Top 5 Tuesday: Most Unbreakable Records

The record books are constantly rewritten, but several marks have managed to stand the test of time. The sports world has provided us countless examples, but we here at THE SPORTS DISPENCER have scoured the records to compile five of history’s most unbreakable records.

5. MLB’s Most Career Steals

Long-regarded as the top baserunner in history, first-ballot hall of famer Rickey Henderson holds one of baseball’s most coveted records. On May 1, 1991, Henderson passed Lou Brock to become the all-time leader. Twelve years later, Rickey concluded his four-decade career with an unbelievable total of 1,406 stolen bases. Players may possess the skills and longevity to near a 1,000, but it would take over 70 seventy steals for 20 consecutive seasons in order to challenge Henderson’s untouchable mark.

4. MLB’s Most Complete Games

Since Cy Young threw his final pitch, baseball has drastically changed. Gone are the days of pitchers throwing 20-plus complete games a season, and present are the days of pitch counts, bullpens, and managers limiting innings. Few pitchers in the modern game bear the talent to make a run at Cy Young’s mark, but no manager would allow a season’s pitch count to rise that high. So for now, Young’s 749 complete games remain a testament to baseball’s rugged stars of the early twentieth century.

3. MLB’s Most Consecutive Starts

Durability is a valuable trait in sports. An athlete’s ability to perform day in and day out is crucial for a team’s short and long term success. In his 20-year career, Cal Ripken, Jr. embodied unrelenting durability. While garnering two MVPs and 19 All-Star nods, the Baltimore Orioles star passed Lou Gehrig en route to 2,632 consecutive games. His 17-year streak surpasses any in American professional sports and will keep Ripken in record books for years to come.

2. NBA’s Highest PPG Average in a Season

Scoring fifty points in an NBA game is difficult. Averaging 50 points for a week is very difficult. Averaging 50 points for a season is ridiculous. In the 1961-62 season, NBA great Wilt Chamberlain averaged a mind-boggling 50.4 points per game. Since his record-shattering season, many of basketball’s best have passed through the league, but between Magic, Bird and Jordan, a 37.1 average was the closest effort put forth. If MJ cannot match it, who can?

1. College Football’s Most Lopsided Victory

After Cumberland defeated Georgia Tech’s baseball team 22-0, legendary coach John Heisman wanted to make a statement. On October 7, 1916, Georgia Tech crushed Cumberland by the unbelievable score of 222-0. The Ramblin’ Wreck pounded the ragtag Bulldogs team with an unrelenting might. Many believe Heisman’s true reasoning for running up the score was to send a message to voters. At the time, teams were ranked by the number of points scored. Heisman vehemently disagreed with this process. He unleashed Georgia Tech’s full forces, who scored on every set of downs. Regardless of the reasoning, Georgia Tech’s unfathomable win has remained uncontested, earning it a place atop history’s finest.

What do you think? Anything we missed? What would you choose? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of Sportige, SouthernMemories.com

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Weekend Review

Federer Takes Wimbledon

At the age of thirty, Roger Federer had taken a backseat to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but after a flurry of upsets and a masterful semifinal performance, the Swiss star found himself in the Wimbledon final yet again. Pitted against Britain’s own Andy Murray, Federer cruised to victory in four sets, notching his seventh Wimbledon and seventeenth Grand Slam victory while regaining his rank as number one in the world.

Rangers-Twins Thunderous Surprise 

In the top of the fourth inning, a close-hitting lightning strike and subsequent boom of thunder rattled Rangers ballpark, sending players of both teams scrambling for the dugout.  Said Rangers first baseman Michael Young, “That was the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life.”

U.S. Men’s Basketball Team Announced

Over the weekend, the reigning gold medalist U.S. Men’s Basketball Team announced their 2012 roster. Injuries may have sidelined recent champs Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, but Coach K’s squad gladly welcomes the additions of Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and others to FIBA’s number one ranked team.

