Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Designated Hitter needs to go. If the National League had the designated hitter we never would have witnessed Manny Ramirez's heroics. Ramirez in a pinch-hitting role (for the pitcher) hit a game changing grand slam in the Dodger's 6-2 victory over Cincinnati. This hit not only won the game but put Manny behind only Lou Gehrig on the all-time grand slam list. All this came about because the National League refuses to give into the modern "higher scores are better" mentality and has kept the pitcher batting. The National League has maintained the tradition of the national past time and in the process has continued the excitement and strategy of the game. Baseball was designed so that all players have to play in the field. Specialization is only a modern phenomenon and has no place in a game that dates back over 100 years.
For those that like the strategy of baseball, what's better then having your pitcher bat. What dilemmas this brings; should the manager pull a pitcher who is mowing em down or should he have the pitcher bunt and move the runners. I know that the designated hitter does prolong careers but many times the DH is just an aging star trying to relive his glory days. Do we really want to see aging stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. struggle to break the Mendoza Line? If you can't play in the field then you shouldn't be playing the national past time professionally. Even in slow pitch softball the players (who often weigh over 300 lbs) have to go both ways. Without the DH you provide Manny Ramirez a chance to come in for one bat and bring a little excitement to the game.
Top 5 Reasons Pitchers Need To Bat
1. Girls dig the long ball, so lets give pitchers a fighting chance.
2. It gives pitchers a chance to "help themselves".
3. It would increase the ERA's around the league.
4. It gives them something to think about while in the bullpen.
5. It provides for more strategy.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
J.P. Losman of the Buffalo Bills will attempt to do something that few others have been able to do - revive his quarterbacking career via another league. Losman plans on playing in the UFL as a starting quarterback rather than wait his turn in the NFL. Very few QB's have played in another league and then had success in the NFL. The most recent quarterbacks to do it are Kurt Warner (Arena) and Tommy Maddox (XFL) but Losman still faces a uphill battle. For example in the USFL, which was the most successful competitor to the NFL, only 8 of the 50 USFL quarterbacks went on to play more than 5 years in the NFL. Losman may hve success in the UFL but that most likely will be the end of his professional road (unless he turns to MMA like Warren Sapp). Time will tell.
Top 10 QB's That Played In Another League
1. Steve Young (USFL)
2. Jim Kelly (USFL)
3. Kurt Warner (Arena)
4. Danny White (WFL)
5. Doug Williams (USFL)
6. Pat Haden (WFL)
7. B. Hebert (USFL)
8. Gary Danielson (WFL)
9. Tommy Maddox (XFL)
10. Cliff Stoudt (USFL)
Honorable Mention: Rick Neuheisal (USFL and 1 year in NFL where he did not play- anytime I have a chance to dog on"Slick Rick" I have to do it, it can only help my blogger stats)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Tom Watson is what makes sports great. I know that he is not going to win the British Open but to even be in contention at 59 years old is amazing. Golf may be boring to watch without Tiger in the hunt but Watson has been able to provide what every sports fan needs once in a while; an unlikely hero. We would not have remembered this final day of the British Open had it not been for Watson. Bringing back memories of the 70's and his historic battles with Jack Nicklaus, Watson captivates fans of all ages. How can you not root for a man old enough to be some of his playing partner's fathers. He is the underdog of all underdogs and what makes sports great. Tiger is the future of golf but Watson gives us a little taste of the past. Tom we are rooting for you.
Top 5 Age-Challenged Performances
1. George Foreman 1994
At 45 years of age and 20 years since his last title, Foreman won the Heavyweight Boxing Championship by knocking Michael Moorer out in the 10th round.
2. Kurt Warner 2008
At 37 years of age the Arizona quarterback torched the Pittsburgh Steelers for 377 yards on 31-43 passes and 3 touchdowns. The Cardinals lost the game but Warner was definitely a hero.
3. Nolan Ryan 1991
On May 1st 1991, Nolan Ryan at the age of 44 did what most pitchers only dream of; pitching a no hitter. For Ryan though this was his seventh no-no and just another day in the park.
4. Jack Nicklaus 1986
At 46 years of age, Jack Nicklaus wowed golf fans just as Watson is doing today, the only difference is that Nicklaus won. He won the 1986 Masters, the 2nd oldest golfer to do so.
5. Michael Jordan 1998
With a virus causing extreme fatigue,The 34 year old Michael Jordan poured in 38 points helping the Chicago Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz for the NBA title. In the playoffs that year, Jordan averaged 32.4 points a game and over 5 rebounds.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
1. Pay $8 for a beer
2. Yell at incompetent officials
3. Watch great athletes take an extra step or two
4. Enjoy the halftime dance teams gyrating and grinding.
5. Sit through 14 (at least 7 per team) timeouts in the last 2 minutes of a close game
6. Toil over another loss
7. Sell their end season tickets for 1/2 price on the Stub Hub
8. Witness their team tank the last 10 home games to improve their draft
So bring back the Sonics or Light Rails or whatever you want to call them and give Seattle fans a chance to be fans again.
Top 5 Cities That Deserve Their Team Back (a historical look)
1. Brooklyn (MLB)
The 1958 move to L.A., just 3 years past a World Series title in Brooklyn makes this move hard to swallow. Brooklyn's history is amazing and the city was instrumental in the development of the National Past time. They began play in 1890 where they won a pennant in their first year. 9 World Series appearances, Jackie Robinson and over 50 years of history, what else do you need to know.
