50 Sports Facts That Will Amaze You

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst III

50 Sports Facts That Will Amaze You

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    Buried beneath the illustrious sports surface that pleasantly blinds us from reality is a collection of unknown, and often shocking, truths. None of these jaw-altering facts are the missing piece to fully understanding sports wackiness, but as a whole they add a fresh element.

    Here we'll look at 50 sports facts that are sure to have you permanently stuck in "The Thinker" pose, while continuing to ask "why," "how" and "doh."

    Get ready for a new perspective on sports.

50. The Heat of the Moment

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    Balls travel significantly further on hot days. A golfer swinging a club at around 100 mph will carry the driver up to eight yards longer for each increase in air temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

    It'll also have him sweating like Roseanne Barr during a roast.

49. Numbers Never Lie

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    Not only were the Cleveland Indians the first big league club to wear uniform numbers, they were the first to wear numbers on the back of their jerseys.

    Naturally, the Yankees have often been credited with starting the fad, but the Indians first tried it in 1916.

48. A Pugilistic Genius

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    The household wrench was invented by boxing heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in 1922.

    Was there anything the Gavleston Giant didn't do?

47. The Art of War

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    Golf was banned in Scotland from 1457 to 1502 to ensure citizens wouldn't waste time when preparing for an English invasion.

    On the other hand, golf would seem like essential training.

46. The Dome Adds Protection

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    The Houston Astrodome was the first baseball stadium to have a roof over its field.

    And it successfully blinded outfielders for 30 obscure years.

45. Youth in Revolt

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    The youngest golfer to shoot a hole-in-one was Coby Orr, who was five years old at the time. It happened in Littleton, Colorado, in 1975.

    Potty training and nap time must've cut his once-promising career short.

44. The Freezing Olympics

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    The first Winter Olympic Games took place in Chamonix, France in 1924.

    A chilly introduction.

43. An Actual Natural

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    Robert Redford, star of The Natural, attended the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship.

    Before, as his biography notes, drinking stepped in.

42. Mark McGwire's Climb

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    Mark McGwire's record 70 home runs in the 1998 season traveled a total of 29,598 feet, 457 feet higher than the peak of Mount Everest.

    No wonder he needed the juice.

41. Acing the Odds

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    The chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf are one in 67 million.

    So you're saying there's a chance.

40. Tommy Want Wingy

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    Americans were expected to consume 1.25 billion wings during Super Bowl XLVI weekend. While only eating 25 billion for the entire year.

    Joey Chestnut can probably double that in 45 minutes.

39. Cowboys Introduce Pom-Poms

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    The Dallas Cowboys hired the NFL's first professional cheerleading squad in 1972.

    And they've been legendary ever since.

38. Boxing's First Film

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    Mike Leonard vs. Jack Cushing in 1894 was the first boxing match to be recorded on film.

    Early signs of brutality.

37. Jousting Reigns Supreme

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    The state sport of Maryland is jousting.

    Legendary shot of the Bartram estate in 1937, featuring early pioneers.

36. Peach Ball

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    Basketball was first introduced with soccer balls that were dribbled up the court and scored through hole-less peach baskets.

    Back when white men couldn't jump.

35. The Naked Truth

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    People in nudist colonies play volleyball more than any other sport.

    Bare-skinned freedom.

34. Superkite

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    The history of kiteboarding dates back to 478 BC China. Kites were used militarily in Asia and Europe to fly banners or calculate distances to enemy lines for years.

    It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a kite.

33. Wembley Whispers

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    One of the narrow-gauge trains used to transport materials in and out of Wembley Stadium is buried under the arena.

    A legendary piece of information.

32. Young, Wild and Free

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    The youngest ever Olympian participant is Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, who competed in the 1896 Athens Olympics at 10 years old.

    Prepubescent greatness.

31. Not a Boat, It's a Yacht

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    In 1898, one of the first programs to be broadcast on radio was a yacht race that took place in British waters.

    It was surely a thrilling experience, and don't call me Shirley.

30. Golden Glory

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    The 1912 Olympics was the last time that gold medals were solid gold.

    Where's the motivation anymore?

29. Soccer Legends

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    European teams have reached the final of every World Cup except in 1930 and 1950.

    Only two years off, not bad.

28. The Hefty Lefty

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    Phil Mickelson, who plays left-handed, is actually right-handed. Since Phil Sr. was a righty, Phil did everything in mirror opposite as a left-hander.

    Maybe he'd be more clutch as a righty.

27. Early Snapbacks

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    The first baseball caps were made of straw.

    Simply using vintage resources.

