Thursday, June 27, 2019

Another Year Of Winning

Every now and then, TigerBlog stumbles onto a tweet from someone he's never heard of that has been retweeted and captures his attention.

Like this one, for instance:
If you don't feel like going through all the answers, then TB can sum it up for you. A bunch of people threw out some names until someone mentioned Bo Jackson, and then everyone basically agreed that Bo was the only real answer.

If you never got to see Bo Jackson in his prime, you missed an amazing athlete. He played NFL football and Major League Baseball and was an unstoppable physical force in both in a way that even Deion Sanders probably envies.

In fact, Bo is the only person ever to have played in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the NFL's Pro Bowl.

TigerBlog can agree that Jackson is a great answer to that question. Of course, it's not the answer he came up with when he first saw it.

Nope. That would be Mason Rocca, the oft-injured Princeton men's basketball player who graduated, wait, what? Nearly 20 years already?

Rocca was a member of the Class of 2000, which means that his 20th reunion is a year away. That's nuts.

TigerBlog is pretty good at remembering facts, numbers, scores, high schools and hometowns. He doesn't even have to look to know that Mason Rocca is from Evanston, outside of Chicago.

He's actually better remembering class years of athletes who competed here in the 1990s and early 2000s than he is with more recent ones. What does that mean?

As for TB himself, he's worked here for more than 25 years now and has covered Princeton Athletics for more than 30, including his five years covering the Tigers during his newspaper days. The anniversary of his hiring was actually a few days ago.

He remembers the summer of 1994 as he started to work here and a conversation with Tom O'Connell, the late baseball coach, who asked him how he was adjusting going from the newspaper to here. TB said something along the lines that it was fine, but he was ready for the games to start.

Since then, he can't even imagine how many Princeton games he's been to, though if he had to guess, he'd say it's well past a thousand.

Each year since then has had its own ups and downs, with way more ups than downs, and in some ways they start to run into each other in ways that make it hard to remember exactly what happened when, even with TB's memory. Fortunately, there are a lot of records that have been kept through the years as a reminder.

For instance, the 2018-19 athletic year recently ended. Princeton teams combined for 643 events where one team won and the other lost (or there was a tie), so this excludes things like multi-team golf tournaments and track meets.

What was Princeton's record for those 643 events?

How about 399-231-13.

That's a combined winning percentage of .631. That's awesome.

Broken down by gender, Princeton's men's teams were 186-128-6 (.591). The women were 213-103-7, which is a ridiculous .673, which means that Prineton's women's teams won more than two-thirds of their games.

If you look at head-to-head against Ivy opponents, Princeton won at least 60 percent of its games against all seven other schools.

Princeton also won 15 league titles, 12 of which were in the Ivy League. There were eight second-place finishes and four more third-place finishes, which means that 27 of Princeton's 37 teams finished in the top three in the standings.

Yeah, it was another great year of winning.

These numbers are really good, but they're not much different than most years for Princeton. The challenge is to keep it that way.

That's been the challenge ever since TB got here. He's seen coaches, athletes and administrators embrace that and thrive under it. And he's had a chance to see a lot of more Tiger wins than losses.

It's made the last 25 years go pretty quickly.

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