2. Seattle (NBA)
The way that Seattle lost its NBA franchise to Oklahoma City was unfortunate. With emails, promises and lies the NBA lost one of the northwest's best team. The Sonics 1979 championship put Seattle on the professional sports map for the first time.
3. Houston (NFL)
The 1997 move to Memphis was not really a success and poor attendance made the Oilers have to play games in a college stadium. Bring back the memories of Earl Campbell, "Luv Ya Blue" and Bum Phillips with a return to Houston.
4. Los Angeles (NFL)
No city should have to watch its storied franchise wallow in mediocrity like L.A. has had to do with the 1995 move to St. Louis. The NFL needs a team in Los Angeles.
5. Montreal/Vancouver or any other Canadian city (MLB, NBA)
We need to be nice to our northern neighbors and I would love to see the old Expo hat make a comeback.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
1. The game finished 4-3 keeping with the trend of All-star games being close.
2. The American League won AGAIN.
3. A total of 16 pitchers were used and only 2 pitchers threw more than an inning.
4. Many players were snubbing especially since the rosters were expanded (the most notable to me was the 42 year old Tim Wakefield...you would think they would give the oldest player since Satchel Paige a chance to play in his last All-Star game)
5. Ratings must have sucked...I didn't watch the game, did you? (note: it was the shortest All-Star game since 1988 thank goodness)
So what we have learned? Well that the All-Star game is very predictable based off history and that Pujols is no Ted Williams.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
47 All-Star games have been decided by 2 runs or less.
2. Many pitchers
3. An American League Victory
4. A quality player will be snubbed
Difficult to get over 60 players in the game in only 9 innings
5. Ratings will suck
and last but not least we will see Albert Pujols have the best All-Star game ever. Yeah that's right, I am predicting a record breaking evening by the best player in the majors. Why would I be so bold, well that is easy because history repeats itself. Albert Pujols is having a year very reminiscent of the year Ted Williams had in 1946. Ted Williams performance in the 46' All-Star game ranks as the best single game output ever.
Monday, July 13, 2009
This middleweight bout was an all out war as these two warriors went at each other from the first bell. There was even bad blood between these two before the fight even began as Hearns, who is 6'1 called the 5'9 Hagler a "midget". Hagler quickly responded by calling Hearns a "freak" and claiming he would be "a giant in the ring". After listening to Hearn's corner man on ESPN Classic, I got the feeling that Hagler (because he was southpaw) may have been a bad match up for Hearns who would finish his career 61-5. But that didn't stop Tommy from going toe to toe with the champ for 3 straight rounds in this thriller. If you like to watch jabs being thrown or if you like to watch a wrestling match then this fight isn't for you. Hearns and Hagler will go down in my book as the best 3 rounds of boxing of all-time.
5 Reason Why "The War" Was The Greatest Fight Of All-Time
Hearns fights the whole fight with a broken hand.
This was the battle of 2 great champions. Hagler was 60-2-2 (50 KO), Hearns was 40-1 (33 KO) and both held belts.
In the 1st round, Hagler is bloodied from a cut on the forehead but forges on, knocking Hearns down. Hagler was bloodied so badly that the referee stopped the fight in the 3rd round so that the ring doctor could check his cut.
4. Short but Sweet
Earned Ring Magazine Honors for Fight of Year but lasted only 3 rounds (only 2 other fights that have won the honor have gone fewer rounds). The 1st round was one of the greatest rounds ever with over
Hearns is knocked down in the 3rd and somehow gets up at the count of 9 only to have the fight stopped by the referee.
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Brett Farve hasn't figured it out, Shawn Kemp hasn't figured it out and Shaquille O'neal has yet to understand that when you get older your skills diminish. It is said that the average age that a world class athlete retires is 33 years of age and that include the gymnasts who retire at an age of 19. So what are the signs that an athlete is getting too old? When is it time to say..."you know I have had a great career, now I am going to be an color commentator or rapper?" I believe that there are some tell tale signs:
Top 10 Signs It Is Time To Retire From Sports
1. You have retired once before...see Brett Farve
2. You have thought about playing with elbow and knee pads...see Kevin Willis
3. Your vertical jump is less then your waist size...see Shawn Kemp
4. You have injured more than 3 body parts...see Fred Taylor
5. You have thought about wearing goggles...see Kurt Rambis
6. You are over 33 years of age and your fastball doesn't register on the radar gun...see Jaime Moyer, Tom Glavine and Tim Wakefield.
7. You don't ever have to throw or shoot or touch a ball...see Ken Griffey Jr., Bruce Bowen, Brad Johnson
8. You have thought about becoming a player coach...see Michael Jordan & Pete Rose
9. You have an audition for "Dancing with the stars" or some other reality TV show.
10. The announcers use the terms: Gritty, Experienced, or Grizzled.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Each year some new modern gadget comes out that is said to revolutionize the way the game is watched and each year the sports fan loses the one thing that makes sports exciting; the debate. Baseball's new modern revolution is now upon us with a statistical software that "will record the exact speed and location of the ball and every player on the field". The software plays like a video game and will give stats on anything from which infielders reach the hard-hit grounders up the middle? Which base runners are the fastest from first base to third? Which right fielders charge the ball quickest and throws most accurately?
