Interesting Facts About Olympic Nations – Greece



Did you know…

Periklis Iakovakis is one of the popular athletes in Greece. This air force officer was born on March 24, 1979 in Patras ( Greece ). He is a bachelor’s degree from Athens Finance University. In the 1990s and 2000s , Periklis won several medals. At the 1998 Junior World Championship in Annecy ( France ), he won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles. He also won a gold medal at the 2006 European Cup in Goteborg ( Sweden ). Periklis is a member of the Greek Olympic team. During an interview, he said “I joined my oldest brother Sotiris a day he went for training in Lehaina in 1994. When I was younger I used to play football and basketball but when I got into athletics I was obsessed with the sport. I first went into the long jump and 110m hurdles. But when I realized I had a very good technique in jumping over hurdles and I could run fast for a long time, I chose the 400m hurdles. It was just before 1997″.

Athens hosted the 1991 Mediterranean Games

Greek sportspersons achieved many medals at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney ( Australia ). Gold medals: Pyrros Dimas ( weightlifting / light heavyweight ), Konstantinos Kenteris ( track & field / 200m ), Michael Mourotsos ( martial arts / under 59kg ), Akakide Kahiashvilis ( weightlifting / middle heavyweight ). Silver medals: Ekateri Thanou ( track and field / 100m ), Viktor Mitrou ( weightlifting / middleweight ), Leonidas Sampanis ( weightlifting / featherweight ), Dimosthenis Tampokos ( gymnastics / rigs ), Mirela Manjani ( track and field / javelin throw ), Anastasia Kelesidou ( athletics / discus throw ). Bronze medals: Anna Pollatou, Evangelia Chistodoulou, Eirini Aindili, Maria Georgatou, Zacharoula Karyami, Charikleia Pantazi ( gymnastics / rhythmic team ), Ionna Chatziioannou ( weightlifting / 63kg ), Almiran Karntanov ( wrestling / freestyle flyweight ).

This European country has hosted many world championships:

The 2006 IAAF World Cup

The 1997 IAAF World Track and Field Championships

The 1986 IAAF World Junior Championships

Pyrros Dimas was the flag bearer of the Greek Olympic team at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Ironically, Pyrros was born in Albania, one of the most poorest countries in Europe. For political and economic reasons, he became a Greek citizen in 1991. He also was the flag bearer of the Greek delegation at the 1996 Summer Olympics in the United States. From 1992 to 2000, he won three Olympic titles. Currently, Pyrros is a national hero in Athens.

Greece has competed in all the Olympic Games: Athens-1896, Paris-1900, St. Louis -1904, London-1908, Stockholm-1912, Antwerp-1920, Paris-1924, Los Angeles-1932, Berlin-1936, London-1948, Helsinki-1952, Melbourne-1956, Rome-1960, Tokyo-1964, Mexico City-1968, Munich-1972, Montreal-1976, Moscow-1980, Los Angeles-1984, Seoul-1988, Barcelona-1992, Atlanta-1996, Sydney-2000 and Athens-2004. Unlike Norway, West Germany, Liechtenstein and Albania, Greece did not boycott the Olympic Games in Moscow ( USSR / currently Russia ). From 1896 to 2004, Greece has won 30 gold medals. This European country has more gold medals than Spain, Brazil and Argentina.

Greece -it is one of the world’s oldest countries- is the birthplace of the Olympics. The I Olympic Games were held in Athens ( 1896 ). There were 245 athletes from 14 countries competing in 9 sports ( aquatics, athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling ). Greek made up 65% of all athletes participating. The host country won 46 medals (10 golds, 17 silvers, 19 bronzes). The participating countries were Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

Mirela Majani was born on December 21, 1976 in Durres, Albania. In her country, she trained under the direction of Enver Mysja. In 1997, Mirela became a naturalized Greek. Six years later, she won a gold medal in the javelin throw at the 1999 IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Sevilla, Spain. She also finished first at the 2003 IAAF World Championships in Paris ( France ). This sportswoman studied at the University of Alabama (USA).

Greece hosted the 1998 Men’s World Basketball Championships. Final standings:

1.Yugoslavia (currently Serbia)

2.Russia

3.United States

4.Greece

5.Spain

6.Italy

7.Lithuania

8.Argentina

9.Australia

10.Brazil

11.Puerto Rico

12.Canada

13.Nigeria

14.Japan

15.Senegal

16.South Korea

Athens hosted “the 1906 International Games”. Unfortunately, these Games were not recognized by the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ).

United States Men’s Basketball History



Few other teams in international competition have the reputation of the United States Men’s Basketball team. With three world championships and twelve Olympic Gold Medals the American men’s basketball program moved to new heights in 1992 when NBA players graced the court for the first time. NBA stars such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird amongst others traveled to Barcelona to play against the rest of the world.

The US Dream Team dominated the competition with power, style and grace putting a show that has since been the benchmark for all team sports to be played. The USA continued their dominance in two encore performances in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. In Athens in 2004 the US was expected to repeat their previous dominance in international competition when they were stunned by Puerto Rico in their first game of the Olympic competition. This also made Puerto Rico the first team other than the Soviet Union to beat the United States in Olympic competition.

