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Most sacred record in sport, epilogue

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  • #16
    [quote=bad hammy]
    Originally posted by Daisy
    Originally posted by "bad hammy":a7z601ls
    Personally I can answer all six of the baseball answers, but only two of the football ones.
    But could you say the same of football fans? I don't know the answer, I just know I keep reading about individual stats in the paper.
    I am a football fan - those numbers just don't stick as much.[/quote:a7z601ls]
    How about young football fans, maybe they have better memories :twisted:

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Daisy
      Originally posted by Conor Dary
      Baseball seems to be the only sport, outside of cricket, with such an emphasis on individual records.
      You mean team sport here I assume.

      Even then i'm not sure that is true. it seems that American football is always talking about individual records.
      Of course, team sports.

      As for the NFL, individual records are mentioned, but hardly with this 'reverence' that baseball attracts. It's more on par with talking about the weather. For instance when Emmitt Smith broke Walter Payton's all time rushing record it was certainly noticed, but not much more than that.

      Comment


      • #18
        dr ngo beautifully summed up what I had in mind with "most sacred":

        >>>was DiMaggio (sp?) a>great hitter or did he just have an amazing
        >streak?<<

        the obvious answer is - both. He, like Gehrig and Mantle and Ruth,
        >incorporated the Yankee mythos. His Streak was a serendipitous meeting of great
        >skill and some good luck, a tough combination to beat. I don't think it will be
        >broken for a LONG TIME.

        "I would not disagree - Dimaggio was a great player, and this was a great achievement, &c. - but I don't think this is the entire explanation for the "sacredness" of his record, which is (as I see it) not quite the same as its greatness. In baseball alone, I can think of a number of records even _less_ likely to be broken than Dimaggio's 56 game streak: Chesbro's 41 wins in a season, Cy Young's 511 lifetime, Roger Hornsby's .424 season batting average, Ty Cobb's .367 lifetime average, &c. In fact it might be argued that even in the season he set the record, DiMaggio was not the best batter in the league (wasn't that the year Ted Williams hit .406?). So there's something more than this going on.

        It seems to me that when we discuss "sacredness" - and I am grateful to the original poster for invoking this term - we are not simply in the realm of the rational. The answer does not lie buried in the numbers, no matter how much Eldrick may claim (and I may dispute him). It involves public perception and awareness; it is something that catches our imagination and will not let go.

        Sometimes this "something" is an artifice of our measuring system. The Four-Minute Mile was one of the most memorable, and "sacred," moments in track history, and I don't want to take anything away from Bannister's achievement, but in terms of how much it broke the old record by, or how long it lasted, it was not out of the ordinary. It was magical because of two units of measure that humans have created ex nihilo: the minute and the mile. Put it in metrics (easy) or alter the number of units into which we subdivide the day (more difficult) and it loses most of its special quality. We still see this in many field events, with a 20-foot PV or 20-meter SP having a resonance in some countries that it lacks in others.

        Dimaggio's "sacredness" - and those of you who are not Americans will just have to take our word for this (as we do for the "sacredness" of your greatest sporting heroes) - rests, I think, on two other elements. One, previously mentioned on this thread, is simply the length of time over which it is played out, and the cumulative dramatic tension that it builds. No one pays any attention when a batter gets a hit. Only the most dedicated fan notices when someone is on a ten-game hitting streak. By the time it gets to twenty, it's in the newspapers. If it reaches thirty, it's in the headlines. If it gets to forty, it becomes a national obsession. And there is no way of speeding this up, because baseball is mostly played one game, one day, at a time. Each day's drama can be played over and over in the minds of fans, of sportswriters, and the athlete himself, as it unfolds. And each day bears within it the possibility of shattering defeat of the streak. (The Tour de France takes nearly as long, and arguably as much athleticism, but any rider can have one bad day and bounce back the next, which the "streak" does not permit.) Psychologically, this has an imprint which few one-day or even one-moment achievements (e.g., Beamon's jump) can equal.

        On the other extreme, the 7-year NCAA basketball winning streak of UCLA (or the 84-year losing streak of the Red Sox, for that matter) is not sustained in quite the same way. Returning to track, for a moment, the magnificent winning streaks of Edwin Moses or (even more) Parry O'Brien are not comparable [psychologically] because meets are spaced at uneven and unpredictable intervals, and because nothing forced Moses or O'Brien to compete except when and where they chose. I can think of few other sports in which this particular day-to-day pressure builds suspense in the same way.

        The other factor making Dimaggio's record so "sacred," I would surmise, has to do with his personal identity, or at least image. The previous writer mentioned the Yankee "mythos," which is very much a part of it. (Can you imagine the same aura surrounding the record if it had been set by a member of the St. Louis Browns or the Boston Braves?) They were winners year after year, the creme de la creme, the team of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the pinstriped dominators of the diamond world.