This software can not be good for us classic sport fans. No longer can we debate the best arm in baseball or the fastest player between the bases. This software will tell us exactly who is the fastest to ground ball or what outfielder throws the ball the hardest. Do we really want to know this information? The debates I have with my friends and other sports fans makes baseball exciting. I claim Derek Jeter is the fastest to first base and then my buddies laugh and throw things at me...now that is sports.
Baseball already has enough statistics. With baseball's invention of WHIPS, OPS and IBBs I think we are good on stats thank you. We need something to be left up to our imagination. I want to be able to argue who is the fastest, strongest, most athletic , or even who eats the most. Sometime more is not better.
Top 5 Worst Technological Advancements in Sports
1. The Glowing Puck
Fox Network came up with this ridiculous idea calling it FoxTrax. Did they really believe that hockey fans couldn't follow a black puck on white ice (I am not a color coordinator but at least I know that black and white are contrasting colors). The traditional hockey fans hated this glowing red puck almost as much as they hate running out of Pabst Blue Ribbon. It lasted only a couple of years and will forever be known as the worst innovation of all-time.
2. Instant Replay
I know this may not be a popular choice but to traditional fans instant replay has ruined the game. Referees NEED to make WRONG calls. We fans need someone to blame our teams losses on. We need someone to yell at and we need something talk about. Referee mistakes are good for the game. Not only that but Instant Replay is still wrong many times (just ask Seahawk fans ie...Testeverde and then the Superbowl debacle). Wimbledon has even brought instant replay to tennis. Tennis without yelling at the refs (think John McEnroe) is like NASCAR without the crashes; we need bad calls. Instant Replay has taken the joy out of being a rabid fan.
3. Artificial Turf
Not only did artificial turf ruin players careers but it also annoyed many traditional football fans by taking away the mud. Think of some of the great football players of the past, Dick Butkus, Y.A Title, and any Green Bay Packer, and then picture them playing on artificial turf. No mud, little blood and no dirt. Football was meant to be played on grass, not turf, not sand but grass. I like the mud, I like it when players slip and slide. Who cares that the game is slower...it looks better.
4. No Announcers
This is the anti-technological innovation. The NFL tried this idea in a game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. The game would played without any announcers, so that fans could hear the sounds of the game (roar of the crowd, refs whistle, total silence, etc). This is like having a comedy without the laugh track or a horror movie without the music. It was a total flop and they never tried it again...wonder why.
5. Helmet headset
This may be a great idea if and only if, I also got a helmet headset and could make and change play calls. Instead it just makes the game like a video game in which two players miles away form each other talk smack over a game of Ghost Recon. I can't hear what they are saying and frankly, if they want to talk to each other just let the coach be ON the field like they do in training camp. Let the players play please.
If you have any other innovations I missed please let me know.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
With Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird as the headliners, the "Dream Team" as they were called went into the Barcelona games fully loaded. The roster consisted of a team full of all-stars and 10 of the NBA's 50 greatest players. They had the size, speed, shooting and defense to humiliate their opponents. Coached by the late Hall of Famer Chuck Daly, the team cruised through the qualifying round and then went on to go undefeated in pool play with a different player leading them in scoring each game.
The quarterfinals brought an over matched Puerto Rican team that the "Dream Team" demolished 115-77. Next came a 51 point win over Spain and the finals was the closest game of all, a 32 point blowout over Croatia. In all, 5 players on the U.S. team scored in double figures and only John Stockton and Christian Laettner averaged under 8 points a game.
The "Dream Team" would defeat any basketball team that world could ever assemble.
Top 5 Reasons Why The 1992 "Dream Team" Is The Best Team Ever:
Two of the the "Dream Team's" best players, Magic and Bird had over 15 years experience in the NBA between them and only 3 players (Laettner, Pippen and Robinson) on that '92 team were under 27 years of age. This was a team that had been around the block and knew how to win. Six of the twelve players had won a championship and all but 2 had been to the NBA finals (Laettner and Mullin). This was an experienced team of winners.
2. Basketball IQ
The "Dream Team" was also one of the smartest teams. They knew how the game was to be played. Some of the smartest and craftiest NBA players played on that team. John Stockton was not the tallest or strongest but he found a way to get it done. Magic and Bird epitomized craftiness even though they were not the greatest leapers. Charles Barkley used his 6'6 body better than anyone and was one of the greatest rebounders and scorers. These guys knew how to use space and had amazing basketball IQ's
3. Jordan in his prime
Not only were they crafty but they also had the greatest basketball player ever to play the game leading them. Jordan was in his prime at only 29 years of age and just had come off 6 seasons of scoring over 30 points a game. By this time in his career, Jordan was just about unstoppable. His 3 point shot was just starting to improve and nobody could contain him off the dribble. The Bulls were in the middle of their 3-peat as NBA champs all due to Jordan's talents. I would put Jordan in his prime up against any other basketball player on the face of the earth...and I may even give you odds.
