Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Is That A School Record?

TigerBlog is pretty sure that no other Princeton men’s basketball player will ever score 58 points in a game, something that Bill Bradley did in the 1965 NCAA third-place game against Wichita State.

Considering that in the 65 years prior to that and 48 years since no one else has reached 40, let alone 50, let alone 58 points in a game, Bradley’s record seems pretty safe.

Then again, so does his 2,503 career points, another school record that no one before or since has even remotely approached. In fact, the last two seasons have produced the No. 2 (Ian Hummer) and No. 3 (Douglas Davis) scorers in program history. No other player in Princeton history has ever scored more than Hummer except Bradley, and Hummer still finished 878 points away from the record.

TB has always viewed the numbers Bradley put up as the most unbreakable in all of Princeton Athletics.

The most unbreakable record in sports is usually considered to be Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, set back in 1941. TB has always sort of figured that DiMaggio’s record is approachable, if for no other reason than it will only take someone 57 games to do it, and yet in the 72 years since, nobody has.

As an aside, if you’re so young that you’re removed from the legend of Joe DiMaggio, ask a parent or grandparent. In addition to his on-field performance, which incluces more career home runs than strikeouts, DiMaggio was viewed as the perfect role model for every kid who ever got a baseball glove.

What other athlete has ever inspired a lyric like he did, as Simon and Garfunkel said: “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

Anyway, to TB, Cy Young’s record of 511 career wins is actually the most unbreakable, since nobody is even going to make 511 career starts anymore, let alone with 511 games.

Most Princeton records are easy to find. They’re right there in the record book.

Of course, they require faith. Princeton’s record for goals in a men’s lacrosse game is 10, set by William Griffiths against Rutgers in 1951. At least that’s what the record book says. It was a little before TB’s time.

Then there are the records that are a little tougher to figure.

These records are limited to swimming and track and field and are more about what constitutes a Princeton record than the records themselves.

Greta Feldman ran a 2:03.something in the 800 (TB can’t find the exact time, but whatever it was it qualified for her the U.S.A. nationals) as part of the American milers series in Indianapolis two weeks ago.

Feldman’s time would have broken the Princeton record. Except Feldman graduated earlier this month.

So is it a record? Is the summer season now a continuation of the Princeton track and field season?

And hey, she was wearing her Princeton uniform when she did it. So is it a school record?

Or is it not, because she is a graduate?

TB isn’t sure.

He does know that there is no common thinking on the subject nationally. Some schools would recognize the record; others wouldn’t.

Track and Field News, which is basically the bible of the sport, says that collegians should be credited with records until August after they graduate. The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association says just the opposite, that the athletes’ career ends at the NCAA championships.

TB would say that a school record should only count in an actual Princeton University competition and that the opportunity to set a school record ends with the end of the athletes' eligibility, which ends with the last competition senior year.

Then again, what if this had been a year ago?

What if Feldman had set this record at the Olympic Trials last summer, prior to her senior year? Would that be a school record?

The same is true for swimming.

When is a school record a school record?

Suppose, say, Tom Schreiber was playing in a summer league and went out and scored 11 goals in a game. Would that be a school record? No way.

So why would it be so different in the two individual sports?

TB isn't sure what the right answer is here. Is it from the start to the conclusion of eligibility? Should any event during the period of eligibility count, regardless of what the competition was?

Then there's the added factor of not knowing through the years what the policy has been or who made it. Does the existing list of records include events that were outside of Princeton competition? There's no way to tell in some cases.

Feldman's time puts her in the national conversation as she looks ahead to the 2016 Summer Olympics, and that was the goal all along.

A Princeton record?

She might have been a few weeks late for that.


Anonymous said...

As unlikely as it would be, Johnny Vander Meer's record of back-to-back no hitters in major league baseball could be tied. It will not be broken unless Sidd Finch manages to do it.

Brian McD said...

I think that TBs instincts are right across the board - Princeton records should be for intercollegiate competitions while an athlete is college-eligible.

In the world where information is much more readily available, one can consider keeping other records, such as those established after college eligibility (most goals scored in the NHL, highest high jump, fastest whatever, etc.) or during college eligibility but outside of intercollegiate competition.

Also agree re: Ty Cobb.

It may be summer, but you still have daily readers - keep the posts coming!