MLB Opening Day: The Only No Hitter

The opening day of the baseball season has been filled with historic moments and happenings.  Moments like Hank Aaron tying Babe Ruth’s home run record and Ted Williams hitting .449 in all of his opening day game appearances.  One of these milestones happened in 1940 and has yet to be repeated on the day that starts the long baseball season, a no hitter.

On April 16, 1940 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Hall Of Fame pitcher Bob Feller made the history books when he threw his first no hitter.  Completing a no hitter as a pitcher is incredible enough but there is another element that makes this feat even more incredible, this is the only occurrence of a no hitter on Opening Day.  On that day Feller pitched his Cleveland Indians to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.  The eventual game winning run was scored by the Indians in the 4th inning when Jeff Heath scored on a Rollie Hemsley hit.  The losing pitcher that day was Eddie Smith.

Bob Feller would have two more no hitters in his career before he retired in 1956.  Those came in the 1946 and 1951 seasons against the Yankees and Tigers.  Bob Feller was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1962.  Feller amassed 266 wins and 162 loses and threw 2,581 strikeouts.  An interensting note to his career is that he also threw 12 one hit games on top of his three no hitters.

The 2nd Anniversary Of The Site!

This month marks the two year anniversary of this site.  As many of you may be aware of this site started out with the name of 2centsworthsports.com.  The original intent was t create a forum where I could voice my opinion on current sports happenings.  While I had fun doing that I found that I enjoyed chronicling American sports history even more.  So in January of 2013 I changed the direction of the site,  I also changed the name of the site to AmericanSportsHistory.com in May of 2013 to better fit what I was covering on the site.   I have not looked back since.  The subject of sports history is something that intrigues me and that I feel is an endless supply of material. Based on the response I have gotten from all of you I can tell that I am not the only one that appreciates the stories of the past.  To date over 14,000 viewers have visited the site in over 120 countries.  I can tell you that my most viewed article has been about Michael Jordan’s baseball career.  I look forward to the future and appreciate all of the support and encouragement.  Thanks for visiting and hope to see you back here again.

-Justin

The History Of The Three-Point Line In The NBA

The NBA had long been the leader in American basketball.  However they were slow to introduce a popular part of the game already being used in other professional leagues.  The three-point line was first dreamed about in the 1930′s. By the end of the 1960′s the three-point line was being used in the American Basketball League, The Eastern Professional Basketball League and the American Basketball Association.  It was not until the late 1970′s that the NBA gave in and decided to use this new rule that they had previously viewed as gimmicky.

On October 12, 1979 history was made when the Washington Bullets Kevin Grevey made the first three-pointer in an official NBA game. Grevey would retire after the 1984-85 season with 145 career three-point shots made.  From this point on the game would never be the same. This addition to the game added a new level of excitement and suspense.  Many NBA games over the last three decades have been ultimately decided by this dreaded shot.

From the 1979-80 season to the 1993-94 season the three point line was 23 feet 9 inches from the front of the basket and 22 feet at the corners.  The NBA would try to address lower scoring games by bringing the line closer to the basket from the 1994-95 season through the 1996-97 season. At that time three-point line was 22 feet around the entire basket.  The league brought back the three-point line back to its original dimensions in the 1997-98 season and it has remained there since.

Ray Allen shooting a crucial three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)

Ray Allen shooting a crucial three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)

Ray Allen is a player that has had a Hall Of Fame career mostly based on the fact he has been an excellent three-point shooter.  His most recent heroics came from his favorite position on the court when he made a game tying 3-pointer in Game 6 of the NBA finals.  His team the Miami heat won that game and later won Game 7 of the Finals to be three time NBA Champions. Allen is the all time leader in three-pointers with 2,919 at the time of this article.

Ray Allen was also at one point in time the single season leader in this statistical category when he broke Dennis Scott’s record in the 2005-06 season with 269 three-pointers that year.  Stephen Curry is now the current single season record holder.  He broke Allen’s record at the end of the 2012-13 season when he made his final three-point in the last game of the season, putting the new record at 272 three-pointers.

The three-point shot has been such a special part of the game since its creation.  It is hard to even imagine the sport without it.  It will forever be one of the most revolutionary parts of the game of Basketball.

370 Points : The Tale Of The Highest Scoring NBA Game Ever

On December 13, 1983 an NBA game took place in Denver, Colorado at the McNichols Arena in front of a crowd of less than 10,000.  The game pitted the visiting Detroit Pistons against the Denver Nuggets.  It did not appear that it would be unlike most NBA games during the 82 game regular season, most of which are played and then forgotten.  Something spectacular was about to happen that night.

When the game started both teams were furiously running up and down the court scoring on just about every possession.  Defense was taking a back seat to the explosive offense of both squads.  The 1st quarter ended with the Pistons leading by a score of 38-34.  The score going into halftime was all tied up at 74-74. The Nuggets would take the lead in the 3rd quarter by a score of 113-108.  At this point in the game with only one quarter remaining in regulation both teams had scores resembling a complete game.  This game was however far from finished.

The Pistons played hard and stayed in the game throughout the final quarter of regulation time.  The Nuggets had a 145-142 lead with just seconds remaining in the game when the Pistons received an opportunity they would take advantage of.  The Pistons Bill Laimbeer was fouled and was at the free throw line.  Laimbeer made his first free throw and intentionally missed his second shot, when he did Isaiah Thomas tipped the ball in before the clock ran out and the game was tied at the end of regulation. The game was now going into overtime.

The first overtime came and went and everything was still tied but the score was now 159-159.  At this point it seemed very possible that this game could end up being the highest scoring game ever.  The combined score was 318, the record holder at the time was 337 from a game played just a season before on March 6th, 1982, between the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks.