The "Dream Team" could also "D" you up. With the 1991-92 defensive player of the year David Robinson roaming the middle and 1987-88 defensive player of the year Michael Jordan picking pockets on the outside, the "Dream Team" could shut down opponents without much effort. The most points they gave up in the Olympics of '92 was 85. You also have other great defensive players to count on in Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing and John Stockton (all have finished in the top 7 of the NBA defensive player of the year award).
The 92' team with Chuck Daly, Lenny Wilkens and Mike Krzyzewski had plenty of experience between them. Between the three they had over over 2800 wins and 6 titles. These guys were great choices for this team because you had a current NBA coach, a coaching legend and one of the greatest all-time college coaches. With the leadership of these guys no one would beat the 1992 Dream Team.
1992 Dream Team Roster
Here are the "Dream Team's Top 10 Plays
*NOTE: I will be going on VACATION for the next week and so the RETRO SPORTS TALK BLOG will be on hiatus until I get back. Have a great 4th of July and stay safe.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The USFL started play in 1983 with 12 teams across the country playing 18 regular season games. The first season featured an overtime divisional championship and a barn burner of a finale with the Michigan Panthers defeating the Philadelphia Stars 24-22 on a Bobby Herbert touchdown pass to Anthony Carter.
The next season the league expanded to 18 teams divided into four divisions and the Stars bounced back going 16-2 in the regular season. They sailed to the championship game where the Stars dispatched the Arizona Wranglers 23-3. The playoffs were again exciting with a 3 overtime game and another 1 point finish in the quarterfinals.
The last season of the USFL saw the league drop 4 teams and then combine the teams into 2 conferences. The Baltimore Stars (relocated from Philadelphia) took their 2nd title 28-24 over the Bobby Herbert led Oakland Invaders (Michigan folded in 1985). This would be the beginning of the end for the league. The San Antonio Gunslingers, Houston Gamblers and Los Angeles Express struggled financially as the league decided to switch to the fall in 1986 where it would go head to head with the NFL. The league never got under way and then folded.
The USFL had 3 consecutive Heisman Trophy winners play in the league (Herschel Walker, Mike Rozier and Doug Flutie ) and many players who would go on to star in the NFL (Jim Kelly, Walker, Flutie, Reggie White, Sam Mills, Nate Newton, Dan Ross, Mel Gray, Gary Zimmerman to name a few). The league was truly becoming a league that I enjoyed to watch and I was heartbroken when it folded in 1986.
Top 10 Favorite FACTS About The USFL.
The USFL won a whopping $3.76 in its anti-trust suit against the NFL
2. Donald Trump
Trump was the owner of the New Jersey Generals
3. Al Davis
Davis was the only NFL owner to testify for the USFL in its lawsuit.
4. Dan Marino
Marino was the 1st overall pick of the USFL draft in 1983.
5. Sean Landetta
After Landetta retired in 2008, there are officially no players left on NFL rosters from USFL teams.
6. 3 Million Dollars
That was the cost of a USFL franchise in 1984.
7. Instant Replay
The USFL used the 2 point conversion and head coach's challenge before the NFL. The NFL would copy the USFL and adopt them later
The USFL was the first to have females shoot film of coaches on the sidelines.
The number of fans that showed up to watch the New Jersey Generals play the Jacksonville Bulls on March 4th 1984.
The Houston Gamblers led by Jim Kelly scored 34 points a game in their inaugural season. Kelly also threw 44 touchdown passes that year.
I miss you USFL...I am not holding my breath that the UFL will fill the void in my heart.
Monday, June 29, 2009
5 Things I HATE About Modern Baseball
1. Inter league Play
2. The Closer
3. The Designated Hitter
4. Umpire Uniforms
5. Smaller Ballparks
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Does acquiring an aging star bring success? The Cleveland Cavaliers attempt to find out as they traded for the aging 37 year old Shaquille O'Neal. The Cavs believe that by pairing up young and old, that elusive title will be within their grasps. Cleveland will try and follow in the footsteps of last year's NBA champs, the Boston Celtics. The Celtics used this formula by acquiring 31 year old Kevin Garnett and 32 year old Ray Allen on their way to an NBA title. But the idea of bringing in an experienced star to put a team "over-the-top" has not been very successful. The last team before Boston to win an NBA title by bringing in a veteran star that contributed more than 10 points or 10 rebounds a game and had over 10 years experience was in 1995-96, when the Bulls brought in Dennis Rodman. The Bulls with the help of Rodman''s 14 rebounds a game won their 4th NBA title.
So the Cavs are trying to buck the odds and win with an over the hill Shaq and a young LeBron, but the thing they forget is that the past is the past and Shaq is not the player he once was. He failed to get the Suns into the Finals and he is not getting any younger. The Cavs would have been much better served by bringing in a talented young center and trying to replicate the Lakers dynasty of Kobe and Pao. Shaq at 37 is not the answer to LeBron's prayers.
Top 5 Aging NBA Acquisitions That Won Titles
1. 2007-08 Boston Celtics - Kevin Garnett 31, Ray Allen 32
Garnett was wasting away in Minnesota and Allen was struggling with a bad Seattle team until they were paired in Boston. Granett's 18.8 ppg and 9 rebounds combined with Allen's 17 ppg and 40 percent 3-point shooting brought back the Celtic tradition of an NBA title.
