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Trivia

**Feature items on the home page are people that are in the news and also from most recent featured trivia story.

SUPERB DEFENSIVE SKILLS OPENED MAJOR LEAGUE DOOR FOR DOERR
 
There are very few professional athletes whose conduct on and off the playing field, court or ice can be described as totally exemplary. Robert Pershing Doerr, former Boston Red Sox second baseman and Hall of Famer, who died on November 13 at the age of 99, was one of those rare individuals. He played 14 major league seasons in Boston and his teammates, his coaches, and most importantly his fans loved him because he was a fierce competitor on the field and was the ultimate gentleman off of it. Doerr was as good a defender and he was a hitter. He was an American League All-Star nine of the 14 seasons he played. He batted .300 three times and stroked 2,042 hits in 1,865 games between 1937 and 1951. When he passed, he was the only Hall of Famer who had played in the 1930's.
 
Doerr was born in Los Angeles, but spent much of his life in Oregon. After graduating from Freemont High School, Doerr was signed by the then Hollywood Stars of the old Pacific Coast League. He was with the Stars in 1934 and 1935. In 1936, while with the then San Diego Padres of the PCL, he met the late great Hall of Famer Ted Williams and the pair became great friends. In fact, as avid fishermen, the two spent much of their spring training days fishing in Sarasota, Florida and during the off season near Doerr's Junction City, Oregon home. Doerr broke into the Major Leagues with the Sox as a 19-year old in 1937. He became the team's lead off hitter because of his outstanding bat control. He struck out only 608 times in nearly 7200 plate appearances. His knowledge of the strike zone was so terrific that in only one of Major League seasons did he strike out more than he walked. That year was 1946 when he registered 66 walks and struck out 67 times. Doerr averaged just 53 walks a year. In 1938, Doerr became a starter and two years later, the Red Sox became the first Major League team to boast four players who drove in 100 runs. The four included Doerr and fellow Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Joe Cronin and Jimmie Foxx. Doerr was a fabulous defensive second baseman. In fact, he committed just 214 errors in 10,852 chances for a career .998 fielding percentage. He led the American League in double plays five times and in 1948, he set an AL record by handling 414 straight fielding chances over 73 games without an error. Doerr was named the American League MVP in 1944 by the Sporting News and he set another record when he finished his career with 1,507 double plays. That mark lasted until 1963. Doerr's stat sheet was impressive. Despite his 5'11", 175-pound frame, he hit with power to all fields and managed to belt  223 career homers. He drove in 1,247 runs and he was on base 2,862 times. He also scored 1,094 runs, collected 381 doubles, 89 triples and recorded 1,359 singles and 693 extra base hits. He posted a career batting average of .288 and he drew 809 walks. Doerr set new Red Sox marks for games played, at bats, hits, doubles, total bases and RBI's. Those records were later broken by the "Splendid Splinter" Ted Williams who was considered to be the "greatest hitter who ever lived".
 
Doerr was a very quite person who always performed well under pressure. His personality was in very sharp contrast to Williams who was outspoken and became outraged anytime he saw mediocrity. Williams although a sensational hitter, was a volatile person who was a perfectionist and prone to emotional outbursts. Doerr retired from baseball in 1951 after suffering back problems. Later, he became a scout, a minor league hitting instructor and a first base coach for the Red Sox and had a major influence on another Boston Hall of Famer, outfielder Carl Yastrzemski. After hearing of Doerr's passing, "Yaz" explained that he received a great deal of help with his swing from Bobby. "He would tell me to raise my hands higher", recalled Yaz. "And when I told him that I would go straight away with the ball, he would say 'no', you have a lot of power". Doerr's intense work with Yaz paid immediate dividends when the slugger had a Triple Crown season in 1967 when he batted .328, belted 44 home runs and posted 121 RBI's. Doerr later served as the hitting coach of the then expansion Toronto Blue Jays from 1977 to 1981. Doerr was highly respected by everyone in the organization and especially by Williams who showed his appreciation of his quiet and talented friend when he referred to him as the Red Sox "Silent Captain".
 
Doerr was the oldest living Hall of Famer when he passed away. He was a remarkable caregiver for his wife Monica who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1940's.  She passed away in 2003. The couple was married for 60 years. They had one son, Don. The death of Bobby Doerr was a devastating blow to the Red Sox. Everyone knew him, everyone loved him and he was an icon to both younger and older players and he was deeply appreciated by the teams' executives. His calmness and great poise had a huge impact on all who those who played with him and he was greatly admired by opposing players and coaches. Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy summed up the feelings he and the entire Red Sox franchise had for Doerr when he stated: "There is something fitting about Bobby Doerr becoming the patriarch of baseball, outlasting all of those he played with and against. Bobby was a special player to be sure, a Hall of Famer, but he also commanded universal respect from all those fortunate enough to cross his path. We celebrated his return every time he came back to us here at Fenway Park and we now mourn his passing grateful for the wonderful memories he left." One of the Doerr's greatest regrets about his playing career was that he never won a world series. He came agonizingly close in 1947 when the Red Sox lost a seven game World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. One of the most stirring and tearful moments in the history of the Red Sox came in 2005 after the team had won its first World Series title in 86 years in 2004. The organization decided to honor Doerr by presenting him with a championship ring which he had never gotten. The gesture left him teary eyed.
 
Athletes who are well respected and genuinely appreciated by all those around them are proof that athletes who are not cocky or arrogant about their fame are truly rare personalities. It shows that simply being dedicated to one's profession, being respectful of others as a competitor, having a splendid work ethic adopting a positive attitude and a healthy life style enabled Doerr to live a long wonderful and productive near century.
NOTES ABOUT THE QUIET MAN..............
LAST ONE VERSUS LOU.......It is a fascinating fact that Bobby Doerr was the last living person to play against Hall of Fame Yankee Great Lou Gehrig.
WADE'S WONDERFUL WORDS..........former Boston third baseman and Hall of Famer Wade Boggs was deeply saddened by Doerr's passing. Said Boggs, "Bobby Doerr was the nicest gentleman I've ever met. Our bond started very early because we both had loved ones who suffered with multiple sclerosis, Bobby's wife and my sister. He will be deeply missed, Now, Ted, Johnny Pesky and Bobby are together again. Rest in piece my friend."
PAY SCALE ASTOUNDING...........Bobby Doerr earned $3,300 during his rookie season in 1937. The most he ever made in his career was $27,500. The highest paid stars of today make $15,000 a game.
A GAMER..........Doerr played 16,295.1 innings in his career.
MILITARY SERVICE.......Doerr missed a year of baseball in 1945 when he served in the U.S. Army during World War Two.
RED IS NOW THE OLDEST..........with Bobby Doer's death, the current oldest living Hall of Famer is former St. Louis Cardinals coach, player and manager Red Schoendienst.
HISTORIC MIDDLE NAME...........Doerr's dad, Harold Doerr, a telephone company supervisor and his mom, the former Frances Herrnberger, gave him the middle name of Pershing in honor of General John J. Pershing who was the Commander of U.S. Military Forces in World War 1.
TWO BOBS SHARE DOUBLE PLAY MARK......it is interesting that Bobbie Knopp (pronounced KA NOP) of the California Angels (on May 1, 1966) and Doerr (on June 25m 1950) hold the
Major League record for double plays by a second baseman in a doubleheader with eight.
TEAMMATES AND OPPONENTS HELD HIM IN HIGH ESTEEM.......Doerr's teammate Joe Cronin simply stated "he was as fine a man as ever wore a spike shoe" while Yankee outfielder Tommy Henrich noted "Bobby Doerr is one of the very few who played the game hard and retired without any enemies."
LEADING BY EXAMPLE.......Doerr was the ultimate proof of the phrase "actions speak louder than words". Doerr was the team's true leader. He was soft spoken and according to those who were close to him, he was one of the most graceful players ever to wear a major league uniform.
THERE WERE 16 MLB TEAMS IN 1937.......in Bobby Doerr's rookie season, there were eight in each league. The National League included the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, the then Brooklyn Dodgers, the old Boston Bees and the then Brooklyn Dodgers. The American League included the Yankees, Tigers, Indians, Red Sox, White Sox, the then Washington Senators, the then Philadelphia Athletics and the old St. Louis Browns. Remarkably, there were 37 future Hall of Famers on the rosters of the 16 Major League clubs.
LAST TO GO.......Bobby Doerr outlived all of his Hall of Fame teammates who played with him on the Red Sox. First baseman James Emory Foxx died on July 21, 1967 at the age of 59 while shortstop Joseph Edward Cronin passed away on September 7, 1984. He was 77. Doerr's best friend, left fielder Theodore Samuel Williams died on July 5, 2002 at the age of 83. and shortstop and third baseman John Michael Pesky passed on August 13, 2012. He was 93. And lastly, Doerr's other friend and teammate, Dominic Paul DiMaggio, Joe's younger brother, was a center fielder for Boston. He died on May 8,2009 at the age of 92.
HALL OF FAME AND NUMBER RETIRED........in 1986, Doerr was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Two years, later, his #1 jersey was retired by the Red Sox. His last visit to Boston was in 2012 for the celebration of the 100th year anniversary of Fenway Park. Red Sox owner John Henry stated that: "Bobby Doerr was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one himself. And even with his Hall of Fame achievements at second base, his character and his personality out shined it all. He will be missed."
 