Dwight Howard Trade Rumors

Developments continue in the seemingly endless Dwight Howard saga. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Nets-Magic talks continue and are now covering 14 players, three teams and a possible fourth looking in to take MarShon Brooks. If the deal is completed, it may indeed grow to become the NBA’s all-time largest blockbuster.

What do you think? Anything we missed? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of CS Monitor, Bleacher Report

Blake Griffin Strikes Again

As the 2012 Summer Olympics rapidly approach, the U.S. men’s basketball final roster is being assembled. After the withdrawals of Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Chris Bosh, Clippers star Blake Griffin remains a likely candidate for the team. He hopes to bring the dominating athleticism that a gold medal push requires, and in a recent gym workout, he proved he can do just that.

Top 5 Tuesday: All-Time NBA Players

After an impressive 4-1 series win, LeBron James finally has the championship ring he has long coveted. The win is crucial to ultimately cementing James’ legacy as one of the NBA’s all-time greats, but for now, LeBron is on the outside looking in. As the debate rages on, THE SPORTS DISPENCER has scoured the records to compile five of sports history’s finest.

Honorable Mentions: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Russell, Tim Duncan

5. Larry Bird

A 12-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Boston Celtics star Larry Bird begins our countdown. Throughout his storied career, Bird found success with the help of his well-rounded playing style and high basketball IQ. With career averages of 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game, Bird helped lead Boston to three NBA titles, including a seven-game series win over the “Showtime” era Los Angeles Lakers. The series was one link in the legendary saga of the Bird-Magic rivalry. Largely cited as the cause for professional basketball’s 1980s boom, the pair’s heated encounters fueled both careers. Since his retirement, Larry has remained involved in the game he loves. Bird is the first and only person to garner MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year honors.

4. Wilt Chamberlain

Perhaps history’s greatest scorer, Wilt Chamberlain posted mind-boggling numbers throughout his career. While sporting career averages of over 30 points and 20 assists per game, Chamberlain peaked in 1961-62 with a record-breaking average of 50.4 points. A quick jaunt throughout any NBA record book proves the extent of Wilt’s domination. Of the more than sixty 60-point outbursts in league history, Wilt accounted for 32, most notably a 100-point performance in March 1962. Chamberlain may lack Bill Russell’s 11 championships, but in 1960 against Russell’s Celtics, Wilt dominated the Boston big man on the boards en route to an NBA-record 55 rebounds, proving his place as early basketball’s premier player.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Behind his signature sky hook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar soared to success throughout his illustrious 20-year career. At 7’2,” Abdul-Jabbar towered over opponents, but his finesse and footwork helped the Lakers great total an NBA record 38,387 points. On defense, Abdul-Jabbar was a fearsome shot blocker. Had the NBA tracked the stat in his early career, Kareem would likely be the statistical all-time leader, but even without it, he ranks third in history. Kareem’s size and skill translated to success on both ends of the court and ultimately earned Abdul-Jabbar an NBA-record six MVPs.

2. Magic Johnson

As the undisputed greatest point guard in basketball history, Magic found success at every level. He totaled 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game. Under his leadership, the “Showtime” Lakers took the ’80s by storm, winning five NBA titles over the course of the decade. The well-documented rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird ended in Magic’s favor. In four championship matchups between the two, Johnson won three of four, resulting in two NBA titles and a 1979 NCAA Tournament championship. A 12-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Magic career spanned three decades before it was tragically cut short by HIV in the early ’90s, but had Johnson continued to play, the NBA’s all-time list may have a different king.

1. Michael Jordan

Whether you call him “M.J.,” “Air Jordan,” or “His Airness” — Michael Jordan’s name is synonymous with greatness and the obvious choice to top this list. The Bulls star accumulated six championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular season MVPs, and 14 All-Star nods. Jordan totaled an NBA-record career average a 30.12 points per game en route to an NBA-record record ten scoring titles. With his signature drive, MJ proved unstoppable around the basket, and his success continued to spread on and off the court. From Space Jam to the “Flu Game,” from “The Dream Team” to “The Final Shot,” Michael Jordan idealized the NBA and earned a spot as history’s all-time great.

