What is the world’s worst soccer team?

The Wall Street Journal asked me to compile a list of the worst teams in World Cup qualifying: “Soccer is often considered the world’s game, but that doesn’t mean the whole world is very good at it. For every Brazil, a team that has played in every World Cup and has won it five times, there are a dozen Luxembourgs, teams that compete year in and year out, but never come close. Using data from FIFA, we’ve analyzed World Cup qualifying since the race for Italia ’90 began, in 1988, to see which nations have produced the…

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Who was the lowest draft pick to become NBA’s Rookie of the Year?

The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, who won this year’s Rookie of the Year award, was the first overall pick in last year’s draft. So were about 16 other former winners. What winner was the most underestimated at draft time? The Philadelphia Warriors selected Woody Sauldsberry in the eighth round of the 1957 draft, 60th overall. He went on to grab the Rookie of the Year award in ’58 becoming the second African American to do so. Tweet

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Who is the All-Time Home Run Leader in the World Baseball Classic?

Without Bonds and A-Rod, there is room for other sluggers to emerge in the international tournament. So who is leading in the long ball category as the second WBC gets underway? The South Korean star Seung-Yeop Lee, is the current leader. He hit five dingers in 24 at-bats back in 2006. But Lee may not retain the title for long. He;s not on this year’s roster (although he did help his Yomiuri Giants beat Korea in a warmup game). Without him, South Korea still beat China 14-0, invoking the “mercy rule” and ending the game. The mercy…

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Who has the most receiving yards in a Super Bowl?

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald already has 419 yards receiving this post season, a playoff record. Along the way he had some great outings: a three-touchdown half, a 166-yard game, and a 152-yard game, but those numbers won’t break any new records in the Super Bowl. Who has the most receiving yards in the big game and how many? Jerry Rice, of course, is the Super Bowl receiving leader in terms of career yards (589), career touchdowns (8), touchdowns in a game(3), and yards in a single game (215). That 215-yard effort came on 11 catches in…

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Who is the youngest player to appear in an NHL All-Star game?

With all the youngsters in this year’s NHL All-Star game, Alex Ovechkin and Sid the Kid are starting to look like a pair of old geezers. The West will feature two 20-year-olds, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, in its starting lineup (part of the 3-Blackhawk starting squad), They aren’t, though, the youngest ever to play in an All Star game. Who was? The answer is Fleming MacKell, who played in 1947 at the age of 18 years, 5 months, and 13 days. MacKell, though, played in that game, which happened to be the first official All Star…

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Why do teams have different punt and kickoff returners?

Leon Washington does it all for the Jets, averaging 29.6 yards on kickoff returns and 12.9 yards on punt returns. Despite the fact that returning kickoffs and returning punts seem to require similar skills, most teams in the NFL employ different players for each job. This year only seven teams have a player who has fielded 15 punts and 15 kicks so far. There are, of course, some notable exceptions. Return specialists like Chicago’s Devin Hester and Buffalo’s rookie Leodis McKelvin can do it all. But most others end up concentrating on one skill or the other.…

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Who was the oldest Olympic champion ever?

At the 1920 games in Antwerp, Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, narrowly missed a gold medal and ended up with silver. He was 72 years old, the oldest Olympic medalist. The event? Team double-shot running deer. That’s right. Team double-shot running deer, a shooting competition in which four riflemen try to take out moving targets that look like deer. It was like an old-school version of Buck Hunter. Some form of running deer shooting was in the Olympics from 1908-1924 and then again in 1936 and 1948. Oscar Swahn was a running deer specialist. Swahn became the oldest…

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Who was the first player to bat in a televised major league game?

The first player to bat in a televised major league game is also the oldest living big league player. His name is Billy Werber, and he turned 100 today. He played in 1930, then 1933-1942 for the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Philadelphia A’s, the Reds, and the NY Giants. The first televised game, by the way, was Cincinnati Reds against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, Aug. 26, 1939. Read an intriguing story on Werber at the NY Times. Tweet

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Can a baseball player catch a ball while standing in the stands?

Reader Yonatan Freedman asks, “If a batter hits a very high foul ball, and a fielder walks well into the stands and waits there to catch the foul ball and then catches it, is the batter out or is it just a foul ball? “I know players vault into the stands all the time and catch the ball in the air; but what if they are standing there and waiting for the ball – out/safe? “Would the same apply for a ball hit into the bleachers for a home run—- if a player catches it while standing…

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