The United States successes and failures have not been without their controversies. In 1972 in Munich the United States were beaten for the first time in Olympic competition by the USSR in controversial fashion when the referee decided to replay the last three seconds numerous types until the USSR scored the winning basket. The Dream Team also caused controversy when HIV positive basketball star Magic Johnson decided to play at the games. While many players supported the idea, some players and fans were outspoken against it. As a team with such high profile their successes, failures and controversies receive much media attention and scrutiny.

The USA team’s presence at the top of the game had been tested and after the disappointing 6th place in the 2002 world championships and their Bronze in Athens the US Basketball team set to rebuild their basketball program. After restructuring the program and the team the United States got back on track at the World Championship before being stunned by a strong Greek team in the finals.

In 2008 the US team led by Superstars such as Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony have set out to redeem the US position as the dominant international force in basketball. While the USA will be favorites for the competition it will by no means be easy with the quality of international competition being considerably stronger than in the past. A number of NBA superstars will be playing for other internation teams such as Yao Ming (China), Pau Gasol (Spain), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Manu Ginobli (Argentina), Andrew Bogut (Australia) and Andrei Kirilenko (Russia).

With a lot of the pride and a massive reputation riding on the present United States team to deliver the summer they will have tough competition from 2006 World champions Spain, 2007 Eurobasket Champions Russia, World and Eurobasket silver medalists Greece, Olympic heavy weights Lithuania and the tough Argentina team. Are these nations are capable basketball powerhouses who are gold medal contenders.

With such a rich history it will be interesting to note whether the United States Men’s basketball team will re-ascend to the top of the international pile or whether another powerhouse will emerge.
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Olympic Facts – 2008 Olympic Baseball Tournament



Did you know…

Twelve nations have qualified for the Olympic Baseball Tournament in Beijing : The People’s Republic of China (host country), Cuba (Olympic champion), Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Holland (European champion), Japan (Asian champion) and the United States (world champion).

From 1992 to 2004, 15?teams have played at least one men’s Olympic baseball tournament: Australia (Atlanta’1996, Sydney’2000, Athens’2004), Canada (Athens’ 2004), Taiwan/Chinese Taipei (Barcelona’1992 & Athens’2004), Cuba (Barcelona’1992, Atlanta’1996, Sydney’2000, Athens’2004), Dominican Republic (Barcelona’1992), Greece (Athens’2004), Italy (Barcelona’1992, Atlanta’1996, Sydney’2000, Athens’2004), Japan (Barcelona’1992, Atlanta’1996, Sydney’2000, Athens’2004), South Korea / Republic of Korea ( Atlanta’1996 & Sydney 2000), Holland / Netherlands (Atlanta’1996, Sydney’2000, Athens’2004), Nicaragua (Atlanta’1996), Puerto Rico (Barcelona’1992), South Africa (Sydney’2000), Spain (Barcelona’1992) and the United States (Barcelona’1992, Atlanta’1996, Sydney’2000).

The United States is considered a favorite to win the Olympic title. Why? This North American country won the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships. It also won the gold medal at the 2006 American Olympic Qualification? in Havana, Cuba. In 2008, the USA baseball team defeated Cuba 4-1 for the second time at the Baseball Tournament in Haarlem (Holland). The American Olympic players are: Stephen Strasburg, Mike Minor, Brett Anderson, Jeff Steven, Colby Rasmus, Brandon Knight, Jake Arrieta,Trevor Cahill, Geno Espineli, Kevin Jepsen, Mike Koplove, Neal Blaine, Casey Weathers, Richard Clayton, Mattheew Brown, Mike Hesman, Matt La Porta, Dexter Fowler.

Baseball will not be on the Olympic program in London ’2012…

The Puerto Rican national baseball team did not qualify for the Olympic Games in China. This Caribbean island? has more international titles than Nicaragua, Japan and Taiwan. For example, Puerto Rico won the World Cup in 1951. Furthermore, it is the birthplace of Roberto Clemente, one of the best players in the history.

Cuba -national sport – qualified for the Olympic Games in Bejing. But there is dissatisfaction with the current level of the national team. Many Cubans believe that Cuba will not be an Olympic champion.Why? This Caribbean nation did not win the Baseball Tournament in Haarlem (Holland). From 2006 to 2008, Cuba has lost several games against the United States. Certainly, Cuba is not favorite to win the Olympic title. However, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz – former dictator of the Cuban revolution- wrote: “The fanatics were upset due to the hard setback on Sunday (when Cuba lost the title in Holland). But the sword says it all:fanatics!. They forget that our team is now in South Korea, a country where we do not even have an embassy. There, our athletes continue to train. Anyway, they are not the ones who deserve the strongest criticisms. They will be taking part in the Olympic Games that will be held on the other side of the world, where sleeping hours and life pace are different. They have an intense program of physical training with a view to the last presentation of this sport at the Olympics…”

This sport was a demonstration sport at the 1984 Summer Olympics.? Players from 8 countries participated: Italy, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Nicaragua, Japan and South Korea.

Canada won the bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games.

This sport was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul (South Korea). Final standings:

1.United States
2.Japan
3.Puerto Rico
4.South Korea
5.Canada
6.Australia
7.Netherlands
8.Chinese Taipei

From 1992 to 2007, many Cuban baseball players have defected: Osvaldo Fernandez Rodriguez (Olympic gold medalist, 1992), Orlando Hernadez Pedroso (Olympic gold medalist, 1992), Luis Rolando Arrojo Avila (Olympic gold medalist, 1992), Jose Ariel Contreras Camejo (Olympic gold medalist, 1996) and Alexei Ramirez Rodriguez (Olympic gold medalist, 2004)….

