- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
4. Air Force is 0-12 against Notre Dame football teams not coached by Gerry Faust. The Falcons were 4-1 against Faust.
5. The last Miss Marple mystery written by Agatha Christie was entitled Nemesis. Miss Marple takes a bus tour to play the part of Nemesis to an undiscovered murderer.
In the course of researching this story, we came across several bogus nemeses. For instance, you didn't really believe that Rotblatt, who won four games in three undistinguished seasons for the Chicago White Sox ('48, '50 and '51), was Ted Williams's nemesis, did you? Well, we did, because the source was baseball historian Holway. But then we asked Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau to look up some old box scores. Rotblatt faced the Red Sox six times, and in one of those games Williams didn't play. Aha! They were holding the Splinter out of the lineup out of respect for Rotblatt. No, actually, that was the first game Rotblatt pitched against Boston, and besides, Williams had missed the previous 15 games. What the box scores show is that Williams treated Rotblatt no differently than he did any other pitcher, and Rotblatt treated Williams no differently than he did any other hitter.
On July 23, 1948, Williams hit a bases-loaded double off Rotblatt. On June 3, 1951, Rotblatt pitched three innings against the Bosox and held Williams hitless twice. On June 22 of that year Rotblatt retired Williams once. On June 24, Williams hit a run-scoring single off Rotblatt. On July 12, Rotblatt held Williams hitless once. So Williams was 2 for 6 with 3 RBIs off Rotblatt, which hardly qualifies Marv for the Nemesis Hall of Fame. Who knows how the story got started? According to Holway, it started with Rotblatt.
Two mediocre pitchers, Al Sima of the Washington Senators and Willard Nixon of the Red Sox, enjoyed reputations as Yankee-killers. Well, they were and they weren't. In his first two years with the Senators, 1950 and '51, Sima was 3-4 against the Yankees, which doesn't seem the stuff of legends. But this happened during the Damn Yankees period of the American League, when the hapless Senators and indomitable Yankees inspired a novel and a Broadway musical. As for Nixon, he finished his career with a 12-12 record against New York, but in '54 and '55 he went 8-3 against the Yanks.
But even statistics can be deceiving.
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER
Steve Foley played 11 years with the Denver Broncos as a cornerback and free safety before retiring after the 1986 season. He finished with 44 career interceptions, nearly a third of which (13) victimized San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts. So Foley likes to think of himself as something of a nemesis for Fouts. "I always looked forward to playing against him because he put the ball up so much," says Foley. "When you play guys twice a year, you start to get a feel for what they want to do and when they might do it." Foley also attributes some of his success to the fact that Fouts often tipped off the play he was going to run by the way he set his feet. Further, says Foley, Fouts had a tendency to fake a pass to one side and then throw back to the other.
You're not much of a nemesis, though, if your opponent doesn't notice. In a recent phone interview Fouts was asked if Foley was something of a nemesis for him. "Steve was a good player, but I never felt he was a nemesis or anything," said Fouts. "Heck, I throw a lot of interceptions, and in our scheme of things, the opponent's free safety is bound to get a lot of them. Nope, to tell you the truth, one of the reasons he may have gotten those interceptions is that I wanted to keep the ball away from their cornerback, Louis Wright. He was the guy I was on the lookout for."
ANOTHER BUNCH OF FACTS