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[Posted Sunday p.m.]
NCAA Basketball Quiz: Name the coaches of the following NCAA champions. 1962-63 Loyola (Ill.), 1960-61 and 1961-62 Cincinnati, 1959-60 Ohio State. Answer below.
College Basketball Review
--The other week, watching LSU defeat Kentucky 73-71, I was thinking, ‘Who is that asshole coaching LSU?’ I hadn’t seen the Tigers much all year, and really didn’t know anything about Will Wade, except that he was young, 36, and clearly doing a good job.
Well, he was suspended this week, following a Yahoo Sports report that detailed an FBI transcript of wiretapped calls from 2017 in which Wade discussed a “strong-(expletive) offer” for a prospect he was recruiting, current LSU freshman Javonte Smart, a key cog in their success.
Dan Wolken / USA TODAY
“When the NCAA tournament begins in two weeks, LSU will be one of roughly a dozen teams for whom the Final Four will seem within reach. The Tigers, who have made just one tournament appearance in the last nine seasons, could even be a No. 1 seed.
“But after an explosive report Thursday by Yahoo! Sports, which obtained transcripts of a wiretapped phone conversation between coach Will Wade and black market deal-maker Christian Dawkins, LSU’s mere presence in the tournament is a mockery. It’s an embarrassment for the school, for the Southeastern Conference and for an NCAA justice system that is relying on the FBI to do its dirty work and still can’t take meaningful action in time to save the tournament from such obvious taint.
“And if anyone at LSU or the SEC actually had the sense to acknowledge what was right in front of them, they wouldn’t allow it to happen....
“Even if you don’t like NCAA rules, even if you think amateurism is stupid, it is impossible to see LSU playing in this tournament as anything but a farce. Without the minor complication of having a chance to get to the Final Four, this would obviously be the time to take their medicine, sit out the NCAA tournament and get a head start on paying for the investigative carnage that is coming their way.
“Instead, they’re going to try and thump their chest all the way to the Final Four – even if it eventually gets stripped from the record books. After all, we’re going to remember that it happened, right?
“That’s the risk-reward theory that has allowed cheating program after cheating program to celebrate at the NCAA’s expense, and this time will probably be no different. It’s simply a matter of how much shame you’re willing to set aside. If LSU plays in this NCAA tournament, it will be the ultimate admission that theirs is all gone.”
[Meanwhile, court filings in the case involving former Adidas executive James Gattp and corruption in college basketball, for which Gatto was sentenced to nine months in federal prison on Tuesday, also link former N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried, now at Cal State Northridge, to being the first head coach directly connected to impermissible payments to players...in Gottfried’s case, to Dennis Smith Jr., now on the Knicks, who played just one year with the Wolfpack. According to former Wolfpack assistant Orlando Early, Gottfried handed Early envelopes containing what he believed was cash to deliver to Smith’s trainer to ensure he signed with N.C. State in 2015.]
So with the above as background, No. 10 LSU won sole possession of the SEC championship Saturday with an 80-59 victory over pathetic Vanderbilt (9-22, 0-18), under first-night coach Tony Benford, the Tigers 26-5, 16-2.
“We’re not done yet,” said Benford. “I was recruiting Thursday night,” and he was head coach the following day after Wade’s suspension.
Benford never had a winning season in five years at North Texas, prior to coming to LSU.
Last night, the Tigers also held out Javonte Smart over “an abundance of caution.” No word on what the status of all will be this week in the SEC tournament, and beyond, but it’s safe to say Wade is not returning.
LSU won the SEC outright because 5 Tennessee stumbled mightily at Auburn (22-9, 11-7) 84-80, the Vols blowing their shot at a share of the title, finishing the regular season 22-4, 15-3.
So Tennessee finished tied for second with 6 Kentucky (26-5, 15-3), after the Wildcats beat Florida (17-14, 9-9) 66-57.
In the ACC, it’s Virginia and North Carolina as co-titleholders. No. 2 Virginia held off pesky Louisville (19-12, 10-8) 73-68 in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers finishing up 28-2, 16-2. Tony Bennett’s team finally got some support from the bench, a key 22 points.
