|KNOW THE BEST IN SPORT|
|December 29, 2020 – January 4, 2021|
KNOW THE BEST IN SPORT
December 29, 2020 – January 4, 2021
Negro Leagues: the legendary numbers
The Negro Leagues have been recognized as official “Major Leagues” for the Major League Baseball’s statistical records. This recognition was long overdue. Some of the best players in history of the sport played in these leagues, and it was the top aspiration black baseball players they could have back in the day.
This means that new records will be added to the MLB historical numbers. One of the main questions was if Josh Gibson (USA) would become the official home run king. The mythology has it that he hit over 800 or even 900 Home Runs throughout his career. Nevertheless, the official numbers -after decades of research- have recorded less than 300 Homers, which will not put him among the top 250 home run hitters ever.
An intrinsic difficulty to track down some of these statistics is that white-dominated media often did not cover Negro League games, meaning some of the scorecards are simply lost. Nevertheless, most of the records have reportedly (CBS) been found.
But the mismatch in the numbers is that, for example, several of Gibson’s homers were achieved in México, Puerto Rico or Cuba, and these numbers do not count for MLB record books. Nor do exhibition games or “barnstorm” games, where a team would tour professionally for exhibition matches. Potentially also maybe some of the numbers were inflated, but there is no way of verifying it so far.
Official numbers do not account for legend but sometimes legend is larger than the numbers. The legacy of these black players and their contribution to the sport and public culture goes above and beyond the numbers. But being precise, we cannot place Gibson among the very top Home Run total kings of all time. Although, the numbers also do have it that he hit Homers at about the same rate as Babe Ruth (USA), so they do tell part of the story. And he will be the single-season batting average champion, with a .441 mark in 1943, placing him among the history’s best in the numbers (Slate).
|Five things to know from last week|
- Chinese Super League. The China Table Tennis Club Super League had a historic first incorporation of WTTF foreign table tennis stars for its four-day league. It was still teams with only Chinese players that dominated. Ma Long (CHN) led Shandong Luneng to defeat the Shandong Weiqiao against Liang Jingkun (CHN). Ma was joined by Wang Chuqin (CHN) and Fang Bo (CHN). In the women’s division, Shenzhen beat Shandong thanks to Chinese national team players Chen Meng (CHN), Sun Yingsha (CHN), and Wang Yidi (CHN). (Xinhua)
- Might as well jump. Several Grade I Hunt Races took place. Bryony Frost (ENG) became the first female jockey to win the King George VI Chase, riding Frodon (FRA). In flat racing, Bob Baffert ended the year with a win, thanks to Charlatan’s win at the Malibu Stakes (LA Times)
- Federer withdraws again. Roger Federer (SUI) feels unfit for the 2021 Australian Open due to an injury and has opted to withdraw from the tournament. He has not competed since 2020’s Australian Open. (ATP)
- Cricketers of the decade. Ellyse Perry (AUS) was recognized with three simultaneous awards by the ICC: she was named the “ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade”, “Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade”, and “Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Decade”. In men’s, Virat Kohli (IND) won ICC’s “ODI Men’s Cricketer of the Decade” and ICC’s “Male Cricketer of the Decade” awards wle Steve Smith (AUS) was named the “Male Test Cricketer of the Decade”. (ICC)
- Climate change. While climate change may not be the only reason, sport suffered heavily from weather inclemence this week, which is likely correlated with climate change patterns. Thi week saw the cancellations and/or postponements of FIS Alpine World Cup races in Europe, Jump Horse Races in Ireland and Wales, and even Horse races in Jamaica. In the Netherlands, it almost led to the cancellation of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup. The Vendée Globe Race sailors are suffering from brutal conditions in the South Sea (Watch some of the better conditions they are facing – Vendéé)
|GLOBAL PODIUM OF THE WEEK|
Gold: Lucinda Brand
Lucinda had another perfect week in Cyclo-Cross where she looked as in a class of her own. First, she won the Class 1 Telenet Superprestige race in Heusden-Zolder and then she won the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Dendermonde under very difficult, muddy conditions. She has now won 5 Telenet Superprestige races in a row and 4 UCI World Cup races in row, both streaks spanning back since 2019. World Champion, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (NED) was 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Watch the Dendermonde World Cup (UCI)
Silver: Mathieu van der Poel
Mathieu won the Telenet Superprestige – Heusden-Zolder and with that victory he made it to nine consecutive wins between World Cups, Class 1 races and the World Championship. Since he also won the Dutch National Championship earlier in the year, he would have remained unbeaten al year long had he not finished second in the final race of the year: the very muddy and difficult UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Dendermonde, where Wout van Aert (BEL) won.
Watch the Telenet Superprestige Heusen-Zolder
|Bronze: Wout van Aert|
Wout added another chapter in his rivalry with Mathieu van der Poel by stopping his winning streak and crushing the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup Dendermonde by three minutes. Van Aert was able to command under the mud and a broken course, the most difficult that had been seen in years. He also finished second at the Telenet Superprestige – Heusden-Zolder.
