FAMOUS FOR SOMETHING ELSE: Kevin Johnson, NBA Star and Sacramento Mayor

Kevin Johnson is the current mayor of Sacramento, and was also a three-time All-Star for the Phoenix Suns. But he also briefly had a baseball career of two games in 1986 in the Athletics organization:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB HBP SH SF IBB
1986 20 -2.5 Modesto CALL A OAK 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
1 Season 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/17/2015.

And now you know!

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Famous For Something Else: NBA Ref David Guthrie

David Guthrie is a referee in the National Basketball Association. But before he was a ref on the hardwood, he played hardball in the Reds organization. Drafted in the 26th round of the 1995 draft out of NC State, Guthrie played infield positions from 1995 to 1998. Although he never hit well, he did reach AA by the end of his career:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1995 21 1.1 Princeton APPY Rk CIN 55 207 181 28 37 11 0 0 13 7 1 18 41 .204 .286 .265 .551 48 4 3 4 1 1
1996 22 1.4 Billings PION Rk CIN 48 219 181 45 41 6 3 4 28 10 1 26 48 .227 .343 .359 .702 65 4 7 3 2 0
1997 23 1.5 CharlestonĀ WV SALL A CIN 73 264 233 27 50 7 2 3 26 6 2 20 75 .215 .295 .300 .595 70 5 7 3 1 0
1998 24 -0.1 Chattanooga SOUL AA CIN 67 225 203 23 39 5 4 0 9 1 1 16 58 .192 .261 .256 .517 52 3 3 3 0 0
4 Seasons 243 915 798 123 167 29 9 7 76 24 5 80 222 .209 .296 .294 .590 235 16 20 13 4 1
Rk (2 seasons) Rk 103 426 362 73 78 17 3 4 41 17 2 44 89 .215 .315 .312 .627 113 8 10 7 3 1
A (1 season) A 73 264 233 27 50 7 2 3 26 6 2 20 75 .215 .295 .300 .595 70 5 7 3 1 0
AA (1 season) AA 67 225 203 23 39 5 4 0 9 1 1 16 58 .192 .261 .256 .517 52 3 3 3 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2015.

By the way, the players who Guthrie was drafted before in the 1995 draft and signed a contract include Pedro Feliciano, Justin Speier, and Gabe Kapler.

Famous For Something Else: Reece “Goose” Tatum, Harlem Globetrotter Legend

It’s time for another “Famous for Something Else”.

Today’s individual who is far more famous for something else is Reece “Goose” Tatum. Tatum was the original “Clown Prince” of the Harlem Globetrotters, one of the finest basketball players of his era (back during a time when the Globetrotters would play and often beat actual NBA teams), and said to be the inventor of the hook shot/skyhook that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would later make famous.

But before his basketball career really took off, Goose played some baseball in the Negro Leagues. While his stats are a bit spotty due to the less-than-excellent record-keeping of the day, here they are:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB SH
1941 20 Birmingham NAL NgM 6 5 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 .600 .600 .600 1.200 3 1
1941 20 Birmingham NAL NgM
1942 21 Birmingham NAL NgM 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0
1942 21 Birmingham NAL NgM
1943 22 Cincinnati NAL NgM 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0
1943 22 Cincinnati NAL NgM
1945 24 Cincinnati/Indianapolis NAL NgM 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 1 0
1945 24 Cincinnati/Indianapolis NAL NgM
1946 25 Indianapolis NAL NgM 19 18 6 8 2 0 0 3 0 1 .444 .474 .556 1.029 10 0
1946 25 Indianapolis NAL NgM
1947 26 Indianapolis NAL NgM 32 29 5 10 1 0 0 2 0 3 .345 .406 .379 .786 11 0
1947 26 Indianapolis NAL NgM
1948 27 Indianapolis NAL NgM 23 19 1 5 1 0 0 5 0 1 .263 .300 .316 .616 6 3
1948 27 Indianapolis NAL NgM
7 Seasons 89 80 13 27 4 0 0 12 0 5 .338 .376 .388 .764 31 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2014.

Florida Gulf Coast University Basketball vs. Fresno State Baseball: What’s the bigger Cinderella?