3. 1994-95 Houston Rockets - Clyde Drexler 32
Drexler and Tracy Murray were dealt to the Rockets for Otis Thorpe and European star Marcelo Nicola. This trade united two of the main pieces of "Phi-Slamma-Jamma" and helped the Rockets repeat as champions. Drexler contributed 19 ppg at 32 years of age.
3. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls - Dennis Rodman 34
Dennis's antics in San Antonio were wearing thin and Jordan needed someone to rebound his few misses so these two were a match made in heaven. Rodman, even at 34, brought toughness and rebounded that the bulls lacked. This is the situation that the Cavs are looking to duplicate in trading for Shaq.
4. 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks - Oscar Robertson 32
Oscar Robertson was traded to the Bucks in 1970 for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. What a great move this was, because he was now paired with a young Lew Alcinder. Robertson's 19 points, 8 assists and 5+ rebounds a game made Milwaukee almost unbeatable. They cruised to an NBA title by beating the Baltimore Bullets 4-0 in the finals.
5. 2005-06 Miami Heat - Gary Payton 37, Alonzo Mourning 35
The Heat brought in two aging stars that were role players on a team lead by Dwyane Wade and Shaq. Both Payton and Mourning averaged only about 7 points a game but provided the leadership that Miami needed to win a title.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
As I surfed the web the other day, I came across the NBA commercial slogan that states: "The NBA: where amazing happens". Now to most that would mean that the players in the NBA are amazing...but I see it a little different. I see it to mean that in today's NBA, its amazing that the refs don't call more travels. It is truly amazing!
The players today are getting away with more and more as the officials turn a blind eye. Yeah, the NBA players are amazing...amazing at fooling everyone that they really made that drive through the lane without traveling. The refs are looking the other way as players like LeBron and Wade are "crab dribbling" their way to the hoop. 2 steps have now become 3 and 4 steps, making every move truly amazing. The fundamentals of the old school player has disappeared and in its place we now seen an extra step or two. Imagine what Magic, Dr. J and Wilt could have done with an extra step or two. Nothing irritates this old school coach more then the breaking of rules to entertain those in the stands.
Top 8 Missed NBA Traveling Calls
1. Cory Maggette - 6-Step Shuffle
2. Dwyane Wade - Spin Move
3. LeBron James - Vs Warriors
4. Lebron James - Crab Dribble (this one gets called but LeBron doesn't agree)
5. Kobe Bryant - Step Thru
6. Chancey Billups - 4 Steps
7. Kevin Garnett - Dunk
8. LeBron James - Again
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Just a couple of days ago, I posted about my favorite posters of all-time not knowing that my post would be an honor to the late Farrah Fawcett. Farrah past away today at 62 ending her long bought with cancer. As I mentioned in my post, Farrah defined a generation of young boys who had her red one piece swimsuit ingrained into their minds. Her poster (the top selling poster of all-time) along with my "Ice Man" poster made my bedroom a true place of worship.
Here is a tribute to Farrah that I found online:
Tribute To Farrah Fawcett
Monday, June 22, 2009
Take a look:
The comparisons don't just stop at the highlight reel. For example, Pistol Pete was the Third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in 1970 NBA Draft (behind Bob Lanier, and Rudy Tomjanovich) and Rubio may just be the 3rd pick in the 2009 draft. Pistol was better in college then in the pros but that shouldn't deter the Thunder from taking Rubio. If Pistol's career is any indication of how well Rubio will do in the NBA then we may be seeing an all-star in our mitts. We will see if Rubio can live up to these numbers:
Pete Maravich's NBA Statistics
Sunday, June 21, 2009
A poster of Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemons titled: "The Stash Brothers"
A poster of Michael Phelps titled: "The Weed Man"
A poster of Michael Vick titled: "Jail Bird"
When I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, sports posters lined our walls and pennants hung from our ceilings. We waited for the next great poster to come out so that we could be the first to pin it up. We would look at the posters with dreams of reaching the "show" or someday making it to the big leagues. Posters were our window to the future and we wanted to be just like those idolized in the posters. Here is my list of the top 10 sports posters we all had growing up.
Top 10 Sports Posters We Had Growing Up
1. George Gervin - "Ice Man"
2. Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco - "The Bash Brothers"
3. Bo Jackson - "The Ball Player"
6. Brian Bozworth - "Land of the Boz"
7. Darryl Griffith - "Doctor Dunkenstien"
8. Jim McMahan and Walter Payton - "Chicago Vice"
9. Michael Jordan - "Wings"
10. Ken Griffey Jr - "The Next Generation"
Honorable Mention: Karl Malone - "Mailman" , Darryl Dawkins - "Chocolate Thunder and Shawn Kemp - "Reign Man 2"
Most Honorable: Farrah Fawcett
I know it is not a sports poster, but what would we have done with without this amazing poster? This poster defined a generation of young boys and also gave us hope that someday we would graduate into the "big leagues".
Friday, June 19, 2009
Philadelphia Warriors 169, New York Knickerbockers 147
Wilt Chamberlain C 36 63 28 32 100
New York Yankees
Larsen W (1-0) 9 0 0 0 0 7
I put the paper down, take my shower and get into my 1989 George Brett throwback jersey and prepare for the rest of my day.
My wife has set up a tee time for 9:00 so I have plenty of time to get my golf bag together. As I dig through the pockets of my Al Czervik Caddyshack golf bag I find a near-mint 1909 T-206 Honus Wagner card.
