Monday, August 27, 2007

Holidays in the Sun

Three cricket books were on the reading list when the TRSM caravanserai moved to Andalucia for a fortnight:-

This brought back memories of an extraordinary long hot summer. Good on the statistics and some decent anecdotes, but rather stereotyped and missed out on explaining the huge social and political implications.

Secondly, this - because you really need to re-read it every couple of years, and I was overdue.

Finally, this gave (and gives) me the opportunity to ask one of my favourite 'open' questions again... has ANY sportsman ever dominated to such an extent that Bradman did - and still does? 45 is now a good test average, 55 is excellent and anything above 65 is considered extraordinary. So where does 99.94 stand in the scheme of things? That's half as good again as any other batsman.

Some equivalents: -

1. A Premiership footballer scoring over 40 goals for seven seasons.

2. An MLB pitcher winning 36 games for ten years.

3. Tigers Woods, if he continues at the same rate for another ten years - which is not beyond the realms of possibilily.


Tim said...

Statistically, Bradman is probably the best sportsman ever. Anyway, tell us how good the biography is (I remembr Gideon Haigh and David Frith do not rate Perry at all as a writer).

Enjoy the holiday!

David Barry said...

Hi. I'm an occasional lurker here. I think one time I clicked on a link from the AfterGrogBlog.

In major sports, the only player who comes close to Bradman's dominance is Wayne Gretzky, who had 2857 regular season points in the NHL (I can't be bothered combining the data for the playoffs), a long way ahead of Mark Messier at 1887. So Gretzky was just over 1.5 times more dominant than the second best ever, by this stat at least.

In terms of points per game, there's Gretzky at 1.92, Mario Lemieux at 1.88, and the next best (of those who have at least 1100 career points) is Mike Bossy at 1.5. Most of the all-time leading point-scorers are about 1 point per game.

If you broaden the definition of "sport", there's Marion Tinsley, who lost only nine games of draughts in 28 years of professional play, and two of them were to the computer program that eventually "solved" draughts.

Mark said...

Tim - Wasn't overly impressed by the Bradman book to be honest, very good on the detail of each innings, and pretty impressive on The Don's early years - but far too uncritical and very little background analysis of Bradman's place in Australian history.

David - Thanks for your comment. Good call on Gretsky. As a points accumulator there's been none better. Still reckon Bobby Orr was a better player though!

Tony.T said...

Dunno if you've heard about about Walter Lindrum, but he's a big sporting name over here. Depends on you definition of sports, though, I suppose, although billiards was very popular back then.

Mark said...

Fair comment on Lindrum - I've seen some old B&W film of him going round and round the table for (apparently) hours on end!

If we're talking 'pub' sports, I suppose we'd better throw Phil 'The Power' Taylor into the mix as well! Something like 13 consecutive World Championships.