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Interesting Facts - Sports

The velocity of a pitched baseball is about 8 mph faster as it leaves the pitcher's hand than when it reaches home plate.

Before 1845, the bases on a Baseball field were arranged in U-shape. Posts or stakes were used instead of bases as we know them, runs were called "aces," and the first team to reach a score of 21 won the game. Even by 1860 Baseball was more a social event than a competitive sport. Tea was served during the many "intermissions," and the pitch, threw the ball where the batter asked him to. Bunting was considered a breach of taste.

Unlike any other major professional sport, MLB ballparks vary in size and dimension! While the infield is carefully regulated, center field depth can vary wildly.

On June 7, 1950, the Boston Red Sox scored twenty runs against the St.Louis Browns. Next day the Sox beat the Browns by a score of 29 to 4. In two games Boston compiled forty nine runs.

The great Yankee slugger Babe Ruth, who began his career as a pitcher, had a favorite pitching trick that has rarely been duplicated. He was able to throw two Baseballs in such a way that the balls remained parallel to each other all the way from his hand to the catcher's glove. Ruth was famous for this stunt and would demonstrate it on request.

Since 1967 every senior who has played on the Basketball team of De Matha High School, just outside Washington, DC has won a college athletic scholarship.

Before the Marquis of Queensberry rules for Boxing were drawn up in 1867, all prize fights in England and the United States were fought with bare knuckles. Even as late as 1882, the great John L. Sullivan, then Boxing champion of the world, rarely fought wearing gloves.

There are bullfights in Detroit. Twelve times a year, at the Cobo Arena, some of the best Spanish and Mexican matadors are featured, as well as several American Bullfighters who have been trained in Spain. Bullfights themselves are not illegal in the United States; the matador is simply not allowed to kill the bull. In Detroit, therefore, all fights are "exhibitions," bloodless events that demonstrate the matador's skill, not his ability to make a kill.

A sport practiced in ancient China consisted of placing two angry male quails in a large glass bowl and watching as the creatures clawed each other to death.

In 1822 Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College, forbade all students to play Football. Violators were to be reported the dean and were to be penalized by a fine not to exceed fifty cents.

In the 1905 Football season, eighteen men were killed in college games in the United States and 159 were permanently injured. At that time, Football players wore only light equipment. Punching, linking arms, gouging, and kicking were all part of the action and the entire team was allowed to line up on the scrimmage line. At least a quarter of all games, reports tell us, ended in mob brawls. In 1905 the Reverend David Buel of Georgetown University reported that one unidentified team had been taught to "strike their opponents in certain delicate parts of the body so as to render them helpless." The large number of deaths and injuries that year prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to establish the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which instituted regulations designed to make college Football a less lethal sport.

In 1910 a Football team was penalized 15 yards for an incompleted forward pass.

Before 1850, Golf balls were made of leather and were stuffed with feathers.

The Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice Hockey supremacy in North America, was donated in 1893 by Canada's then governer general, Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston. Originally awarded to honour Canada's top amateur team, it eventually became the championship trophy of the professional National Hockey League. Stanley Cup playoffs have been held continuously since 1894, although in the 1918-1919 season the finals were halted by the worldwide influenza epidemic. Oddly, Lord Stanley himself never saw a Stanley Cup game.

The Green Bay Packers are publicly owned. Yes, you read that correctly: an NFL team is the only community-owned major league professional sports team in America. Their community ownership and non-profit structure may explain why an enormous NFL franchise has been able to remain in a town of 104,057 people for almost a century!

The Pittsburgh Pirates got their name as a result of bad publicity. In 1880 the Pittsburgh team allegedly "Pirated" an important player away from Philadelphia and did nothing to smooth over ruffled feelings. Local newspapers angrily called Pittsburg "a bunch of Pirates." The epithet stuck, and eventually became the team's official name.

The Aztec and Maya Indians of Mexico and Central America played a complicated kind of ball game not unlike lacrosse. The game, played in a large stadium and witnessed by thousands of spectators, went on for several hours. When the game was finished, the captain of the losing team was slaughtered before the onlookers, his body torn limb from limb, and pieces of his heart passed among the crowd for members of the audience to nibble.

Track & Field - High Jump
No high jumper has ever been able to stay off the ground for more than one second.

Track & Field - Running
In 1866 the world record for the mile Run was 4 minutes 12 3/4 seconds, set by W. G. George in London on August 23. Today that time would be considered a pretty good achievement for a high school Runner.

Sports fans in Brazil sometimes become so impassioned that it was necessary to build a wide moat around the playing field of Rio's 180,000 seat Maracana Stadium. The moat keeps the crowd from running onto the field, molesting the players and attacking the referees.

Lenin Stadium in Moscow has enough seats to accommodate more than 103,000 people.

The practice of identifying baseball players by number was
begun by the Yankees in 1929. In 1931 the practice became standard throughout the American League, the National League adopted it in 1933. In 1960 Bill Veeck added players' names to their Uniforms.

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