 
 PAUL R. WOODWARD
 
MAUCH WANTED HIS PLAYERS TO FEEL A LOSS AS HARD AS HE DID
 
When you mention the name of the late former baseball manager Gene Mauch, the first and only thought that comes to mind is that his 1964 Philies had a 6 1/5 game lead with just 12 games to play and lost 10 straight in the biggest collapse in Major League Baseball history. The downfall was sudden and Mauch took a tremendous amount of criticism as he used his two top starters, the late Hall of Famer Jim Bunning and the late lefty Chris Short in seven of the 10 defeats. He used them on two days rest and that was the key factor in the team's devastating and gut-churning downfall.
At the time disaster struck, the Phillies were starting a seven game home stand which began with a three game series against the Cincinnati Reds on September 21. Their woes began in the opener when the Reds Chico Ruiz stole home for the game's only run and the Phillies never recovered. What made the play so surprising and stunning was the fact that when Ruiz raced home to everyone's shock and amazement, Hall of Fame slugger Frank Robinson was at the plate. Gene William Mauch was born in Salinas, Kansas. He was mostly a second baseman and he played in 304 games over nine years with six teams including the then Brooklyn Dodgers. the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs, the then Boston Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals. He batted .239 with five homers and 62 Rbi's, and 176 hits. When he took over the Phillies two games into the 1960 season, he was 34 years old and the youngest manager in the majors. The team finished 58-94 that year and in 1961, the Phillies were truly God awful dropping 107 of their 154 games. They also recorded a 23-game losing streak.
 
In 1962, Mauch led Philly to an 81-80 mark, their first winning season in 10 years. Mauch was named the National League Manager of the Year, an award he would receive two more times in his career. Mauch was intense, shrewd and was always awesomely prepared. He was a brilliant tactician and he studied box scores and any statistics he could find to give him an edge in a game. He knew the rule book better than anyone who ever played or managed in the majors. While his career was heavily tainted by the unforgettable fall of the "64 Phillies, most people do not realize that the team was never considered as being anywhere near a contending club. The fact that Mauch's players were involved in their first ever pennant race was a factor in their downfall. Some other reasons were involved. Over the previous weeks before the fateful slide two other starters had left games with arm problems. Also never mentioned was the fact that while the Phillies were in the midst of their 10-game streak, both the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals were winning eight in a row. The Phillies ended the year with a 92-70 mark and tied for second place with Cincinnati, a game behind the pennant winning St. Louis Cardinals.
 
Gene Mauch was an advocate of "small ball" which involved moving runners via sacrifice bunts, hit and runs and hitting the ball to the opposite side to advance men on base. He preferred this strategy rather than depending on the long ball and the elusive big inning. Some players had a tough time adjusting to his managerial style. Mauch was obsessed with the idea that his players should feel a loss as deeply as he did. The anger that arose in him anytime he thought a player was not upset, depressed or annoyed enough by a defeat, he would become irate. An example of that came while the Phillies were in Houston to face the then Colt 45's (who later became the Astors). After the team dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 decision on a ninth inning walk off hit by Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, Mauch entered the visitor's locker room a few minutes after the players had left the dugout. Mauch observed several players partaking of shrimp and barbecued ribs which were part of large spread set up on a table by the Houston locker room staff. He became incensed and overturned the table sending all the food including a bowl of sauce into the air and into nearby lockers. The airborne mess destroyed the clothes of Mauch's left fielder Wes Covington. Mauch felt badly about his outburst and he gave Covington $100 to purchase a new suit.
 
In 1982, Mauch went through a mini-repeat of his Phillies debacle, while he was managing the California Angels. When Mauch came to the Angels in 1981, the team posted a 51-59 record. In 1982, the team won the American League's Western Division and jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the AL Championship Series. The team was one win away from the World Series but lost three straight games and one of the major factors was Mauch's overuse of his two best starters, Tommy John and Bruce Kison. He started both on two day rest and that proved to be another death knell.
Gene Mauch had a fiery personality. He was demanding and expected his teams to play the game the right way, being sound fundamentally and doing the "small things" offensively to win games. He was deeply loyal to his players and he would do whatever it took to give them an advantage against an opponent. Mauch would study the personalities of opposing players to see which ones were more susceptible to taunting and could be distracted from the game. He was the subject of a terrific book entitled: "The Little General, Gene Mauch, A Life in Baseball ". It was written by TV sportscaster and author Mel Proctor and published in 2015. To adequately show how aggressive he was and how much of a quick reactor he was, there are two prime examples to point out. According  to Bobby Wine, the shortstop on the 1964 Phillies, there was a game where pitcher
Jim Bunning was having problems with the baseball he was using and he became frustrated when the home plate umpire refused to give him a new one. Mauch then stormed out of the dugout to the mound, took the ball from Bunning, threw it to ground and began grinding his spikes on it. Bunning got a new baseball. Wine said that Mauch " knew the rules better than the umpires." In July of 1966, in a game against the Mets, then catcher Jerry Grote leaned into the Phillies dugout to grab a foul pop when Mauch hit his arm to prevent him from making the catch. Mauch was always  thinking ahead. He would make unusual moves based on observations and instincts.
 
The Phillies played at the Old Connie Mack Stadium which was famous for its huge more than 65 foot high score board in right center. Mauch had the Phillies bullpen moved from left field to right field so his bullpen pitchers could signal the outfielders where the ball would bounce off the scoreboard and the high right field wall. Mauch managed two other teams in addition to the Phillies and Angels. He was the first manager of the new then Montreal Expos franchise which began playing in the National League East in 1969. He also managed the Minnesota Twins. He succeeded in improving each of those teams to a much higher level of play. Mauch was one of the first MLB managers to utilize the double switch and he was committed to platooning and defensive shifts.
 
Mauch was a heavy smoker and he died of lung cancer on August 9, 2005 at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 79. In an article published the day after he passed, the New York Times described Mauch as the "Manager of Near Misses". Buck Rodgers, who managed the Expos from 1985-1991 spoke fondly of Mauch. "He was a fine manager and a fine man. He was an innovative manager. He has the intestinal fortitude to do things a lot of people didn't." Mauch's former pitching coach with the Angels Marcel Lachemann noted that "he was the best manager, the best baseball man I have ever been around without a doubt". The late skipper Dick Williams, who managed the Oakland Athletics to World Championships in 1972 and 1973, remarked "If they were to hold a managerial clinic and just had the managers there, I would say that Gene Mauch should run the class. He was that good."
Rusty Staub, who played for Mauch in Montreal, admitted that he would put Mauch up against any manager in baseball. The late Dallas Green, who managed the Phillies to the 1980 World Series Championship, commented that "All of us whether we admit it or not learned from Gene and we became better baseball people because of him. Gene Mauch summed it up best when he said: "The worst thing in a day is when you realize that you want to win more than the players do".
 
