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Chicago Sports by the Numbers

By Staff

Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017

 Statistics play a key role in telling sports stories. Our team took a crack at breaking down some of Chicago's sports stars and teams ... and one former Cub as well. 

Chicago Blackhawks Payroll

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The graph above shows the distribution of salaries paid to the players of the Chicago Blackhawks. With 17 players earning only 17.22 percent of the overall income for the team.

This income distribution is not rare in the sports world due to various salary cap policies put in place by organizations like the NHL. These caps are largely based off of the previous years profits for the league as a whole.

These caps are meant to prevent the monopolization of star players by teams with more money and often result in a handful of the best and most well-known players making 10 to 20 percent of the salary cap while other players make only a small fraction of what is left.

Patrick Kane makes more than 24 times the amount of money that the lowest paid player, Dennis Rasmussen, makes per year. However, these high salaries make it more difficult to retain many of the best players which often results in trades to maximize the benefits of the salary cap and talent pool on the team. This was a contributing factor to the trade of Patrick Sharp to the Dallas Stars after his third Stanley Cup win in 2015. -- Lauren Yard

Jonathan Toews' Production with the Blackhawks

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A captain for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canadian-born hockey player Johnathan Toews, is one of the staples of success for the NHL team. During his years with the Blackhawks, Toews had been a part of three Stanley Cup Champion Seasons, which include: the 2009-2010 season the 2012-2013 season, and the 2014-2015 season.

On the graph, we can see that in all those years, the number of goal assists were greater than the number of goals scored. Mainly, there is a very large gap between the two values during the 2009-2010 season and the 2014-2015. This is interesting, because in both cases, Toews’s number of assists peak during those times, and the number of goals either dip or stay steady.

The years were Toews had the highest number of goals does not also mean that the team was doing well at the same time. Rather, the assists better marked the Blackhawk’s success. As with Michael Jordan and the Bulls' championship runs in the 1990s, the Blackhawks are showing that a team working together wins games.

Toews, while a good shooter himself, is better known as a great defensive player and passer, setting up goals for his other teammates. Having more assists provides evidence of good team coordination and the Stanley Cup-winning seasons shows just that. -- Brian Mlezko

 Chicago White Sox Attendance Decline

This interactive chart shows attendance at Chicago White Sox games from 1980-2016.

In more recent years, after their success in the 2005 world series bringing home the championship, we can see that attendance is steadily declining with a stagnation the last two seasons 2015 and 2016.

Prior to this steady decline in attendance there are a few notable seasons with very high attendance. The first being 1991, which was when the new Comiskey Park opened its doors. Attendance jumped from roughly 2 million to 2.9 million in one season due to the opening of Comiskey. Not only did the team have a new stadium to play in, but in 1991 the former White Sox owner, Bill Veeck was inducted into the baseball hall of fame.

The second year that stands out is 2006 with a total of 3 million attendees for the season. In 2005 they had won the world series for first time since 1917. This success in the 2005 season spilled over into their attendance for 2006 when fan loyalty was at an all time high.

Now, the Chicago White Sox have their steadily declining attendance in addition to constant stadium name changes. Their lack of attendance and money has forced the team to rename Comiskey Park a few times in hopes to gain some profit from the contracts. The stadium’s most current name was changed from U.S. Cellular Field, to Guaranteed Rate Field . The team needs to see some major improvements to keep and regain their fan loyalty, especially after the Cubs world series championship this past 2016 season. -- Maura Biedron

Ex-Cub Aroldis Chapman and 100 mph Fastballs

Last season, the Chicago Cubs made a key midseason trade for pitcher Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees. Why Chapman?

Well, the Cuban phenom has dominated the MLB with the strength of his left arm since his first stand at the mound in 2010. While most people recognize the elite status that surrounds Chapman’s name, many don’t realize what makes him arguably the game’s best reliever until his stats are put up against the rest of the league’s pitchers

He even has his own filter on MLB.com’s fastest pitches of 2015 and 2016 because he owns the top 50 pitches from both seasons.

While the rest of the league is starting to catch up with Chapman’s strength, it’s clear that his mark on the league as the most powerful pitcher has been made. -- Manny De Jesus


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