Meanwhile, Zion Williamson sat again for 4 Duke in its matchup with 3 North Carolina, and the Tar Heels got a share of the ACC crown with a 79-70 win over the Blue Devils, who fell to 26-5, 14-4. North Carolina got a terrific second-half effort from freshman star Coby White (21 points), and a great all-around game from Kenny Williams, as they improved to 26-5, 16-2, wrapping up a 1-seed in the Big Dance in the process.
So what of Zion? After the game, Coach K said he would have his first full practice Monday and “I think we’ll get Zion back for Thursday” and Duke’s first game in the ACC tournament. Duke is now 3-3 in the nearly six full games without him.
Duke needs Zion even more after it lost starting center Marques Bolden to a sprained left MCL last night. He’s a key to their defense.
In the Big Ten, we have co-titleholders as well, 11 Purdue and 9 Michigan State.
Purdue beat Northwestern (13-18, 4-16) 70-57 to finish the regular season 23-8, 16-4, while Michigan State (25-6, 16-4) beat No. 7 Michigan 75-63, the Wolverines falling to 26-5, 15-5.
In the Big 12, it’s 18 Kansas State and 8 Texas Tech on top; the Wildcats defeating Oklahoma (19-12, 7-11) 68-53 to finish 24-7, 14-4...Texas Tech ending up 26-5, 14-4, with an 80-73 win at Iowa State (20-11, 9-9).
Then we have the Big East. What a mess.
Villanova 13-5 (22-9)
Marquette 12-6 (23-8)
Georgetown 9-9 (19-12)
Seton Hall 9-9 (18-12)
Creighton 9-9 (18-13)
Xavier 9-9 (17-14)
St. John’s 8-10 (20-11)
Seton Hall had a big win over 23 Villanova, 79-75, while Georgetown beat 16 Marquette on the road, 86-84.
But the big loser is bound to be St. John’s, who have lost four of their last five, after they had seemingly wrapped up an NCAA tourney berth, the Johnnies falling to Xavier yesterday 81-68. Awful job by Chris Mullins and the boys. Of all the teams in their conference tournaments this week, St. John’s has as big a task as any legitimate bubble team. Win at least two games, probably three.
In the Mountain West, 17 Nevada finished up 28-3, 15-3, with a solid 81-53 win over San Diego State (19-12, 11-7). I watched most of this one and the Wolfpack, your “Pick to Click” are back on track.
But Nevada finishes tied atop the conference with surprising Utah State (25-6, 15-3), who defeated Colorado State 100-96 to secure a share of the title.
I watched a lot of the Nevada game, after thoroughly enjoying the OVC Championship game, Murray State (27-4, 16-2) becoming the first to punch their ticket into the NCAA tournament with a 77-65 win over Belmont (26-5, 16-2), the two having tied for the regular-season crown.
Ja Morant was as advertised, 36 points, though he can get careless, witness his seven turnovers (he has averaged five a game this season). The thing is the Racers are more than him. Assuming they get a 12 or 13 seed, they are going to give, say, a Florida State, a tough game. [Poor Belmont is unlikely to get an at-large invite.]
Speaking of the No. 14 Seminoles, they defeated Wake Forest 65-57 in Winston-Salem to move to 25-6, 13-5, while the Deacs fell to 11-19, 4-14.
Wake now plays Miami in the first round of the ACC tournament on Tuesday, and coach Danny Manning should be out that night or the following morning after we lose...cough cough...
Then there is the Pac 12. Incredibly, the conference is going to get two bids, max, with Washington, conference champs, one of them.
Today, 12 Houston is now 29-2, 16-2, after a solid 85-69 win at 20 Cincinnati (25-6, 14-4), the Cougars setting themselves up for a potential 3-seed.
Gardner-Webb (23-11, 10-6) is headed to the Big Dance for a first time after a 76-65 win over Radford (22-11, 12-4) in the Big South Conference tournament final.
Bradley (20-14, 9-9) won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final today over Northern Iowa (16-18, 9-9) 57-54, after being down 18 in the second half, the first time in 13 years the Braves are Dancin’.
Both Bradley and Northern Iowa were in the final after upsetting the regular-season co-champs, Drake and Loyola-Chicago, in the semis.
And Liberty punched its ticket for a fourth time, the Flames (28-6, 14-2) 74-68 winners over Lipscomb (25-7, 14-2) in the Atlantic Sun Conference final.
--Lastly, I watched the Wake Forest-Florida State game online, a Raycom production, and it’s time to honor the network, this being their last season covering ACC basketball with the advent of the ACC Network.
