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Commentary: 4 is more than just a number

This is 4 you!

Now that the football season is officially over, and the sports world is in a brief lull, it’s time to answer a question on the mind of every trivia buff.

Ques: Why is the number 4 so prominent in our sports world?

We seem to be obsessed with No. 4 either in single or double digit form.

Two of the greatest iron horses in sports wore No. 4: Yankee Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig and NFL quarterback Brett Farve.

Hockey great Bobby Orr also had a 4 on his jersey.

Double it up to No. 44 and you have Hank Aaron, the real baseball career home run leader in many people’s minds and the NBA’s Mr. Logo Jerry West, the Lakers Hall of Famer.

Syracuse running back Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, wore 44 before his life ended tragically because of an illness.

Jim Brown, considered the greatest running back in NFL history, also wore 44 when he toted the ball at Syracuse as did Floyd Little, an NFL Hall of Famer who followed the two legends there.

Leroy Kelly, a Hall of Fame five time All-Pro, had the number 44 jersey when he was churning up yardage for the Cleveland Browns in a nine career that ended in 1973.

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There are four infielders, four receiver sets, four defensive backs, four down linemen; and the four corners offense that led to the institution of the shot clock in college basketball.

But four is not just for (pardon the pun) players.

It takes four victories to win the best of seven series that determine our champions in baseball, basketball and hockey.

You get four chances to make a first down.

On his fourth pitch out of the strike zone a pitcher issues a walk.

Pro Football and basketball play four quarters.

An NFL football has four seams.

High school basketball overtime periods in Florida are four minutes.

The Olympics and World Cup are held every four years.

Heck we even yell “fore” on the golf course when a ball is headed straight for our cranium!

Getting to “The Final Four” is the dream of every college basketball player.

You have to touch four locations (including home plate) to score a run in baseball.

Home runs are called four-baggers.

A grand slam needs four players to make it happen.

Kinnan has four state titles

Manatee High legendary coach Joe Kinnan has won four state titles (does that mean he won’t get another?); actually that depends on how well St. Thomas Aquinas continues to recruit.

Since 2000, Manatee County has had four players selected in the first round of the NFL draft (Peter Warrick, Fabian Washington, Mike Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie).

Four Manatee High players have Super Bowl rings (Bill Anderson, Henry Lawrence, Alvoid Mays and Tyrone Williams).

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We go to high school for four years and, if fortunate, to four years of college.

The President of the United States serves for four years and his supporters scream four more years when it’s over.

It takes four victories to win the Florida high school football state tournament in most classifications.

The main continent of the United States has four standard time zones.

Notre Dame’s Four Horseman backfield has survived as a legacy among football fans for almost a century.

Party of four usually wins

There are four suits of playing cards, four seasons, four parts of the day and four directions (north, east, south and west).

So, does anyone wonder why this obsession with four spills into our fantasy world of sports?

And, be honest, how many times have you stood in a restaurant line and seen a “party of four” get seated ahead of a couple that was waiting longer?

Now that’s the toughest foursome to beat.

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