MAUCH TALK...... The late Philadelphia sportscaster, Bill Campbell, who was a member of the Phillies Broadcast Team in 1964, admitted that he learned more about baseball from Gene Mauch than any other person.
GOOD TIMES AT SHEA STADIUM......the Phillies enjoyed the 1964 season playing on the Mets home turf. They won 15 of the 18 games they played there. Jim Bunning threw a perfect game at Shea on father's day and right fielder Johnny Callison stroked a three-run homer to lead the National League to a 7-4 win over the American League in the 1964 All-Star Game held at Shea, which had opened on April 17 of that year. In addition to Callison who had a fabulous season with 31 homers and 104 RBI's, Phillies starters Jim Bunning and Chris Short were voted to the game.
MAUCH THE MOVIE MAN............Mauch appeared briefly in two Hollywood films, one "The (Monte) Stratton Story" in 1949, starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson, the other, "The Winning Team" starring then actor Ronald Reagan and Doris Day in 1952.
ALLEN A HUGE FACTOR IN '64........one of the biggest surprises of the 1964 season was rookie Richie Allen who earned the Rookie of the Year Award by hitting 29 homers and driving in 91. Had the Phillies captured the NL pennant, Allen would have surely won the league's MVP. That honor went to the St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer.
1964 WAS FULL OF HALL OF FAMERS......there were 35 future Hall of Fame players on the 20 major league rosters. Ironically, one of those players was pitcher Robin Roberts who was on the roster of the Baltimore Orioles. Roberts was a member of the 1950 Phillies team, known as the "Whiz Kids" who captured the National League pennant but lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. It is a stunning stat that in the last 32 years. the Phillies have recorded 320 complete games. In his 19-year career, Roberts registered 305.
MAUCH WAS VERY TOUGH AND VERY LOYAL....Gene Mauch was an incredibly tough manager. He made a lot of his players nervous. While he loved the guys who played for him, he maintained his sternness and demanding style because he felt that he couldn't get close to them because that would weaken
him and disrupt his ability to push his players to give all they had physically and mentally. His willingness to try any move, to employ any tactic or apply any rule made him an superb game day manager. His was meticulous in his preparation and he feared no one. He is the winningest manager never to win a World Series. Mauch once stated: "I'm not the manager because I'm always right. I'm always right because I'm the manager."
BY PAUL WOODWARD
 
 PAUL R. WOODWARD
 
ARA ERA WAS VERY SPECIAL FOR NOTRE DAME
 
The Notre Dame football program took an especially hard hit when former Head Coach Ara Raoul Parseghian passed away at age 94 on Wednesday, August 2 in Granger, Indiana. Parseghian took over the Fighting Irish Football program in 1964 after the school had gone five straight years without a winning season. Parseghian made a immediate impact, sparking the Irish to a 9-1 mark with their only loss coming at Southern Cal 20-17 in their final game. Notre Dame finished #3 in the National polls that year. Prior to the USC game, the Irish were ranked #1 in the nation. In 1964, Notre Dame outscored their opponents 287 (28.7) to 77 (7.7 points) a game. In 11 winning years leading the Irish, Parsegian won eight or more games in nine of them. While he was detail oriented, a terrific motivator and was deeply interested in the success of his players on and off the field, his first move was to ask his athletes what their primary concerns were about the Notre Dame Football program. He took their opinions and comments very seriously and immediately initiated numerous changes, one of which was to redesign the offense to feature a more potent passing attack. His key move, however, was to install then senior quarterback John Huarte as a starter and that proved to be a monumental decision as Huarte won the 1964 Heisman Trophy after completing 114 of 205 passes for 2,062 yards and 16 touchdowns.
 
Parseghian was named National Coach of the Year in 1964 by the American Football Coaches Association, the Washington Touchdown Club, and the Columbia Touchdown Club. He also won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The Irish went on to win two National Championships under Parseghian in 1966 and in 1973. Overall, Parseghian posted a 95-17-4 record in his time in South Bend. He is the third winningest head coach in Notre Dame history behind Knute Rockne (105-12-5 in 13 years) and Lou Holtz (100-30-2 in 11 years). During his tenure at Notre Dame, 40 of his players earned first team All-American honors. Parseghian had also rejuvenated the football program at Northwestern University when he assumed the head coaching duties there in 1956. At the time of his hiring the Wildcats had lost 27 of their last 35 games. Paseghian was then the youngest head coach in the Big 10 at the age of 32. He was 36-35-1 over his five seasons. Parseghian's first head coaching job was at Miami University of Ohio where he went 39-6-1 in his five years at the school. His teams won two Mid-American Conference Championships.
 
Parseghian was born in Akron, Ohio. His dad was Armenian and his mom French. He enrolled at the University of Akron but left shortly thereafter and enlisted in the Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor. When he returned from the war, he chose to attend the University of Miami (Ohio) where he played two seasons as a halfback. He was selected in the 13th round of the 1947 draft by the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and he was also picked by the Cleveland Browns of the then American Football Conference (AFL). He decided to sign with the Browns but only saw action in one game in 1948 as a halfback and a defensive back. He suffered a severe hip injury early in the 1949 season which essentially ended his pro career. His introduction into the coaching profession came when the legendary Woody Hayes, who was then the Head Coach at Miami of Ohio, offered him a job as an assistant. When Hayes later left to take the Head Coaching position at Ohio State, Parseghian was named as his replacement. Parseghian finished his career with a 170-58-6 record. He was respected and admired by his players, his coaching staff and most importantly by the Notre Dame fans. He was a excellent tactician and had a great knack of knowing precisely what type of personnel he needed to be successful. He began recruiting smaller but quicker receivers to enhance his passing game.
 
With all of his coaching successes, Parseghian and his wife Kathleen had their share of incredible personal tragedies including the death of three grandchildren from Niemann-Pick, one of a group of inherited rare diseases which causes fatty substances to build up in the cells of the spleen, liver and brain, causing them to swell. In 1994, he and his son and daughter in law founded the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation to help develop a cure for the disease. The organization, established as a partnership with Notre Dame University, is located on the campus. The Parseghians' also lost their daughter Karan to multiple sclerosis. She was 61 when she died in 2012. The couple, who were married for 69 years, had two sons Kris and Mike. Among the many fond remembrances expressed about Parseghian and all he had accomplished with Irish football were the remarks made by Notre Dame's Senior Associate Athletic Director John Hessler who noted: "Parseghian ran the Irish program with a stern hand, yet his charges-players, assistants and administrators lovingly and reverently held him in the highest regard. What may be the ultimate compliment, the 1996 Notre Dame Football Guide in its Ara biography suggested that he invented "desire". College football lost a gem of a person but many will warmly and proudly recall the span of 11 years when the Era of Ara swept through the home of the Golden Dome.
 
SOME ARA PARSEGHIAN NOTES...........
THERE WAS A LOT OF SNOW AT NOTRE DAME.IN 1964........with all the talk of how great Parseghian was at South Bend, the name Jack Snow deserves a significant mention as the then 6'2", 190 pound senior wide receiver was heavily responsible for the team's outstanding success in Paraeghian's first year. Snow caught 60 passes for 1,114 yards and nine TD's and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Snow later played 11 years for the then Los Angeles Rams and in 150 games, he posted 340 receptions for 6,012 yards and 45 scores.
 
THE EVER CHANGING POSITION MAN.........one of Parseghians' best attributes as a head coach was that he was never afraid to move his players to different positions anytime he felt those changes would improve the team. One noteworthy example of that came prior
to the 1964 season when he switched Jack Snow from a running back to a wide receiver. He was a master at instilling confidence and he demanded that his players not only be fundamentally sound but tougher than any opponent. Parseghian's heavy stress on toughness came from his childhood. He began playing sports at a very early age. He established himself as one of the toughest kids at his grade school. In fact, while in the eighth grade, he was authorized by the Akron Board of Education to keep an eye on the grounds of his elementary school at night to stave off potential vandals.
 
