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Sports and Games Facts

"A sportsman is a man who, every now and then, simply has to get out and kill something. Not that he's cruel. He wouldn't hurt a fly. It's not big enough." —Stephen Leacock

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The ancient Egyptians played a game similar to bowling, with large stones set up as pins and small stones for a ball.

View more facts about: Ancient Egypt

The only event in the first Olympic Games in Olympia, held in 776 B.C., was a footrace, slightly over 200 yards in length, down the centre of the stadium. The winner, Coroebus of Elis, was awarded an olive branch. (source)

View more facts about: Firsts | The Olympic Games

Around 600 B.C., a Greek athlete named Protiselaus threw a discus 152 feet from a standing position, a record not exceeded for over 2,500 years, when Clarence Houser threw a discus 155 feet in 1928. (source)

View more facts about: Ancient People

The ancient Romans first played a game similar to golf using bent wooden sticks and a leather ball stuffed with feathers.

During the hundred days of the opening games at the Colosseum in Rome, in 80 A.D., over 5,000 animals were killed, including elephants, tigers, lions, elks, hyenas, hippopotamuses, and giraffes. (source)

View more facts about: Animals | Roman Empire

There are 400 ways of playing the first move on each side in a game of chess, 197,281 ways of playing the first two moves on each side, an estimated 318,979,564,000 ways of playing the first four moves on each side, and an estimated 169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000 ways of playing the first ten moves on each side. (source)

View more facts about: Interesting Statistics

Honey has been used both as a centre for golf balls and in antifreeze mixtures.

View more facts about: Food and Drink

Brad Marsh played 83 games during the National Hockey League's 80-game-long 1981-82 season. Ross Lonsberry played 82 games in a 78-game NHL season in 1971-72. Blair MacDonald played 85 games in an 81-game World Hockey Association season in 1975-76. These players managed this feat by being traded in mid-season to a team that had played fewer games up to that point. Marsh played 17 games with the Calgary Flames before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he played 66 games. Lonsberry played 50 games with the Los Angeles Kings before being traded to the Flyers, where he played 32 games. MacDonald played 29 games with the Edmonton Oilers before being traded to the Indianapolis Racers, where he played 56 more games.

Abner Doubleday did not invent the game of baseball. The story of his invention of the game was created many years later based on hearsay and credited to Doubleday due to his fame as a general in the Civil War. Alexander Cartwright, a New York City bank clerk who devised several changes to the American form of rounders in 1844, is probably the best candidate for the inventor of baseball. (source)

View more facts about: American Civil War | Misconceptions

The oldest Major League Baseball teams are the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs. Both were formed in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings and the Chicago White Stockings, respectively, of the National Association.

Jackie Robinson was not the first black player to play major league baseball. The first black player in major league baseball was Fleetwood Walker, who played for Toledo of the American Association in 1884. (source)

Baseball's 1906 Chicago White Sox were known as the "Hitless Wonders". Despite a team batting average of just .203, lowest in the American League, and with no hitters over .277, they won the American League pennant and the World Series.

On June 29, 1916, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds played a nine-inning baseball game with just a single baseball. Nowadays, the average life span of a major league baseball is 7 pitches. (source)

The longest major league baseball game on record was played on May 1st, 1921, between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves. At the end of 26 innings, with the score tied 1-1, the game was called on account of darkness. Brooklyn's Leon Cadore and Boston's Joe Oeschger both pitched the entire 26 innings. The entire game, played in Boston, lasted only 3 hours and 50 minutes.

Babe Ruth's last home run was hit in 1946, when the owner of the Veracruz Blues of the Mexican League hired the 51-year-old Ruth for $10,000 to bat once in a game against the Mexico City Reds. The pitcher, Ramon Brazana, threw three balls before being replaced with a relief pitcher. The reliever threw his first pitch straight down the middle, and Ruth hit the pitch into the right-field bleachers. (source)

View more facts about: Lasts

Although "Shoeless Joe" Jackson was barred from baseball's Hall of Fame for his alleged role in the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal, his shoes can be found there. (source)

On July 11th, 2003, six Houston Astros pitchers combined to pitch a no-hitter in an 8-0 win against the New York Yankees. Starter Roy Oswalt was injured in the second inning, and relievers Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner finished the game.