Chinese-Taipei won the gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

Australia did not qualify for the Olympic Games in the People’s Republic of China. This country won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. The silver medalists were:Rodney van Buizen, Craig Anderson, Thomas Bride, Jeff Williams, Gleen Williams, Adrian Burnside, Gavin Fingleson, Paul Gonzalez, Nick Kimpton, Brendan Kingman, Craig Lewis, Trent Oeltjen, Graeme Lloyd, David Nilsson, Ben Wigmore, Andre Utting, Dick Thompson, Brett Tamburrino, Phil Stockman, John Stephens, Ryan Rowland Smith, Brett Roneberg, Chris Oxspring, Wayne Ough.

The Japan national team won the bronze medal at the 2007 World Cup in Taiwan.

The United States won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney (Australia). Final standings:

1.USA
2.Cuba (silver medal)
3.South Korea (bronze medal)
4.Japan
5.Holland
6:Italy
7.Australia
8.South Africa

Hatton Vs Pacquiao – The Fight Will Not Happen After All!



Since Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao put on a master class in beating the Golden Boy of boxing Oscar De La Hoya on December 6th, it seemed inevitable who Pacquiao would take on next. Britain’s Ricky Hatton had already lined up a summer spectacular against Oscar De La Hoya, who was widely expected to beat the smaller Pacquiao.

Everyone expected Pacquiao to fill that void and take on Hatton instead. After all it was a match that made much more sense; both fighters preferred weight at this time is the light welterweight limit of 140lbs and their aggressive styles seemed to ensure a fabulous contest. Negotiations between both camps initially appeared to be going smoothly with some rumours a verbal 50/50 deal was agreed. A May 2 date was mooted and Las Vegas appeared to have won the bidding to stage this fantastic matchup between two of the most exciting and well supported boxers in the sport of boxing.

Alas, it was not to be. Today, it was officially announced – crucially from parties on both sides of the negotiations – that the May 2 fight was now off and both fighters were looking at other options. For the sport of boxing this is undoubtedly a huge blow. With UFC gaining popularity, boxing needs to make these big fights happen to keep it’s lead over the MMA franchise, which seems to continually be gaining momentum. Fights like Pacquiao vs. Hatton are also the sort of fights that boxing needs to attract new fans; this would have seen both fighters in their prime, in a real pick ‘em fight rather than the usual tirade of a young unbeaten champion against an experienced but limited opponent.

So both fighters now go away in search of new opposition and quite who they will fight next is anyone’s guess. Both fighters are rumoured to have been in talks with the come backing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya is reported to still want to box Hatton in front of a monster crowd in England. Hatton could also take on the winner of the forthcoming Juan Diaz vs. Juan Manuel Marquez match up (scheduled for 28 February).

For Pacquiao a fight with Mayweather Jr. would be something to treasure, two fighters at the peak of their powers in a genuine super fight. Alternatively, Pacquiao would need a to step back up to 147lbs for another super fight, perhaps taking on the winner of this weekend’s Margarito vs. Mosley fight . Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto could be another man in the frame if he can beat Michael Jennings in his comeback fight next month.

So, boxing politics and ultimately, money, have seen another tremendous fight slip through fight fans hands. We can now only hope that the Pacquiao vs. Hatton fight does happen at some point, even if it is later rather than sooner!
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Update – 2008 Summer Olympics Mens Basketball Qualifiers



The next week will be an exciting and very important one for basketball players in many countries of the world. That is because it is time to decide who the last 3 teams are that will participate in the Mens Basketball tournament in the Beijing Olympics.

The remaining teams that will be completing for sports over the next week at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men in Athens Greece are Cameroon, Cape Verde, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Lebanon, Korea, Greece, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, and New Zealand. The tournament will go as follows:

The teams are divided into 4 groups with 3 teams in each group. Group A contains Brazil, Greece, and Lebanon. Group B contains New Zealand, Cape Verde, and Germany. Group C contains Slovenia, Korea, and Canada. Group D contains Cameroon, Croatia, and Puerto Rico. Each team will play both of the other teams in its group. The winning team will be awarded 2 points while the losing team is awarded 1 point. The top 2 teams in each group will then advance to a single elimination tournament.

The two teams that win the semifinals of the tournament advance to the Olympics. The two teams that lose in the semifinals will play each other and the winner will fill the last spot in the Olympics.

The three teams that advance in the qualifying tournament will join Angola, USA, Argentina, Iran, Russia, Lithuania, Australia, Spain, and China for the Mens Basketball tournament in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Best of luck to all of the participating teams May the best teams advance.

!!Update: The tournament is now over and the teams that advanced the tournament are Greece, Croatia, and Germany!!
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Underrated Players in MLB History

In baseball lore, there legends and gods – Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Cy Young. The legacies of these men are passed on from generation to generation. But outside baseballs Mt. Olympus, there are other greats, greats who have been or will be neglected by history. Here are some of these players, disrespected and underrated.

Bill Dickey, C- Bill Dickey was born on June 5, 1907 in Bastrop, Louisiana. He played his entire career for the Yankees, from 1928-1946. Dickey won seven World Series out of the eight he played in. Following his career, he managed the Yankees for a short span and became a coach, helping Yogi Berra achieve the status as one of the greatest catchers of all time.