NO POINTS OR JUST ONE SCORE GAMES.......... Parseghian's Irish teams recorded 26 shutouts and in 23 other games, his squads allowed just one touchdown. In nine of his 11 seasons, Ara's teams were ranked in the Top 10, nine times.
 
A GOOD COLOR MAN................In 1975, Parseghian became a color analyst for college football on ABC. In 1982, he moved to CBS Sports where he served as an analyst until 1988.
 
OTHER HONORS FOR ARA.............Parseghian was a two time winner of the Football News Coach of the Year Award in 1964 and 1973 and he received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award in 1967. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980. He was also inducted into the Indiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Miami (Ohio) Hall of Fame. Lou Holtz, who served as Notre Dame Head Coach from 1986-1996 and won a national title in 1988, was one of the speakers at a memorial service held for the legendary coach at Notre Dame's Purcell Pavilion on Sunday, August 6. Coach Holtz said: "We are here to celebrate Ara not to be sad. He provided so much love and happiness to so many people." Holtz later remarked that: "Ara Parseghian will live for many generations. Why? Because of the people he affected. He affected me. The players I affected were effected by Ara Parseghian. I can't say enough".
 
CHERISHED SIGNATURE.........I was fortunate enough to secure Ara Parseghian's autograph on a card which I sent to him care of the University. About a month later, I received the card with a thank you and as a great ironic surprise-his beautiful signature was in green ink.
 
THOUGHT PROVOKING IRONY.........at a time when the issue of immigration is on the minds of many, it is interesting to note that Ara Paseghian's father, Michael fled Turkey in 1915 after the Ottoman government had initiated a program of genocide against Armenians who were citizens of the Ottoman Empire during World War One. Over 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated in what has been referred to as the "Armenian Holocaust." Ara's dad settled in Akron, because at the time, the city had a large Armenian population.
 
BY PAUL WOODWARD
 
 PAUL R. WOODWARD
 
 
ALBERT PUJOLS JOINS A SUPER EXCLUSIVE CLUB
 
When Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels belted a grand slam homer in the fourth inning of a 7-2 home win over the Minnesota Twins on June 3, it was the 600th homer of his superb career. It gave him an elite status as only the ninth player in the 144 years of Major League Baseball to accomplish the feat.
 
There are 27 players who have stroked 500 or more homers and the 37-year old Pujols is the only active member of that special group. Pujols spent 11 years with the St. Louis Cardinals with whom he hit 445 of his round trippers. His stat sheet is ridiculously impressive as are his list of awards and honors. In his 17 1/2 major league seasons, Pujols has a career batting average of 307. As of July 21, he had 605 career homers, 2,908 hits and 1,699 runs scored. His 1,874 RBI's, are the most in MLB history by a foreign born player. He has played in 2,514 games and he is a 10 time All Star, a two-time World Series Champion, a six time Silver Slugger Award winner, a two-time Gold Glover, a three-time National League MVP, a two-time National League home run leader, the National League RBI Leader in 2010 and the National League Batting Champion in 2003. Pujols slugged 30 or more homers in his first 12 seasons as a pro. He has surpassed the 30 home run mark 14 times. Pujols has been a remarkable hitter. He is one of only eight of the 27, 500 home run hitters to have posted a .300 plus career batting average.
 
Born in Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantaro came to the United States in 1996. He played just one year of college ball before being selected by St. Louis in the 10th round of the 1999 Major League Draft. He played the bulk of the 2000 season with the Cards Single A Peoria Chiefs and he batted .324 with 17 homers, 84 RBI's and 128 hits in 109 games. Those numbers earned him the MVP Award in the Midwest League. He joined the Cardinals roster in 2001. Pujols became a free agent in 2011 and signed a 10-year deal with the Angels for $240 million.
 
FASCINATING FACTS.......Of the 27 members of the 500 home run club, 18 are in the Hall of Fame. Former Red Sox star Manny Ramirez, who spent 19 seasons in the big leagues, is no longer active in the Majors but is currently an outfielder with the Koche Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus in Japan. Martinez is ranked #15 on the all-time home run list with 555. The nine players who have clouted 600 or more home runs have played in a remarkable 117 all-star games. In all, the 27 players who hit 500 four baggers have participated in 292 all-star classics. It should be pointed out that for four years between 1959 and 1962, Major League Baseball played two All-star games each season. That format added four appearances to the resumes of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. Aaron and Mays have been in more all-star games (24 each) than any other Major League players. Ironically, one of the greatest players in baseball history, Babe Ruth appeared in just two All Star Games. The reason is that Ruth's major league career lasted for 22 years from 1914 to 1935. The All-Star game was first established in 1933 two years before  the "Babe" retired.
 
In another interesting stat, Ken Griffey, Jr. (in 1992) and his dad, Ken, Sr.(in 1980) are the only father-son combo to earn All-Star MVP Awards. Willie Mays won a pair of All star MVP honors in 1964 and in 1968. The next closest Major League player to 500 is Miguel Cabrera, first basemen for the Detroit Tigers. He is 37th in career round trippers with 458. Perhaps the most incredible stat in all of baseball history is that the 27 players on the all-time list are responsible for 16,283 home runs. The nine players who have reached the 600 homer plateau, along with Pujols are Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey, Jr. (630), Jim Thome (612) and Sammy Sosa (609). Ted Williams would have easily hit over 600 homers but he lost five major league seasons as he served as a fighter pilot in World War Two (1943-1945) and spent two years in the Korean Conflict. (1952-1953). In another great irony, Williams served as wingman on several missions in Korea with the late Mercury Astronaut and Senator John H. Glenn.
 
Just 30 MLB players have recorded 3,000 hits in their careers. Five of the 27, 500 home run hitters have reached that milestone. They include: Hank Aaron (3,771), Willie May (3,283), Eddie Murray (3,255), Alex Rodriguez (3,110), Rafael Palmeiro (3,020), Albert Pujols is 92 hits shy of 3,000. Eddie Murray is the only 500 home run hitter who did not record a single 40 homer season. Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Robinson each socked 40 home run once. Babe Ruth is the lone 500 HR man who won 20 games as a pitcher. Ruth won 23 games in 1916  and 24 games in 1917 with the Red Sox. He went 94-46 in his career with 89 of those victories coming with Boston before he was traded to the Yankees. Ruth threw 109 complete  games and notched 448 career strikeouts. Babe Ruth hit the 40 homer mark 11 times while Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds posted eight seasons of 40 round trippers. Henry Aaron was one of the best clutch hitters in baseball. Of the 755 homers he hit, 79 of them tied a game and an astonishing 264 put his team ahead. He had nine walk off homers as well. Only five players in the 500 Club hit all their homers with one team. They included Ernie Banks (Cubs), Ted Williams (Red Sox), Mickey Mantle (Yankees), Mike Schmidt (Phillies) and Mel Ott (New York Giants). Three 500 hone run hitters won double digit Golden Glove Awards. Willie Mays won 12 and Mike Schmidt and Ken Griffey, Jr. 10 each.

BY PAUL WOODWARD 

 

 

THE 1960 NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WAS FASCINATING AND HISTORIC

 

On December 26, 2017, it will be the 58th anniversary of the 1960 NFL Championship Game won by the Philadelphia Eagles 17-13 over the Green Bay Packers at Franklin Fieldin the City of Brotherly Love before a sellout crowd of 67,325.The contest was very significant in the history of pro football because it featured 15 futureHall of Famers and it occurred the year before the Pack began their dynasty with five championships over seven seasons with two of those titles coming in the first two super bowls in 1967 and 1968. It was also the late great Vince Lombardi's only playoff defeat.

 

Of the 84 players on the rosters of the two teams, only 30 of them are still alive.Of the 14 Hall of Fame players who participated in the game, six have since passed away.They include Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik, the last two way starter in the league, andquarterback Norm Van Brocklin. The five Packer Hall of Famers who have left us are defensive tackle Henry Jordan, middle linebacker Ray Nitschke, center Jim Ringo, defensive back Emlen Tunnell, who later became the first African American to play for the New York Giants, and Coach Lombardi.

