It’s no secret that sports fans love their share of statistics. As sportswriters, we can’t live without one. Baseball set a precedent for its expansive set of stats, but the other North American sports aren’t far behind. Whether you follow football, basketball, hockey or even European soccer, there’s bound to be a number that makes you scratch your head and ask, “is that really true?” The DC Sports staff shares its favorite crazy, but true stats in this week’s roundtable.
Matt Severino, Campus Correspondent
There aren’t very many instances when you will get to see a player break an all-time record for a major statistical category. Don’t expect to ever see that happen in the NBA with the assists record. John Stockton holds that record with an absurd 15,806 career assists. That number might not mean much to most, so for context, Jason Kidd holds second place with a measly 12,091. The crazy part of this is that in most instances, an athlete barely breaks the record before riding off into the sunset. Not Stockton. Not even close. He could have not played a single minute in the last SIX seasons in his career and still would have recorded enough assists to maintain that record. The golden standard for what it means to “know your role” was easily set by Stockton because of his longevity and constant production.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 11, 2019
Sean Janos, Staff Writer
Wilt Chamberlain’s basketball career was full of outrageous statistics in the 1960s that likely will never be replicated again. We all know about the 100-point game, the season he decided to lead the league in assists and of course the 20,000 women he claimed to have courted. But one Wilt stat that people seldom know is this: Chamberlain’s third season in the league, the one where he scored over 50 points per game in 80 games, he played 48.5 minutes per game. A regulation NBA game back then, as it is now, is 48 minutes long. This means he played every minute of every game, plus overtime. Chamberlain may not have been the all-time great he was back then if he played today, but you gotta give it up for this guy’s stamina.
Danny Barletta, Staff Writer
There are countless mind-boggling stats in sports from guys like Wayne Gretzky, Wilt Chamberlain and Tony Gwynn. But I believe Barry Bonds has some of the craziest stats of all, even though they come with a great big asterisk next to them due to his likely PED use. The craziest Barry Bonds stat of all time, though, came in his seventh and final MVP season in 2004. That year, he reached base safely more times than he registered an at-bat. That stat is so absurd, it doesn’t even make sense until I explain it. In baseball, every time you step up to the plate, it is a plate appearance but not necessarily an at-bat. Walks, hit by pitches, and sacrifices are among those results not counted towards a player’s at-bat total. So in 2004, Bonds walked 232 times (120 were intentional), he was hit by a pitch nine times and he got 135 hits for a total of 376 times reaching base safely. He only registered 373 at-bats that season, so he literally was on base more often than he was up at bat, which puts my brain in a pretzel.
Ever wonder what it’s like being an umpire with Barry Bonds at the plate? pic.twitter.com/qrfpaMoqux
— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) April 21, 2020
Ben Berg, Campus Correspondent
My favorite crazy but true stat of all time belongs to none other than Wayne Gretzky, the undisputed greatest hockey player of all time. The Great One scored the most goals in NHL history throughout his career (894), but if he never scored a single goal, he would still have more points (which are goals and assists) than anyone else in league history. So basically, he was the best goal-scorer ever, but even if he was the worst goal-scorer, he’d still have enough assists (1963) to have the most points of all time. Not many athletes could lose their best attribute and still be considered the best overall player, but Gretzky probably could. Overall, he scored close to a thousand more points than the next guy. Gretzky finished his career with 2857 points while second place (Jaromir Jagr) finished with 1921. That’s just silly.
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