Dickey might be the most name recognizable name on the list, as his number is retired and he is in the baseball Hall of Fame. But people underestimate how great he was really was as a hitter and catcher, often looking to Cochrane and his successor Yogi Berra instead.

Dickey’s career line was .313/.382/.486/.868/127+ with 678 BB to 289 K. His best season was in 1936, when he hit .362/.428/.617/1.045/158+ with 22 HR. Those totals are amazing, and the fact a catcher put those numbers up is mind boggling.

However, Dickey was also a great catcher. Although CS and SB against a catcher were not recorded, many reports say Dickey had a really strong arm. In 1720 games, he had just 76 passed balls. In comparison, the best defensive catcher of all time, Johnny Bench, had 94 passed balls in 1742 games.

Johnny Mize, 1b- Mize was born on January 7, 1913 in Demorest, Georgia. The Big Cat was a slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals from the 1930′s-1950. He finished with a line of .312/.397/.562/.959/158+ and a final EqA of .330. His best seasons were 1937-1940. Over that span in his early career, Mize received MVP votes each season.

1937: .364/.427/.595/1.022/172+ with 25 HR
1938: .337/.422/.614/1.036/175+ with 27 HR
1939: .349/.444/.628/1.070/178+ with 28 HR
1940: .314/.404/.636/1.040/176+ with 43 HR

That comes out to an average line of .341/.424/.618/1.042/175+ with 31 HR

Following that “peak” Mize still put up five seasons of an OPS+ greater than 150. Mize served in the US Army from ’43-’45, losing what could have been the prime of his career. Is that the reasons he is oft forgotten? Maybe. But Mize was an all time player.

Career Totals:.312/.397/.562/.959/158+ and 359 HR over 6443 AB’s.

Roberto Alomar, 2b- Born in Puerto Rico on February 5th in 1968, Alomar is a funny fellow, since he had several good years spread out, not one definite peak. I will do my best to select one and show his other good seasons/career.

His 1992 and 1993 seasons for Toronto were quite good.
1992: .310/.405/.427/.832/129+ with 49 SB at a 84% clip
1993: .326/.408/.492/.900/141+ with 55 SB at a 78% clip

His next city pit stop was Baltimore, where he had two more good seasons.
1996: .328/.411/.527/.938/136+ with 17 SB
1997: .333/.390/.500/.890/134+ with 9 SB

But his “peak” was his three years in Cleveland.
1999: .323/.422/.533/.955/139+ with 24 HR, 37 SB at a 86% clip
2000: .310/.378/.475/.853/114+ with 19 HR, 39 SB at a 90% clip
2001: .336/.415/.541/.956/150+ with 20 HR, 30 SB at a 83% clip

Average line: .323/.405/.921/134+ with 21 HR, 35 SB

His final career stats were: .300/.371/.443/.814/116+ with 210 HR, 504 2B, 474 SB at an 80% clip and 132.6 WARP3

Pretty great for a 2b right? Well, not only did he hit and run, but Alomar was a premium defender. He has won 10 GG awards, and he won a GG in all seasons pointed out but 1997.

Alomar cleared 30 Win Shares in a season 5 times, and led the league on 3 occasions. He hit .313 in the postseason (230 AB). Coming into 2004, he had 373 career Win Shares, an outstanding total.

Why has he not stood out more? Well, one reason people have not had the time to soak in greatness, since he retired this decade. Moreover, Alomar faded quickly, finishing with five sub par seasons, an image fresher in fans minds than his MVP caliber seasons. Roberto was also good everything- stealing, hitting, and defense- but never stood out. Many people now may remember his name, but not recognize him as an all time great.

Barry Larkin, SS- Barry Larkin was born on April 28, 1964 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the town in which he would make it big as a professional baseball player. Larkin is the third greatest short stop of all time, second greatest if you discount A-Rod. Yet Larkin is often forgotten about and if remembered, cast aside when talking about all time greats. Barry was another middle infielder that could hit, field, and base run, all impressive for a SS.

For his career, Larkin finished with a line of: .295/.371/.444/.815/116+ with 379 SB at an 83% success rate, .291 EqA, and 939 BB to 817 K’s. Career WARP3 of 121.8

Those numbers are good, but when one considers it was done from a shortstop, it really stands out. Here is a graph showing how the short stop position exploded, once Larkin was on the decline:

During his entire career, the average shortstop hit just .256/.317/.361, while Larkin hit .295/.371/.444 – an OPS difference of 20.2%. Very few players dominate a position like that for so long and only two big-name shortstops from the past 30 years have out-performed the rest of the position offensively more than Larkin did.

Not only was his bat a bonus from a SS, but he was a quality defender, taking home three Gold Glove awards. His prime seasons were 1995-1998, with 1997 being cut short due to injury.

1995: .319/.394/.492/.886/133+ with 15 HR and 51 SB against 5 CS. Won the Gold Glove.
1996: .298/.410/.567/.977/154+ with 33 HR and 36 SB against 10 CS. Won the Gold Glove.
1998: .309/.397/.504/.901/134+ with 17 HR and 26 SB against 3 CS.

Larkin should be a HOF’er. And yes, he was better than Mr. Cal Ripken Jr. Despite having a ton more HR and 2b, Ripken’s slugging percentage is just .03 higher, while trailing Larkin in OBP, OPS, OPS+, SB, EqA, RC/G, and that’s not to mention Larkin was the better fielder.