 

The game was played at 12 noon on the day after Christmas in 1960 because the stadium which was and still is the home of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers, did not have lights.The Packers entered the contest with an 8-4 record while the Eagles had won 10 of their12 regular season games. Their only losses came to the Cleveland Browns at home and atthe Pittsburgh Steelers. The Birds were the only NFL team to win 10 games that year.After their opening defeat to Cleveland, the Birds won nine straight.Ironically, the Eagles and the Packers had finished last in their conferences in 1958, the Eagles were (2-9-1) in the East and the Pack went (1-10-1) in the West.

 

It should be pointed out that there were 13 teams in the NFL in 1960. The then rival AmericanFootball League was in its initial season and featured eight teams and the AFL Championshipwas held a week after the NFL title game.To show how tough the NFL was in 1960, there were 48 players, seven head coaches and two  owners who were with the 13 franchises and who later became Pro Football Hall of Famers.The Eagles win was an impressive one considering that the Pack started 10 Hall of Fame playerssix on offense and four on defense.

 

Lombardi, a two time NFL Coach of the Year,was 9-1 in playoff games and he posted 98 wins in the 132 games he coached the Packers between 1959 and 1967. It should be noted that Lombardi became the General Manger of the Packers in 1968.Pro football changed drastically following the Eagles-Packers clash.

 

Pete Rozelle was in his first full year as NFL Commissioner in 1960 and he was responsible for moving the NFL Headquarters from Philadelphia to New York. A monumental event occurred in 1961 when Congress passed the Sports Broadcasting Act which gave the NFL ananti-trust exemption.

 

In 1967, the NFL and the AFL merged with 26 teams, 16 of those from the NFL and 10 fromthe AFL. Because of the imbalance, three NFL franchises including the Steelers, the Browns andthe Colts, were asked to join the AFL.It wasn't until 1970, however, that the new league was officially split into the American and National Football Conferences each featuring four divisions (East, North, South and West).It is amazing that the cost of seats for the 1960 Championship game were $8 and $10.The average ticket (available to the public) for the 2017 Super Bowl ranged between $2,500 and $3,000.The total revenues for the 1960 game (which included TV and broadcast rights-NBC televised the game but under then NFL rules, the contest was blacked out in the Philadelphia market) amounted to $748,000. Each Eagle player received $5,116 while each Packer was given $3,105.

 

To fully appreciate the massive amounts of money in pro football today, one need only look atthe fact that the NFL made $3.5 billion on ads for the 2017 Super Bowl.Each New England player earned $107,000 while each Atlanta Falcon received $53,000.

 

INTERESTING FACTS......The 1960 season was one of the greatest for Hall of Fame coachesamong the 13 franchises. In addition to Lombardi, there were five other great head coachesincluding Tom Landry with the Dallas Cowboys, Weeb Ewbank with the then Baltimore Colts,George Halas with the Chicago Bears, Bob Waterfield with the Los Angeles Rams and Paul Brown with the Cleveland Browns.

 

IT WAS OFFICIAL......just a five man officiating crew handled the 1960 Championship Game. The five were the referee, the umpire, the head linesman, the back judge and the field judge.In 1965, the league added a line judge and in 1978, a side judge was included increasing thecrew to seven.

 

THE PLAYOFF GAME MANY PEOPLE NEVER KNEW ABOUT........what many current NFL fansdon't realize was that one week after the 1960 championship, the league began what itcalled the Playoff Bowl which involved two teams battling for third place in the league.The game was played for 10 years between 1960 and 1969 at the Orange Bowl in Miami,Florida.It was specifically established as the Bert Bell Benefit Bowl with the proceeds going tothe NFL players pension fund which Bell helped to establish.

 

Bert Bell was the co-founder of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers and he served as NFL commissioner from 1946 until his death on October 11, 1959 while at an Eagles-Steelers game in Philadelphia.Bell had been offered complimentary tickets by the Eagles, but he decided to purchase his ownand chose to sit with the fans.During the fourth quarter, he suffered a heart attack and he died later at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. 

 

Bell, who played quarterback for Penn, was remarkable during his tenure as Commissioner.  In an October 15, 2014 article by Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger (a Philadelphian) revealed that at the time Bell took over, the league was basically a "minor league"operation and was overshadowed by Major League Baseball, college football, boxing andhorse racing.  Didinger added that Bell negotiated a contract with network TV which resulted in the introduction of sudden death overtime which impacted the 1958 title game won by the Colts over the Giants 23-17.

 

That championship tilt has been referred to as the "greatest game ever played." Bell also initiated the NFL Draft and he convinced the NFL owners to stop their squabbling with each other and adopt a more unified approach in making decisions vital to the league's future.Both Bell and Pete Rozelle, who assumed the commissioner's role following Bell's death, were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Interestingly, it took 23 ballots by the 13 team owners to approve Rozelle, who was the then 33-year old General Manager of the Los Angeles Rams. Rozelle held the position until 1989 when he retired. He was replaced by Paul Tagliabue.The Eagles participated in the playoff game twice in 1961 and again in 1966 and lost both times while the Packers split their two appearances, winning in 1963 and losing in 1964.

 

MORE SEATING.......7,000 temporary seats were added for the game at Franklin Field which was built in 1895 at a cost of $100,000 specifically to house the famous Penn Relays. Thefield is currently the oldest stadium in all of college football.

 

THE SURVIVORS.......the Hall of Fame Eagles who are still alive include Eagle wide receiverTommy McDonald, 83 and then backup quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, now 82.

 

Six Packer players are still with us. They are quarterback Bart Starr, now 83, halfback Jimmy Taylor, 81, defensive end Willie Davis, 82 defensive back Willie Wood, 80, running back Paul Hornung, 81 and offensive tackle Forrest Gregg, 83.

 

CAMPBELL'S CALL-the late outstanding longtime Philadelphia broadcaster Bill Campbell handledthe play-by-play of the title game on local radio. During his brilliant career, Campbell was involved in three of the most historic games in Philadelphia sports history.In addition to the Eagles title game, he did the broadcast of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-pointgame on March 2 1962 at the Hershey Park Arena in Hershey, Pa. when the then PhiladelphiaWarriors defeated the New York Knicks 169-147. Campbell was also was part of the Philliesbroadcast team during the perfect game thrown by Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning against the New York Mets at then Shea Stadium on Father's Day, June 21, 1964.

 

RINGO WAS A STAR.......It is also ironic that Hall of Fame center, Jim Ringo, who played for the Packers in 1960, later joined the Eagles and was with the team from 1964-67. When he wasselected by Green Bay in the 1953 NFL Draft, he weighed 211 pounds. To place that in properperspective, the average weight of a starting center in the NFL today is between 295 and 315 pounds.

 

BEDNARIK MADE BIG NEWS A MONTH EARLIER.......On Sunday, November 20, just 36days before the championship game, Eagles lineman Chuck Bednarik had leveled New York Giants halfback Frank Gifford on a devastating tackle during the Birds 17-10 win at the old Yankee Stadium. The powerful hit knocked Gifford out and he didn't regain consciousness untilafter he had arrived at a nearby hospital. It took Gifford 18 months to recover.The victory allowed Philly to take over first place in the then Eastern Division.While the tackle became the most famous in NFL history, Gifford stated that it was not a dirtyhit. He pointed out that the high tackle, while incredibly hard, was not the major cause of his injury.He explained that when he was driven to the ground, his head slammed into the frozen turf.In an ironic twist, Bednarik was able to play for the league championship at Franklin Field, hishome field when he was a three-time All-American at the University of Pennsylvania.Bednarik died at age 89 on March 21, 2015 while Gifford passed four months later on August 9.Gifford was 84. Bednarik played center and linebacker and in the 1960 Championship game,he was on the field for 58 of the 60 minutes.