Cool, just what I have always wanted.
So I put the card in the spokes of my vintage Diamondback bike and head off to the course.
I reach the course at about 8:30 and have time to hit a bucket of balls and get a little putting in because I know that Augusta National will most likely play to about a 75 today so I better be on top of my game. When I get to the first tee, I find out that my playing partners have already foot the bill for my round, caddie and cart so the day is off to a good start. Tiger tees off first and hits it about 320 down the right side while Arnie and Jack take the left approach. I choose to play a slight draw and poke it out about 300. I shoot 69 on the day and Tiger and I take the old guys in our Nassua for $100. I then make sure to have my scorers sign my card (which I find out is the low for the day and I win a pair of Air Jordans).
I head back home to play catch with my boy which soon turns into a classic wiffle ball game. I beat my son by a run (since he is only 8 months) but I am more proud when my son pulls out his APBA football game. We play a couple of quick games, replicating the great Super Bowls of 1980's. After a couple of rounds of NFL Strategy and Electric Football we pack it up for dinner.
For dinner my wife has reserved a spot in the Clubhouse at Churchill Downs. It seems that the Kentucky Derby has been pushed back to Father's Day to accommodate me of all people. I put $100 to win on Alysheba and watch one of the greatest Kentucky Derbys of all time.
After dinner my buddies and I have just enough time to catch the last 2 minutes game 7 of the 1984 NBA finals between the Lakers and Celtics. We sneak down to center court and watch:
We join in the celebration and I pat Bird and Magic on the back before heading home.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Let us analyze the most likely top 3 picks with similar players from the past (we will use only players taken in the top 5 picks and I have also included a scouting report on each 2009 player to help with the comparison):
Blake Griffen C-F 6'10 251 lbs Scouting Report
2000 Michael Fizer 6'9 - 4th pick in the draft, Fizer was a 20 point scorer in college but ALL of the offense was run through him. Very physical but needed a lot of work on his face to the basket game. Good rebounder but needed a slow down game to be effective. Fizer played just 6 seasons in the NBA, averaging only 9 points 4 rebounds a game.
1989 J.R Reid 6'9 - As the 5th pick in the draft out of North Carolina, Reid had high expectations placed on him which he never lived up to. He was a banger who could finish around the rim but he just didn't pan out in the NBA. His 8.5 career average was just good enough to keep him bouncing around the league.
1988 Charles Smith 6'10 - Charles had some very productive years early in his career averaging over 20 points one season. But it soon caught up with him and his scoring and rebounding dropped off dramatically (Ewing had some to do with this). He would finish his career as a 14 and 6 guy. This would be the best case scenario for Griffen.
Prediction for Griffen: 13 points 8 rebounds 0 all-star games
Hasheem Thabeet C 7'3 265 lbs Scouting Report
1998 Michael Olawokandi 7'0 - One of the biggest busts of all-time. This project could block shots and was much better on the defensive end then scoring. He was young and raw when he came into the league and just didn't produce. His best year was 2002 where he averaged 12 points 9 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. He was a stretch pick at number one and never made an impact in the league.
1985 Benoit Benjamin 7'0 - Another huge bust. Seven footers that are not drafted first just don't pan out very often and Benoit was no exception. He was a quality shot blocker but his attitude and work ethic were brought into question (not saying that Thabeet has either of these). Benoit was able to stay in the league 15 years, averaging only 11 points a game, as everyone is willing to give a large 7'0 center a chance.
Prediction for Thabeet: 9 points 6 rebounds 2 blocks 0 all-star games
James Harden G-F 6'5 218 lbs Scouting Report
1987 Dennis Hopson 6'5 - Hopson was a total bust. He came out of college as a pure scorer, averaging 29 points a game his senior year. The whole offense was patterned to get him shots. When he was drafted 4th in the draft, expectations were high that he would continue to be the scorer he was in college. Off court troubles led to only 5 years in the NBA where he averaged just 10 points a game and shot only 27 percent from the 3 point line.
1988 Chris Morris 6'8 - Morris never really found a position that fit, was he a guard or a forward? He could shoot it from the 3 point line but also had the ability to slash to the hole. He averaged 11 points a game for his career but never made an all-star team.
1991 Billy Owens 6'8 - A little bit taller than Harden, Owens could score and had good handles like Harden. He was a crafty passer who was said to be the next "Magic Johnson". Owens never lived up to the hype and had a solid NBA career. Owens never made an all-star game and played in the NBA for 10 years but on 7 different teams.
Prediction for Harden: 14 points 5 rebounds 1 all-star game
The 2009 top 3 may have solid NBA careers but this class may also be one of the worst ever (at least the first 3 picks). You will not find a true superstar amongst them but I guess time will tell.
Top 5 Worst Draft Classes
1. 2000 Draft: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, Mike Miller
2. 1989 Draft: Pervis Ellison, Danny Ferry, Sean Elliott, Glenn Rice, J.R. Reid
3. 1972 Draft: LaRue Martin, Bob McAdoo, Dwight Davis, Corky Calhoun, Fredie Boyd
4. 1973 Draft: Doug Collins, Jim Brewer, Ernie DiGregorio, Mike Green, Kermit Washington
5. 2006 Draft: Andrea Bargnani, LaMarcus Aldridge, Adam Morrison, Tryus Thomas, Shelden Williams (Bradon Roy at #6 helps this class slightly)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Top 5 Best College Football Weekends
1. LSU (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Two words for you..."Death Valley". Just those two words conjure up some great images and then throw in Mike the Tiger roaming the sideline and you have a great atmosphere for football (or gladiator games).