What do you think? Anything we missed? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of The Hoops Journal, WikipediaSport in Law

What If Wednesday: Magic’s Retirement

In a surprise November 7, 1991 announcement, Lakers great Magic Johnson publicly announced his positive test for HIV and his intentions to retire. At the age of thirty-one, Magic ended his career with several quality seasons left in him, but what if he had opted to remain in the league? THE SPORTS DISPENCER analyzes what could have been in this week’s edition of What If.

Lakers Contend

After Magic’s exit, the Lakers suffered a severe decline. In 1990-91, Johnson’s final season, Los Angeles went 58-24, finished third in the West, and earned an NBA Finals birth, but after Magic’s surprise announcement, the Lakers fell to 43-39, finished eighth in the West, and met a quick first-round playoff exit. Los Angeles struggled to make the playoffs en route to their worst season since 1975.

Th Lakers sorely missed Magic on the court. His 19.4 points, 12.5 assists, and 7.0 rebounds were crucial to the team’s 1990-91 success, and without him, Los Angeles failed to produce offensively. Had Johnson continued, his mere presence would have revitalized the lineup and kept L.A. a contender for years to come.

Acceptance of HIV

Since his retirement, Magic has become an HIV/AIDS advocate. The Magic Johnson Foundation has “worked to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.” While spreading awareness, Johnson has increased societal acceptance of those afflicted with the disease, but had Magic been able to continue in the NBA, he would have further shown the capabilities of those inflicted with HIV/AIDS.

Birth of a Rivalry

By the time of Johnson’s sudden announcement, the Magic-Bird era had come to a close, and with a 1991 NBA Finals victory over L.A., Michael Jordan established Chicago as the league’s best. The three soon united as part of the “Dream Team” for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. A rising star, Jordan had largely viewed the tournament as the final hoorah for the two NBA greats, and with their exits, the league was his.

Jordan went on to win six titles in the decade, cementing his status as the NBA’s all-time greatest. Had Magic remained in the league, however, that may have not been the case. In his final season, Johnson proved his ability to contend. With a few slight tweaks, Magic’s Lakers would find themselves poised to take on Jordan’s burgeoning Bulls, creating a rivalry for the ages.

* Photos Courtesy of LA TimesIndianLacrosse.com

What do you think? Anything we missed? Any other What If Wednesday suggestions? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

Weekend Review

After a thrilling weekend in the world of sports, fans are beginning to recover from two days of constant remote flipping. Carpal tunnel aside, THE SPORTS DISPENCER is here to take a look at what we learned from this weekend’s action.

Flawed Finals Format

For a reason unbeknownst to many, the playoff game format switches once the NBA Finals are reached, varying from a 2-2-1-1-1 to a 2-3-2 setup. Instead of benefiting play, it detracts from it. Take this year for example. The Miami Heat split Oklahoma City’s first homestand one game a piece. With three straight road games, the Thunder faced the daunting task of winning in South Beach to keep the series alive. If David Stern opted for the prefered 2-2-1-1-1 format, Oklahoma City is gifted the home court advantage they rightfully earned, and Miami would be forced to win the series in front of Chesapeake Energy Arena’s raucous crowd.

The U.S. Open Returns to Form

After the world’s best lit up the scorecards in 2011 at Congressional, the 2012 U.S. Open returned to its previous gut-wrenching form. After four days of intense competition, Olympic Club gave us a winner. Webb Simpson emerged from a crowded field to take the tournament with a four-round score of one stroke over par.

Euro’s Team to Beat

Behind a consistently explosive offensive attack, Germany has emerged victorious from Euro 2012’s Group of Death. The Germans held steady, winning three of three. Gomez and Podolski anchored the front line with midfield support from world-class players Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Expect the heavily favored German squad to cruise to victory in their quarterfinal matchup against Greece.

Junior Ends the Drought

After a 143-race losing streak, fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. found victory lane in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The 37-year-old driver finds himself second in the Sprint Cup Standings and a likely contender to earn his first ever Sprint Cup title.

What do you think? Anything we missed? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of Chicago Tribune, ESPN