Friday, April 07, 2006

38 Is Special For Rollins

Today as the Philadelphia Phillies begin a weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, life gets back to normal for shortstop Jimmy Rollins. He is no longer chasing Joe DiMaggio after the St. Louis Cardinals ended his hitting streak yesterday at 38 consecutive games. However, Rollins deserves a tip of the hat for his tremendous accomplishment. In tribute, here is how the number 38 relates to the sports world in other respects.

Points for USC in Rose Bowl loss to Texas. Also how many phone numbers Matt Leinart collects on an average night.

Uniform number for Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano and Mets pitcher Victor Zambrano. Steroid penalties get the headlines, but the same punishment is in place for any Zambranos who do not wear number 38.

Year (1938) in which Temple won the inaugural NIT. Well before South Carolina took permanent ownership of the tournament nobody cares about.

National League-leading home run total for Howard Johnson in 1991. Today it seems hard to believe that 38 home runs could lead the league. What’s even crazier to fathom? Howard Johnson led the league in home runs.

Points scored by Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII rout of Washington. Wait, the NFL had a team in L.A.? Two of them? Are you sure?

Uniform number for 2003 National League Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne and 2004 National League Rookie of the Year Jason Bay. A short-lived National League rule mandated that each year a major award would go to a Canadian guy wearing number 38.

Number among U.S. Presidents of Gerald Ford. A football star at the University of Michigan, Ford labeled Jimmy Carter a “Buckeye sympathizer” during his 1976 campaign.

Year (1938) in which Cincinnati Red Johnny Vander Meer hurled consecutive no-hitters. Batters couldn’t get their hands on good steroids back then.

Points scored by Michael Jordan in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals despite a stomach virus. Now to get sick, he just watches the Knicks.

Super Bowl in which New England defeated Carolina 32-29. Also the average number of times a TiVo user replayed the Janet Jackson boob shot.

Uniform number for Portland Trail Blazers forward Viktor Khryapa. I know, if I mention a Russian athlete, it should be Maria Sharapova. My bad.

Years since O.J. Simpson won the 1968 Heisman Trophy. And 12 years since he’s committed any double-murders.

Age of Kansas City outfielder Reggie Sanders. Also the number of teams he’s played for.

Draft position of quarterback Boomer Esiason in 1984. Excited Bengals fans yelled, “Cool, we got Phil Simms!”

NHL-leading number of goals for Detroit’s Gordie Howe in 1962-63. I’m glad I didn’t have to clean up all those octopi.

Uniform number for Atlanta Braves pitcher Ken Ray. Prior to being called up yesterday, Ray’s major league experience consisted of 13 games with Kansas City in 1999. He struck out the first batter he faced yesterday. A guy named Bonds. After the game, Ray received a congratulatory phone call from longtime battery mate Crash Davis.

Career touchdown receptions from 1986-89 for Duke football star Clarkston Hines. To answer your question, no I could not keep a straight face while typing “Duke football star.”

American League-leading save total for Detroit’s John Hiller in 1973. Hiller was a closer who had recovered from a 1971 heart attack. Later, Mitch Williams was a closer who caused many heart attacks.

Carries in Super Bowl XVII for MVP John Riggins. Also the number of drinks he had before meeting Sandra Day O’Connor.

Years as a Division 1 head coach for Bear Bryant. To bring things full circle, Jimmy Rollins is linked to the legendary coach by the cheer “J-Roll Tide!”