Watch the Dendermonde World Cup (UCI)
|GLOBAL SPORTS AGENDA|
So, still less activity than usual but there will be enough sport throughout the week to end and start a year with a lot of action.
As we are sending this newsletter, THW Kiel (DEU) and Barcelona (ESP) are battling it out for Handball’s 2019–20 EHF Champions League title, which was interrupted due to covid-19.
The NFL will decide the playoffs berths A team that has secured a spot is Tampa Bay, who advanced to their first playoffs since 2007, this time with historic Tom Brady (USA) as a Quarterback. Seven berths are still available.
Ryan García (USA/MEX) is determined to become Boxing’s next superstar and he has his first World Title fight against Olympic Medalist Luke Campbell (ENG), which is a great matchup to start the boxing year.
Ski Jumping has one of its most important seasons of the year since the Four Hills Tournament will have three of the four tournaments. Actually the first one in Oberstdorf (DEU) finished as this newsletter was prepared, with a win for local Karl Geiger (DEU), who won the Ski Flying World Championships a few weeks ago.
The Darts World Championship will crown its Champion but it will not be defending titleholder Peter Wright (SCO), who was surprisingly eliminated by Gabriel Clemens (DEU).
The Dakar Rally starts and it will be held fully in the Saudi Arabian desert for the first time. Wishing safety to everyone involved!
FIS World Cup (Italy, Austria, Croatia)
NFL Regular Season ends
Domestic Tournaments (La Liga, Bundesliga, Premier League, Serie A, Carabao Cup Semi-Final)
Dakar Rally starts
Liga Mexicana del Pacífico
Serie Nacional de Béisbol de Cuba
EuroLeague Regular Season Round
NBA Regular Season
interim World Boxing Council World Light Title – Ryan García (USA/MEX) vs Luke Campbell (ENG)
World Boxing Association World Super Feather Title – René Alvarado (NIC) vs Roger Gutiérrez (VEN)
World Boxing Organisation World Super Fly Title – Kazuto Ioka (JPN) vs Kosei Tanaka (JPN)
International Boxing Federation World Light Fly Title – Félix Alvarado (NIC) vs DeeJay Kriel (ZAF)
Champions Chess Tour – Airthings Masters
Chess.com – Puzzle Battle World Championship
2019–21 ICC World Test Championship Australia vs India, New Zealand vs Pakistan, Sri Lanka vs South Africa
Australian Big Bash League
FIS World Cup Tour de Ski – Val Müstair
2020-2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Netherlands
EKZ CrossTour Hittnau
Troyes Cyclocross International
X²0 badkamers Trofee – GP Sven Nys
William Hill World Darts Championship
EHF Champions League Final
Horse Racing (Flat):
South India Oaks, Indian 1000 Guineas (India)
Tokyo Daishoten (Japan)
Railway Stakes (New Zealand)
Clásico Año Nuevo (Panamá)
Horse Racing (Jump):
Challow Novices Hurdle, Tolworth Hurdle (England)
December Hurdle, Neville Hotels Novice Chase (Ireland)
Kontinental Hockey League Regular Season
Major Arena Soccer League Regular Season starts
FIL World Cup Innsbruck (AUT)
Mixed Martial Arts:
Rizin Fighting Federation Vacant Men’s Bantamweight Championship – Kai Asakura (JPN) vs Kyoji Horiguchi (JPN)
Rizin Fighting Federation Vacant Women’s Atomweight Championship – Ayaka Hamasaki (JPN) vs Miyuu Yamamoto (JPN)
Auto Race – Superstar Festa 2020 (SG 35th Superstar Championship Finals) (Kawaguchi, Japan)
Dakar Rally starts
Premier 15s Matches
Top 14 Matches
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Leg 9
Sodebo Ultim 3 Round-the-world voyage
Tropheé Jules Verne – Gitana Team possible start
FIS World Cup FOUR HILLS TOURNAMENT (Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck)
World Surf League – Big Wave – Jaws Championship Pe’ahi
*This agenda is based on official information at time of publication. All events are subject to change and/or cancellation.
Sport’s best values
|Surgical: Frankie Randall|
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“In the CAS award, WADA clearly prevailed on the substance of the case as it was able to show that there were a number of aspects of the original FINA decision that were incorrect under the World Anti-Doping Code and the related International Standard for Testing and Investigations. WADA will take steps to present its case robustly again when the matter returns to the CAS Panel, which will be chaired by a different president.”
World Anti-Doping Agency Statement
Following Swiss Federal Tribunal decision to uphold Swimmer Sun Yang’s(CHN) application for revision of CAS award, where it was determined that the chair that gave him an eight-year ban for doping offences had been biased.