# Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football

By Wayne Winston | Go to book overview

45
RANKING GREAT SPORTS COLLAPSES
With seventeen games left in the 2007 baseball season the New York Mets held a seemingly comfortable seven- game lead in the National League East over the second- place Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets collapsed and the Phillies won the division. This collapse inspired Fox News sportswriter Todd Behrendt to write an article ranking the “all- time great sports collapses.”1 In this chapter we will make some simple assumptions and then use basic probability to try and determine the probability of each collapse occurring. The “greatest collapse” would then be the collapse that had the smallest probability of occurring.
A List of Great Collapses
We now describe the great baseball, basketball, and football collapses listed by Behrendt. (I added the last three collapses on the list.)
 • The 2007 Mets (described above). • On September 20, 1964, the Philadelphia Phillies held a 6.5- game lead over both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. The Phillies went 3–9 down the stretch and the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League title. • On August 12, 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers had a 72–36 record and the New York Giants had a 62–51 record. The two teams had seven head- tohead contests remaining. The Giants wiped out the Dodgers' 13.5- game lead and beat the Dodgers in a three- game playoff capped off by Bobby Thompson's amazing home run (see chapter 8). • The L.A. Lakers trailed the Portland Trailblazers by 15 points with 10:28 left in the fourth quarter of the deciding game 7 of the 2000 NBA Western Conference Finals. The Lakers came back to win.

1 See http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7286840.

-303-

If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes

#### Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

#### Cited page

Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football

Settings

#### Settings

Typeface
Text size Reset View mode
Search within

Look up

#### Look up a word

• Dictionary
• Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
• Bookmarks
• Highlights & Notes
• Citations
/ 358

### How to highlight and cite specific passages

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

## Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

## Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.