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First Babe Ruth, now Pistol Pete Maravich.
It took 34 years for Ruth’s season home run record of 60 to be broken by Roger Maris with 61 in 1961. They talked about putting an asterisk next to it, though, because Ruth hit his in 154 games. On Oct. 1, 1961, Maris hit his record smash at Yankee Stadium against Boston in the last game of the first year of the 162-game schedule in the American League.
“If the player does not hit more than 60 until after his club has played 154 games, there would have to be some distinctive mark (an asterisk) on the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule,” Major League Baseball commissioner Ford Frick had said at a press conference that July.
That asterisk, though, never appeared in any MLB record books. Maris’ record stood until Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998. Then Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001.
Maris did get more games to break Ruth’s record, but he hit his 61st in in his 684th at-bat of the 1961 season. Ruth needed 689 at-bats to hit 60 in 1927. Maris also dealt with much more pressure than Ruth, who broke his own record of 59 set in 1921. And Maris, unlike McGwire and Bonds, didn’t take steroids, which produce large heads and small asterisks in people’s minds. So, no asterisk needed for Maris.
An asterisk also never appeared next to McGwire’s record in the books and hasn’t next to Bonds’ mark either. Strong arguments swing on both sides.
An asterisk should appear next to the Houston Astros’ World Series title in 2017. Yes, most teams have stole signs since MLB began, but the criminal Astros perfected sign stealing with technology like no one else.
Pistol Pete Maravich’s NCAA Record Of 3,667 Points In Danger
Should another Ruthian record that most thought would last forever fall in the coming weeks, however, there should be two or three asterisks attached next to the new mark.
Detroit Mercy senior guard Antoine Davis is approaching the unthinkable. He scored 31 points on Sunday in an 81-68 win over Indiana-Purdue Indianapolis (IUPUI) to give him 3,543 career points. That is just 125 points from breaking a record few thought could be broken – the 3,667 points by Pistol Pete Maravich from 1967-70 at LSU – 53 years ago.
Davis and Detroit Mercy (13-16, 9-9 Horizon League) have two regular season games left – Northern Kentucky on Thursday and Wright State on Saturday. Then he will have at least one postseason game in the Horizon League Tournament, or more if the Titans keep winning and advancing to the NCAA Tournament or another postseason tourney.
But Lord Have Mercy, Detroit Mercy, this is Pete Maravich, mercy sakes alive!
Maravich scored his 3,667 points in just three seasons over just 83 games for a super-human, Twilight Zone-like, NCAA record 44.2 points per game. And that one will not be broken EVER.
With just one more 3-pointer, Pete would have finished with a nice, round figure of 3,670 points for a career that began in ’67 and ended in ’70.
Oh, wait, there was no 3-pointer when Maravich played, yet he routinely shot from beyond the arc as if it was a 12-footer. Yes, Maravich averaged 44.2 points a game for three seasons without the three-point shot. No one has come closer than 10 points to that average ever since. And the three-pointer has been around since 1987. Maravich also played with no shot clock, which did not come to college basketball until 1985. But few teams went to a stall on offense to slow Maravich down.
“He would be Pete,” said two-time Final Four Hall of Fame former LSU coach Dale Brown when asked how Maravich would fare in today’s NCAA Tournament. “No one could guard him. Never will be another like him.”
Antoine Davis Leads The Nation With 27.9 Points A Game
Davis has made an NCAA record 569 three-pointers in his career. You do the math. And he is averaging nearly just half of Maravich’s career average at 27.9 points a game this season that leads the nation. He is scoring 25.3 a game for his career and holds the NCAA record for most consecutive games in double figures at 140 and in most double-figure games overall at 140.
But Davis played in his 140th college game Sunday – 57 more than Maravich so far. Maris got only eight more games than Ruth in 1961. Davis is in his fifth season since he got the extra year of eligibility through the COVID waiver in 2020.
So, for those of you scoring asterisks at home, that’s one for his freshman season, two for his second senior season due to COVID and three for the three-pointer. Even if you forget the freshmen eligibility rule and the three-pointer, the extra COVID year has to carry an asterisk.
