Thursday, February 21, 2013

Answering Holtsledge

One of TigerBlog's favorite writers is a man - TB assumes he's a man - named "Holtsledge."

Come to think of it, what does "Holtsledge" mean? Is it a name? A nickname? A spoof of something?

"Holtsledge" writes on the Ivy League Sports Board, which if you've never been to it provides a pretty good overview of the pulse of serious Ivy League sports fans, probably as good a read as anywhere else.

TB goes to the board for many reasons. There's an entertainment value. There's the intrigue of wondering who some of these anonymous people are, if TigerBlog has ever met them in real life.

There's the amazement of how much information is on the board that is spot on, meaning it's being posted by people who are either on the inside (coaches? administrators?) or know someone who is and who gives them very reliable information.

The flip side is how much is wrong. What amazes TB every time is how he'll read something that he knows is completely inaccurate and yet at first believes it, questions what he knows to be true, simply because of one of TB's most etched-in-stone beliefs: People believe everything they read.

The best part of the board, as TB said, is to see what Ivy fans are talking about, what their views on Ivy League athletics is.

It is on the threads that talk about how the league's football teams should be scheduling or how the league and its schools should be marketing that he can really learn something.

Some of what is said is impossible, or pipe dreams, or not practical.

But it is educational, especially in a world where there is so little market research available. In that way, the board gives great feedback, directly from the most supportive customers.

Anyway, Holtsledge started two threads this week, one about the best current Ivy League athlete and another about the best Ivy athlete of all time.

As an aside, TB saw the thread about the best Ivy athlete of all time multiple times before he realized that there was an extra "of" in front of "Ivy athlete."

Oh, and if you're looking at one of the thing that makes Ivy athletics so unique, then how about a fan message board with the word "piffle" on it?

So who is the best Ivy athlete of all time? The people who replied came up with some great answers - and some who clearly aren't close to being the best.

TigerBlog never realized that the great marathoner Frank Shorter was a Yale grad. Or Olympic swimmer Don Schollander, for that matter.

Each school has its athletic icons. It's just that TB never thought about it beyond Princeton.

In the case of the Tigers, TB has always gone on the assumption that the three greatest athletes Princeton has ever had are Hobey Baker, Dick Kazmaier and Bill Bradley. And if he had to pick one? Bradley.

In fact, Bradley's accomplishments are so over the top that they're really rendered all kinds of things at Princeton irrelevant, such as who the greatest athlete is or if anyone can break the school record for points in a career.

Bradley played three years of varsity basketball, because freshmen were still ineligible. There was no three-point line at the time.

And yet he scored 2,503 points.

To put that in perspective, Douglas Davis is second with 1,550, followed by Kit Mueller with 1,546. Ian Hummer has joined the 1,500 club with one point to spare, and he takes 1,501 career points to Columbia and Cornell this weekend as he chases the No. 2 spot.

No. 1?

No chance. No way. Ever. For anyone.

Hummer is fourth all time at Princeton and yet is 1,002 points behind Bradley. That's nuts.

Bradley has the top 11 single-game scoring totals in school history. He holds the record for the most points ever scored by any player on any Division I team in a Final Four game with 58 against Wichita State.

Hey, TB's favorite note about Bradley might not be any of those. It might be that his career low was 16, as in he never scored fewer than 16 points in any game he played.

Think how much more interesting it would have been last year had Davis been chasing Mueller for the top spot at Princeton and how wild it would have been for him to get it by four points in his final game ever as a Tiger?

For that matter, think of the great debate Princeton fans would have knowing that Davis played in 15 more games than Mueller did.

And how great would it be that Mueller's record would have stood for 21 years and then probably been broken in back-to-back years?

But nope.

Bill Bradley ruined all that for everyone.

That's why TB thinks he's the greatest athlete in Princeton history. And maybe even Ivy history.

Or maybe it's Lou Gehrig.


Anonymous said...

Bill Bradley or no, could still be interesting: As of this writing Hummer and Niveen Rasheed are within 4 points of each other for their careers.

Anonymous said...

Someone commented on the ivy sports board that Bradley played baseball at Princeton. Is that true?