On Monday the Sports Business Journal unveiled their latest “40 Under 40″ list…some of the biggest and brightest stars of today and tomorrow in the industry. However this past weekend one of the longest shining stars turned a very young 93, and is still going strong. he is Harvey Pollock, the Philadelphia 76ers longstanding Director of Statistical information. Harvey was there, and got the ball. for Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game in Hershey, Pa., he was there when Allen Iverson had his number retired last week, and he has been everywhere in Philly sports almost since Ben Franklin walked the streets. If the Funding Fathers would have taken a break for rounders, Harvey would have scored it for them. Most importantly, he has served as a caring father, grandfather, great grandfather and surrogate Uncle and mentor to literally hundreds of interns and wannabe stats folks for decades. Here is a look at “The Superstat” from our book. While there are many under 40 who get honored, there are few over 90 still beating the bushes. Harvey is one of them, with energy and a memory that any 40something should envy. Belated Happy Birthday to an old friend, not just tome but to thousands who have played, watched and worked in Philly.
The “Super Stat” as he was dubbed by Philadelphia Bulletin writer Bert Kiseda has been involved with the NBA, and sports in Philadelphia…well…since there has been an NBA in Philadelphia. One of only three employees to have worked for the league every day since it began operations, Pollock continues to go strong. The author of an annual NBA statistical guide, and now a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame as well as 11 others is in a league by himself. He started as the assistant publicity director of the old Philadelphia Warriors (now Golden State) in 1946-47 and midway through he 1952-53 season, he because head of media relations for the Warriors. He maintained that post until the spring of 1962, when the franchise was sold to San Francisco. During the 1962-63 season, when here was no team in Philadelphia, neutral court games were played here and he did the publicity to maintain his NBA connection. Then in 1963-64, the Syracuse franchise was shifted to Philadelphia wand the franchise was renamed the "76ers." He served as the media relations director for the 76ers until the 1987-88 season, when he assumed the duties of Director of Statistical Information for the team, a position he still holds. Long before the league adopted the following categories, he kept them for Philadelphia home games: minutes played blocked shots, offensive and defensive rebounds, steals, and turnovers. At the same time, he began tabulating categories the league didn't do and the esoteric items and tables eventually became part of his widely read stat guide. In addition to his NBA duties, he also heads basketball stat crews at six major colleges in the Philadelphia area, and heads the crew at the Major Indoor Lacrosse League games of the Wings, and the Soul in the Arena Football League. His past includes 15 years as the head of the Baltimore Colts NFL stat crew and in football also in Philadelphia led the crew for the Philadelphia Stars, Bell and Bulldogs. He currently has been Temple University's football statistician since 1945. He's en route to The Guinness Book of Records by wearing a different t-shirt every day since June 29, 2003.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM HARVEY POLLOCK: Sports publicity remains a statistics driven business for the most part. By being able to create compelling stories via all the stats and figures that go into the games, and then being able to pitch those stats effectively, we can find new angles that have not been explored, even for the simplest of efforts.