Phil W. passed along a piece by Jeff Gravley of WRAL in Raleigh.
“The hustle and bustle of a Raycom broadcast. Lights, cameras and plenty of ACC action for the last 37 years.
“ ‘We provide a way for a lot of people who don’t have cable or satellite to watch the games,’ said Raycom Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Rayburn. ‘When we started, that was the only way.’”
No doubt the ACC has benefited from having a Raycom. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said: “To give our sport that exposure at that time has led to the exposure we have today. It kept us ahead. Raycom has been an integral part of that.”
Back in 1957, TV producer and syndicator CD Chesley put together a five-station network in North Carolina to broadcast the undefeated Tar Heels win over Kansas in the national championship game.
Current executive producer Rob Reichley noted: “In 1957, with the games at the Final Four with Frank McGwire, the undefeated team, perfect season, (Chesley) started doing that one game per week, ACC game of the week. He is the true pioneer of not just ACC sports, but college sports in general.”
From 1958 until 1981, CD Chesley brought 1 or 2 ACC basketball games per week into the homes of those covered by the conference. Consider that the two main broadcasters were Jim Thacker and Billy Packer, who became household names. I was at Wake Forest during part of this time and looking back, we were spoiled. I mean other conferences just didn’t have games televised like this unless it was the national game of the week, and we had the best doing the commentary.
[Raycom eventually acquired the network Chesley had put together.]
--The Lakers were solidly in the playoff hunt at 25-21, but since then have gone 5-15, now 30-36 and out of it following a 120-107 loss to Boston in L.A. Saturday night, LeBron with his 80th career triple-double (32-12-10), though to be fair, the Lakers were without starters Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma due to injury.
Meanwhile, the other day, James passed Michael Jordan for fourth on the all-time scoring list, with Kobe Bryant up next...LeBron passing him next season.
The thing is, no one cares. Do you? It’s LeBron fatigue.
--The Sacramento Kings are a surprising 33-32 and still in the hunt for a playoff position in the West. Saturday, the Kings beat the Knicks (13-53) 102-94, behind budding star point guard, De’Aaron Fox, who had 30 points and 8 assists. Boy, I wanted this guy in the 2017 draft in the worst say, but Fox went fifth in the first round, while the Knicks were stuck at eight and selected Frank Ntilikina, who thus far has been a major bust. [Their current point guard, Dennis Smith Jr., was the ninth pick in that draft by Dallas.]
--Also Saturday, the Nets (35-33) have righted the ship and are back on track to make the postseason, defeating Atlanta (22-45) on the road 114-112, a game I note only because former Wake Forest star John Collins had 33 points and 20 rebounds in just 30 minutes.
--Bryce Harper shouldn’t be getting away with the tampering he is in the active recruitment of Angels superstar Mike Trout, who grew up in the Philadelphia area and still has a home there (New Jersey).
Harper, when asked about his comments, told a sportsradio station in Philly, “If I didn’t mean it, I wouldn’t have said it,” adding, “If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy.”
Trout becomes a free agent after that season. “Obviously I saw it,” Trout told reporters when asked about Harper’s efforts. “He’s excited. He’s excited about his team. I have no control over what he says.”
I know this isn’t as serious as denuclearization discussions with North Korea, but there is a rule against tampering. It’s not fair to the Angels. Anyway, Harper should be given a very public warning from MLB, and if he keeps up his antics, fine the crap out of him.
Of course understand this is coming from a Mets fan who hopes our boys kick Harper’s ass this season.
--Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright was suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, which kind of makes no sense, but then Wright is an idiot to begin with, having been suspended for 15 games last season under MLB’s domestic violence policy.
Wright was an All-Star in 2016 for Boston, going 13-6, but injuries, and stupidity, have limited his playing time since, the knucklehead appearing in 20 games (4 starts) last season, going 3-1, 2.68.
Meanwhile, with the departure of relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly to free agency (Kimbrel still unsigned), Red Sox fans are wondering just who is going to be closing for their lads.
--Mets fans have known for years that Tom Seaver, “The Franchise,” was slowly fading away. Back in 2013, the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden visited Seaver at his California vineyard. Seaver, and his friends, thought something was very wrong. He wasn’t himself. He was acting out of character. Suddenly, Seaver couldn’t remember names. He thought he was coming down with dementia.
