Tag Archives: Rookie of the Year

Dec. 9, 1984 – Eric Dickerson breaks the NFL rushing record

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Eric Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.

In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book becoming a member of the 2000 rushing yards club. Twelve times in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O. J. Simpson. His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards (Dickerson having reached 2,007 yards after 15 games), but since the NFL expanded the regular season from 14 to 16 games in 1978, Dickerson had the benefit of playing in two additional games. No one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season. Dickerson’s 5.6 yards per carry led the Rams to a playoff berth in 1984.

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Nov. 15, 1960 – Elgin Baylor scored 71 points against the New York Knicks

From the 1960-61 to the 1962-63 seasons, Elgin Baylor of the Los Angeles Lakers averaged 34.8, 38.3 and 34.0 points per game, respectively. On November 15 of the 1960-61 season, Baylor set a new NBA scoring record when he scored 71 points in a victory against the New York Knicks, in Madison Square Garden, while grabbing 25 rebounds. In doing so, Baylor had broken his own NBA record of 64 points that he had set in the previous season.

“He was one of the most spectacular shooters the game has ever known. I hear people talking about forwards today and I haven’t seen many that can compare with him.” – Former teammate and NBA Legend Jerry West

Baylor, a United States Army Reservist, was called to active duty during the 1961-62 season, and being stationed in Washington state, he could play for the Lakers only when on a weekend pass. Despite playing only 48 games during the 1961–62 season, he still managed to score over 1,800 points. Later that season, in a game five NBA Finals victory against the Boston Celtics, Baylor grabbed 22 rebounds and set the still-standing NBA record for points in an NBA Finals game with 61.

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Nov. 11, 1990 – Derrick Thomas set a single game NFL record with seven quarterback sacks

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Derrick Thomas was selected in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft, fourth overall, and was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. He would remain with the Chiefs for his entire career. Thomas’s rookie year was very successful, earning him Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News, and was the first Chiefs’ linebacker to be elected to the Pro Bowl in his first season since Hall of Fame player Bobby Bell.

Thomas was perhaps most well known for his ability to sack the quarterback and was named an All-Pro 9 times and was voted to 9 Pro Bowls in his 10 year career. He totaled 126.5 sacks in his career, ranking 12th all-time in NFL history, and still holds the single game record of 7 quarterback sacks, a feat which occurred against Seattle SeahawksDave Krieg on Veterans Day, 1990. Ironically, it was a sack that Thomas didn’t get that decided the game: on the final play, Krieg eluded a blitzing Thomas and threw a touchdown pass to give the Seahawks a 17-16 win. The next player to come close to breaking this record was Thomas himself, recording 6 sacks against the Oakland Raiders in the regular season opener in 1998.

He is one of only 25 NFL players to achieve 100 or more sacks, and ranks fifth all-time in Chiefs’ history with 649 career tackles. During his career, he also recorded 1 interception and recovered 19 fumbles, returning them for 161 yards and 4 touchdowns. Thomas established Chiefs career records for sacks, safeties, fumble recoveries, and forced fumbles. Off the field, Thomas established the Third and Long Foundation in 1990, which helps inner city youth learn to read and teaches life skills through educational and cultural programs.

On January 31, 2009, Thomas was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his fifth year of eligibility.

“Resilience is what I’m all about. I run angry. Football allows me to take out some of my pain on the field.” – Adrian Peterson

RIP to Peterson’s 2-year-old son who passed away this Friday due to injuries sustained during an alleged assault by the boyfriend of the child’s mother.

Sept. 19, 1947 – Jackie Robinson becomes first player to win Rookie of the Year

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A 28-year old in only his third professional season, Jackie Robinson played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, a position he had never played before. He led the league in stolen bases and helped the club to their first pennant in six years.

Eligibility requirements were set forth in 1971 and a rookie was formally defined as a player with less than one-hundred thirty at-bats, a pitcher with less than fifty innings pitched, or anyone with less than forty-five days on any Major League roster.

The award was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in July 1987.

Jackie Robinson game footage: