Cleveland Browns

Oct 27 in Sports History: Art Modell steals away in the night


In 1995: It is well known how miserable of a sporting existence Cleveland fans have suffered, but this might have been the lowest point, the cruelest blow, the coup de grace gut punch. Browns’ owner Art Modell signed a secret agreement with the city of Baltimore to move his franchise – which probably had the most loyal fans in the NFL – there for the 1996 season. Modell cried poor and blamed Cleveland officials for refusing to build him a new stadium. He took a sweetheart deal from Baltimore (who was desperate for a franchise after losing the Colts in similar fashion in 1984), the Browns became the Ravens and changed their logo and uniforms, and the Mistake by the Lake was soon a memory (it caught fire during demolition just to remind Cleveland what it really was). Cleveland kept the rights to the Browns nickname and colors and was granted an expansion franchise for the 1999 season. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000 while the Browns have gone 37-81 to this day.

In 2002: Emmitt Smith of the Cowboys took a handoff from Chad Hutchinson and ran off left tackle for 11 yards. They were last of 16,727 yards he needed to break the late Walter Payton’s career rushing total. The game was stopped for five minutes to honor Smith, and a post-game celebration was also held despite the Cowboys losing 17-14 to the Seattle Seahawks. Smith is the NFL’s all-time career rushing leader in yards, attempts and touchdowns.

In 1986 and 1991: A pair of memorable World Series Game 7’s took place: In 1986, the Mets completed their stunning comeback by finishing off the Boston Red Sox 8-5 and continuing the Curse of the Bambino for the 68th consecutive year. In 1991, Jack Morris of the Twins turned in a legendary complete game, 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves and a Gene Larkin bases-loaded single clinched the second World Series in four years for Minnesota.

And no Boston, we didn’t forget that the Red Sox clinched their first championship since 1918 with a four game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals on this day in 2004.

San Francisco Giants

Everybody hates Barry… well ok two-thirds

Hank Aaron has broken out the old “afraid to fly” excuse to explain why he won’t be there when/if Barry Bonds breaks his 755 HR record.

First, I don’t like to fly. And if I come, there’s going to be some controversy. And if I don’t come, there’s going to be some controversy. I have pride in the record, but records are made to be broken. But the reason I don’t want to get involved is everybody is innocent until proven guilty, and we can talk, we can talk, we can talk, but until there’s proof, I have no comment.

Translation: Barry Bonds is a steroided up cheater and no way do I want to be there to see my record being broken. At least that’s the way we see it.

Meanwhile, an AP Poll found that only 33% of baseball fans want to see Barry Bonds break the all time Home Run record. To which we say, why are you doing most of the polling in San Francisco? That’s about 32% more than we expected.

[ESPN]: Aaron doesn’t plan to be there if Bonds hits No. 755
[MSNBC]: Only 33 percent of fans want to see slugger break home run record

MLB General

The Full Count: Trevor Hoffman is the all-time saves leader

Someone get him some coffee

1. 479: Is Trevor Hoffman the best closer ever? It’s a tough argument, but Hoffman now has the ultimate in closing records: the all-time saves record. Hoffman saved his 479th career game on Sunday, breaking Lee Smith’s mark. It was his 43rd save of the year, which has arguably been the second-best season of his career (in 1998 he saved 53 in 54 chances). He closed out the last two games of the Padres sweep of the Pirates, giving the team a one-and-a-half game lead in the division. Hoffman deserves some serious consideration for the NL Cy Young; he has a 1.95 ERA, .93 WHIP, and .198 opponent’s batting average. Even more impressive, he’s done all this as a 38-year old without a true out pitch. One pitch, a changeup, has made Hoffman an all-time record holder.

2. Speaking of closing: The A’s have almost clinched the AL West division title. The Angels, the only team that could possibly pass Oakland, stayed alive for two more days. They beat the A’s twice in a row over the weekend to keep them from clinching the West. Oakland’s magic number remains at 1.

3. The Inevitable: Detroit has been leading the American League Central division every single day since May. Though they had been the best team in the MLB most of the summer, the Tigers had been fading recently. Still, they were able to finally clinch a playoff spot yesterday, finally securing what had seemed inevitable for a while. They clinched the postseason after a three-game sweep in Kansas City, routing the Royals a combined 33-11. Justin Verlander, who has led the Tigers for most of the season, improved to 17-9. Detroit, who is 94-62, still hasn’t wrapped up the division. They likely will, though, and in they will probably face the A’s in the first round of the playoffs.