But then came the diagnosis...Lyme disease. Seaver had been first diagnosed with it in November of 1991, when he was living in Greenwich, Conn., and spending a lot of time tending his garden.
“Stage 3 Lyme disease, which can occur months or years after the initial infection, can result in memory loss, speech problems, sleep disorder and an overall feeling of chemical imbalance – all of which Seaver had been experiencing over the last year,” Bill Madden wrote in 2013.
Seaver was taking 24 pills a day.
Fast-forward to Thursday, and the news from the Baseball Hall of Fame and the family:
“Tom Seaver has recently been diagnosed with dementia. Tom will continue to work in his beloved vineyard at his California home, but has chosen to completely retire from public life.”
“Those of us who were close to Seaver knew this day was coming; knew the greatest of all Mets would eventually, completely surrender to the Lyme disease that had slowly ravaged his brain cells for almost a decade. The statement from the Seaver family was merely the final confirmation that we would never again see or talk with our friend. In fact, this has been the case for nearly five months, since Seaver’s cellphone shut off and his wife, Nancy – ‘the Queen’ as he affectionately called her – also ceased all communication with his friends, the Mets, who had been hoping to somehow find a way to include him in their 50th anniversary celebration of the ’69 Miracle team, and the Hall of Fame itself, where for years he reigned as the unofficial ‘chairman of the board’ as the Hall-of-Famer with the highest plurality (98.84) until Ken Griffey Jr. eclipsed it (99.32).
“Speaking by phone, Johnny Bench, Seaver’s closest friend, said Thursday: ‘I’ve known this was coming, we all did, but I’ve been content to still have those conversations in my mind with him, and look back with honor and pleasure. I know this has been terribly difficult for Nancy and the family but they had to do this because Tom was the greatest Met of all, who was loved by everyone who ever played with him and respected as a man’s man by everyone in the game and anyone who was ever around him.’
“Still, the word ‘dementia’ associated with Tom Seaver, the brightest, wittiest ballplayer I’ve ever known, is almost abhorrent. It may be dementia now, but it is really the result of the Lyme disease with which he was first diagnosed with many years ago.
“ ‘The last time I saw him at the Hall of Fame, you could see he wasn’t the same,’ said Bench. ‘But then we started up on each other like always and he brightened up. ‘You would’ve been nothing if I hadn’t caught all those pitches for you,’ I said, ‘and he laughed and laughed. And he was sharp enough to remind me I still wasn’t getting any discount on his damn wine.
“ ‘I just hope because of this we will all pay more attention to Lyme disease and something good will come out of this.’”
Michael Powell / New York Times
“(Growing up in New York), the 1969 Mets inhabited our consciousness, as happens when the hypnotic beauty of baseball sinks its hook in kids. Those Mets, those world champion guys, have been stepping into mortality’s shadow for years now, Tommie Agee and Donn Clendenon, Ed Charles and Tug McGraw, all gone, so we can not lay claim to shock that another star will now be moving off the stage.
“Except that Seaver was the immortal, the forever young, so composed and so fiercely competitive and so analytical about his efforts. Now his family says that at age 74 he suffers from dementia and we will see no more of him in public life. He will tend to his vineyards in Napa as long as he can.
“That is not how I will remember him and maybe that’s the point of his withdrawal. He was a powerful, stocky pitcher from California and he dominated his mound like a tenor astride his stage. He would pull off his cap and run his hand through that thick shock of hair and then ready himself and rear and toss and rear and toss. No need to put a 20-second clock on him; out there on his mound he was pure business and if a batter fiddled around too much he just might sneak a hard fastball under the batter’s chin by way of a reminder to buckle down....
“Magic could happen any night he pitched and so you tried to wheedle your parents into letting you stay up and watch with them on the black-and-white WOR Channel 9 broadcast, or you’d curl up in bed with a transistor radio and listen to Bob Murphy paint the picture for you, of Seaver tossing and tossing.
“Data can be a sportswriting crutch although it’s also true that baseball without statistics is like the Bible without words. So in 1969 Seaver went 25-7 with a 2.21 earned run average. He also threw five complete-game shutouts.
