STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Commentator Frank Deford has noticed a transformation in sports statistics.
FRANK DEFORD: Lord knows we are inundated with sports statistics. Baseball's the worst, of course, but it's getting harder for the statistics freaks in all sports to dream up anything original. And so I began to notice that a whole new category of stupid records was now being created. Now, a record should be one simple, outstanding thing, i.e., Wilt Chamberlain scored the most points in one game: 100. Thank you, QED, next. But these new idiotic records combine two or more disparate numbers to make what only sounds like a very important point. Here are some actual real examples I've come across.
"He's the first teenager in the last 33 years with three triples and two intentional walks in one season." Now, just stop. Have you ever heard any fan say, well, one thing about Joe, he's a valuable guy because he hits triples and gets intentional walks? Of course not. So, next.
"He was the second quarterback since 1970 to complete less than 30 percent of his passes and throw four interceptions in a victory." And hey, if you're going to talk about the past, for it to mean anything you really should stick to round numbers. But not anymore.
"He was the second pitcher in the last 83 years - 83 - to win 13 more games than he lost for a team finishing 13 games or worse under 500." Now, you've got to stand in awe of someone who figured that out.
"He's the only pitcher in" - get this - "the last 4,113 to debut with 10 strikeouts and no walks." Wow, how many before the last 4,113?
"He's the first National League player to account for as many as 30 steals and 25 double plays in one season." Steals and double plays together? This is like saying he's the first archaeologist to find 23 dinosaur bones and 12 Spanish doubloons on the same hunt.
Here's a meaningless pick-a-number quintuple nonsense record. "He's only the third player to hit 300 with at least 15 triples, 10 home runs, 20 doubles, and 50 stolen bases." Imagine the time it takes to find these goofy combinations.
"He's the first pitcher in 24 years to win 70 percent of his decisions while logging more strikeouts than innings pitched."
"He's one of 17 players under the age of 23 to twice hit 20 homeruns and drive in 90." "His 517 ERA was the fourth worst in National League history by a left-hander with at least 200 innings."
And finally I say, these are the stupidest combination numbers stuck together by anyone over the age of 17 who speaks English in the last 64 years. Please.
INSKEEP: Frank Deford is the first sports commentator since 1979 to join us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut. It's Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
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