Much like Alomar, Larkin is a recent player so his name is familiar. But he should be more than a familiar name. Larkin was a fantastic short stop who should have a plaque in Cooperstown eventually.

Frank Baker, 3b- Frank “Home Run” Baker was born on March 13, 1886 and would become a famous ballplayer for the Philadelphia A’s. Not in the same class as Schmidt, Matthews, and Brett at all, but Baker is typically a 3b that people forget because he played in the dead ball era. In fact, he was arguably the best 3b of the pre-war era.

Despite playing in a time of big ball parks and pitcher dominance because of the rules and regulations, Baker managed to hit .307/.363/.442/.805/135+. At the height of his career in 1912, Baker hit .347/.404/.541/.945/173+. That same year the AL’s ERA was 3.34 and there were less than 9 hits per game. In context, Baker was terrific and would have had better slugging stats had he played in a different era.

Ralph Kiner, OF- Ralph was born in October of 1922 was a baseball legend for the Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring due to injuries. Currently he is a broadcaster, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.

Kiner is forgotten because he only played ten seasons, nine with 500+ AB’s. Yet he was one of the greatest mashers of his generation, and surely would have hit 500-600 HR’s had he been able to play into his thirty’s.

Kiner finished with the line of .279/.398/.548/.946/149+ with 369 HR’s. But check out his three best seasons.

1947: 51 HR, .313/.417/.639/1.056/171+, 9.9 RC/G, .343 EqA
1949: 54 HR, .310/.432/.658/1.090/186+, 10.7 RC/G, .351 EqA
1951: 42 HR, .309/.452/.627/1.079/184+, 10.7 RC/G, .355 EqA

Average Line: 49 HR, .311/.434/.641/.1075/181+, 10.4 RC/G, .350 EqA

Simply amazing. Ted Williams created a listed using his secret formula, and concluded Ralph Kiner was the 20th best hitter of all time. It’s a shame he does not receive that type of accolade.

Harry Heilman, OF- Born in 1894 in the town of San Francisco, the man known as ‘Slug’ was one of the best sluggers in baseballs history, yet many people do not even recognize his name. He played for Detroit through the dead and live ball eras.

His final career stats are just amazing. He hit .342/.410/.520/.930/148+ with 856 BB to 550 K. Heilman’s best season came in 1923, at the age of 28. Heilman hit .403/.481/.632/1.113/194+ with 44 2b, 18 HR, and almost twice as many BB as K’s.

Why was he not known? Maybe it was because he played long ago, but Heilman is someone who should be revered as an all time great.

Al Simmons, OF- On May 22, 1902, Simmons was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Sporting News once ranked him as the 43rd greatest player of all time.

He was not a great base runner or fielder, but Simmons is a name that never comes up when talking about all time greats. Simmons starred for Oakland in his hey, hitting to an average of .376/.419/.639/1.058/165+ with 25 HR and a .322 from 1927-1931. Over that span, he slugged over .600 three times, including .708 in 1930.

Simmons sizzled down to a career line of .334/.380/.535/.915/132+ with 539 2b and 307 HR.

Nasty.

Addie Joss, SP- Joss was born in 1880. The reason Joss is forgotten is because he played in the dead ball and died early, at the age of 31. But if not for the tragic death, he might be considered just as good as Christy Mathewson.

In 2327 innings, Joss gave up 1888 hits, 19 HR, 364 BB, had a 1.89 ERA, 142 ERA+, and 0.968 WHIP.

He posted an ERA under 2.00 in five of his eight full seasons. He was the All-time career leader in WHIP with .9678. He had the Second best all-time ERA of 1.89. Joss pitched a perfect game in 1908 and another no-hitter in 1910. Won 160 games in less than 9 full seasons. Would have had a longer career but illness cut his life short at 31. Think about that again. Finished his career with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.9678 WHIP! That coming over 2300 career innings. And in a time of spit balls, Joss achieved his success without altering the baseball in any way.

Check out his peak years-
1906: 282 IP, 1.72 ERA, 220 H, 43 BB, 151 ERA+, 0.93 WHIP
1907: 338 IP, 279 H, 54 BB, 1.83 ERA, 137 ERA+, 0.98 WHIP
1908: 325 IP, 232 H, 30 BB, 1.16 ERA, 205 ERA+, 0.80 WHIP
1909: 242 IP, 198 H, 31 BB, 1.71 ERA, 149 ERA+, 0.94 WHIP

And oh yeah, in 1904 he also had a great season:
192 IP, 160 H, 30 BB, 1.59 ERA, 160 ERA+, 0.98 WHIP

Look at his 1908 season again. Over 300 IP yet just 30 BB and he kept a 1.16 ERA! It was so good that he was able to put a 205 ERA+ when the league ERA was 2.39, the best league ERA during his career.

These men were all giants of the game and should be recognized as giants of the game.
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What Started It All – The History of Volleyball

Surprisingly, one of the most well loved sports in the world is also relatively young. Despite the game’s youth, it has gone through a wide variety of changes and evolution as a part of its rich history.

Believe it or not, but at one time there wasn’t Asics or Nike women’s volleyball shoes or even volleyball uniforms for sale anywhere, let alone online!

To fully understand and appreciate how much the game has changed and how much work was put into to make it successful, you need to search back to the very origin of Volleyball, and study when and why changes were made.

