Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

How Do Today’s NHL Stars Compare to Gretzky? 7

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Martin Banks

The record books of the National Hockey League are filled with the exploits of living-legend Wayne Gretzky. As the all-time leader in categories such as goals, assists and points, Gretzky was the star of his time. Likewise, Sydney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin (when he’s playing hard) are the best the NHL has to offer right now. So, let’s see how today’s stars stack up against the greatest of all time.

As we know, the completed career of Gretzky gives him a clear advantage over the ongoing careers of Crosby and Ovechkin in terms of stats. Compared to Gretzky’s two decades in the NHL, the current stars would be roughly halfway through their respective careers with both playing in their ninth NHL season now. However, we can more fairly compare the numbers of Crosby and Ovechkin to that of Gretzky’s years as an Edmonton Oiler, where he coincidentally spent nine seasons.



As far as putting the puck in the net goes, Gretzky’s goal total of 583 in his first nine seasons overshadows Ovechkin’s 406 and Crosby’s 263. Gretzky’s stats through those seasons in Edmonton were greatly aided by a NHL-record 92-goal season in the 1981-82 campaign. Contrastingly, Crosby netted just eight goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011-12 season due to only playing 22 games because of injury. Read the rest of this entry →

When Scotland Ruled the US Open Fairways 2

Posted on March 02, 2011 by Rod Crowley

Willie Anderson, four times winner of the US Open between 1901 - 1905.

It is hard to imagine nowadays but once upon a time Scotland dominated the US Open Golf Championship, winning twelve of the first sixteen tournaments, between 1895 and 1910. Amongst those early winners was Willie Anderson who won four times and remains only one of four golfers in the history of the event to have won that many. Anderson is also the only golfer to have won the tournament three times successively, a record that is likely to be in the books forever more.

The first American to win the prestigious US Open golf title was John McDermott, who won twice in succession in 1911 and 1912. His wins in fact sparked American dominance in their home ‘Major’ tournament and was hugely responsible for generating the sport’s popularity in the States.

Scottish success was not completely over however with Willie Macfarlane winning in 1925 becoming the last player from the ‘home of golf’ to have won; he was also the last non-American player to win until Gary Player, the great South African took the title in 1965.

Surprisingly Player only ever won the tournament once but over the years but there have been two golfers from South Africa to have achieved two wins. Firstly Ernie Els, who won in 1994 and 1997 and was followed in by Retief Goosen who claimed the title in 2001 and 2004. Other recent dual winners are the late Payne Stewart, Lee Janzen, Curtis Strange, Andy North, Lee Trevino and Billy Casper.

Tiger Woods is one of only two players to have a hat trick of wins his most recent coming in 2008 when he played his play-off round against Rocco Mediate with a serious injury to his left knee. Woods did not play again that year and has not won another ‘Major’ since. Woods also won in 2000 and 2002 and was second in 2005 and 2007. The other player with three wins is the very popular Hale Irwin, whose third win in 1990 made him the oldest player at 45 to have won the US Open. He also won in 1974 and 1975.

There are three players other than Anderson who have four titles and all three are regarded as legends of the sport of golf, they are Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones, the latter being the last amateur to have lifted the crown. Nicklaus who last won in 1980 was also runner up on five occasions but still holds the record for the most ‘Majors’ won of 18.

In the modern golf era one player who can count himself unlucky not to have won more than once is Phil Mickelson has finished up, like Nicklaus runner up or tied runner up on five times.

The defending champion is Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, who will be looking to join the illustrious list of multiple US Open winners when the 2011 US Open gets underway on the Blue Course at the Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda, Maryland on June 15th and the US Open betting is sure to have the Ryder Cup hero and current world number four as a strong contender to do so.

The Preakness Stakes: Can Uncle Mo Write His Name in the History Books? 4

Posted on February 22, 2011 by Rod Crowley

The Grade One Preakness Stakes is known also as the “The Run for the Black Eyed Susans” due to the blanket of the Maryland State flower being traditionally draped over the winner’s neck at the end of the race.

The race is run annually over 9½ furlongs on a dirt track at the world famous Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland and is recognized as the second leg of the highly coveted American Triple Crown, which comprises of the Kentucky Derby (first leg) and Belmont Stakes (third leg). The attendances at the race are the second highest in the sport, with only the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs attracting more spectators, in 2010, 95,760 people attended but that was down from over 121,000 in 2007 following the banning of fans being able to bring their own beer. The race is open to colts and fillies, with the ‘boys’ having to carry 126lb and the girls 5lbs less.

The history of the race dates back to 1873 (2 years before the Kentucky Derby) when Pimlico introduced a new quality Stakes race for three year olds. It was called Preakness in honour of a colt of the same name, who was the winner of the feature race on the day that Pimlico first opened in 1870. The first ever race was won by My Sheba who won by 10 lengths in fantastic style which remained the most emphatic victory in the race until 2004 when Smarty Jones, who had won the Kentucky Derby two weeks previously, came home by 11 lengths. Smarty Jones was then aimed at the Belmont Stakes where he became an odds on favorite in the Belmont Stakes betting to win the race and thus the coveted Triple Crown, which had not been won since Affirmed achieved the feat in 1977. In heart breaking fashion however this hugely popular colt, whose presence at Belmont Park had attracted it’s biggest ever crowd, was to be denied in the ‘Belmont’ by the late run of 36/1 outsider Birdstone. Read the rest of this entry →

Sticky Memories of Protests Pasts 1

Posted on May 19, 2010 by Don Spieles

In the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s Red Sox/Yankees game, his team down 5-1, Josh Beckett’s plant foot slipped a bit on the wet mound of Yankee Stadium.  That pitch resulted in a pop up for Alex Rodriguez, and Beckett faced the next batter.  Once that batter, Robinson Canoe, had hit a two-run double, Beckett was pulled for an injury.  The Yankees bench, stating that he was not hurt but that the injury was being faked so that a reliever would be given ample time to warm-up, played the remainder of the game under protest.

MLB: Yankees vs Tigers MAY 13

Joe Girardi protested Josh Beckett's 5th inning exit from Tuesday night's game stating he did not really have an injury.

Given the fact that Josh Beckett was placed on the 15 day disabled list, it seems unlikely that the umpires decision to allow time for Manny Delcarmen to warm-up would be questioned seriously by the league, even considering that the Yankees went on to lose the game, 7-6.

So what exactly is the deal with protests in baseball? Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

      Read more »

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