These are strange times, there’s no question about that. With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc throughout the sports world — and the real world — our lives have been filled with uncertainty for the past month.
Fans everywhere have gone weeks without being able to watch their favorite teams, and the void in our lives has made us all realize how much we take the crazy, wonderful world of sports for granted. But we’re here to help.
In honor of these strange times, we’ve dug through the archives to bring you seven of the strangest stats and facts in sports history. Hopefully, they can keep you entertained and occupied while we wait for normality, or something like it, to return. Here they are in no particular order:
Statistically, Tom Brady has a higher percentage of making the Super Bowl than Steph Curry does of making a three-pointer
You’re given $10,000 and you have to bet on one: Tom Brady making the Super Bowl or Steph Curry making a three-pointer. It seems like it’d be an obvious choice; Tom Brady might be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time but making a single three-pointer is a lot easier than making it all the way to the Super Bowl over the course of an entire NFL season. However, in his 19 years as an NFL starter, Brady has made the Super Bowl on nine occasions, which is about 47 percent of the time. Curry has attempted 5739 three-pointers in his career and made 2495 of them, giving him roughly a 43 percent success rate. That means, statistically, it’s been more likely for Brady to make the Super Bowl than for Curry to make a three-pointer over the course of their careers. We’ll see if Brady can keep that stat alive with his new team next season.
In 1919, an MLB pitcher earned a complete-game win despite being struck by lightning
Ray Caldwell was an MLB pitcher in the early 20th century for the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians. He had a decent career, finishing with a 133-120 record after 11 years in the league, but he’s best known for his performance in a game in August 1919. Caldwell was on the mound for the Indians against the Philadelphia Athletics and had the team up 2-1 in the top of the ninth inning. Suddenly, a lightning bolt struck the field.
“The bolts flashed here and there, causing much excitement,” Harry P. Edwards wrote in The Sporting News just over a century ago. “There was a blinding flash that seemed to set the diamond on fire and Caldwell was knocked flat from the shock of it.”
According to Edwards, Caldwell “lay stretched out in the pitcher’s box,” and his teammates feared “he may have been killed.” However, he picked himself up from the ground moments later to the amazement of fans and teammates. After presumably rubbing some dirt on it, he proceeded to get the final out to seal the win.
Michael Phelps holds the record for the longest golf putt ever made on camera
Michael Phelps is an athlete with plenty of amazing records to his name, but you probably never knew this was one of them. The legendary swimmer is also an avid golfer, even playing in the Pro-Am at the Phoenix Open the past couple of years, but his highlight in the sport came back in 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland. Facing 53 yards to the hole, Phelps pulled out his putter and proceeded to absolutely drain the shot. The 159-foot bomb still holds the record for the longest made putt ever caught on camera.
Larry Fitzgerald has more tackles than drops in his career
Larry Fitzgerald has been the model of consistency throughout his 16-year NFL career, but this stat takes it to superhuman levels. Fitzgerald only has 29 total drops to his name, which is 11 less than his 40 total tackles. It’s impressive not only because it shows how reliable he’s been as a wideout, but also because 40 tackles is a pretty darn high number for a receiver. Wideouts are often out of the play when a turnover happens, so it shows Fitz’s determination and never-quit attitude.
Former NBA player Eric Money played — and scored — for two teams in the same game
In November 1978, the Nets and the 76ers squared off in an early-season NBA matchup. Things started to get weird when a Nets player received his second technical foul, resulting in an ejection. He kicked a chair while walking off the court, which led referee Richie Powers to T him up again. Nets coach Kevin Loughery, who had one tech already, furiously protested, and Powers slapped HIM with two additional technicals.
Because receiving three technical fouls in a game is supposed to be impossible, the Nets convinced NBA Commissioner Larry O’Brien to let them replay the second half of the game at a later date. However, between the first game in November and the second game in March, guard Eric Money was traded from the Nets to the 76ers. He ended up officially playing the first half for New Jersey and the second half for Philadelphia. It resulted in one of the strangest stories, and box scores, in NBA history.
If you took away all of Wayne Gretzky’s goals, he’d still be the NHL’s all-time points leader
This is more amazing than it is strange. Gretzky is the all-time NHL leader in points (2,857) and goals (894), both impressive stats on their own, but if you took away all of Gretzky’s goals he would still be the all-time points leader. Even if “The Great One” had never scored a single NHL goal, his 1,963 assists would put him 62 points ahead of Jaromir Jagr (1,921) in second place.
More men have walked on the moon than have scored an earned run against Mariano Rivera in the playoffs
Mariano Rivera’s legendary career for the Yankees has its fair share of impressive stats, but this one stands out above the rest. In 140 innings of postseason baseball, Rivera only allowed 11 earned runs. That figure is less than the 12 people who have walked on the moon. It is literally more common for a human being to have stepped foot on the moon than it is for them to have scored against Rivera in the playoffs. When he retired from the MLB in 2013, Rivera ensured that this stat will live on forever.
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