 

HORNUNG A HESIMAN WINNER.........Green Bay Packers halfback Paul Hornung holds one of football's most elite distinctions. He is one of only nine players to have won a Heisman Trophy and been inducted into both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. He was also a number one draft pick and a super bowl winner. Hornung also served as the Packer's placekicker for several seasons and in the 1960 loss to the Eagles, he kicked a pair of field goals, one a 20-yarder in the first quarter, the other a 23-yarder in the second.Hornung was a three sport athlete at Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget High School in Louisville,Kentucky and was recruited by the late legendary Paul Bear Bryant, who was then the Head Coach at the University of Kentucky from 1946-53. Hornung decided to attend Notre Dame.

 

Bryant took over at Alabama in 1958.Packer Quarterback, Bart Starr, who won the first two super bowls, played his college ball for the Crimson Tide but not under Bear Bryant. Starr, one of the classiest athletes in all of pro sports, was at Alabama from 1952-1956 two years before  the "Bear" arrived.

 

Adding to Crimson Tide football history, the third super bowl was won by the Joe Namath led New York Jets over the heavily favored then Baltimore Colts. Namath did play at Alabama under Bryant from 1962-1964.

 

PASSING MARK STILL THE NORM...........Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin still owns theNFL record for most passing yards in a game. He completed 29 of 41 passes for 554 yards andfive touchdowns while with the Los Angeles Rams in the team's 1951 home opener against the then New York Yanks.The Yanks had originally been in Boston before moving to New York where they became theBulldogs. They played their 1949 season at the old Polo Grounds, hone of the then New YorkGiants Baseball Team.The team changed its name to the Yanks and played in 1950 and 1951 in the NFL. The franchisewas sold back to the league following the 1951 season and the team was dissolved.Van Brocklin was then the backup to Hall of Fame QB Bob Waterfield who missed the game with an injury. Van Brocklin shared the 1960 NFL MVP award with another Pro Football Hall of Famer, linebacker Joe Schmidt of the Detroit Lions.

 

MANY COLLEGES REPRESENTED......the 1960 game featured players from 52 different collegesincluding four from Georgia and three each from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Southern Methodist and Michigan State.

 

NEW NAME IN THE CARDS...........In 1960, the then Chicago Cardinals had officially changedtheir name to the  St. Louis Cardinals. The franchise later became the Phoenix Cardinals andthen the current Arizona Cardinals.

 

IN THE "SWING" OF THINGS......In 1960, the Dallas Cowboys were part of the Western Conference but they were designated as the "swing team" an they played each of the otherNFL squads once. The Cowboys did not win a game that year, posting an 0-11-1 record.

 

THOSE WHO ARE GONE.......it is not shocking that so many players who participated in the1960 title game have passed. The Eagles have lost 32 of the 46 players on their 1960 rosterwhile 22 of the 38 members of the Green Bay Packers team are gone.The title game will be remembered for the 14 Pro Football Hall of Fame athletes and one of thethe NFL's greatest head coaches who were part of it, but it should be pointed out that all the other athletes who saw action in the contest were equally responsible for making it such a great matchup and a superbly played contest.

BY PAUL WOODWARD

WRIGHT WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR 'NOVA

Jay Wright has been the Head Basketball Coach at Villanova for the last 16 years. When his defending National Champion Wildcats fell 65-62 to eighth-seeded Wisconsin in this year's recent NCAA Tournament, it was a shock, a bitter disappointment but most importantly, it ended an historical and record-breaking four year stretch in which his teams won 129 of 146 games. Those 129 victories are the 10th most in NCAA history. Over the past three seasons, Villanova posted the best won-loss record in the nation, 100-12. What made the second round defeat so stunning and devastating was that 'Nova was not only the defending champ but had earned the Number One seed in the tourney.
In their 2015-16 season, the Cats went 35-5 and knocked off five Top 25 teams, four of those in the Top 10 including #25 Iowa, #10 Miami (Fla.), #1 Kansas, #7 Oklahoma, and #3 North Carolina enroute to the school's second NCAA title. 'Nova had the fourth toughest schedule in the nation a year ago and amazingly faced 27 teams with 20 or more wins and seven of those squads had 28 or more triumphs. During their remarkable march to college basketball's most cherished prize, Villanova learned that it took more than talent, depth and great coaching to win the national title....... luck and a lack of serious injuries were also major factors in Nova's surviving a grueling 34 game regular season and a six-game tournament run. Villanova's 32-4 season in 2016-17 was halted by two major factors, one of which was that due to an injury to a key reserve and the red shirting of an impact freshman, the Wildcats were forced to use a seven-man rotation which served to tire the team as March Madness approached. Also, the Cats would go on long stretches where they would be unable to score, miss easy layups and turn the ball over on several consecutive possessions especially at the beginning of games during the latter part of their schedule. In all three of their regular season defeats, the two to Butler and the other to Marquette, the Wildcats went cold in the second half and could not recover. The Cats managed to win the 2016-17 Big East Tournament but caught a break when Butler was eliminated in the quarterfinals. The first Butler win had ended the Cats 20-game winning streak. Coach Wright offered no excuses for his team's quick departure from the tournament. He gave great praise to Wisconsin for their excellent play and he admitted that his team did not make the crucial plays down the stretch this year as it had during the title game last season when they beat North Carolina on a last second three pointer. North Carolina (33-7) under head coach Roy Williams won the University's sixth National Title on Monday, April 3rd in Phoenix, Arizona when it defeated Gonzaga (37-2), 71-65 for the 2016 championship.
Villanova is the only Catholic University or College to win two national titles and one of six Catholic institutions to garner a tournament win in the 78 years that the Championship Game has been played. The others include Holy Cross College in 1947, then LaSalle College (now a University) in 1954, Loyola University of Chicago in 1963, Marquette University in 1977 and Georgetown University in 1984. 'Nova's first title came in 1985 when it scored what may have been the greatest upset in college basketball history when it defeated heavily favored Georgetown, then the defending NCAA Champion, to capture the national trophy. That team was coached by Rollie Massamino, for whom Wright served briefly as an assistant coach. Massimino has 800 career wins to his credit and he is the current head coach at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida. Massimino, who is now 82 years old, was a finalist for the 2017 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class. What Villanova accomplished over the last four seasons was incredibly impressive when you consider that the team never lost two games in a row. Of the 17 teams which beat Nova, 14 of them had 22 or more wins while 10 of those had 25 or more victories. Those 17 opponents posted overall record was 422-166. You can judge how good a team is by the quality of the opposition it faces. In its 146 games since the start of the 2013-14 season, Villanova played 99 teams with 20 or more wins (27 of those won 24 or more games). They played 55 Top 25 teams, 14 of whom were ranked in the Top 10. Under Wright, the Cats won five regular season Big East titles and two conference tournament championships. His current team won four straight Philadelphia Big Five Titles winning its last 16 games versus city rivals St. Joseph's, LaSalle, Temple and the University of Pennsylvania. Jay Wright has led his teams to 13, 20-win seasons, four of which where his squads won 30 games. His teams have made 11 NCAA tournaments and advanced to two Final Fours in addition to their championship season. Wright, who played his college basketball at Bucknell University, had assistant coaching stints at the University of Rochester, Drexel and UNLV before spending seven years as head coach at Hofstra (122-85) before taking the Villanova job. He is a five time Big East Coach of the Year, a two-time Naismith College Coach of the Year, a two time America East Coach of the Year while at Hofstra and the winner of the 2006 Coach of the Year Award presented by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He earned his 500th career win during this past season and his overall record at Villanova currently stands at 373-245. The Wildcats were so successful in their past four years because they played superb defense and they managed to limit their turnovers to below 12 per game. In their last 146 games, Villanova averaged 75.8 points a game and yielded just 62.1 an outing. The Wildcats held opposing teams to under 60 points, 63 times and gave up more than 70 points in only 33 games. This past season, the Cats also led the nation in foul shooting despite their early exit. Villanova plays in the highly competitive Big East, the toughness of which was shown by the fact that 11 of the Wildcats 17 losses came to conference teams. Overall, Villanova went 61-3 at home. 38-8 on the road and 30-6 at neutral sites. They were 53-9 in conference games during the regular season and 8-2 in Big East tourney play and their non-conference record was 68-6.
College basketball is full of great traditional powers including Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville. UCLA leads all Division One schools with 11 championships, 10 of those under the late great Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden between 1964 and 1975. The reality that Jay Wright has been able to keep his Villanova athletes so amazingly successful is a credit to him, his staff and the caliber of players he recruits. He is one of the top coaches in the country and his 2017-18 team will be a excellent one with three starters returning and three high level recruits on board. Wright will lose a trio of terrific seniors in 6'6 guard Josh Hart, the Big East Player of the Year (1,921 career points on 677 field goals, 812 rebounds and 266 assists), 6'6" forward Kris Jenkins, whose three pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the 2015-16 Championship and 6'9' forward Darryl Reynolds.
The world of college basketball is one of tremendous highs and incredible lows. Jay Wright knows the emotions of winning it all and being knocked out of the NCAA tourney in the second round three of the last four years. But, the overall evaluation of a great coach goes beyond wins and losses and national rankings. Jay Wright has proven that he can attract the type of players who will commit to a program which doesn't focus on individual stats but stresses unselfishness and fundamental soundness. His players get the ball to the open man as well as any team in the country as evidenced by the fact that the Cats averaged 20 assists a game during their championship season. He has brought in players who work extremely well together and who stay in the program and graduate. Villanova will continue to be a force in college basketball because its athletes play the right way and their head coach has the Wright stuff.
BY PAUL WOODWARD
 