Just over 100 years ago, in 1895, William G. Morgan developed the first game of Volleyball. At the time, Morgan dubbed the game “Mintonette”. “Mintonette” was created for business men as a game that involved less physical contact at the chapter of the YMCA where he worked at in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Morgan borrowed aspects from several games to create his own game. The first aspect was from tennis, borrowing the net. Instead of the standard net, however, he raised it to be 6 foot 6 inches high, so it was just over the heads of average men. Other sports he borrowed from include basketball, baseball and handball. During one of the demonstration games of the sport, one of the spectators commented the game was more about volleying, and the games name was changed to Volleyball.

That was only the beginning.

In 1896, the first official game of Volleyball was played at Springfield College. This game signified the first real take-off of the sport, and led into further games being played at a variety of different Colleges. In the year 1900, Volleyball had taken off enough where a special ball was designed just for the game. Another feat also accomplished in 1900 was that the YMCA took the sport from America to Canada, the Orient and the southern hemisphere. Five years later, Volleyball also spread to Cuba. This spreading was what signified the start of the Volleyball era. Unlike most sports, Volleyball moved International in its early days, allowing for the game to evolve to meet the players needs world wide.

In 1907, Volleyball received its first recognition of being one of the most popular sports at the Playground of America convention. This was the first recognition the sport received, and helped to further its popularity. In the following ten years, the YMCA continued to spread the sport to Brazil, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. In 1913, the first official Volleyball competition was held in the Far Eastern Games.

1916 saw Volleyball have its first true evolution. In the Philippines, the set and spike offensive pass was introduced, and game play was altered to involve this new form. The Filipinos developed the “bomba”, which is the kill, and the named the hitter the “bomberino”. In this same year, the NCAA was invited by the YMCA to alter the rules of the game, and it was initiated into Colleges and other schools as a part of the standard physical education courses and intramural programs. A year later, the scoring system was also adjusted so that a game ended after 15 points instead of 21. This allowed more games to be played within the same span of time, in an attempt to make the sessions a little shorter for the players.

Three short years later, in 1919, the American Expeditionary Forces donated 16,000 Volleyballs to the troops, which provided a stimulus for growth in foreign countries. With this rise in growth of the sport, new rules began being developed. A year later, the three hits per side rule and the back row attack rules were put into place.

By 1928, players and fans of the sport realized that “official” tournament rules and regulations were required. The United States Volleyball Association was formed, and the first U.S. Open Volleyball tournament was held. The U.S. Open allowed for squads that were not YMCA sanctioned to participate, which was a breakthrough at the time. This evolution permitted lovers of the sport to fully enjoy the game without having to be tied to the organization that created it.

After 1928, the game of Volleyball was forever changed. With the “official” rules set down, and a tournament that wasn’t private to the YMCA, the popularity of the sport was allowed to sky rocket. The Men’s U.S. Open was held every year thereafter, with the exception of three years. 1943, 1944 and 1989 did not have the yearly tournaments, due to wars and other obstacles.

In 1934, Volleyball saw another extensive change through the recognition of official referees to oversee the games. This change in particular drastically altered the calls and the fairness of the game.

The 1940′s held several special events for Volleyball. Not only was the forearm pass introduced into the game, the first world championship Volleyball game was held. It was during this time that the volleyball movement saw fruition, and squads from all over the world could find out who was the best. This became a yearly event, allowing for more publicity of the sport, which aided in its growth. Around this time, over 50 million people were playing world wide, in over 60 different countries.

By 1964, Volleyball had spread enough to warrant introduction into the Olympic games. The first games took place in Tokyo, where a rubber carcass with leather panels was used for the ball. This ball became the one that would be used in most modern competitions. As a part of the Olympic games, Volleyball was allowed to grow even further, until it secured a place for itself as the second most played game in the world.

Despite this high level of popularity, it wasn’t until 1986 that the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association, or the WPVA, was formed. With the growing rate of professional interest by both sexes, Volleyball was finally allowed to reach its full potential for popularity. Elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges all invested into the game by providing courses in Volleyball in their physical education, so that the sport was known in most households around the world.

While still trailing behind Soccer for popularity, Volleyball has done extremely well for a game with roots so young.

What Makes Learning Salsa Dance Steps So Hot

There’s an infamous story about salsa dancing and just how much of a compulsion it can be. A man goes to a salsa club and finds a woman standing to the side by herself. He asks her to dance and she’s amazing, the most amazing salsa dancer he’s ever guided on the floor. Confused, he asks her why she’s alone if she’s so good. She explains sadly that she used to come to this club every night and dance with her husband – but then he died. The man offers his sympathies, and then asks if she still doesn’t have any friends or family to come to the club with her. She says, “Yes, but right now, they’re at the funeral.”

Salsa becomes an addiction to those who can’t resist the street rhythms of this unique music/dance form, built on top of a basic Cuban guaracha, which features a call-and-response pattern. Layered on top of this infectious form are Spanish and African rhythms, with a heavy influence of Puerto Rican music. Clearly, salsa is a multicultural mutt that first began to make itself known in the mid-1960′s and blossomed later commercially in New York City.

The most important music section to any salsa dancing is the percussion, featuring claves, cowbells, conga and timbales, with trombones, trumpets and an electric baby bass providing the stop-and-start melody lines. Lyrically, you can expect either erotic? – the kind of hot and spicy sexual innuendo that would accompany this kind of sensual rhythm – or rom?ntica, featuring more tender tales of heartbreak and lost love. In both cases, singers are expected to improvise in an effort to make the music alive and spontaneous.