Oh, and the Southeastern Conference at the time Maravich played was no Horizon League. Kentucky and coach Adolph Rupp won three straight SEC championships and reached two Elite Eights in the NCAA Tournament from 1967-70. LSU finished second in the SEC in 1969-70 at 22-10 and 13-5 – the Tigers’ best season since winning the SEC title in 1954.
IMAGINE PISTOL PETE IN TODAY’S MARCH MADNESS
We shall see how the NCAA handles this “record” should “Derringer” Davis close with guns blazing.
But in Davis’ defense, points are points, and the record is most points in a season, period, regardless of the details behind the points. Davis could end up with more than Maravich. But if he only plays three more games, he would have to average a Maravich-ian 41.6 points a game. Davis has scored 40 or more in a game five times, including his career-high 48 against Wright State in 2019.
Maravich, meanwhile, scored 50 or more an incredible, NCAA record 28 times.
Antoine Davis Coached By His Dad Like Pete Maravich
Interestingly, like Pete, Antoine is coached by his father.
Press Maravich took North Carolina State to the 1965 NCAA Tournament before going to LSU in 1966. Davis’ dad is Mike Davis, who replaced the fired Bobby Knight at Indiana in 2000. In the 2001-02 season, Davis took the Hoosiers to the Final Four before losing to Maryland in the national championship game.
Maravich and son reached the 1970 Final Four of the NIT (as prestigious as the NCAA Tournament at the time, if not more) at Madison Square Garden in New York before losing to Marquette and coach Al McGuire and to Army, which was coached by Knight.
Maravich scored his NBA career high of 68 in the same Madison Square Garden for the New Orleans Jazz against the New York Knicks on Feb. 25, 1977.
“Pistol would be today better than he was then,” former Washington Bullets forward Kevin Grevey told USA TODAY in 2017, because of less emphasis on defense. “He’s about the only player I could say would be better in this era than he was in his own. And we know how great he was in his own era. Oh my God, he’d be phenomenal now.”
Maravich’s worst scoring season at LSU was only 43.8 a game in his first varsity campaign as a sophomore in 1967-68. Freshmen were not eligible to play with the varsity at the time.
As a senior in a game at Alabama on Feb. 7, 1970, Maravich hit his college career high of 69 points in a 106-104 loss.
“We played great defense that night,” said former Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson, who was an assistant at the time. “We held Pete under 70!”
Imagine if Pistol Pete Maravich Played With The Three-Pointer
Not long ago, someone at Alabama dug up the play-by-play from that game that had a shot chart. With the 3-pointer, Maravich would have scored in the 80s.
“Sometimes he shot from three-quarters court,” SEC associate commissioner Mark Womack, an Alabama graduate who went to that game as a teen-ager, said at the 2019 SEC Tournament. “He’d just stop and shoot when he crossed half-court every now and then. It was just the way he played, which was different than anybody else who’d played before. If they had the three-pointer then, there ain’t no telling how much he would’ve scored. Ain’t no telling.”
While playing on the freshmen team at LSU that outdrew the varsity in the 1966-67 season, Maravich averaged 42.8 points through 18 games, finishing with 771 points. If you add that to his varsity total, he would be at 4,438 – 895 ahead of Davis.
“Now we look at guys if they score 30 as a story.” Womack said with a laugh. “Well that’s only 14 short of Maravich’s average.”
“Pete Maravich did things nobody has ever come close to,” Davis told the Baton Rouge Advocate last week. “But I feel like I am the No. 1 scorer of my generation.”
The NCAA did not say “asterisk,” but like Frick, it left room for a “distinctive mark” when it passed the COVID additional year of eligibility in 2020.
“We recognize that many national statistical categories look untraditional due to the variance in contests played, but our staff felt it was important to recognize all active teams and players in statistical rankings for historical purposes,” an NCAA release titled “COVID-19 Statistical Policy Adjustments” said at the time.
Sounds like an asterisk to me for Maravich and “for historical purposes.”
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
You contorted yourself into a pretzel to get your Astros link in this article. How’s this for an asterisk?
No one will ever break Pistol Pete’s records, not in my book though.