Monday, November 20, 2006
Updated: November 21, 3:04 AM ET
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
½A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Ryan Howard was named the National League Most Valuable Player on Monday. He's only the fourth sophomore to win either league's MVP award. The others were Stan Musial (1943), Vida Blue (1971), and Cal Ripken (1983). Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) were the only rookie MVPs.
• Albert Pujols, who was the MVP runner-up, finished in the top five in the voting for the sixth time in his six major-league seasons. Three players recorded streaks of six or more years: Lou Gehrig (1931-1937), Ted Williams (1941-1942, 1946-1949) and Yogi Berra (1950-1956), but none did so in their first six seasons.
• The Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year contract. Soriano's signature achievement: After six seasons, he has hit 208 homers and stolen 210 bases. No other player reached the 200 mark in both categories by the end of their sixth season; only two reached even 150: Bobby Bonds (165 HR, 222 SB) and Darryl Strawberry (186 HR, 165 SB).
Soriano hit 46 home runs in his only season in Washington, tying the most home runs in a player's only season with a team. Jose Canseco hit 46 homers in 1998, his only year in Toronto.
• The Dodgers announced Monday that they have re-signed
Nomar Garciaparra to a two-year contract. Garciaparra, who hit 20 home runs and batted .303 for the L.A. in 2006, was the first player to hit .300 with at least 20 homers in his first season with the Dodgers since rookie Johnny Frederick did it in 1929 (.328, 24 HR).
• The Reds signed Alex Gonzalez, whose .292 career on-base percentage is the lowest among active players who have played in at least 1,000 games. Rounding out the bottom five: Mike Matheny, .293; Tony Batista, .298, Neifi Perez, .298; Sandy Alomar Jr., .310.
• The Jaguars won the 100th regular-season game in franchise history Monday. With an all-time record of 100-86, the Jaguars are the first NFL team with a winning record at the time of its 100th win since the Dolphins were 100-68-3 when they won their 100th game in 1978.
• Fred Taylor surpassed 2,000 career carries Monday. Among the 25 heavy-duty players with at least 2,000 carries, Taylor's per-carry average of 4.6 ranks fifth-best, behind Jim Brown (5.2), Barry Sanders (5.0), Tiki Barber (4.7) and O.J. Simpson (4.7).
• The Mavericks won their sixth consecutive game after starting the season 0-4. The only other team in NBA history to win six consecutive games immediately after starting a season with four or more losses was the 76ers in 2001 (seven straight wins after an 0-5 start).
• Emeka Okafor had 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks Monday against the Mavericks, giving him 201 points, 120 rebounds and 41 blocks over the first 10 games of the season. Since the NBA began compiling blocks in 1973-74, only three other players have averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks over the first 10 games of a season, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (in 1973-74 and 1975-76), Patrick Ewing (1990-91) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1992-93 and 1993-94).
• Dwight Howard had 24 points and 23 rebounds against the Grizzlies Monday after having 24 points and 21 rebounds against the Bobcats on Saturday. Three other active players have had consecutive games with more than 20 points and more than 20 rebounds, Tim Duncan (March 2003), Elton Brand (February 2002) and Dirk Nowitzki (February 2002).
• Knicks fans may not have had much to cheer about Monday, but at least they got to see Nate Robinson block a shot by Yao Ming. You read that right -- 5-foot, 9-inch Robinson blocked a shot by 7-6 Yao. Over the last 10 seasons only two players blocked a shot by a player at least a foot-and-a-half taller: 5-11 Terrell Brandon blocked 7-6 Shawn Bradley in 2001 and 5-3 Muggsy Bogues blocked 6-10 Chris Gatling in 2000.
• Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist Monday, giving him 132 points (49 goals, 83 assists) in his first 100 NHL games. The only active player who had as many points as Crosby in his first 100 games is Teemu Selanne, who had 152 points.
• The Sabres scored seven goals in the second period against Tampa Bay's Marc Denis. Denis is the first goaltender to allow as many as seven goals in one period since the Kings' David Goverde allowed seven goals in the second period of a game against the Capitals on Feb. 13, 1993. Goverde played only five games in the NHL and only one after that date.
The Sabres are the sixth team in NHL history, and the first since 1995, to score as many as seven goals in the second period of a game after being held goalless in the first period. And they're the seventh team in league history to score as many as seven goals in one game, with all the goals coming in one period.
• Ottawa's Ray Emery stopped 42 of 45 Minnesota shots in leading the Senators to a 5-3 victory over the Wild. Emery matched the Senators franchise record for saves by a goaltender in a regulation win, a mark set late in the team's first season, 1992-93. On April 10, 1993, the Senators, who had lost all 38 of their road games, beat the Islanders 5-3 at Nassau Coliseum, behind 42 saves by Peter Sidorkiewicz. Ottawa finished its inaugural season 1-40-0 in road games, the NHL record for most road losses in one season.