Monthly Archives: May 2014

The 1990 MLB Season: The Year Of The No-Hitter

When the 1990 Major League Baseball Season started there had been 217 total No-Hitters in the long history of baseball.  Many seasons have had their share of No-Hitters but the oncoming season would be the best for this difficult feat.  In the 1990 season a record seven No-Hitters would occur.  No other season since has been able to break this incredible record.  Let’s visit the 1990 season and it’s record breaking games.

April 11, 1990-

Mark Langston (7 Innings) – California Angels

Mike Witt (2 Innings) – California Angels

California Angels pitchers Mark Langston and Mike Witt combined for the No-Hitter in nine total innings.  Langston pitched seven innings while Witt pitched the final two innings of the game and recorded the save.  This was the second No Hitter of Witt’s career and Langston’s first and only in his career.

June 2, 1990-

Randy Johnson – Seattle Mariners

For the second time in the 1990 season the Mariners were involved in a No-Hitter on June 2nd.  This time they were on the better end of the of the box score.  Randy Johnson achieved his first career No-Hitter and grabbed his second win of the season in the 2-0 victory over the visiting Detroit Tigers.

June 11, 1990-

Nolan Ryan – Texas Rangers

One of the all time greatest pitchers and the career leader in No-Hitters, Nolan Ryan notched his sixth career “No-No” in the 1990 season.  In that game Ryan was given a good amount of help by his offense in the 5-0 victory in which his Texas Rangers visited the Oakland A’s.  Ryan would go on to throw one more No-Hitter in 1991 in his final Major League season in 1991 cementing his legacy as of the best pitchers in the history of baseball.

June 29, 1990-

Dave Stewart – Oakland A’s

Nineteen days after falling victim to Nolan Ryans sixth career no hitter the Oakland A’s were able to feel the joy of this great pitching feat themselves.  Dave Stewart pitched the A’s to a 5-0 No-Hit win against the Blue Jays in Toronto, Canada.  This was the first of two No-Hit games on the 29th of June in 1990.

June 29, 1990-

Fernando Valenzuela – Los Angeles Dodgers

Less than a decade removed from “Fernando Mania” the city of Los Angeles got to revel in the greatness that this pudgy pitcher from Mexico was able to provide on June 29, 1990.  Fernando Valenzuela was the second pitcher to record a No-Hitter on that day, it was the only one of his career.  Fernando was able to pitch his Dodgers to the 6-0 No-Hit victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in L.A.  It would be the last great moment of Fernando Valenzuela’s career.

August 15, 1990-

Terry Mulholland – Philadelphia Philles

Terry Mulholland became the victor in the sixth No-Hitter of the 1990 season on Agust 15th,  His Phillies defeated the visiting San Francisco Giants by a score of 6-0.

Most baseball fans could not believe that they had witnessed so many No-Hit performances in one season.  The seson was not yet finish and niether was this history making season.

September 2, 1990-

Dave Stieb –  Toronto Blue Jays

Dave Stieb finished off this history making season with its seventh and final No-Hitter.  Stieb’s Blue Jays defeated the Indians in Cleveland, OH by a score of 3-0.  The Blue Jays became the third team that season to fall to a No-Hitter only to return later that season with a No-Hit performance of their own.

 

The History Of The 1st Overall Pick In The NFL Draft

Getty Images

Getty Images

The tradition that is known as the NFL Draft came into existence in 1936.  The first player ever taken in the NFL Draft was Running Back Jay Berwanger.  The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Berwanger, unfortunately he would never play a pro football game due to salary disputes with multiple teams

Since then the NFL Draft has involved thousands of players, many of which have gone on to become all time greats.  Many more however went on to have careers that would earn them the dubious distinction of being called a “Draft Bust”.  The most coveted position for any team is the first overall pick.  The team that holds this position is usually in desperate need of a break out rookie that can turn their franchise around.  There is only one chance for first overall greatness every year.

There have been only 78 men who can call themselves the first overall pick in the NFL draft.  The positions picked the most may not surprise you but the positions that were picked the least  might shock you.

The quarterback position has the title of the most popular first overall pick in draft history.  Twenty seven QBs have been nabbed by teams with the most coveted draft spot.  Ten of those twenty seven became pro bowl players, names like Eli Manning (2004), Peyton Manning (1998), Drew Bledsoe (1993) and Vinny Testaverde (1987) just to name a few.  Only Troy Aikman (1989), John Elway (1983) and Terry Bradshaw (1970) had careers so great they were inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Twenty five Running Backs have been picked first overall.  Seven of them became Pro Bowlers including Bo Jackson (1986), Billy Sims (1980) and Tucker Frederickson (1965).  The Running Backs hold the record of most Hall Of Fame inductees with five.  Running Back Bill Dudley (1942) was the first player at any position drafted first overall to become a Hall Of Famer.  The most recent Running Back to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame is Earl Campbell (1978) who was drafted by the Houston Oilers.

