Russell owned Wilt: It's an accepted fact. ESPN did a "Top Five Reasons You Can't Blame" about it, Bill Simmons devoted a whole chapter to it in his recent Book of Basketball. And it's true that when certain numbers are analyzed, it does seem that Bill Russell had the perpetual upper hand on the Big Dipper. But some stats are similarly incriminating to Russell--namely, that Wilt pulled down 55 boards against him in a game between the Celtics and Philadelphia Warriors on November 24th, 1960.
Interestingly (and perhaps not coincidentally), it was Russell's record that Chamberlain broke for the all-time single-game record, Bill having grabbed 51 in a game earlier that same season. To say that the record still stands today would be a severe understatement--only two guys not named Russell or Wilt ever even got 40 (Nate Thurmond got 42 in '65, Jerry Lucas got 40 in '64), and these days, even a 20-rebound game is pretty remarkable. Obviously, the game was being played at a different pace back then, and with certain players having a much bigger size advantage, but 55 rebounds in one game is still pretty impressive no matter what the context--especially doing so against his greatest rival, and the man generally considered the greatest center of all-time.
All that said, the stats most often trotted out to prove Russell's advantage over Chamberlain is wins--proving that while Wilt went for numbers, Bill just wanted to what was necessary to bring home the W. This game was no different, with the Celtics edging out the Warriors 132-129. Sorry, Wilt--when you don't win, you just can't win.
PITTSBURGH --- Utility infielder Andres Blanco suffered a fractured left index finger in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
Blanco was injured when Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco slid into his hand during a play at third base. Blanco was making his second straight start at third in place of Maikel Franco, who was out with a sore left wrist after being hit by a pitch Friday from Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.
Franco took over at third for Blanco, who hit a solo home run off Pirates rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon in the first inning. Blanco is hitting .271 with four homers in 75 games this season.
Meanwhile, catcher Cameron Rupp was not in the lineup after being hit in the left ear flap of his batting helmet on Saturday by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Carlos Ruiz started behind the plate.
Rupp passed Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol both Saturday and Sunday.
"If you get hit in the head, you probably want to take a little bit more precaution than if it was another part of your body,” Rupp said.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Mike Piazza has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft with the 1,390th pick, ahead of only five other players, Piazza is the lowest-drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame. He made it in on his fourth try.
Piazza played 16 years with five teams and hit 427 home runs, including a major-league record 396 as a catcher. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five in MVP voting four times.
Perhaps even more impressive, Piazza had six seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .300 batting average. All other catchers in baseball history combined have posted nine such seasons.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Ken Griffey Jr. has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Griffey, the first No. 1 draft pick to be selected for enshrinement, played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball's so-called Steroids Era.
A 13-time All-Star selection and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, Griffey hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, and drove in 1,836 runs.
Griffey also was the American League MVP in 1997, drove in at least 100 runs in eight seasons, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.
In the 1995 ALDS, he became just the second player in major league history to hit five home runs in a postseason series.