2. Texas A & M (College Station, Texas)
The midnight yell practice, the 12th man, the Junction Boys and the verbally abused "2 percenters"...very few things compare.
3. Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana)
Tradition, Tradition and more Tradition. From the Knute Rockne to the "Play Like a Champion Today" sign, its all about the nastalgia in South Bend.
4. Army (West Point, New York)(strong>
Seeing everyone dressed up in uniform must be a site to see and then throw in the Corp of Cadets parade and you have great college football.
5. Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio)
Dotting the "I" is one of the most prestigous of all traditions.
Honorable Mention: Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia
Saturday, June 13, 2009
With the signing of Nick Montana (Joe's son) by the Washington Husky football team and then the arrest of two Washington State football players last week, we once again see the Huskies sitting on top and the Cougars in the dawg house. The Huskies were the worst team in college football last year and the Cougars were a close second, but with this major signing and two major arrests we see one programing getting better and the other...well as Husky fans would put it, they are "Couging it". As we have seen throughout history, the Washington State football will always live in the shadow of the Huskies. Yeah they will have a few winning seasons but overall the Huskies will always prevail. The Huskies seem to tease Cougar fans like Lucy teases Charlie Brown, they think maybe this is our time. Yes, I know the cougars have won four of the last five Apple Cups but the tide is once again turning and history will once again repeat itself. Watch out cougars because you have had your 15 minutes of fame.
8 Historical Reasons Why Husky Football Will Once Again Outshine Cougar Football
1. 64 Apple Cup Wins
Cougar fans want to look at a piece of the pie as opposed to looking at the whole pie. The Huskies have dominated the Apple Cup series throughout history. In Fact in every decade the Huskies have won more Apple Cup games then the Cougars.
2. Streaks of 8 Consecutive Wins In The Apple Cup
The Huskies have won 8 consecutive Apple cups two times in history while the Cougars have never won more than two games in a row. So expect 2010 to be another Husky win and a Coug streak stopper.
3. Coaching History
The Huskies come from a long line of winning coaches. The late Jim Owens and Don James set a high standard for Husky football winning over 70 percent of their games. No Cougar football coach since 1950 has been over 55 percent. Winning is expected at Washington. In fact even the slickest Husky coach won games, tell that to Paul Wulff.
4. Lean Years Not That Lean
Even in the years since Don James (1992-present) retired, the Huskies have still won over 50 percent of their games. In these "lean years" the Huskies also won a National title and went 10-7 in Apple Cups. The cougar lean years...well...2009 was not unusual.
As the Nick Montana signing shows, the Huskies have always been able to out recruit the Cougars. Historically it was a no brainer where the top recruits would go on the West Coast, USC, UCLA and Washington. Washington State picked up the left overs and those from Eastern Washington. Even in the last 10 years the Huskies have out recruited the Cougs. According to Scout.com since 2002, Washington's recruiting class has ranked 4.7 in the Pac-10 and WSU has ranked a measly 7.7. The Huskies in fact have ranked at least 3rd in the Pac-10 5 times over that period while WSU only once. Just face it Cougar fans you can't out recruit the Huskies unless of course if you somehow move out of Pullman.
The Huskies have set a high academic standard that ranks fourth in the PAC-10 in the APR (Academic Progress Rate). The Cougars on the other hand rank last and have had sanctions placed against them. This definitely has played into the off field troubles that the Cougars have gotten into in the last few years (at least 25 players have been arrested or charged with offenses that carry possible jail time, court records show). History shows that for the most part Huskies stay out of trouble and graduate.
Huskies have won 15 Pac-10 titles and 1 National Championship. The Cougars have won only 4 total titles. So the odds and history tell us that the Huskies will win another title before the Cougs.
8. Understanding Success
Even the best Cougar team could not beat the Huskies. The 3rd ranked Cougs of 2003 lost the Apple Cup to an average UW team. The Cougars just don't understand how to handle success like the Huskies do. For example the best Husky team of 1991 demolished the Cougars 56 to 21. The Huskies know how to win and are use to being on top, they have won 653 games, 200 more than the Cougars.
If history is any indication of future success then the Washington Huskies will once again be on top of the Pac-10 and the Cougars..well, just watch a few reruns of Charlie Brown.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
After looking at his rankings I have very few complaints. That being said I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't question some of them.
Here is his top 10 and my analysis:
No. 1: Los Angeles Lakers
The only problem I have with this is the fact that Celtics beat the Lakers so many times. Nine losses in the NBA finals to Boston just doesn't sit well with me. Overall, the Lakers deserve to be tabbed the best NBA franchise in a close decision.
No. 2: Boston Celtics
The Celtics are a close second but I do think Hollinger downplayed the Larry Bird factor. Bird was as good and as popular as any player not named Jordan. I grew up in the Bird/Magic era and that rivalry was as good as it gets. A close second is okay by me.