Defensive End’s have also been a very popular choice with eleven picked first overall.  Defensive Ends Mario Williams (2006), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (1974), Dave Parks (1964) and Leon Hart (1950) were all voted to the Pro Bowl.  Bruce Smith (1985) and Lee Roy Selmon (1976) were the only Defensive End’s to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Positions that were drafted the least with the top pick are Defensive Tackle (4), Offensive Tackle (4), Line Backer (3), Center (2) and Wide Receiver (2).  Eight different positions have all seen the top choice.  Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle and Line Backer are the only positions to never have a first overall player reach the Hall Of Fame.

A few of the players drafted in the last decade will more than likely find a home in the Hall Of Fame.  As of now the first overall pick has only been a future Hall Of Famer twelve of the seventy seven times.  Who knows, we might see the next great NFL player drafted with the first pick tonight in the 2014 NFL Draft.

1983 NFL Draft – “The Best NFL Draft Ever”

The first ever NFL Draft took place in 1936. That draft only consisted of 81 players. Four of those players would become Hall Of Famers. Since then the NFL has developed the draft into a giant event. Another one of the players selected in that draft, Paul “Bear” Bryant would later give up playing football to become a coach. He would become one of the greatest college football coaches ever while at the University of Alabama. There have been many great draft classes in the years since but they all pale in comparison to one in particular.

The 1983 NFL Draft took place on Arpil 26th and 27th of that year in New York City. It included twelves rounds and 335 players were selected. Over 30 of those players selected would go to the Pro Bowl. Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Dan Marino, Bruce Matthews, Darrell Green and Richard Dent who were all selected that day would later be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. Other than all of the things I have mentioned the draft is remembered for another reason, the Quarterbacks.

This was the best draft class of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. It also holds the record for most quarterbacks selected in the first round with six. Three of those six would make it into the Hall Of Fame. The standout quarterbacks of the class were by far John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

John Elway (Getty Images)

John Elway (Getty Images)

John Elway was taken with the first overall pick by the Baltimore Colts. He was eventually traded before the season to Denver due to his unwillingness to play for the Colts head coach Frank Kush. During his career he established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. When his career was over he won two Super Bowl Championships and was inducted to the Hall Of Fame in 2004.

Jim Kelly (Getty Images)

Jim Kelly (Getty Images)

With the fourteenth overall pick the Buffalo Bills selected Jim Kelly. Kelly played the season prior in the United States Football League after leaving the University Of Miami. Of the quarterbacks drafted that day Kelly made more Super Bowl appearances than any one else. Kelly lead the Buffalo Bills to the Super Bowl from 1990 through 1993. Unfortunately the Bills never won any of those Super Bowls. Nonetheless Kelly proved himself to be a great quarterback and was Inducted to the Hall Of Fame in 2002.

Dan Marino (Getty Images)

Dan Marino (Getty Images)

The final legendary quarterback taken in this draft was Dan Marino. He was projected to go early in the first round but fell back on a lot of teams boards due to reports of him using marijuana in college. The Miami Dolphins were willing to take a chance on this young man with a powerful arm and selected him with the twenty seventh overall pick. Marino played 17 season but only made one trip to the Super Bowl, the Dolphins lost that game to the San Fransisco 49ers. Marino did however finish career holding almost every quarterback record that existed. He was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2005.

An interesting note about this draft is all of the first round quarterbacks went to AFC teams. Also the three half Of Fame quarterbacks all played for only one team during their NFL career.

The Draft is such an intriguing event. Full of Pro Bowlers, Busts and Hall Of Famers. There will probably never be a quarterback class this good again. Some might argue that the 2012 class will stand the test of time but until it does the 1983 Draft will remain the best ever.

The 25th Anniversary Of “The Shot”- Michael Jordan’s First Legendary Moment

The career of Michael Jordan is rich with exciting and memorable moments.  His first amazing moment occurred in game 5 of the 1989 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The series had been hotly contested going into final and deciding game.  Both teams had won a game on the road and Jordan had scored no less than 30 points in each of the first four games.  The Cavs had firepower on their side as well with Mark Price, Ron Harper and Craig Ehlo.

On May 7th, 1989 in Cleveland, Ohio the stage was set for this historic game.  The fans of Cleveland had been criticized by the media for not being as excited and as loud as the Chicago fans, they were alive and loud for game 5 however.