“I recently took a look at the prevailing, and too little questioned, orthodoxy that starting pitchers should not go more than six or seven innings into a game. By way of making a point, Seaver became my insane outlier. If hitters wanted to get to him, they were well-advised to swing early before Seaver tuned up his curve and that live snake of a fastball. His career ERA in the first inning of a game was 3.75. In the last three innings, his lifetime ERA was 2.75.
“And forgive me my statistical drunkenness but peak-performance Tom tilted into absurdity. In 1969, he pitched in the ninth inning 17 times and surrendered not a single run.
“Oh yes, in September of that year, he went 6-0 with an 0.83 ERA. All this courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com....
“(Seaver) had a Hall of Fame career, one of the best in the history of the game, and his cumulative career earnings in 20 years totaled a hair under $6 million, or roughly what an average relief pitcher makes in today’s game.
“Me, I remember trying to mimic that drop-and-thrust motion of his. And I recall riding the No. 7 train to Shea Stadium with my friend Peter. We bought $1.30 tickets and took our seats for a doubleheader: Jerry Koosman in the opener, Tom Terrific in the nightcap.
“If I could, I’d give him a standing O still.”
Mike Vaccaro / New York Post...recalling a night in 2010 at Citi Field when Seaver was visiting the Mets Hall of Fame, “staring at a video compilation of his career as a Met.”
“ ‘Look at that young man throw a baseball,’ he said, cackling, then commenting about the patch of dirt that, as always, appeared on his right knee whenever he was performing at his finest. ‘Get after it, kid. Get after it.’
“Around the room were scores of mementos of the greatest of all Mets careers: his Hickok Belt as the outstanding athlete of 1969; replicas of the three Cy Young Awards he won in 1969, ’73 and ’75; a few team photos of the ’69 Mets and the ’73 Mets. Every time he saw something he stopped, and he shook his head.
“When he saw a picture of Gil Hodges, tears formed and his voice choked. ‘There is the man who put this franchise on the face of this earth,’ said the man who himself used to be called ‘The Franchise,’ and who helped Hodges perform that wondrous work.
“And then George Thomas Seaver of Fresno, Calif., and Flushing, N.Y., said something that, right now, only breaks your heart.
“ ‘Think about me,’ he said. ‘I was blessed with some ability, and with a great right arm. And now, for the rest of my life, I’ll have some of the greatest collection of memories anyone who ever played this game has ever had.’
“Yes, that’s a hard one to hear right now, because his family issued a press release on Thursday that said Seaver ‘has recently been diagnosed with dementia....
“No other Met in history is responsible for more memories than Seaver, from his Imperfect Game against the Cubs in the fabled summer of ’69 through all the one-hitters and shutouts (to say nothing of the acre of games he lost 1-0 and 2-1). The day he was traded away in 1977, the franchise stopped breathing for six years.
“The day he came back – Opening Day 1983, throwing six dominant innings against the Phillies at Shea – he was welcomed as exiled royalty might have been, the eternal King of Queens, and on that day he said, ‘This will always be home.’....
“When Seaver was young, he was the brash face and voice of a team that had never known success. On May 21, 1969, he threw a three-hit shutout in Atlanta, and before the press was let in, Seaver – all of 24 years old – warned his teammates the writers would want to celebrate the fact that, at 18-18, the Mets had just visited .500 for the first time ever that late in a season.
“ ‘That isn’t what they should be writing,’ Seaver told them. ‘We’re a better team than that.’
“For decades his teammates have told that story, and that day at Citi Field in April 2010 Seaver told it himself.
“ ‘Nobody could ever accuse me of never having brass – um, of not having courage,’ he said. ‘Thankfully I had teammates that could back up my words.’
“And those teammates had a superstar pitcher who won his last 10 decisions of that miracle season, who became the first Hall of Famer in team history, who had their backs every time he smudged his right knee on the pitcher’s mound at Shea. He remains an icon for Mets fans, who for years have rightly bugged and begged ownership to build a statue outside Citi Field to pay Seaver back for all the things he brought them over the years.
“Mostly, for the memories.”
And now from the Bar Chat archives...
June 15, 1977...the Mets trade Tom Seaver
In 1966, a strapping California golden boy, Tom Seaver, was signed by the Atlanta Braves out of Southern Cal. But the contract was voided by the commissioner’s office over a technicality and major league baseball asked if any other teams were interested in him. Only the Indians, Phillies and Mets said yes, a lottery was held, and the Mets won the rights to the future Hall of Famer. One year later, in 1967, Seaver went 16-13 for a Mets squad that overall finished 61-101 and he was named the N.L. Rookie of the Year. In addition, New York City anointed him “Tom Terrific,” and later, “The Franchise.”
