Anaheim Ducks after the lockout.  That hurt for Devils fans.  And that pain would be exacerbated when he led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup Championship in 2006-07.

But, that doesn't change the fact that he was a great NJ Devil.  Probably the best offensive-minded defensemen that the team has ever had. So....hats off to Scott on joining Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko with the honor of a retired jersey number with the New Jersey Devils.  

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Best Sports Debates - Best NBA Point Guard Ever

The best point guard ever.  It's not an easy decision.  And it's certainly a debatable one.  But, we'll attempt to make the definitive argument for the best to ever carry the rock right here on Best By the Numbers.  We'll use statistics similar to how it was done previously for a debate such as the best NFL quarterback ever.

The stats we'll use to narrow down our list of best NBA point guards will be, courtesy of basketball-reference.com:  assists, assists-per-game, total points, points-per-game, steals, and steals-per-game.

As of today, here are your top five in assists:

John Stockton
Jason Kidd
Mark Jackson
Magic Johnson
Oscar Robertson

Your top five in assists-per-game:

Magic Johnson
John Stockton
Chris Paul
Oscar Robertson
Isiah Thomas

Your top five in points scored:

Oscar Robertson
Allen Iverson
Gary Payton
John Stockton
Isiah Thomas


Your top five in points-per-game:

Allen Iverson
Oscar Robertson
World B. Free
Magic Johnson
Stephon Marbury

Your top five in three-pointers:

Jason Kidd
Chauncey Billups
Steve Nash
Tim Hardaway
Nick Van Exel

Your top five in steals:

John Stockton
Jason Kidd
Gary Payton
Maurice Cheeks
Allen Iverson


If a name appears on any of the above lists more than once, then that point guard will be included in the debate.  The point guards that qualify then, are:

John Stockton
Jason Kidd
Magic Johnson
Oscar Robertson
Isiah Thomas
Allen Iverson
Gary Payton

Pretty good group right there.  Now, let it be said that there is a bit of loose interpretation on the term "point guard" for certain NBA athletes considered.

So, now to compare the above point guards, let's look at them alphabetically by last name:

Allen Iverson
5,624 assists
6.2 assists-per-game
24,368 points
26.7 points-per-game
1,059 threes
1,983 steals


Magic Johnson
10,141 assists
11.2 assist-per-game
17,707 points
19.5 points-per-game
325 threes
1,724 steals

Jason Kidd
11,578 assists
9.1 assists-per-game
16,772 points
13.2 points-per-game
1,795 threes
2,477 steals

Gary Payton
8,966 assists
6.7 assists-per-game
21,813 points
16.3 points-per-game
1,132 threes
2,445 steals

Oscar Robertson
9,887 assists
9.5 assists-per-game
26,710 points
25.7 points-per-game
NA for threes
NA for steals

John Stockton
15,806 assists
10.5 assists-per-game
19,711 points
13.1 points-per-game
845 threes
3,265 steals

Isiah Thomas
9.061 assists
9.3 assists-per-game
18,822 points
19.2 points-per-game
398 threes
1,861 steals


We will give a point for each place in the comparative rankings of the respective categories, with ties taking the higher point total (for example if three players were tied in one category, and the player ahead of them was in the 5th position - with 5 points - and the player beneath them was in the first position - with 1 point - each of the three tied players would be awarded 4 points - the next highest total, rather than 2 points - the next lowest total). Also, we'll multiply the assists category relative point ranking by 2, since assists are, I'd say unarguably, the most relevant statistic for a point guard.  We also have to note here, that since Oscar Robertson played before steals or threes were really accounted for, we are giving him the median number of points in each category (3.5).

Understanding we're not using an exact science here, but using the logic above, here are your top 7 point guards of all-time:

John Stockton - 42 points

Oscar Robertson - 38 points
Magic Johnson - 35 points
Jason Kidd - 34 points
Isiah Thomas - 27 points
Gary Payton - 27 points
Allen Iverson - 26 points

The only real argument I can foresee someone making here is that Magic Johnson should be higher.   Maybe.  If you take into account his championships and his all-time high in assists-per-game.  He was certainly amazing to watch.

But you gotta admit, Stockton's numbers are pretty powerful, and you can certainly argue that he's the best of all-time.

So, what do you think?  Is John Stockton the best NBA point guard ever?  You tell me.

Please note that all stats are courtesy of basketball-reference.com.

Other Best Sports Debates
Best MLB Center Fielder Ever
Best NHL Goalie Ever
Best NFL Running Back Ever







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Monday

NBA Athlete Number 61 - Bevo Nordmann

61 is another number that has scarcely been worn in professional basketball.  The Cincinnati Royals must have had a deal on this jersey number from the manufacturer or something, because they are the only team to have an athlete sport this number in the NBA.

Bevo Nordmann wore number 61 for the 1961-62 season, appropriately.  In 58 games he scored 131 points and pulled down 128 boards.  He would also wear the numbers 10, 22 and 34 during his NBA career, spent with the Hawks, Knicks and Celtics in addition to the Royals.

For his career, Nordmann scored 571 points with 517 rebounds.

Did you know............that Nordmann played his college ball at St. Louis University?

sources:  basketball-reference.com, wikipedia.com

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Pro Basketball Number 60 - Walt Kirk

Would you believe that to-date, no NBA player has chosen to wear the jersey numbers 57, 58 or 59?  Well, believe it.  The next number worn by any pro basketball player, after 56, is 60.  And this number was only worn by two pro basketball athletes, on the same team, in the same year!