As the game started the Cleveland faithful cheered their team to an early lead.  The Cavs were on top from the great play making of Ron Harper and Mark Price.  The Bulls only lead once in the first half and it was in the middle of the first quarter.  The Cavs would take the lead back and stay in the lead until the middle of the fourth quarter.

In the first half Jordan was somewhat cold going only 5-13 from the field with 14 points.  Bill Cartwright and Horace Grant forced themselves to the bench by getting into early foul trouble.  The Cavs looked ready to finish off the Bulls in the second half when halftime started.

The Second half is when Jordan became a major factor in the game.  He basically had no choice but to step up due to Cartwright and Grant sitting on the bench most of the third quarter.  The Bulls took the lead half way through the fourth quarter and then the game got even more insane. With both teams trading the lead leading up to the final 2 minutes.

With 1:07 left in the game Scottie Pippen who had struggled throughout the game finally showed up and hit a clutch 3 pointer to put the Bulls up 97-95.  Craig Ehlo would match him with a 3 pointer of his own and the Cavs were suddenly in the lead by a score of 98-97 with :50 on the clock.  Just 44 seconds later Jordan hit a jumper from the free throw line on an assist from Pippen putting the Bulls ahead 99-98.  The game looked all but over until Ehlo made a layup for the 100-99 lead with only 3 seconds remaining in the game.  The Bulls coach Doug Collins called a time out and positioned Jordan for history.

Michael Jordan seconds after making "The Shot" (Getty Images)

Michael Jordan seconds after making “The Shot” (Getty Images)

Center Brad Sellers in bounded the ball to Jordan who was in 3 point territory.  Jordan took the ball up about twelve feet and hit “The Shot”.  Craig Ehlo tried desperately to block Jordan’s shot but was unsuccessful.  The clock ran to :00 as the ball made it through the hoop.

Ehlo has been made part of history in video clips of Jordan celebrating this moment while Ehlo collapses on the sideline in defeat.  The Bulls were headed to the next round and the city of Cleveland had another heartbreaking sports moment to add to their long list of disappointments.

Jordan was the leading scorer in the game with 44 points, 30 of which came in the last half of the game.  The next highest scoring player from either team was Craig Ehlo who had 24 points off the bench.  Mark Price also had a really good game with 23 points many of which were crucial 3 point shots.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls went on to beat Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks in the second round of the Playoffs.  They would later fall to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.  But this moment would become the history that Jordan and the Bulls were built on.  The Bulls won their first NBA title two years later and the rest is history.

The Quaterbacks Drafted Before Tom Brady

Tom Brady (Photo By Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tom Brady (Photo By Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

With the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft the New England Patriots select from Michigan, quarterback Tom Brady.  Those words spoken by then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue would change the future of the the Patriots and the NFL.  Tom Brady has gone on to have a great career and is considered to be one of the best quarterbacks of not only his era but in football history.  Brady has led the Patriots to 5 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Championships.  He is the biggest late round draft pick ever, being selected in the 6th round.  But their were 6 QB’s selected before Brady.  Here is a look at the six that came before Brady and the teams that missed out on greatness.

1st Round

18th Overall Pick – Chad Pennington, New York Jets

Pennington was the most hyped QB going into the draft.  Pennington had a solid college career with Marshall.  Pennington retired after the 2010 season.  He played for the Jets the majority of his career and played his final 3 season with the Miami Dolphins.  Pennington would play in 4 post seasons and had a post season record of 2 wins and 4 loses.  Pennington did make history during his career, holding the record for career passing percentage among QB’s with more than 1500 pass attempts at 66.0%.

2nd Round

No Quarterbacks Drafted

3rd Round

65th Overall Pick – Giovanni Carmazzi, San Francisco 49ers

Carmazzi played at Hofstra during his college years.  He would never play in a regular season NGL game.  Carmazzi finished his pro football career in the CFL in 2005.

75th Over All Pick – Chris Redman, Baltimore Ravens

Redman has played for the Ravens, Patriots, Titans and most recently the Falcons before his release in August of 2012.  He was lucky enough to win a Super Bowl ring as a backup to Trent Dilfer on the 2000 Ravens championship team.  Redman would best be described as a career back up QB.

4th Round

No Quarterbacks Drafted

5th Round

163rd Overall Pick – Tee Martin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Tee Martin played only one game for the Steelers and never started a game in his career.  He spent the 2002 season in NFL Europe playing for the Rhein Fire.  In 2003 he signed with the Oakland Raiders for his final NFL season.  Martin ended his professional career in 2005 as a part of the CFL.  In total Martin played only 3 games in the NFL.