26. The Naked Olympics

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    Athletes in the ancient Olympics competed in the nude.

    With fearless determination.

25. '71 Pirates Change the Game

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    In September of 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first team in history to employ a starting lineup solely of African-American and dark-skinned Latino players. Coincidentally, they would win the World Series that year.

    Karma at its finest.

24. Honey Boo Boo

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    Honey is used as a center for some golf balls.

    According to Brick Tamland, bears have impeccable smell, making this a questionable approach.

23. Tennis Strings

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    Catgut, used in the making of tennis racket strings, is made out of the intestines of various animals.

    Felines can finally walk the streets in peace.

22. Monster Putt

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    The longest known putt is attributed to Fergus Muir, who nailed a 375-foot putt at St Andrew's Eden Course on November 6, 2001.

    After which we'd assume he engaged in a ferocious Gangnam Style shakedown.

21. Bhutan Bonding

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    Archery is Bhutan's national sport, and every village has at least one range.

    Sacred masked dances and arrows, that's what Bhutan does.

20. Jackie Robinson's First Award

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    Jackie Robinson was awarded the first official Rookie of the Year award.

    But he was only able to secure one.

19. Space Jamming the Box Office

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    Space Jam is the highest grossing basketball movie of all time.

    Director Joe Pytka always believed it could fly.

18. Juggling Phenom

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    Nikolai Kutsenko of Ukraine holds the record for juggling a soccer ball nonstop (24 hours and 30 minutes in 1995).

    Solid way to pass the time.

17. The Fishing Fad

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    Fishing is the largest participant sport in the world.

    Even birds are catching on.

16. Babe Ruth Bat Choice

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    Babe Ruth was the first player to order a bat with a knob on the end of the handle, in 1919

    He would slug 29 bombs.

15. Tug of War's History

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    Tug of War was an Olympic event between 1900 and 1920.

    Two decades of hand-burning brilliance.

14. A Sloppy Series

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    A total of 63 errors were made in the 1886 World Series.

    They soon realized folded milk cartons just wouldn't cut it anymore.

13. A Baseball Eye

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    It's been said that players with brown eyes are better hitters than those with blue eyes, at least in day games

    Color blocking 101.

12. Michael Jordan Changes It Up

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    When his jerseys were stolen from the visitors' locker room on the road against the Magic, Michael Jordan had to wear a No. 12 jersey.

    He scored 49 points in the overtime loss, and never signed autographs in Orlando again.

11. Lyoto Machida's Drink of Choice

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    Brazilian Shotokan karate master Lyoto Machida drinks his own urine every morning to "cleanse his body."

    Shaken, not stirred.

10. Home Plate Feels Like Home

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    Before 1859, umpires sat in a padded rocking chair behind the catcher.

    The risk of falling asleep likely changed everything.

9. Yesterday's Yo-Yo

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    The yo-yo was first used by 16th century hunters in the Philippines. They reportedly hid up in trees and used a rock tied to a long cord, up to 20 feet in length, to throw at wild animals beneath them.

    Recycling a destructive weapon; real safe.

8. Early Hockey Rules

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    Before 1917, hockey goalies were not allowed to fall to the ice to make saves or else they were penalized.

    Without masks or the ability to bend down, being a goalie took a distant back seat to cleaning elephant waste at the circus.

7. Air Hurler

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    Michael Jordan was once one of the best high school pitchers in North Carolina.

    That explains his .202 average with the Birmingham Barons in 1994.

6. Streaking Hurricanes

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    The University of Miami had a streak of 149 consecutive regular season weeks where a former Hurricane scored a touchdown in a NFL game between 2002 and 2011.

    Mammoth defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was the last hope in November of last season.

5. Ken Griffey Jr.'s Allergic Reaction

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    Despite being allergic to chocolate, Junior had a bar named after him.

    Blame it on the sweetest swing baseball has ever seen.

4. Muhammad Ali's Unique Connection

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    Muhammad Ali was first trained as a professional by legendary former world champion, Archie Moore.

    The Old Mongoose and the Louisville Lip just never meshed.

3. Goliath Conquers All

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    Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain never fouled out of a game.

    God broke the mold when he created the Stilt.

2. Gaylord Perry's Walk on the Moon

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    While watching Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry take batting practice one day during the '60s, Giants manager Alvin Dark remarked, "They'll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run." On July 20, 1969, several hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry hit his first home run.

    That's one small step for man; one giant leap for baseball.

1. Matt Hasselbeck's Clutch Gene

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    Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been struck by lightning twice in his life.

    As if we needed any more reason to assume Matt is tougher than Tim.

    Follow me for more factual insanity.

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