ESPN Kids Writer Mailbag

Q: Which team has won the most NBA Championships? Mo from Berkeley Heights, NJ

A: Mo, the Boston Celtics have won 17 NBA Championships, the most of any team. Boston first won a title in 1957 and won eight straight between 1959 and 1966. No other team has won eight consecutive NBA Championships. The Celtics won last year's NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are second on the list with 14 titles.

Q: If a lefty is a great third basemen will they have a chance of making it in the Big Leagues playing that position? Max from Miami, FL

A: Max, that's a very good question. I think that if somebody is a great ballplayer with the determination to make it to the Big Leagues, it doesn't matter if he or she is a righty or a lefty. However, you rarely, if ever, see a left-handed third baseman in the Major Leagues. One of the main reasons for this is that when a third baseman charges in for a ground ball or a bunt, it is much easier to make a throw to first base with their right hand than their left. If a left-handed third baseman is charging the ball, he or she will have to stop and turn to make the throw to first. Righties can make that throw while still moving. Most lefties in baseball are first baseman, pitchers, or outfielders. However, I think that if a lefty was a truly great third baseman, they would definitely have a shot of making the Big Leagues.

Q: How much does doing well at the combine affect where a player is drafted? Josh from Omaha, NE

A: Josh, I think that if a college player performs very well at the NFL Scouting Combine, he can move up a couple of draft picks. One of the main purposes of the Combine is so that NFL scouts can evaluate potential draft picks based on the same standards. For example, say an NFL team is looking to draft a wide receiver and is deciding between two players. Player A scored 10 touchdowns during his senior year at college, while Player B only scored five touchdowns. You might think that Player A is a better wide receiver because he scored more touchdowns. But maybe Player A was on a better college team, or had a better quarterback throwing to him. The Combine allows teams to observe Player A and Player B running the same races, lifting the same weights, doing the same drills. The team might find out that Player B is actually stronger, faster and can jump higher than Player A. So even though Player A appeared to be a better college player, Player B might be a higher draft pick if he performs well at the Combine.

Q: Who is the tallest player in the NBA? Deanne from Cincinnati, OH

A: Deanne, the tallest player currently in the NBA is Yao Ming, the center for the Houston Rockets. Ming is listed at 7 feet, 6 inches tall. The tallest players in NBA history are Manute Bol and Gheorge Muresan, who were both listed at 7 feet, 7 inches tall. Bol retired in 1994; Muresan retired in 2000.

Q: How many teams were there when the MLB first started? CJ from Aspen, CO

A: CJ, as with most questions about baseball history, this is a tough question to answer. In the 1800's there were several different professional baseball organizations, some of which only lasted a couple of years. In 1876, the National League was founded. The National League still exists as one of the two leagues, along with the American League, that currently make up Major League Baseball. In 1876, the National League consisted of eight teams: The Chicago White Stockings, the Philadelphia Athletics, the Boston Red Stockings, the Hartford Dark Blues, Mutual of New York, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Louisville Grays. In 1901, the National League merged with the American League to form Major League Baseball. In 1903, the winner of the National League played the winner of the American League in the first World Series.

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