The footwork can be equally exciting and unpredictable. The Latino influence dictates that the man generally leads and sets the pace with machismo bravado, while the woman follows his move, arms up, with a natural style that keeps the beat and creates a fluid dynamic with her partner. Though a certain basic style is generally adhered to, within that style bursts forth passion and emotion to match the music.

Salsa dancing, in short, distills what is the most thrilling about the relationship between a man and a woman and focuses it into a dynamic dance that’s alive and still evolving. It’s also a fun way to meet new people, an easy dance to learn, and an electrifying way for a man and a woman to have as hot and steamy a time as a couple can have – with their clothes still on.
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Yacht Charter in the British Virgin Islands



The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British overseas territory, located in the north of the Caribbean Sea to the east of both Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. They are part of the Leeward Island chain. The approximate co-ordinates are 18? 20′ N 64? 40′ W. The archipelago of the Virgin Islands archipelago is made up of the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands enjoy a sub-tropical climate, moderated by the trade winds. Temperatures remain fairly steady year round with a daily maximum of around 29?C in the summer and 25?C in the winter. The BVI averages about 115 cm of rain per year, although this is higher in the hills and coast is drier. The wettest months are September through to December. The British Virgin Islands are in an area that can see hurricanes from June to October and this effectively limits the sailing season to November – May.

Amongst the many attractions on the British Virgin Islands are the; numerous white sandy beaches; the baths on Virgin Gorda, snorkelling on the coral reefs near Anegada; the well-known bars of Jost Van Dyke Island.

The British Virgin Islands include the main islands of Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda together with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. The smaller islands include; Beef Island, Cooper Island, Ginger Island, Great Camanoe, Great Thatch, Guana Island, Mosquito Island, Necker Island, Norman Island, Peter Island, Salt Island. Only some fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The BVI are mostly volcanic in origin and have a rugged, hilly terrain. Anegada is the exception and is a flat island composed of limestone and coral. Tortola is the largest island, approximately twelve miles long and three miles wide. Road Town, on Tortola, is the capital of the islands. The British Virgin Islands have a total population of around 22,000 people.

The Virgin Islands were first settled by Arawak Indians from South America around 100 BC and inhabited the islands until the fifteenth century when Carib Indians from the Lesser Antilles Islands displaced them. The first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was in 1493 by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Americas. He called them Santa Ursula y las Once Mil V?rgenes (Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins); this was shortened to Las V?rgenes (The Virgins).

In the early sixteenth century the Spanish Empire acquired the Virgin Islands and developed copper mining on Virgin Gorda. Subsequently the English, Dutch, French, Spanish and Danish all sought control of the Virgin Islands. They became a notorious pirate haunt. During the process of European colonisation the native Amerindian population was all but wiped out.

In 1648 the Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola. The British captured Tortola from the Dutch in 1672, and the British annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680.

The Virgin Islands were considered principally a strategic possession, but were also planted when there were favourable economic conditions. The British introduced sugar cane that became the main crop and source of foreign trade. Slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations and the islands prospered until the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States reduced sugar cane production significantly.

In 1917, the United States purchased St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix from Denmark for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands and the British renamed the islands they controlled as the British Virgin Islands. The British Virgin Islands were administered either as part of the Leeward Islands Colony or with St. Kitts and Nevis, with an administrator representing the British Government on the Islands. Separate colony status was gained for the British Virgin Islands in 1960 and they became autonomous in 1967.

Since this time the BVI have moved away from an agricultural economy towards tourism and financial services and have become one of the richest areas in the Caribbean. Politically tourism is the more important of the two employing large numbers of the local population and many of the businesses are locally owned. However, economically, the financial service sector is by far the more important and provides nearly 50% of the Government’s revenues in the form of licence fees for offshore companies.

The Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, also known as Beef Island Airport, has regular connections to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Saint Thomas, USVI. There are also flights from most of the major islands in the Caribbean, Antigua and Saint Martin. It is located on Beef Island, just off the eastern tip of Tortola. Virgin Gorda and Anegada have smaller airports. The islands are a popular destination for cruise ships in the Caribbean and they use the British Virgin Islands main harbour in Road Town on Tortola. The official currency of the British Virgin Islands is the US dollar. Major credit cards are honoured at the larger BVI establishments but do not expect to use them at small restaurants.

The traditional music of the British Virgin Islands is called fungi after the local cornmeal dish with the same name, often made with okra. The special sound of fungi is due to a unique local fusion between African and European music. The fungi bands, also called “scratch bands and use a great variety of instruments. Fingi is a form of festive dance but also contains humorous social commentaries and is a source of BVI oral history.

The British Virgin Islands are one of the Caribbeans most popular yacht charter destinations and Tortola is home to the world’s largest fleet of charter yachts. Prospective charters can choose between Skippered or bareboat charter. Motor or sailing vessels. Monohulls or catamarans. The short distances between the islands, often only 2 to 3 hours, make the BVI perfect for the first time yacht charterer and for families with young children. There are many flights to the BVI making access easy. On the downside the BVI can become crowded at peak periods; Christmas; Presidents Week and the Easter holidays. The first two weeks of July are also extremely busy due to Puerto Rico’s holiday schedule. Charter Yachts require a National Park Permit; ask your charter company for more details.