 
PAUL R. WOODWARD

 

 

FROM FRAIL KID TO BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME'R
When former Los Angeles Laker Great Jerry West was in grade school, no one would have ever imagined that as small and frail as he was that he would become one of the NBA's
greatest players. Jerry Alan West was banned from playing children's sports because doctors feared that he would suffer serious injury. His was so painfully thin that he was given vitamin injections by his family physician. West became interested in basketball after a neighbor nailed a basketball net to a shed on Jerry's property. He developed an obsession with shooting baskets and he practiced during every daylight hour, taking jump shots from every possible angle. He continued shooting baskets even through the snowy winter months. He shot so many baskets that his fingers began to bleed and he would frequently miss meals earning his mom's wrath because she was deeply concerned since he was so skinny already.
 
During the summer of 1953, West grew to six feet and he improved his strength and worked hard on his defensive skills. He earned a starting spot on the basketball team as a small forward. From 1953 to 1956, West became one of the greatest high school players in the Mountaineer State. He was named to the first team All-State three straight years and he was named an All-American as a senior, averaging 32.2 points per game. He also was the first high school player in West Virginia history to score over 900 points in a single season. West led East Bank to a state championship in 1956. In honor of its most famous alumni and as a celebration of the 1956 state title, East Bank High renamed its school West Bank High every year on March 24th, the date the team won the state crown. The school closed in 1999.
Although he received scholarship interest from more than 60 schools, West chose to play his
college ball at West Virginia. He was a member of the Mountaineers freshmen team which finished 17-0. In his career at WVU, West scored 2,309 points (24.8 average per game) and 1,240 rebounds (13.3 average a game) in 93 games. He was selected to play for the 1960 U.S. Team in the Pan American Games in which he and his teammates won a Gold medal.
 
He was also a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, along with fellow Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. The team captured the Gold medal in the Summer Games in Rome. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He was 6'2", 180 when he completed his college career. West had a splendid 14-year NBA career (1960-1974) with the Los Angeles Lakers. When he was selected second overall by the Lakers in the 1960 NBA Draft, the team was in Minneapolis and it moved to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season. West earned an All-Star berth in each of the 14 seasons he played. He was the third player in NBA history to score 25,000 points behind Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. He was a 10-time All NBA First Team selection and a four time member of the league's all defensive team. He was the NBA scoring champion in 1970 and its assists leader in 1972. He won an NBA title in 1972 and he was voted to both the NBA's 35th and 50th Anniversary Teams. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. His number "44" was retired by the Lakers. West scored 25,192 points (27 points a game) pulled down 5,366 rebounds and recorded 6,230 assists in 932 career games. He finished with a 47% field goal percentage. West's rise to one of pro basketball's deadliest shooters was a remarkable feat. He grew up in poverty in Chelyan, West Virginia and the fact that he overcame being small and thin, incredibly shy and being very much a loner is a testament to his super work ethic and his determination. West also had to overcome the death of one of his brothers, 22-year-old David in the Korean War. It was a devastating experience for West who was 12 at the time and it drove him into a deeper level of withdrawal. Even after he joined the Lakers, West was haunted by his high pitched voice which grew higher and squeakier every time he became excited. Although he had a killer mid-range jumper and was a terrific defender, he struggled with the adjustment and his teammates gave him the nickname: "Tweedy Bird". Further complicating his adjustment to the pro ranks was his very thick Appalachian accent which made him a prime target for teasing by his teammates. West was as intensely competitive as any player in pro basketball. He was incredibly tough and he took a beating during his career working for shots against taller, bigger centers. He broke his nose nine times and he was, without doubt, one of the best pressure scorers in league history. He was nicknamed: "Mr. Clutch", the guy his teammates wanted to have the ball in his hands with a game on the line.
 
A perfect example of how dependable West was came during Game Three of the 1970 NBA Finals against the New York Knicks when he hit a 60-foot swish shot to tie the contest. After his playing days ended, West became the Head Coach of the Lakers prior to the 1976-77 season. He led the team to 145 wins and three consecutive playoff appearances. He was named General Manager of the team in 1982 and during his time in that position, the Lakers won seven NBA Championships and West was voted as NBA Executive of the Year in 1995. West later became the GM of the Memphis Grizzlies and helped the team make the playoffs several years in a row. He won his second Executive of the Year Award in 2004. Proof of how outstanding Jerry West was during his pro career, was evidenced by the fact that in 1996, he was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History.
 
Aside from all of his many honors and accomplishments, Jerry West was an absolute gentleman, a person who received the ultimate respect of teammates, opponents, the media and fans. He is truly one of National Basketball Association's gems. He was great at every level of basketball he played and most importantly, he became such a great example of how successful an athlete could become if he expended an inordinate amount of energy and effort in his training and quest for improvement. The best description of the now 78-year old Jerry West can be found in two of his quotes which include: "I'm just ultra-competitive and I will be till I'm put in my grave" and: "You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good".
 
 PAUL R. WOODWARD

 

SEAN LEE MAY BE THE MOST UNDERRATED TACKLER IN THE NFL
 
When linebacker Sean Lee took the field with his Dallas Cowboy teammates at AT&T Stadium for the Divisional Playoff game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 15th, it was the first ever postseason appearance for the former Penn State standout in his seven years with the team. While Dallas' season ended with a 34-31 loss on a last second field goal, Lee was credited with eight tackles, six of them solo.
He completed the 2016 regular season tied for fourth in the NFL with 145 tackles, 93 of those solo.
 
Lee's numbers in 75 career games with the Cowboys are far more impressive considering all
the injuries he has suffered since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft as
the 55th overall pick. In 2010, Lee missed two games with a dislocated wrist and in 2012, he was sidelined for 10 games after he dislocated his right toe and also tore ligaments in it. In 2013, he sustained a hamstring injury which kept him out of two games. During preseason workouts prior to the 2014 season, Lee tore the ACL in his left knee and suffered a minor tear in his meniscus and was lost for the year. With Dallas, he has recorded 567 career tackles, 371 of those solo, 2.5 sacks, 24 pass breakups and 12 interceptions, two of them for touchdowns. Injuries also plagued Lee during his college career.
 
After appearing in eight games in his freshman season at Penn State in 2005, Lee became a starter in 2006 and 2007. But, he was red shirted for 2008 after he tore the ACL in his right knee. When he returned for the his senior year in 2009, he suffered a slight tear in his left ACL but only missed three games. Overall, in 36 starts for the Nittany Lions, Lee collected 313 tackles, 29.5 of them for losses, 11 sacks and three interceptions.
 