If a nine-inning baseball game lasts two and a half hours, only around eight minutes of that time is action time. (source)

Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia have built a golf course on the border between the three countries. The 27-hole course comprises nine holes in each country. Much of the course was formerly a minefield. (source)

View more facts about: World Countries
Cigarette card depicting a golf ball

You may have wondered why golf balls have dimples. Originally, golf balls were smooth; however, golfers eventually noticed that balls that had been dented by irons tended to fly farther. It then became customary to dent the golf balls by hand until balls with dimples in them became standard issue. The dimples act as "turbulators," which induce turbulence in the area of the layer of air surrounding the ball, reducing drag and causing the ball to fly farther.

In his free time between 1938 and 1949, Robert Stilgenbauer of Los Angeles created a crossword with 3,149 across clues and 3,185 down clues. He distributed 125,000 copies, but none were ever returned completely worked out or even partially worked out.

For crossword puzzles, see the Crosswords, Sudoku, and similar page.
(source)

In May 1903, the 870-mile-long Paris-to-Madrid automobile race began, with over 200 participants. Spirits were high at the start of the race, but the race quickly turned disastrous. Thousands of spectators crowded around the narrow, curving French roads. Drivers had to steer around them while travelling at speeds up to 100 miles an hour, often resulting in crashes into trees or embankments or driving head-on into the crowds. The race was halted at Bordeaux (343 miles from Paris), by which time 550 people had been killed and thousands wounded. Nowadays, automobile races are generally held on closed courses, with the spectators kept far away from the action. (source)

View more facts about: France

American football has the highest injury rate of any sport, with a rate 12 times higher than basketball, the next most injurious sport. Most NFL players eventually suffer a career-ending or career-shortening injury sometime during their career. (source)

In a game of bridge, there are 53,644,737,765,488,792,839,237,440,000 possible ways in which the cards can be dealt. (source)

View more facts about: Interesting Statistics

At the 1936 Olympics, the heavy favourite to win the women's 100-metre dash was Poland's Stella Walsh. At the previous Olympics, in 1932, she had run the 100-metres in 11.9 seconds, beating the second-place Hilde Strike, a Canadian. However, this time, a young American named Helen Stephens ran Walsh into the dirt, finishing with a time of just 11.5 seconds. Walsh and Polish officials cried foul, claiming that Stephens was a male ringer disguised as a woman. Officials eventually decided that the only way to settle the controversy was for Stephens to disrobe in front of female attendants. She did, proving that she was a woman, and won the gold medal. Walsh later moved to the United States, where she was killed by a bank robber in 1980. After "her" death, it was discovered that Walsh was, in fact, a man. Following this discovery, Strike was declared the gold medal winner in the hundred-metres in the 1932 Olympics. (source)

View more facts about: The Olympic Games

For the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, the Roman Olympic Organisation Committee made a deal with the Association of Roman Thieves for the latter not to engage in street thefts during the Olympics. During the games, incidents of pickpocketing, purse snatching, and hold-ups were at a low. (source)

View more facts about: Crime | The Olympic Games

The highest score ever attained in a single game of Scrabble is 1,049 points, set by Phil Abbleby in 1989. His opponent in that game scored 253 points. The record score for one move was set by Dr. Saladin Karl Khoshnaw, who scored 392 points for playing "CAZIQUES" (meaning "native chiefs of West Indian aborigines"), in a 1982 competition in Manchester. (source)

According to the third edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, there are 20 valid words that contain no vowels. (source)

View more facts about: English Words

Soviet Life once ran a feature article on Nikolai Syadristy, a craftsman from Uzhgorod, who carved a set of chess figures by hand that were so small that they could only be distinguished when magnified two thousand times with a microscope. (source)

View more facts about: The Microscopic World

Prior to their game against Holy Cross on the afternoon of November 28, 1942, the Boston College Eagles football team made reservations for the entire squad to hold a victory party at the Terrace Room of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub that evening. Boston College, the best U.S. college football team that year, had an 8-0 record and had outscored their opponents 249-19. At the Cocoanut Grove that night, some satin decorations ignited, causing the worst nightclub fire in the history of the United States. A total of 491 people died, including everyone in the Terrace Room. However, none of the Eagles were there. The game should have been an easy win for Boston College, but they lost, 55-12, in one of the biggest upsets of modern times. The Eagles, defeated and depressed, cancelled their reservation, thus saving the lives of everyone on the team. (source)

View more facts about: College and University
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