The latest in a continuing series. Red Auerbach drafts Larry Bird, trades for Robert Parish (and the pick that turned into Kevin McHale), swindles the Suns to acquire Dennis Johnson, and swaps Cedric Maxwell for Bill Walton. Boston had missed the playoffs two years in a row at the end of the 1970’s, but these moves like these resulted in three championships in six years during the early 1980’s.
As I wrote last month, I wrote a python script that uses the Retrosheet Event and Box Score Event files to build spreadsheets that include all of the umpire info for each game during one or more seasons. Output can be filtered by team and game location.
Retrosheet recently released their “Fall 2023 Update” on December 6, so I re-ran the script against the new data files, and the script still works well.
Recently, while working on a project, I needed to find a list of all umpires who worked behind the plate at Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park during a specific season. Retrosheet has umpire game logs on their site, which show all of the games worked by an umpire during a season. But I needed a list I could filter by team and game location.
I wrote a python script that uses the Retrosheet Event and Box Score Event files to build spreadsheets that include all of the umpire info for each game during one or more seasons. Since the Retrosheet files are organized by decade, the script can process a set of files and produce a single output file in .csv format that can easily be saved in Excel (.xlsx) or other spreadsheet formats.
Now that Tom Brady’s NFL career has come to an end, it is time for a look back. His record-setting career was defined by an unprecedented seven Super Bowl titles and his longevity: 23 seasons as an NFL quarterback, 22 as a starter. Brady was selected in the NFL Draft in 2000, yet continued to play through 2022, outlasting all of his fellow draftees.
The state of Rhode Island has not had a major league baseball team of its own since the Providence Grays of the National League folded after the 1885 season, but other major league clubs have made brief visits to the state to play exhibition games. During World War II, from 1942 through 1945, 28 games were played in the state. These games fell into two categories: games against military teams, which were very common during the war, and contests held at the new Pawtucket Stadium against the minor league Pawtucket Slaters. The rosters of the major league teams would become diluted during the war due to 4,500 professional baseball players serving in the U.S. Military, but their visits still brought plenty of excitement.
Pawtucket Stadium, renamed as “McCoy Stadium” a few years later, officially opened 81 years ago today, July 4, 1942. It became the home of several minor league teams, including the Pawtucket Red Sox, who hosted an (almost) annual game against the Boston Red Sox from 1973 through 1999. The Pawtucket Red Sox moved to Worcester, Massachusetts for the 2021 season, and McCoy Stadium is now slated for demolition, to make way for a new high school for the city of Pawtucket.
The latest in a continuing series on the 1980s NBA, the 1982-83 Season Review section is now posted. Julius Erving, with a big assist from Moses Malone, adds an NBA championship to his resume as the Philadelphia 76ers sweep the Los Angeles Lakers. The 76ers are still waiting to win another.
One example of how much the NBA has changed in 40 years: During the 2023 Finals the Denver Nuggets took more 3-pointers than the 1983 76ers attempted during their entire regular season. To be fair, the 76ers were next-to-last in the league in 3-point attempts that year; only the Lakers took fewer threes (96). Ironically, Andrew Toney of the 76ers used the 3-pointer more than most players, finishing the year tied for 7th in 3FGM (22) and 10th in 3FGA (76). But the rest of the team shot a woeful 3-for-33 beyond the arc.
Congratulations to the Denver Nuggets for winning their first NBA Championship. It has been a long road for Nuggets fans, especially for those who have been following the team since they debuted as the Denver Rockets in the ABA in the fall of 1967. Renamed the Nuggets for the 1974-75 season, the team won 60+ games in each of their final two ABA campaigns, but failed to win an ABA title.
The Nuggets lost to the New York Nets in the 1976 ABA Finals, then, along with the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers, the four teams were absorbed into the NBA.
The early days of the ex-ABA clubs in the NBA were a mixed bag. The Nets were derailed by financial woes that forced them to sell Julius Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers (an ironic twist, since the Nets had only been able to acquire Erving four years earlier due to the financial woes of the Virginia Squires franchise); Indiana, coming off their worst season in the ABA, did not finish above .500 until 1981 and qualified for the playoffs just twice between 1977 and 1989. San Antonio reached the conference finals three times over the next seven seasons but never won, while Denver captured back-to-back NBA Midwest Division titles before fading.
None of them reached the NBA Finals until the Spurs won it all in 1999. The ABA refugees then went on a run, with the Pacers (2000), Nets (2002, 2003), and the Spurs (2003, 2005, 2007) all getting to the Finals during the first decade of the 21st century.
But Denver had to wait until 2023 to finally win it all.
Now that the Celtics have dispatched the 76ers in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, I feel more comfortable posting the latest article in the 80s Era + 40 series.
In September 1982 the Philadelphia 76ers acquired the reigning NBA MVP Moses Malone in an attempt to win the franchise’s second title since moving to Philadelphia in 1963. Malone would win the MVP again, and the 76ers won 65 games during the regular season before storming through the 1983 playoffs, posting a 12-1 record on their way to the championship. Philadelphia took advantage of down years by their two top rivals (the Celtics were tired of playing for the domineering Bill Fitch, and the Lakers were riddled with injuries) but they deserve to be celebrated as the best 76ers team of the 80s Era. The 40th anniversary of their last championship is coming up on May 31.
I’m starting the new year with a minor update to a document I have been working on for about 5 years: A chronicle of a 22-game exhibition tour featuring two dozen NBA stars that took place after the completion of the 1958 NBA season.
A few days ago, I found a partial box score for the game on May 3, 1958, which was the last game on my “missing” list. The box score has some problems (see the .pdf at the link above for the details) but it is still satisfying to find it. For a few years, I wondered if this game, held in Houston, Texas, had actually been played at all.
It is easy to find newspaper accounts of most games on this tour, usually from wire services, but locating info on the May 3 contest was more difficult. The fact that the game was played on a Saturday did not help; Sunday papers traditionally had/have early deadlines, and “afternoon editions” are virtually non-existent on weekends. The final game of the tour was played on Sunday, May 4, so by the time the Monday papers were assembled, there was a newer game story to carry.