Lee was a star at Pennsylvania's Upper St. Clair High School where he was a three year starter. In his senior season in 2005, he was named to the Class 4 A First Team All State after rushing for 1,240 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also added 95 tackles and four interceptions on defense. Lee was also an outstanding basketball player, averaging 21.2 points and 9.1 rebounds in the 87 games in which he played. He and his fellow hoop mates won 75 of those 87 games.
 
Lee was one of just a handful of football players to be included in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Terrific Football 22 Team and the newspaper's Basketball Top 5. He was also chosen to play in the prestigious Big 33  Classic which at that time featured the best 33  football players from Pennsylvania against the Best 33 players from Ohio. Several years ago, the game opponent was changed and the Pa. stars now play the State of Maryland.
What makes Lee such a solid tackler is his ability to move rapidly from side to side and his ability to get to the ball. The 6'2", 240 pound Lee is not a flashy player but he is very astute at reading offensive formations quickly and being able to react swiftly.
 
Lee, who finished 11th in the league in solo tackles, does not draw a great deal of publicity. But, he is recognized as a sure tackler and a valued leader on the Cowboy defense. The fact that he has missed 33 pro games because of injuries and has become such a consistent defensive performer is a credit to his work ethic and his intensely competitive spirit. In an ironic twist, Lee was not selected for the pro bowl despite his excellent season. His teammate, quarterback Tony Romo, who missed all of 2016 with a back injury, noted that leaving Lee off the Pro Bowl roster was a "huge mistake." Romo added that Lee "is the best linebacker in the league. I see him every day and I should know his weaknesses. I still can't find any". Lee is one of more than 350 former Penn State athletes to play in the NFL.
 
 PAUL R. WOODWARD

 

 

JOHN GLENN WAS A TRULY GREAT AMERICAN HERO

 

When Lt. Col. John Herschel Glenn, Jr. passed away on Thursday, December 8th at the age of 95, it ended one of the most incredible careers in American history. Glenn was a decorated fighter pilot in two wars, a member of the first ever group of American astronauts, the first man to orbit the earth, a U.S. Senator for more than two decades, a test pilot and an engineer.
 
He is one of a rare few who were given a ticker tape parade down Broadway in New York City. He was a real gentleman who was highly competitive and enormously successful in every facet of his life. Despite his status as a hero, he was an extremely humble man with a terrific sense of humor. He once stated in an interview before a speech at Ohio State University in 2000: "I don't get up in the morning thinking that I'm a hero. I get up in the morning and do what I think is the right thing." He was an extraordinary person who became the first American to orbit the earth as part of the original group of astronauts known as the "Mercury 7". His famous space flight occurred on February 20, 1962 and although his three orbits in his "Friendship 7" space capsule lasted just under five hours, it rocketed him into instant fame and made him a lasting part of American Space History. He was given a ticker tape parade down Broadway in New York City in celebration of his historic flight. Even though his mission was heralded as a monumental event, Glenn's trip into space was far from problem free. After his first orbit, the automatic control system malfunctioned and Glenn was forced to steer his capsule manually for the remainder of his flight, as he had been intensely trained to do. A telemetry reading later showed that the heat shield might be loose which created the fear that Glenn and his craft could disintegrate during re-entry. Fortunately for American Space Flight, that scenario did not occur. The heat shield issue prompted NASA officials to shorten the mission. It should be noted that Glenn was actually the third Mercury astronaut to go into space as Rear Admiral Alan Bartlett "Al" Shepherd had been the first and Lt. Col. Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom the second. Their flights did not include earth orbit. Grissom would die at age 40, along with fellow astronauts Ed White and Roger Chafee in an ignition fire which broke out inside the capsule in which the three were conducting a pre launch test on January 27, 1967 on Launch Pad 34 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
 
Born in Cambridge, Ohio, Glenn's military career began when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. When he wasn't called for duty, he entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and after undergoing a series of advanced training programs, he transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps. His military action included 59 combat missions in World War Two and 63 in the Korean Conflict. In his last nine days in Korea, Glenn shot down three MIG fighters. While serving in Korea, Major John Glenn was paired with a famous wingman, Boston Red Sox star and Hall of Famer Ted Williams, a Captain in the Marine Corps Reserve who had been randomly assigned to Glenn's fighter squadron. Williams considered Glenn as awesome. As he remarked in an interview with the Chicago Tribune: 'John Glenn....Oh'.....he could fly an airplane. Absolutely fearless. The best I ever saw. It was an honor to serve with him". After being named as one of Project Mercury's 7 Astronauts in April of 1959, he and fellow pilots underwent long, grueling tests and training sessions over a nearly two year period to ready them for the first Mercury Mission on May 5, 1961 by Alan Shepherd.
 
I have a very special appreciation for John Glenn in that early on, as part of his intense preparation for space flight, he and his fellow astronauts were sent to the then Johnsville Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Pennsylvania for training on the facility's centrifuge which would simulate the G-forces the seven would encounter during their takeoffs and re-entry. As the group was headed to the building housing the centrifuge, Glenn apparently became enthralled with large color photos of various Navy fighter jets which covered the walls of a long hallway and he got separated from the others. He walked over to a nearby desk at the end of the hall where my late mom was sitting and asked for directions. My mother, who was secretary for the Commander of the center, assisted him and as a 'thank you", he gave her an 8 by 10 photo of him strapped in the cockpit of the centrifuge. It was personally signed to me and it is one of my most cherished possessions. 
 
Glenn served 24 years in the United States Senate (from 1974 to 1999) and amazingly, he spent nine days on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998 at the age of 77 making him the oldest human to travel into space. While on the shuttle, he conducted tests on the aging process. During his time as the Project Officer for the F-8U Crusader, he established a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York. In all, Glenn logged 9,00 flight hours, a third of that in jets. He received over 40 different awards, medals and other honors including the Air Medal with stars and clusters noting 17 additional awards, the Navy Occupation Medal, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, Presidential Unit Citation (Korea), Asian Pacific Campaign with two stars, the National Defense Service Medal with one star, United Nations Korean Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, Congressional Medal of Honor, the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom and the John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an elected or public official. Glenn was a three-sport athlete at New Concord High School where he played football, basketball and tennis. At Muskingum College, he played football for two seasons and basketball for one before leaving to join the
military. Amazingly, he was married for 73 years to his childhood sweetheart Annie (Castor).
Glenn was a staunch protector of his wife who battled stuttering which was so severe, she was considered 85% disabled. He helped her enormously in her struggle which became so severe, that while grocery shopping, she would go down every aisle several times looking for the items she wanted because she was too embarrassed to ask a store employee for help. Her speech impediment was drastic enough that when she rode in a taxi, she had to give a handwritten note to the driver telling him where she needed to go. Annie Glenn attended an extensive speech therapy program which allowed her overcome her problem to the extent where she could give public talks in support of programs and projects geared to helping those with speech disabilities. Amidst all of his national and international fame, Glenn never allowed his stardom to impact his goals and aspirations. He never really embraced the hero label and his "down to earth personality", his kindness and generosity proved that.
In the 1983 film, 'The Right Stuff", which was based on the Mercury Seven, veteran actor Ed Harris played the role of John Glenn. Glenn was not overly impressed by the movie. One of his most humorous comments came when he was asked how he felt just before launch. Said Glenn: "How do you think I felt sitting on top of two million parts made by the government's lowest bidder."
 
Glenn was the last living member of the original group of seven and his body was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. He is the only the second member of the Mercury Astronauts to be buried there as are the remains of Gus Grissom. Glenn is survived by his wife, Annie Margaret , who is 99 years old and two children, a son and a daughter. As the NASA Flight Manager said to Glenn as the countdown to his historic launch reached the final seconds 54 years ago......................"GODSPEED JOHN GLENN".
by PAUL R. WOODWARD
 
PAUL R. WOODWARD