The record was broken in the 2nd overtime when each team scored 12 points apiece.  The combined score was now 342 with each team having scored 171 points each.  In the 3rd overtime the game was decided when the Pistons scored 15 points to the Nuggets 13 points.  The final score was 186-184 with the Pistons being the winner in this historic game.

The box score of the highest scoring NBA game ever.

The box score of the highest scoring NBA game ever.

This is a record that has stood for over three decades and it does not appear it will be broken any time soon.  The most recent high scoring game that came close was in November of 1990.  Ironically that game was played between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets, at the exact same Arena as the record holding game. The Nuggets lost that game 162-158 with the combined score of 320 points.  We have never seen a game that close to the record since and we may never will.

The History Of The Super Bowl MVP Award

Since it inception in 1967 the Super Bowl has been the game of the year.  The game that has the world watching in anticipation of the crowning of a Champion.  People  also looking for exciting play and the player of the game.  Every Super Bowl ever played has had an Most Valuable Player (MVP) in fact in 1978 Super Bowl XII had two of them, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin and defensive tackle Randy White.  The MVP Award is the one constant and a distinction that could be a ticket into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

The Super Bowl MVP Trophy (Getty Images)

The Super Bowl MVP Trophy (Getty Images)

When you look at the history of the Super Bowl MVP Award the numbers and details of those numbers create an interesting legacy.  Forty-seven Super Bowls have been played and forty-eight players have had the honor of being named MVP of the game.  Nineteen of those MVP’s are now enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.  Nine different positions have won the award at least once with the quarterback position having the most with twenty-six.  Running backs (7) and wide receivers (6) fall second and third respectively on the list of positions to win the award.

Two time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr (Getty Images)

Two time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr (Getty Images)

The first ever MVP was Bart Starr who lead the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl I in 1967.  He would also be the first player to win the MVP more than once when he was crowned after Super Bowl II.  Only five players have won the MVP Award more than once and they are all quarterbacks.  San Francisco 49er legend Joe Montana holds the record with three.  He is followed by Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tome Brady and Eli Manning who have all been honored twice.

Typically the MVP goes to someone on the winning team.  However in 1971 linebacker Chuck Howley who was on the losing Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V won the game’s big honor.  That is the first and only time that scenario has occurred.

The last four MVP’s have all been quarterbacks.  Will the streak of the QB reigning supreme continue?  Only time will tell but we don’t have to wait much longer because we are less than twenty-four hours from Super Bowl XLVIII at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey.  So be on the look out for the next big play because it could come from the next Super Bowl MVP.

Super Bowl XLVIII: The 2nd Annual Prediction

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This year marks the 2nd annual Super Bowl pick for AmericanSportsHistory.com.  Last year the site predicted the Ravens would reign victorious over the 49ers by a score of 37-30.  My prediction was dead on and the score was really close too, the Ravens won last years big game 34-31.

For this years contest the Seahawks are the pick to win by a score of 24-22 over the Broncos.  The game everyone has waited for all year is just one day away.  Hope everyone enjoys the game and hope to see you back here soon.

-Justin

Michael Jordan: The Flu Game

In 1997 Michael Jordan had already amassed a career of incredible highlights and amazing records.  He had won 4 NBA titles, awarded as the NBA’s MVP 4 times and named the NBA Finals MVP 4 times.  His legacy was already set to be considered one of the greatest basketball players of all times.  Up to that point he had many memorable moments.  The most notable was the game against the Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs were he made “The Shot” in 1989.  One of the last memorable moments and possibly the biggest of his career came in the 1997 NBA Finals.

On June 11, 1997 the Chicago Bulls took on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the series was tied at 2-2.  The day before the game Michael Jordan became severely ill.  Jordan had a fever and was not able to keep any food down.  He was found in the fetal position by his trainer and was very fatigued.  Many who were close to the situation believed there was no way he would play the next day.

Michael Jordan during "The Flu Game"  (Gety Images"

Michael Jordan during “The Flu Game” (Gety Images”

When the game started Michael Jordan was visibly weak and pale in color.  The Bulls fell to an early 16-point deficit in the second quarter and with Jordan not feeling well were in a hole.  At halftime the score was 53-49 in favor of the Jazz. The third quarter found Jordan on the bench trying to rest and looking in even worse shape than he had at the beginning of the game.  When the fourth quarter began Jordan was back in the game and scored 15 of the Bulls 23 points in the final quarter of the game. The most dramatic plays of the game came in the final minute.  Jordan was able to make a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 88-85 lead with just 25 seconds remaining in the game.  The next play was a dunk by Greg Ostertag of the Jazz which took the Bulls lead to only one point.  The Bulls were able to raise the score again with a dunk by Luc Longley.  With just a few seconds remaining and the Jazz down by 3 points John Stockton was fouled and was now at the free throw line.  He needed to make both free throws for the Jazz to be able to stay in the game.  When he missed the first free throw the game was sealed.  The Bulls had over come this daunting game and won by a score of 90-88.  Michael Jordan then collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms, this image would forever be considered the trademark picture for this game.  Jordan finished the game with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of "The Flu Game"  (Getty Images)

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of “The Flu Game” (Getty Images)

The Bulls would go on to win Game 6 and their 5th NBA Title. It has been reported in later years that he did not have the flu but instead had food poisoning.  Regardless of that fact this game was an incredible show of strength and determination for Michael Jordan.  Jordan will be remembered long after his days on this earth and this game will be considered one of his best for all future generations who will read about him.