Florida Gulf Coast University is the darling of the NCAA basketball tournament, becoming the first 15-seed to advance to the Sweet 16. It is already being called one of the greatest Cinderella stories in college history. But I had to wonder: how does it compare to perhaps the greatest Cinderella story in baseball, the 2008 Fresno State baseball team?

If you aren’t familiar with it, I can’t blame you, as I’ve mentioned before, not many people pay attention to college baseball, especially outside of the College World Series. So I’ll refresh your memory: in 2008, the Fresno State Bulldogs, who only was able to qualify for the baseball tournament thanks to winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament. They were placed into their initial pool as a 4-seed (early rounds of NCAA baseball tournament are double-elimination pools), the equivalent of being a 13 seed or lower in March Madness.

But, a funny thing happened, not only did they advance through their regional and then super-regional pool, but they ended up winning the College World Series, defeating Georgia. They became the lowest seed ever to win a NCAA championship.

So, is FGCU more impressive than that?

Well, no. Mainly, this is because FGCU hasn’t won the tournament, and it probably won’t. However, should they continue on, that answer could change. The reason for this is because of the differences between baseball and basketball.

You see, unlike baseball, basketball doesn’t have any real “equalizer” position. While having a dominant player like a Lebron James or Kevin Durant definitely can help, there is no pitcher who can shut down the opposing offense or hockey goalie who can stand on his head. That means that, usually, the entire team more or less has to play above expectations if they intend to pull off an upset, or have their opponent have a bad day on the same day they have a few players have a good day. So to pull an upset in basketball is far more impressive and rare than an upset in baseball.

However, as I said, FGCU still has a long way to go. Fresno State, after all, won the whole thing- and that means that the Gulf Coast players will have to win four more games if they aim to take the overall crown of the greatest Cinderella in college sports history.

The time where the 76ers drafted two future MLB Players

Just in time for March Madness, here’s a weird connection between hoops and Major League Baseball.

To be more specific, one year (1996), the Philadelphia 76ers drafted two college basketball stars who eventually made the rosters of Major League Baseball teams:

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 7.29.18 PMIn case you can’t see it, that is Mark Hendrickson and Ryan Minor being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, drafted one right after the other. Minor- who’s main claim to fame was starting at third the day that Cal Ripken‘s streak ended- went straight to baseball, but Hendrickson- who has been pitching in camp for the Orioles this spring- had a brief NBA career (go below the jump for the stats):

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Famous for Something Else: Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge was an All-Star with the Boston Celtics, and later would become an award-winning executive for them after he hung up the uniform. But before he started his professional basketball career, the BYU grad had a short career with the Blue Jays. Go below the jump to see his major league and minor league stats:

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Great Mysteries in Other Sports

Yesterday, I gave some of the great mysteries in baseball. But there are plenty of mysteries beyond the diamond as well. For example:

  • Was, as some conspiracy theorists claim, the 1985 NBA Draft lottery fixed so that Patrick Ewing would go to the New York Knicks? (I doubt it, but it’s one of the most talked about sports conspiracy theories of all time, so…)
  • The original trophy for Soccer’s World Cup was awarded permanently to Brazil in 1970 after they won the tournament for the third time. In 1983, that trophy was stolen. What happened to it?
  • Does the IOC really have the silver medals for the 1972 Basketball Tournament in a vault, waiting for the cold day in hell when the screwed-over USA team accepts them?
  • Was Michael Jordan’s baseball stint really a cover story for a gambling suspension? (Again, I doubt it, but since so many people often discuss the possibility…)
  • Why doesn’t the NFL give the 1925 Pottsville Maroons their due? It can’t just be because it would injure the pride of the Cardinals, right?
  • Jim Robinson was the fourth man to fight to Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) professionally. He has not been contacted or seen since 1979. What happened to him?
  • Speaking of Ali, did Sonny Liston throw either of his fights with him to pay off debts he had with organized crime?
  • Did Wilt Chamberlain really sleep with 20,000 women? (This has been mathematically debunked, but…)
  • Is Jimmy Hoffa buried underneath what was once Giants Stadium (it is now a parking lot for the new stadium)?

 

Know any other good ones?