Strange but True Sports Facts

Posted on March 3rd, by Rob Scichili in All. No Comments

Warm Ups


Could Have Been Olympians

Ever notice that Pittsburgh is the only American city with three sports teams that wear the same colors?…There are more than 350 dimples on a golf ball…”Tug of War” was an actual Olympic event between 1900 and 1920…Texas is known for its football. Indiana is known for basketball. Minnesota – hockey. The state sport of Maryland is jousting…In 1935, Jesse Owens broke four world records in 45 minutes…Statistics show that people in nudist colonies play volleyball more than any other sport. Nope, I don’t want to watch either…Most NASCAR teams use nitrogen in their tires instead of air…No high jumper has ever been able to stay off the ground for more than one second…At horse race tracks, the favorite usually wins no more than 30 percent of the time (often less)…The Kentucky Derby began in 1875 and is the oldest continually held sports event in the United States. Second – the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (1876)…Fishing is the biggest participant sport in the world…Kite flying is a professional sport in Thailand.


Football Stuff (and some pucks)

It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs…Because the two teams lost so many players to World War II military service, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers had to combine their rosters to become the “Steagles” in the 1943 season…A face-off in hockey was originally called a “puck-off.” (Insert fan joke here).



The referee in NBA games used to toss a jump ball after every basket until 1937. Could you imagine? Think the Showtime Lakers would like that? Um, no…NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain never fouled out of a game.


Since it’s Practically Baseball Season 

In July of 1934, Babe Ruth paid a fan $20 for the return of his 700th career home run ball…the average life span of an MLB baseball is five-HunterCatfishto-seven pitches…MLB teams use about 850,000 balls per season…When one breaks down the actual playing time in an MLB game it comes to about nine minutes and 55 seconds, despite routinely finishing at around three hours….When pitched, the average MLB baseball rotates 15 times before being hit…the first baseball caps were made of straw. Gilligan would be proud…Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter got his nickname because the Oakland A’s owner made up a story that Hunter had caught a large catfish as a boy. True story. Well, kinda…A forfeited game in baseball would be recorded as a 9-0 final score…The practice of baseball players wearing numbers on their jerseys was started by the New York Yankees in 1929. Now any player worth a damn for the pinstripes has to wear #73 because all of the others have been retired…The Mets’ Danny Heep became the first player in World Series history with the initials “D.H.” to be designated hitter in the 1986 Fall Classic…The only two days of the year in which there are zero professional sports games (MLB, NBA, NHL or NFL) are the day before and the day after the MLB All-Star Game. No wonder I get bored in mid-July.

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks,, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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