No. 3: San Antonio Spurs
After my post on Greg Popovich, I would say Hollinger is right on with this ranking. The Spurs were and still are one of the best franchises ever, especially if you include George Gervin and his finger roll.
No. 4: Chicago Bulls
The only reason the Bulls are this high is because of Michael Jordan, so how good is the franchise as a whole? Well, they had the greatest player ever so I think fourth on the list is about right.
No. 5: Phoenix Suns
No titles, that is the key here. Barkley put the Suns on the map and Nash gave them some life but they are the equivalent of the Buffalo Bills. Hollinger gives too much credit to being entertaining (remember this isn't the circus its the NBA). I do not see them this high.
No. 6: Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia could be the most underrated team in the top 10. Moses Malone doesn't get the credit he deserves and not many were more popular than Dr. J. Wilt was the greatest scorer of all-time and scored 100 which should earn the fanchice some extra credit.
No. 7: Utah Jazz
Use to love Stockton and Malone but what have they really done? A couple of title runs but other than that the Jazz are not what I would call a good franchise.
No. 8: Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers sell out games which tells you that they are a franchise that people believe in. Portland has had two major runs at the title in different eras and I don't think it's fair to subtract point for the "Jail Blazer" tab.
No. 9: Indiana Pacers
All you got to say here is ABA and Miller.
No. 10: Houston Rockets
The Rockets are another underrated franchise. From Moses to the "Twin Towers" to Yao, Houston has been consistent and as powerful as many of the teams ranked above them. Their early history sets them back slightly.
The one franchise that Hollinger leaves out of the top 10 is the Detroit Pistons. How in the world can you leave the Pistons off the list? One of the most consistent teams of the 90's and current decade. Also the Sonics deserve more credit.
To see all the rankings click here
My Top 10 All-time NBA Franchises
10. Sonics (Thunder)
Honorable Mention: Jazz, Pacers
Argument #1 - Just Win Baby
Popovich has a higher win percentage than all the coaches mentioned above. His .675 is amazing. Larry Brown (.527), Pat Riley (.636), Lenny Wilkens (.536) all pail in comparison. Popovich just wins games. In fact if you throw out the first of his 13 seasons he has never finished lower than 2nd in the division.
Argument #2 - Show Me The Ring
Popovich again outshines the other Hall of Fame coaches. In his 13 year career he has won four NBA titles. In Fact he has won three in a five year span. Compare this to Riley, Wilkens, Brown, Ramsey and Sloan who have only a COMBINED 8 titles in over 100 years of coaching. Give Popovich 10 more years and lets see how many titles he comes up with.
Argument #3 - Win or Go Home
Nothing says good coaching then winning when it counts and Popovich does this with the best of them. 102 playoff wins and a .618 playoff winning percentage is nothing to sneeze at. Hall of Famers Jack Ramsey and Jerry Sloan are both under 50% while Larry Brown (.529) and Pat Riley (.608) still don't top Popovich.
Argument #4 - Loyalty
My favorite player of all-time was the Ice Man (followed closely by David Robinson...he was a fantasy basketball monster), my favorite team was the Spurs so how about some love for my favorite Spurs coach. I have to be loyal to my team and therefore he deserves to be in the Hall.
Now Popovich is not the best coach of all-time nor is he the best active coach but I can tell you that he is the most underrated coach around. Too many of us look at the total number of wins that a coach has to determine his worth. We focus on longevity instead of the actual production. Popovich many not have the total wins but he does deserve serious consideration for the NBA Hall of Fame. So the next time you talk to someone about the NBA don't forget to mention Greg Popovich.
Top 5 Most Underrated NBA Coaches of All-Time
1.Greg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)
2.Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia 76ers)
3. K.C. Jones (Washington, Boston, Seattle)
4. Don Nelson (Millwaukee, Golden State, New York, Dallas)
5. Rudy Tomjanovich (Houston, Los Angeles Lakers
Honorable Mention: Bill Russell, Flip Saunders, George Karl, Stan Van Gundy
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
So, I yelled at her and get this...she began to cry and guess who got in trouble? Didn't my parents know that someday I would be able to sell all these cards and pay them back for my student loans? They should have praised my entrepreneurship and put my sister in timeout. I probably scarred my sister for life but I had to make sure that my 1981 TOPPS cards and any future cards would never again be in harms way. I still have those vintage cards and I will one day pass them down to my son. But I doubt he will appreciate it. Kids today don't collect cards like they did back in my day. They play video games instead. They will never know what is like to make a block buster trade of two 1985 football commons, four pieces of that horribly hard gum and a beat up Franco Harris card for that mint condition 1981 Joe Montana rookie card. My son will be getting all my sports cards, including my 1981 Montana, my 1966 Gale Sayers card, a 1966 Joe Namath card, a 1964 Merlin Olsen card, and my 1983 Elway and Marino rookie cards. He will have cards from over 5 decades and with them all my old school memories. I may have yelled and messed with my sister's Psyche that day but I can tell you this, it was well worth it.
Top 10 Old School Sport Hobbies Kids are Missing Out On
1. Collecting Sports Cards
2. Playing APBA, Strat-O-Matic and Statis Pro Board Games
3. Pulling a Wooden Hydroplane Behind a Bike
4. Collecting Mini Football Helmets
5. Electric Football
Honorable Mention: Table Hockey