While studying the art of Scotch whisky in 1969-1970 in the west central Lowlands, POPS FRESHENMEYER fell in love with a local pub passion: prop betting. Decades before satellite-televised sports became omnipresent, patrons in the hundreds of drizzle-drenched bars along the Firth of Clyde wagered on everything. How soon before that fly lands on the bar? How soon before that fly lands on the bar twice? How many times will that fly land on the bar in the next 15 minutes? Will it be over or under 6 1/2 times??
For those who appreciate the prop-bet as art, crafting the perfect prop is just as big of a kick as making the perfect bet. What line will get the best action? At 6 1/2 flies, 65 percent of the bar took the under. If we lower the line to 5 1/2, can we get 50 percent to take both sides??
POPS discovered that friendly, no-money prop-betting was a fantastic way to pass the time in any situation: on the bus, in the car, sitting by the shore, relaxing peacefully at home. It was also a great method for teaching children about honor, rules, numbers, patterns, statistics and probability. And so, ever since this author can remember, we were always wagering on things like: Which raindrop will make it to the bottom of the windshield first? How does the slope of the windshield, the speed of the car and the angle of the rain and wind affect our choice?
Raised since birth as Chicago sports fans, we quickly learned that prop-betting was a wonderful way to watch a game (or an entire season) when your team was painfully dull and/or had nothing left to play for. This was a crucial breakthrough for a 10-year-old Cubs fan in 1986, when the team was already 10 games back on May 7. Q: What will be higher in 1986: Ron Cey’s third-base starts or Thad Bosley’s pinch-hit appearances? A: Cey, 77; Bosley, 64.
In the mid-1990s, POPS took it to the next level when he broke out his pencil and yellow legal pad and introduced POPS PROPS, a Super Bowl props-betting coda to our family’s long-running, season-long NFL-picks competition. Those first few PROPS were lost to history when he recycled his stack of legal pads in 2001, but we’ve posted the eight PROPS that we found from 2002-2010.
OVERALL FAMILY PICKS STANDINGS
2009-2010: 1. KOR 128; 2. POPS 127; 3. KEV 119; 4. KRIS 110
2008-2009: 1. POPS 131; 2. KOR 116; 3. KEV 110; 4. KRIS 106
2007-2008: 1. KRIS 141; 2. KOR 116; 3. KEV 111; 4. POPS 110
2006-2007: 1. POPS 123; 2. KRIS 122; 3. KOR 118; 4. KEV 106
2005-2006: 1. KEV 133; 2. POPS 132; 3. KOR 110; 4. KRIS 106
2004-2005: 1. POPS 132; 2. KRIS 122; 3. KOR 111; 4. KEV 90
2004-2010 Cumulative points
1. POPS 755; 2. KRIS 707; 3. KOR 699; 4. KEV 669
2004-2010 Average yearly points
1. POPS 125.8; 2. KRIS 117.8; 3. KOR 116.5; 4. KEV 111.5
2003-2004: props and results unavailable
2002-2003: props posted; results unavailable
2001-2002: props posted; results unavailable