4. The only race left: Almost every postseason spot has been clinched or is on the verge of being clinched. The lone race remaining is the three-team shootout for two NL playoff spots. The Phillies, Dodgers, and Padres are going at it for the Wild Card and the West division title. All three teams won yesterday. The Phils hit five homers, including two by Chase Utley, to rout the Marlins 10-7. Jamie Moyer, the former Mariner, improved to 4-2 as a Phillie. The Dodgers won in more dramatic fashion. They were tied with the D-Backs 1-1 in the ninth inning. Then Nomar Garciaparra hit a walk off grand slam, his 19th homer of the year. Garciaparra is the obvious choice for NL comeback player of the year and has produced many clutch hits this year. He’s kept the Dodgers, who are a half-game back of the Phillies, in the race.

5. The Braves are officially done: With only six games left, the Braves were officially eliminted from the postseason for the first time in 14 years with a loss to the Rockies. Even with a 7-0 lead in the fourth, the Braves couldn’t hold on to win. The chances of Atlanta making the playoffs were slim to none but now Slim has officially left the building.

All Other Sports

Sep 20 in Sports History: Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs

In 1973: In a tennis exhibition match at Houston’s Astrodome, Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets. Many viewed it as a milestone in women’s sports, despite King being the top-ranked women’s player and Riggs being 55 years old. Riggs defeated Margaret Court, another highly ranked player, earlier in the year.

In 1927: Babe Ruth of the Yankees hit his 60th homerun of the season. The Babe broke his own record of 59, set in 1921. His record would stand until 1961, when Roger Maris hit 61. Maris’s benchmark stood until the late 1990s, when several players eclipsed 61 numerous times.

In 1987: In a game against the Giants, Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears broke Jim Brown’s record with his 107th career rushing touchdown. “Sweetness” broke the record in 12 years and retired following the 1987 season. Emmitt Smith of the Cowboys now holds the record with 164. Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 and sadly died in 1999.

Baltimore Ravens

Sep 14 in Sports History: Jamal Lewis predicts record

In 2003: Jamal Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens broke the single-game NFL rushing record with 295 yards in a 33-13 win against the Cleveland Browns. Lewis carried 30 times for a ridiculous average of 9.8 yards per carry and scored on touchdown runs of 82 (on the second play from scrimmage) and 63 yards. Another 60-yard TD run was nullified by a holding penalty. Lewis went on to rush for 2,066 yards in the 2003 season, second most all-time behind Eric Dickerson. Lewis’s performance in Baltimore surpassed Corey Dillon’s 278 yard effort in 2000. Most impressive though was that Jamal Lewis predicted his record setting day during the week leading up to the game.

In 1994: Although it was a foregone conclusion to many, baseball owners voted 26-2 in favor of officially cancelling the remainder of the season as a result of the then month-old players strike. It was the first time since 1903 that there would be no World Series. The strike did not end until the following April. (

In 1930: The Detroit Lions franchise played their first NFL game (as the Portsmouth Spartans). They defeated the Newark Tornados 13-6. Although they started 3-0-1, they would finish their first season 5-6-3. They officially became the Lions in 1934, when they also began the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. The Lions have an all-time record of 485-542-32 (with a 21-60 record under the Matt Millen regime). (Courtesy of the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia)

St. Louis Cardinals

Sep 8 in Sports History: Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris’ record

In 1998: Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris single season homerun record with his 62nd of the year in St. Louis. McGwire’s low line drive off a Steve Trachsel pitch barely cleared the left field fence. Sammy Sosa of the Cubs, who was locked in a then-riveting battle with McGwire to catch Maris, came in from right field to embrace McGwire. “Big Mac” finished with 70 on the season and Sosa ended up with 66. Although many laugh about it now while others are angry at the fraud that was perpetrated that summer (re: Congressional hearings of 2005), the Home Run Chase of ‘98 was believed to help lift baseball out of its post-strike doldrums. On a side note, does anyone remember the kid who tore up his winning lottery ticket by just handing the homerun ball back to McGwire? We can’t help but wonder how much those signed bats he received in return are worth right now.