Walt Kirk and Dick Wehr wore number 60, both for the Indianapolis Jets in 1949.  And technically.....technically.....they didn't wear this number in the NBA.  So, I don't even know if I should be listing the number here.  But I will, because it's interesting info.  These guys both wore the number in the Basketball Association of America, the league in which the Jets played.

Kirk had 378 points in 35 games played with the Jets that season, making him the best to wear this number professionally!

Did you know........that Kirk was an All-American at the University of Illinois?


sources:  wikipedia.com, basketball-reference.com

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Saturday

NBA Athlete Number 56 - Francisco Elson

Okay, here we go, back to the not-so-popular NBA jersey numbers.  Number 56 has only been worn by two NBA athletes to-date.  Of those two, only Francisco Elson wore the number for more than one season.

Elson was selected by the Nuggets with the 12th pick of the 1999 NBA draft.  He played in 62 games as a rookie, contributing 218 points.  His court time and production would increase over the next couple of seasons in Denver, seeing him score 248 and then 352 points respectively.

Playing with several NBA teams through the 2010-11 season, Elson has scored a career 1,724 points, and pulled down 1,637 rebounds.

Elson earned himself an NBA championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007, scoring 66 points and pulling down 62 boards in the playoffs that year.

Did you know...................Elson hails from the Netherlands?

sources:  wikipedia.combasketball-reference.com

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Friday

NBA Athlete Number 55 - Dikembe Mutombo

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dikembe Mutombo was drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 4th overall pick of the 1991 NBA draft out of Georgetown University.  Although Mutombo could certainly score, his strength on the court was his defense.  As a rookie, he swatted 210 shots.

His shot blocking ability was his forte.  He would lead the NBA a hefty five times in swats.  His career shots-blocked number, 3,289, currently puts him second on the all-time NBA list.  Only Hakeem Olajuwon has more career blocks than Mutombo.

Mutombo would spend five seasons in the Mile-High city, twice scoring over 1,000 points in a season.  His next stop would be in Atlanta, where Mutombo signed as a free agent in 1996.  While with Atlanta, Mutombo garnered two Defensive Player of the Year awards, as he led the league in blocked shots twice and in rebounds three times.


A trade sent Mutombo to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001, where he would spend a cup of coffee, before spending time in the New York Metro area with both the Nets and the Knicks.  He would subsequently establish himself with the Houston Rockets for the final five seasons of his NBA career, retiring at age 42.
  • 11,729 points
  • 3,289 blocks
  • 12,359 rebounds
  • 2.8 blocks per game
  • 10.3 rebounds per game
  • .518 field goal percentage
  • 4-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year
Did you know his given name is Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo?


sources:  basketball-reference.comwikipedia.com

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Thursday

NBA Athlete Number 54 - Horace Grant

Horace Grant, in my opinion, was one of the unsung heroes of the early '90s Chicago Bulls championship teams.  And he's the best NBA athlete among a surprisingly large number of athletes to wear the jersey number 54.

The Chicago Bulls took Grant with the number 10 pick in the 1987 NBA draft, out of Clemson, where he was a second team AP All-American.  He would initially play behind, somewhat ironically given the rivalry with the Knicks, Charles Oakley.

Oakley's trade to the Knicks would pave the way for Grant to strut his stuff.  The 1988-89 season would see Grant score more than 1,000 points and pull down over 600 boards.  That would be the beginning of five consecutive seasons where Grant would score 1,000 or more points.

In the 1991 NBA playoffs, he averaged a stupendous .583 from the field in 17 games.  His contributions for the Bulls led him to his first championship ring, as Chicago defeated the Lakers in 5 games.

Grant wouldn't have to wait long to get another championship ring.  He and the Bulls would capture the NBA crown in 1992, topping the Trail Blazers in 6.  Grant dominated the boards in the Finals, leading everyone with 194 rebounds in the playoffs that year.


The Bulls would produce the same result the following year, only this time, they topped the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 Finals.  Grant's performance was almost as phenomenal as it was the previous year.  156 rebounds, 203 points and a .546 field goal percentage.

Grant moved on to Orlando and the Magic in 1994-95 where he would spend a handful of seasons, before bouncing between Seattle, L.A., and Orlando again.  Here are some career highlights:
  • 12,996 points
  • 9,443 rebounds
  • 1,143 steals
  • 4 NBA championships (3 with Chicago, 1 with L.A.)
  • 4-time NBA All-Defensive 2nd team
  • 1,136 blocks
  • .509 field goal percentage
Did you know.........................Grant was the ACC Player of the Year with Clemson in 1987?

sources:  basketball-reference.com, wikipedia.com

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NBA Athlete Number 53 - Artis Gilmore

Artis Gilmore spent five seasons in the ABA, wearing the number 53 for the Kentucky Colonels, and leading that league in total rebounds for all five seasons in which he played.  He would be the number one pick in the 1976 ABA dispersal draft, taken by the Chicago Bulls, which followed the disbanding of the ABA.

A switch to a new, and many would say more competitive, league would not result in any severe drop-off in production for Mr. Gilmore.  Playing with Chicago, the Spurs and briefly, the Celtics, through 1987-88, Gilmore achieved the following in the NBA:
  • 15,579 points
  • 9,161 rebounds
  • .599 field goal percentage (1st all-time)
  • 1,747 blocks
  • 1.9 blocks per game
  • 10.1 rebounds per game
  • 4,114 free throws
Did you know............Gilmore was the 1971-72 ABA Rookie of the Year and MVP?

See more of Gilmore's stats at basketball-reference.com.

sources:  basketball-reference.com, wikipedia.com

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