THE MAGIC NUMBER?
On March 2, 1962 NBA Hall of Fame center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game his Philadelphia Warriors won over the New York Knicks 169-147. It's the first, last and only time an NBA player reached triple digits in a single game.
Chamberlain attempted sixty-three field-goals and thirty-two shots from the foul line on his way to reaching the historic century mark. It's a remarkable feat that even Michael Jordan could not come close to duplicating. (Jordan's career-best scoring effort fell thirty-one points short of Wilt's record-setting performance).
But it wouldn't be one hundred. One hundred is a milestone - a measuring stick for achievement in sports and in life.
We hail the person lucky enough to celebrate a 100th birthday – even if that person looks like Yoda, wears a diaper and sips dinner through a straw.
It's the goal of every television show to produce 100 episodes. One hundred is a benchmark that validates its popularity and ensures its syndication value. (That's why we have to suffer through years of "Facts of Life" and "Three's Company" reruns).
One hundred puts a lot of things into perspective. Walk into a hot room and someone is bound to say "it must be a hundred degrees in here". Growing up, how many times did you hear your mom start a sentence with "if I told you once, I've told you a hundred times…"?
A running back is deemed to have had a successful game if he rushes for one hundred yards. And a hitter with 100 RBI had a very good year.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris ended his career with exactly one hundred touchdowns. While ninety-nine certainly would not have kept him out of the Hall of Fame, it still wouldn't be one hundred.
One hundred - the magic number. There's a hundred years in a century, a hundred pennies in a dollar and there's 100 bottles of beer on the wall.
But I really can't see what makes that particular number so special. One hundred on a high school math test is a great score – but ninety-five is still an 'A'.
If you've got a temperature of 100 degrees, you've got a fever – sure to be followed by body aches and a scratchy throat. And you never want to be traveling at 100 miles per hour when you pass a policeman with a radar gun.
If one hundred's so great, how come there are only fifty ways to leave your lover? And how come the player driving in forty runs a season is still making four million dollars?
Seventy-three is good enough for the Major League home run record. And Denny McLain's thirty-one wins in 1968 is the most by any pitcher since 1916.
There are 101 Dalmatians and athletes are always boasting about giving 110% effort. Pick the winning horse in all nine races at the track and you're "batting a thousand".
Three hundred is a perfect bowling score and fifty-nine is the lowest round ever recorded in a pro golf tournament. In fact, one hundred is taboo to both bowlers and golfers.
Forty-one years ago Wilt Chamberlain did the impossible when he scored one hundred points in a single game. But he missed twenty-seven shots from the floor and four free throws. So was it an unbelievable performance or was the big guy just being a ball hog?
One hundred – some milestone. There aren't too many major leaguers with a one hundred batting average. And I wouldn't want one hundred people in line in front of me waiting for a limited supply of Super Bowl tickets.
Heck, even my satellite dish picks up 240 stations – now that's a benchmark with which I can relate (ok, I can also relate to the 100 bottles of beer on the wall).
I've been thinking about this week's feature for quite some time. I wanted to do something special. Something with a lot of interesting facts. Something humorous and memorable.
I wanted to knock your socks off with a dazzling display of insight, reference and wit.
After all, this is a big week for Hogan's Alley. This is our 100th feature.
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