        But beyond this there was the mystique of "DiMag" himself, who was depicted as the perfect American sports hero (even though recent biographies suggest he may in fact have been a rather unpleasant individual). He was from a humble background, but rose to great heights. He was good at all aspects of the games - he could field and run, as well as hit (unlike Ted Williams, at least in public image). He was humble and soft-spoken, letting his deeds speak for him - if you're a football (soccer) fan, think Stanley Matthews rather than Maradona. He was extraordinarily _graceful_ as a ballplayer, without for a moment appearing to "pose" at all; to see him play (or even, as most of us did, just to see picture of him playing) revealed what the game of baseball ought to be like. He was the sports hero we all wanted to be."

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        • #19
          Originally posted by bad hammy

          Who played the most consecutive games in NFL history, and how many? Baseball??

          Who threw the most touchdowns in NFL history, and how many?? Wins for pitchers in baseball??

          Who scored the most touchdowns in NFL history, and how many?? Home runs in baseball??

          Personally I can answer all six of the baseball answers, but only two of the football ones.
          The Passing TD one will be in the Highlights this year as Farve will pass the greatest QB Marino this year.

          Needless to say I thought I knew 4 of the football but was off on the Most TD's #

          Comment


          • #20
            Nicely said, Dr. Jay, about DiMaggio. Best quote by him I know of - in the early 50s, while married to Marilyn Monroe, she went to Korea to entertrain the troops on a USO Tour. When she came back, she told Joe about it enthusiastically, "Joe, you've never heard such cheering."

            "Yes, I have," he countered.

            Comment


            • #21
              OK, I’m in myth-busting mode (see my Beamon posts).

              Joe DiMaggio – what’s the big deal?? Good contact hitter with power, decent fielder. A dime a dozen (or so).

              Oh, I almost forgot - he was a YANKEE. Played in NEW YORK CITY. Married MARILYN MONROE (so did Arthur Miller – BFD). If he had been signed by the St. Louis Browns he would have had similar stats, but would never gotten within 100 miles of MM’s pants (well, maybe – she was not exactly chaste) and would have been drinking coffee, not being Mr. Coffee.

              Totally overblown thanks to his NY-ties.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by bad hammy
                OK, I’m in myth-busting mode (see my Beamon posts).

                Joe DiMaggio – what’s the big deal?? Good contact hitter with power, decent fielder. A dime a dozen (or so).

                Oh, I almost forgot - he was a YANKEE. Played in NEW YORK CITY. Married MARILYN MONROE (so did Arthur Miller – BFD). If he had been signed by the St. Louis Browns he would have had similar stats, but would never gotten within 100 miles of MM’s pants (well, maybe – she was not exactly chaste) and would have been drinking coffee, not being Mr. Coffee.

                Totally overblown thanks to his NY-ties.
                AMEN! I also don't understand why Joe D was ever introduced as the greatest living baseball player while Willie Mays was still breathing air.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                  AMEN! I also don't understand why Joe D was ever introduced as the greatest living baseball player while Willie Mays was still breathing air.
                  DOUBLE AMEN!! Willie Mays, all things considered, is No. 2 all-time next to Ruth. Joe D MIGHT make the top 50.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Marino's career passing yardage is Maris' HR record...Babe's uniform #...and the year Maris broke Babe's record...61,361 although Marcus Allen's little brother has almost 72,000 in the CFL.

                    cman ops:

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by bad hammy
                      Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                      AMEN! I also don't understand why Joe D was ever introduced as the greatest living baseball player while Willie Mays was still breathing air.
                      DOUBLE AMEN!! Willie Mays, all things considered, is No. 2 all-time next to Ruth. Joe D MIGHT make the top 50.
                      Thrice Amen!
                      phsstt!

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by SQUACKEE
                        Originally posted by bad hammy
                        Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                        AMEN! I also don't understand why Joe D was ever introduced as the greatest living baseball player while Willie Mays was still breathing air.
                        DOUBLE AMEN!! Willie Mays, all things considered, is No. 2 all-time next to Ruth. Joe D MIGHT make the top 50.
                        Thrice Amen!
                        OK, someone has to ask. Who is this Billy Ways?

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                          I also don't understand why Joe D was ever introduced as the greatest living baseball player while Willie Mays was still breathing air.
                          Because it was in DiMaggio's appearance contract.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by SQUACKEE
                            Originally posted by bad hammy
                            Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                            AMEN! I also don't understand why Joe D was ever introduced as the greatest living baseball player while Willie Mays was still breathing air.
                            DOUBLE AMEN!! Willie Mays, all things considered, is No. 2 all-time next to Ruth. Joe D MIGHT make the top 50.
                            Thrice Amen!
                            You can add Henry Aaron and Stan Musial to the list who, arguably at least, could have been listed ahead of DiMaggio.

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