Thursday, April 3, 2014

Better streak: Dick Bavetta or Cal Ripken?

I'll admit I was skeptical when I first read the headline "NBA ref Bavetta betters Ripken with streak" on  Cal Ripken Jr. played in 2,632 consecutive Major League Baseball games spanning 16 seasons from 1982-1998.  On Wednesday night in New York Dick Bavetta refereed his 2,633rd contest in a row.  But what does that mean for a ref to have a "consecutive games" streak?

Well, apparently they are scheduled for 82 per season, just like players are.  And going back to 1975, the 74-year-old Bavetta has never missed an assignment.  That includes 270 postseason games (Ripken played in 28), as well as a stint in the Olympics that's not even part of his run.

Obviously officiating in the NBA doesn't take the same toll on the body as playing in MLB does.  But that's 39 straight seasons that Bavetta has never called in sick.  He's got stories of renting cars and driving all night through snowstorms when airports were closed.  Plus there's the fact that referees don't have half their games at home like players do; they're constantly travelling.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the guy is 74 years old?

Bavetta reffed the Celtics vs Raptors contest I went to last week, and I was amazed to see the way he still runs around out there.  I'll never forget when he famously raced Charles Barkley at the All-Star game in 2007 (this clip is long, but it's totally worth it):

In discussing my consecutive days blogging for (now at 1,129 I believe) I've always referenced Cal Ripken.  From now on I'm only going to measure myself against Dick Bavetta.


  1. I don't mean this in any derogatory way, but didn't the league reduce Bavetta's schedule somewhere along the line -- also give his some administrative responsibilities in lieu thereof? My recollection's a bit fuzzy.

    Ever hear of Jake O'Donnell? Before your time (I'm pretty sure), but he worked as both an NBA ref and American League ump for several years. Ultimately, he stopped doing baseball. He and Heinsohn had many a battle in Tommy's coaching days.

    Hey, I started up a blog of my own a couple of weeks ago -- primarily for fun and to improve my woeful computer skills.
    With your ear for language, you might find some amusement in this entry:

    1. Hmm, you're probably right that they reduced his schedule at some point, don't know though. Baseball ump and NBA ref is pretty impressive! Could never pull that off today...


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