6th Round

168th Overall Pick – Marc Bulger, New Orleans Saints

Marc Bulger was the only Pro Bowl QB selected before Tom Brady.  In the first of his two Pro Bowl appearances Bulger won the MVP award in that game. He went on a crazy ride after the draft by signing with the Saints, Falcons and the Ravens before the 2000 season began. Bulger took over at QB for the Rams when Kurt Warner retired.  Bulger retired in 2010 with the Ravens.

183 Overall Pick – Spergon Wynn, Cleveland Browns

Spergon Wynn spent his career as a back up QB.  He played for 2 NFL teams and 4 CFL teams.  Wynn retired from football in 2006.

The list QB’s selected before Tom Brady is pretty shocking.  Only one of those players made it to a Pro Bowl.  The majority were career back up QB’s and none of these players are still professionally active.  There was a lot of belief that Brady’s frame was not built for the NFL which was the greatest ding against him.  The Patriots saw something in Brady that no other team did and they were able to reap the benefits of that faith.  When Tom Brady retires he will undoubtedly head to the Hall Of Fame and the history books.  While all of the others before him are just history.

 

On This Day In 1998: “Kerry Wood Throws 20 Strike Outs”

On May 6, 1998 history was made at one of baseballs most historic ballparks Wrigley Field.  The game was between the visiting Houston Astros and the beloved home town heroes the Chicago Cubs.  Pitching for the Cubs that days was a young right handed pitch named Kerry Wood.  Wood had made his Major League debut just one month earlier and was about to shock the baseball world.

In front of the crowd of 15,758 fans Kerry Wood was set to face an Atros team with former All Stars and a couple of potential Hall Of Fame Players.  Players like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio headlined the line up for the Astros that day.

Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)

Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)

Wood struck out every player in the Astros line up at least once during the game.  During his nine inning pitching clinic he gave up only one hit and his Cubs committed no errors.  When the smoke cleared Wood had thrown a record tying 20 strike outs.  The crowd was electrified from the excitement of this rare accomplishment.

Kerry Wood went on to have a respectable career with Cubs, Indians and the Yankees.  He had two stints with the Chicago Cubs and in the last half of his career was a closer.  He played his final game on May 18, 2012 with the Cubs, 14 years after making history.  He became the 1998 National League Rookie Of The Year and a two time All-Star (2003, 2008).  Wood retired with a career record of 86-75 , 3.67 and 1,582 strike outs.

Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)

Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)

The only other player to have struck out 20 batters in a single game was Roger Clemens, he did so in 1986 and 1996.  Only Eight players have pitched 18 or more strike outs in a game.  This record has not been matched or broken since Kerry Wood joined Roger Clemens on the top of this list.

Marion Motley: Breaking The Color Barrier In Football

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.  It was a historic happening that changed professional sports forever.  However Robinson was not the first African-American athlete to break the color barrier in American professional sports.

In 1946 a year before Jackie Robinson made history, four African-Americans became the first to play professional football since the NFL became segregated in 1933.  Those four players were Marion Motley, Bill Willis, Woody Strode and Kenny Washington.  Both Motley and Willis signed with the Cleveland Browns who played in the All-American Football Conference.  While Strode and Washington were signed by the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League.  Those four Men all made history that year but one man’s carrier would stand out more than all of the others, that man was Marion Motley.

Marion Motley (Getty Images)

Marion Motley (Getty Images)

Marion Motley was born in 1920 in Leesburg, GA.  He grew up in Canton, Oh and was an excellent High School football player.  He would play his college career as a Full Back at the South Carolina State and the University of Nevada, Reno.  He entered the US Navy in 1944 during World War II before beginning his professional carrier with the Cleveland Browns.

Marion Motley stood at 6’1” and weighed 240 pounds in his prime.   Regarded as the first real power back in the NFL Motley punished opposing defenses, pummeling any defender that got in his way.  Many who played during his time have regarded Motley as being the best football player they have ever seen.  It has also been said that he was an even better player than the Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown.  Like brown he was an excellent back that could push for extra yards but he could block better than Brown, these skills made him a complete player.

Marion Motley played a total of 9 seasons from 1946-1955.  During this time he amassed 4,720 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.  As a receiver he had 1,107 yards and caught 7 touchdown passes.  Motley was a 1950 Pro Bowler as well as a champion with the legendary Cleveland Brown’s teams of 1946-1950.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1968, forever immortalized in his home of Canton,OH.

Marion Motley was one of the greatest football players of his era and quite possibly of all time.  He endured the same hate and discrimination as Jackie Robinson and was able to prove that he belong with the best.  He is a true American Hero and should be known and remembered by all sports fans.