Sports quiz: fact or fiction

Trophies in rivers, two sports fighting over the same player, and an interesting war tactic

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photo of a baseball player at the plate, swinging their bat.
PHOTO: Chris Chow / Unsplash

By: Kaja Antic, Sports Writer

True or False: The Los Angeles Kings drafted a future Baseball Hall of Famer in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

True! Tom Glavine, who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, was first drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1984 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft. Glavine was drafted in the fourth round, two rounds before future Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Brett Hull and five rounds before future inductee Luc Robitaille

The Atlanta Braves had drafted Glavine five days earlier in the second round of the 1984 MLB amateur draft. Ultimately, Glavine chose baseball over hockey — which worked out decently, as he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 in his first year of eligibility.

True or False: A basketball player with only nine fingers won the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

True! During his time with the Boston Celtics, shooting guard/small forward Gerald Green won the dunk contest at the 2007 National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game. When Green was in the sixth grade, a freak accident while dunking on a makeshift hoop led to half of his right ring finger being amputated.

True or False: All Grey Cup team winners have been Canadian.

False! During the early 1990s, the Canadian Football League (CFL) experimented with United States expansion. While most of the American teams were unsuccessful, the Baltimore Stallions won the 83rd Grey Cup in 1995, defeating the Calgary Stampeders 37–20, shortly before the league officially ended the American trial run.

True or False: During World War II, the US Army purposefully designed their grenades to be the same size as baseballs so it would be easier to throw.

True, but with the opposite effect. The BEANO T-13 hand grenade had the same measurements as a regulation baseball, as US Army officials assumed that most draft-eligible men in the United States would be able to pitch a fastball, due to the popularity of baseball on the home front. Though the grenades were rarely used outside of testing, the BEANO T-13 was said to have caused more casualties for the Allies than the Axis Powers. 

True or False: There are two MLS teams in New York.

False! While there are two clubs with “New York” in the name, only one of them actually plays in the Big Apple. New York City FC is the only Major League Soccer (MLS) team to actually play in the state of New York, sharing Yankee Stadium with the MLB’s New York Yankees. The New York Red Bulls play at Red Bull Stadium in Harrison, New Jersey, within 10 miles of the New York–New Jersey border. 

True or False: The 1905 Stanley Cup Champions, the Ottawa Senators, kicked the cup into the Rideau Canal.

Most likely false. While a long-standing legend has said the highly successful Ottawa Senators of 1905 (or, occasionally, 1906) kicked the historic Stanley Cup into Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, the tale is most likely false. There has never been a clear story of the night the Senators won against the Dawson City Nuggets, and it’s been denied by the family of the Senators players, as well as the NHL’s first president Frank Calder.

Nevertheless, the story lives on. While there may not be solid evidence or reports of this incident actually occurring, it’s still a funny anecdote in the history of the cup. Many odd incidents with the Stanley Cup have transpired since then, like in 1924 when members of the victorious Montreal Canadiens accidentally left the trophy on the side of the road.

True or False: Two NFL teams are tied for the most Super Bowl wins.

True! The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowl wins in the trophy’s history, with six apiece. Pittsburgh’s victories came in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 2006, and 2009. New England’s victories all came within 20 years, in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, and 2019. 

True or False: David Beckham led to a rule change in the MLS.

True! Mr. Posh Spice was a member of the LA Galaxy from 2007–2012, appearing in 98 games for the MLS team. In order to allow for superstar Beckham to play in the league, the MLS created the “designated player” rule in 2007, which allowed teams to sign three high-value players to their roster on contracts that would exceed their salary cap. 

Beckham was the first to utilize a designated player spot, signing a five-year contract with LA Galaxy worth over $292.6 million CAD in 2007. Other players who have since used this rule include superstar Lionel Messi, who signed a deal that could be worth more than $207 million CAD over two and half years with Inter Miami FC, and the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2023 Player of the Year, Ryan Gauld.

True or False: The Toronto Raptors were the first NBA team in Canada.

False, kind of. The Raptors joined the NBA in 1995 along with the ill-fated Vancouver Grizzlies, who moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001. However, the first professional basketball team in Toronto actually pre-dated the NBA.

The Toronto Huskies played one season, from 1946–1947, in the Basketball Association of Americawhich eventually became the NBA. The Huskies folded after only one year, with a 22–38 record. Professional basketball returned to Canada’s largest city 48 years later, with the Raptors we know today.

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