No matter what sport you enjoy either to play or watch, a big part of it includes numbers. Sports is all about numbers; in the words of Billy Chapell in the movie For Love of the Game, in sports they count everything. A touchdown is worth 6 points, it is always 90 feet from home plate to 1st base in baseball out at Falley Field and at The K. The rim is exactly 10 feet from the floor at the Dungeon at Topeka High, and at Allen Fieldhouse. Par in golf is 72, and a half in College Basketball is always 20 minutes.
With a sincere apology to every math teacher I ever had I must confess that I learnt more math from the back of a baseball card than I ever did in a math class. I hope you will find this fun because it was sure fun to write. To write this blog I researched and came up with sports numbers with a local flavor that may entertain you at the least, or find interesting at the most.
1 The only Shawnee County School other than Hayden High School and Silver Lake High School to win a State High School Football Championship since 1969. Washburn Rural who won back to back in 1985-1986, and again in 1989
2 Number of times that the KC Chiefs and the KC Royals have played in their sports championship games. The Chiefs played in the Super Bowl following the 1966 and 1969 seasons. The Royals played in the World Series in 1980 and 1985.
2.1 The amount of time left on the clock when Kansas guard Mario Chalmers made a 3 point shot to send the 2008 NCAA Championship into overtime
3. The number of Girls State basketball titles won by Topeka Schools this century is 3. Topeka West in 2000, Hayden High School in 2004, and Washburn Rural in 2009.
4. The first high school track star to run a mile in under 4 minutes was Jim Ryun in 1964 as a junior at Wichita East High School. Ryun’s time was 3:59 seconds. He still holds 5 of the 6 fastest times ever run by a High School athlete.
5. The top 5 best athletes in Shawnee County according to the Topeka Capitol Journal. Olympian Margaret Thompson Murdock, All-round athlete Lon Kruger, Olympic Wrestler Melvin Douglas, Baseball Player, Ken Berry, and pitcher Mike Torrez.
7. The number of Boys State basketball Titles won by Topeka Schools this century, Shawnee Heights in 2000 & 2002, Highland Park in 2004 & 2007 & 2008 & 2009. Hayden High School 2008.
8. Entering this season the University of Kansas has lost only 8 games on their home court since Bill Self became head coach.
9. The number of Post Season Bowl games Kansas State University has participated in this century. The Cotton Bowl twice, The Fiesta Bowl Twice, The Insight.com Bowl, The Pinstripe Bowl, The Texas Bowl, The Holiday Bowl, and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
10. The uniform number 10 worn by Dick Howser is retired by the Kansas City Royals. Howser managed the Royals to their only World Series title in 1985. He died tragically less than 2 years later from a brain tumor. Howser is only one of three Royals to have had their uniform number retired. George Brett’s number 5, and Frank White’s number 20 are the others.
Finally, of course numbers are important in the world of sports. They are fascinating and provide tangible boundaries, are part of rules, and accomplishments. But a fair warning is, one thing that numbers do not do, is put flesh and bones behind any of these accomplishments or athletes. It doesn’t tell you how hard it is for an undersized child shoot the ball at a 10 foot goal, and the thrill of having that ball swish through the net in a game for the first time. Just knowing it is 90 feet from home to first base can not describe the pride a parent feels when they see their young athlete get their first hit in a Little League game. And on a personal note a mere number can’t tell you how hard it is for a 58 year old library employee with creaky knees to run a 5K race in under 40 minutes.