In 2002: In an exciting and historic opening weekend of NFL action, Dwayne Rudd of the Cleveland Browns would end up costing his team a home playoff game by forgetting the Emmitt Smith Rule. After stopping the Chiefs on the last play of the game, Rudd removed his helmet on the playing field and tossed it 15 feet into the air in celebration. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called and Kansas City was able to use their final free play to kick a game-winning field goal for a 40-39 victory. The Browns finished a game behind the Steelers and ended up losing to them at Heinz Field in a Wild Card game…… The Houston Texans made their debut with a 19-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at brand new Reliant Stadium. Although, they finished 4-12 in 2002, the future looked bright for the Texans upon returning to Houston that evening. They selected what they believed to be a franchise quarterback in David Carr at no. 1 overall; and Reggie Bush and Mario Williams were only seniors in high school.


July 27 in Sports History: Atlanta Olympics bombing

In 1933: Joe DiMaggio was just getting warmed up for his magical 56-game hitting streak in 1941, as his 61-game streak came to an end. As an 18-year old in his first year of pro baseball with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, Dimaggio got a hit on May 28 and didn’t stop for 61 straight; at one point needing six batters in front of him to reach base in the last inning before hitting a double to keep the streak alive.

In 1996: A pipe bomb exploded in the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta during a late-night concert at the Summer Olympics. One person was killed and over a hundred people were injured when the bomb exploded shortly after 1 A.M. Despite heavy security at all of the venues and a bomb threat that was called in shortly before the explosion, police were unable to completely evacuate the area in time. The games continued without interruption, and a man named Eric Rudolph later plead guilty and received three consecutive life prison terms (for this and two other bombings). Rudolph was only sentenced in 2005, nine years after a security guard named Richard Jewell was originally accused and later cleared.

Cleveland Indians

July 17 in Sports History: Joltin’ Joe’s streak ends

In 1941: Pitchers Al Smith and Jim Bagby, Sr. of the Cleveland Indians combine to halt one of the greatest feats in sports history: Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. In front of 60,000 fans in Cleveland, third baseman Ken Keltner made two great plays to keep the Yankee Clipper off the score sheet. He would start a more modest hitting streak of 17 games the next day, thus hitting safely in 73 of 74 games. DiMaggio hit .409 during the streak, and went on to win the MVP and the World Series for the Yankees. His record has barely been approached, with Pete Rose reaching 44 games in 1978 and Paul Molitor getting to 39 in 1987.

In 1994 In the first-ever championship game to be decided on penalty kicks, Brazil defeated Italy to win the World Cup in front of 94,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The 0-0 tie capped an otherwise very successful World Cup on American soil. While many believed that the supposedly soccer-ignorant Americans could not hold a tournament of this magnitude, it was the most-attended World Cup ever. Down 3-2 in penalties, Italian superstar Roberto Baggio’s attempt sailed over the crossbar, giving the Brazilians their fourth World Cup.

San Francisco Giants

Barry will pass Ruth but not Hank Aaron

Steroids give you psychic abilities

It seems that Barry is giving Bud Selig and George Mitchell’s “independent” investigation a way to save face. In an interview with on Sunday, Bonds said that doesn’t think he can catch Hank Aaron because of his deteriorating knees.

Bonds will posture that he’s chasing Aaron and not Ruth but it is clear that Ruth is his target. By passing Babe Ruth but not Hank Aaron, there won’t be as much of an uproar over Bonds’ place on the all time HR list because he won’t be at the top of it. Over the weekend, Bonds hit his first HR of the season, putting him just 6 shy of breaking the Babe’s mark. Most people have already assumed he would pass Ruth’s record at some point this season so that 715th jack will get plenty of time on Sportscenter but register a collective shrug from baseball fans. Yes, there will be plenty of boos but there won’t be the protests and petitions to put an asterisk next to Bonds’ name like there would be if he got to 756.

Perhaps Barry can’t take the abuse anymore. We wonder how he could have put up with this much. This year, he’s already had a syringe (sans needle) and a tube of Icy Hot thrown at him, not to mention the banners and signs at every game. He knows he has to get through this year so that the hecklers won’t get the satisfaction of driving him from the game but there is no real incentive to go through another off season of speculation and another season of knee pain, ridicule and scrutiny just to be on top of a list that, if he were to get to reach the pinnacle of, might very well render the list inconsequential.

Plus, getting out of baseball and disappearing from view (anyone see Mark McGwire lately?) might just get the feds off his back about that pesky perjury charge.

[]: Bonds: Passing Aaron not likely
[SFGate]: Jeers, not cheers for man who would be king of swat
[Cincinnati Post]: Bonds pays for sins of baseball