Did you know?
This sentence is one of the greatest, most suspenseful, intriguing, and aggravating three-word sentences overused in the English language.
As bar owners, we hear this sentence endlessly. Not only that, but most of the time, we definitely know the fun fact that follows. Bummer, right? We decided to do something about it! What follows is a list of totally random, bizarre, actually unknown facts about sports we all love.
Athletic shoes make up 20% of all shoe sales in the U.S.
Golf balls were once made of leather and feathers.
Why? Yeah, we had the same question. Probably because “golf balls” (called featheries) have been around since roughly 1486. Featheries were made by boiling a number of feathers measured as a “gentleman’s top hat full” unit. Then the soft feathers were stuffed into a hand-sewn leather pouch. The balls were all hand made and cost the equivalent of $20 today. They were rarely spherical, often flew irregularly, and were ruined when wet. However, they were better than wooden balls and the featheries stayed in use until 1848.
The average lifespan of a professional baseball is 7 pitches. Meanwhile, a Spalding basketball has a lifespan of 10,000 bounces.
The first yellow tennis ball was used at Wimbledon in 1986.
Tennis balls were white until the 80s because a white ball was too hard to see on televised tennis matches. Yellow and white are the only approved colors and the yellow is known as “optic yellow.” It was first introduced in 1972 to the ITF but it wasn’t until the 80s that optic yellow was debuted to the public.
NFL referees also receive Super Bowl rings.
The rings are different than the ones ordered for the winning and losing teams. They are much smaller in size and simpler in design. Nevertheless, the enviable bling commemorates the referee’s important contribution to the game.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers once combined to form the Steagles.
Philly natives might know this but a lot of others sure don’t! During World War II, over 600 football players were drafted, so some smaller teams temporarily combined to keep the league alive. In 1943, the Eagles and Steelers combined to be the “Steagles.” This was also the first winning season for the Eagles ever. In 1944, the Steelers split from the Eagles and merged with the Arizona Cardinals to make Card-Pitt.
Olympic gold medals are actually made of silver.
Isn’t that wild? The International Olympic Committee requires all gold medals to have at least six grams of gold and at least 92.5 percent silver in the medal. In the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the gold medals weighed 586 grams total and were comprised of 580 grams of silver and six grams of gold. At its raw material value, the medal was worth roughly $570.30 when it was made in 2018.
The word “soccer” is an 1800s British slang term.
When England first developed the game of “football,” many different British universities began experimenting with different variations. There were two popular variations: “rugby football” and “association football.” Over time the games were abbreviated to “rugger” and “soccer” respectively. Soccer is an abbreviated version of the word “association.” Extra bonus fact, the English used the words soccer and football interchangeably until the 1980s, when the word “soccer” became associated with American English instead of British English.
Every ball used in Major League Baseball is literally dirty before it hits the diamond.
For roughly the last 100 years, umpires have rubbed the sheen off of every new baseball before the game. It helps give the pitchers proper traction with their grip. Everyone in baseball must adhere to this practice called, “mudding the ball.” The umpires rub off the factory gloss by hand with mud because brand new balls are too slick for the pitchers to control. In 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was killed by a rogue Yankee pitch (caused by the slick sheen) after he was hit in the head by the baseball.
Only one company, called the “Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud,” sells the magic dirt all the teams use. The mud comes from an undisclosed location along the Delaware River and is sold in small tubs nationwide. Why mud? It’s the only material that doesn’t ruin the leather or stain the ball (if the ball is too dark, the hitters can’t see it). All industry regulated balls for both the Major and Minor Leagues must be rubbed down with Lena Blackburne’s mud.
Maybe you knew some of these, maybe you knew none of them, but either way, we hope you learned something new! Wanna hear some more fun facts? Or better still, teach new ones to us? Come in for our happy hour specials, we’ve always got a fun and friendly crowd who is eager to learn all about sports.