Moorings are increasingly popular throughout the British Virgin Islands to prevent anchors dragging on the bottom and damaging the important coral reefs. Although the cynics will tell you it’s also about revenue raising and at $30 per night it is hard not to sympathise with this point of view. Overnight moorings are on 18″ white balls. Other mooring buoys will be encountered while sailing in the BVI and are colour coded as follows;

Orange – Non-diving, day use only.

Yellow – Commercial dive vessels only.

Large Yellow – Commercial vessels or vessels over 55′ in length

White – Non-commercial vessels, for daytime dive use only.

Blue – For dinghy use only

Also note that there is a 90-minute time limit on all moorings.

The major harbour in the British Virgin Islands is at Road Town, on Tortola. And most charters will start and end here. Village Cay Marina is one of the full service marinas available in Road Harbour offering fuel, water, ice, provisioning, laundry, shower facilities, beauty salon and spa. There is a fresh water pool and a waterfront restaurant and bar. Other marinas in Road Town Harbour include Fort Burt Marina and Inner Harbour Marina. There is also another full service marina in Nanny Cay that offers another starting point for yacht charters. The Nanny Cay Marine Centre has amenities including showers, water, gift shop, laundry, ice and fuel, provisioning, storage lockers and two restaurants. There are also a dive shop, mechanical repairs, refrigeration, welding and a 24 hour chase boat service. Allow time at the beginning or end of your yacht charter to explore Tortola. Driving around the island’s steep and winding mountain roads offers some breathtaking views. Some of the finest beaches in all of the BVI are located at Cane Garden Bay and Long Bay, on Tortolas’s north shore. Restaurants on Tortola are held in high regard throughout the Caribbean. Shopping and nightlife tend to be low-key, but a selection of small clubs playing local music can be found in Road Town and in the beach bars around the Tortola.

West End is shown on the charts as Soper’s Hole, a protected harbour lying between Frenchman’s Cay and Tortola. The Soper’s Hole Wharf and Marina offers a full range of services located in charming colourful houses. The Pusser’s Landing features waterfront dining in two restaurants and bars, an outdoor terrace and the company store.

Jost Van Dyke Island was named after a Dutch pirate. It has beautiful beaches, great food and music. Jost Van Dyke is the home to the famous “Full Moon” parties held at Foxy’s and Sidney’s Peace and Love Bar.

Anegada Island is known for its beautiful pink, sugar sand beach and snorkelling with age-old shipwrecks and coral reefs. Anegada’s Reef Hotel is renowned for the local lobster. The dining room and bar are directly on the beach. If you go ashore on Anegada carry bug spray with you. You have been warned!!!

Moorings are available and anchoring is possible all along the coast of Virgin Gorda. Or you can get a berth at the nearby Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, a marina with docking for 110 vessels, where the ferry arrives for land travellers. Shops are concentrated around the Yacht Harbour area, especially at the Courtyard. Virgin Gorda Island is famous for The Baths, a day filled with cave exploration and water holes within this unique rock formation. Dinghies are no longer allowed on the shore here and you must swim from a dinghy mooring to the beach. The Bitter End Yacht Club is located in North Sound and is a great place pick up a mooring. You will be amongst some of the beautiful yachts in the BVI here. The small deserted island of Prickly Pear is a great lunch and snorkelling spot and is just a dinghy ride from the Bitter End Yacht Club. Spanish Town on the southwest side of Virgin Gorda is a popular stop over for shopping and provisioning.

Norman Island or “Treasure Island” as the locals know it is home to the pirate ship “William Thornton”. Legend suggests this to be the fabled site of Long John Silvers treasure trove. Norman Island lies close to the boundary line separating the BVI from the US Virgin Islands. Although uninhabited it is alive with tourism. The caves here are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the BVI. This is a popular overnight anchorage and many charterers will take dinner aboard the Willy T, a 100′ steel schooner.
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Puerto Rico Golf Resorts




If golf is your passion then the golf capital of the Caribbean – Puerto Rico is definitely going to be at the top of your vacation list. Puerto Rico has approximately 23 incredible golf courses with a lot more coming up.

Most of the golf courses here have been designed by golf leading lights such as Robert Trent Jones, Rees Jones, Greg Norman, George and Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Arthur Hills, and Puerto Rico?s very own luminary Chi Chi Rodriguez. These courses are marvels of architectural skill and a feast for the eyes that have an impact on golfers and non-golfers alike. You don?t have to be a world champion to value the beauty and diversity of the courses found here.

Puerto Rico courses are frequented all year-round as the warm weather cooled by the trade winds wafting across the greens make it a pleasurable experience. A bright tropical sky and gleaming white sandy beaches interspersed with the azure of the Atlantic or the turquoise of the Caribbean are almost definitely certain fixtures of the scenery here. The golf greens are a vibrant verdant with the best strains of the Bermuda grass specially adapted for the Puerto Rican climate, and also Tiff Dwarf and GN1 which is a new hybrid variety developed in Florida by Greg Norman.

Many of the golf courses are part of world-class resorts, so after indulging your passion for golf to your heart?s content, you can unwind in the pool and revive your energy with the various spa treatments before returning to the golf links to break par. All courses on this island – except the ones on military bases, which are restricted to authorized personnel – are open to the general public and even if you are not a hotel guest you can still play at the various courses.

Whether a seasoned pro or a novice, Puerto Rico has the perfect golf course just right for you.
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