Of course in 1969, Seaver went 25-7, won the Cy Young Award and led the “Miracle Mets” to their astounding World Series triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. Seaver was the toast of the town, and it didn’t hurt that his glamorous wife Nancy was part of the package.
But after helping to lead the Mets to another Series appearance in 1973, the Mets reverted to mediocrity and Seaver was increasingly incensed that in the new era of free agency, Mets
management wasn’t doing enough to back up the solid pitching staff with a big bat or two, and Tom also wanted more money. By 1976, Seaver and the Mets’ chairman of the board M. Donald Grant were on a collision course.
Seaver was a complex person. Back in 1969, as an 11-year-old diehard fan, I wasn’t always aware of the impact of his statements, but Tom Terrific was a vehement critic of the U.S. role in Vietnam. “If the Mets can win the World Series, the U.S. can get out of Vietnam,” he would say that year. In fact, before the Series started, the New York Times ran the headline, “Tom Seaver Says U.S. Should Leave Vietnam.” The article quoted Seaver as saying, “I think it’s perfectly ridiculous what we’re doing about the Vietnam situation. It’s absurd! When the Series is over, I’m going to have a talk with (Senator) Ted Kennedy, convey some of my ideas to him and then take an ad in the paper.”
While his outspoken manner didn’t lose Seaver any fans at the park, one or two writers began to build up a grudge over this brash young superstar. Alas, after accumulating his 3rd Cy Young Award in 1975, Seaver went to training camp in 1976 on a mission. He was going to get paid what he felt he was worth. Only one problem; that spring there was a baseball lockout that lasted until mid-March and Seaver was one of the more outspoken representatives for the players union.
With free agency taking hold, Seaver desperately wanted to stay in New York, but he wanted to be compensated. Grant was getting tired of Tom and that spring he was ready to pull the trigger on a straight up trade for the Dodgers’ Don Sutton. Agreement was finally reached, however, on a 3-year deal that paid Seaver $225,000 per season.
1976 was a disappointing one for the Mets as they finished 86-76, in 3rd and 15 games back of the first place Phillies. Seaver had an off year, ending up just 14-11 (but with a great ERA of 2.59). Once again, the complaint was that the Mets simply didn’t have the bats.
[In 1975 the Mets had acquired slugger Dave Kingman from the Giants. Kingman was the bopper the Mets had always sought, and he hit 36 home runs in ‘75 and was on his way to 50+ in ‘76, having hit 32 by July 19, when he tore his thumb ligament diving for a ball in the outfield. Upon his return, he hit only 5 more the rest of the season. As a team, however, the Mets hit only 102 home runs the entire year. There was no one else in the lineup. Kingman, a rather surly individual (I’m being kind), also felt he wasn’t being paid what his true value was and he joined Seaver in bashing the front office.]
During spring training in 1977, Seaver confronted M. Donald Grant on the lack of hitting. Seaver said that Grant was pinching pennies by not going after the talent the Mets needed to get back on top. [Specifically, that season Seaver was miffed the Mets didn’t sign Giants slugger Gary Matthews, who ended up in Atlanta.]
Seaver also wanted his contract renegotiated. [For his part, Kingman wanted Reggie Jackson type money (Jackson having signed a $2.7 million deal with the Yankees in ‘76).] Enter the New York tabloids, specifically the Daily News and its two lead reporters, Dick Young and Jack Lang.
Over the years, Young, perhaps the best known sportswriter of his era (he wrote a big Sporting News column as well as his New York beat), wasn’t afraid to stick it to Seaver, and, on occasion, wife Nancy. Young was seen as a toady for Grant. Lang, on the other hand, was a good friend of Seaver’s. As the ‘77 season opened up and Tom’s contract dispute continued, the Daily News would run dual columns on its back page...Young for ownership, Lang for Seaver.
Lang relates what happened in mid-June, as the Mets were in Atlanta to face the Braves. “I asked Seaver...instead of asking for an increase in salary, why don’t you get them to extend your contract? Then you’ll be guaranteed that you’ll stay here a few more years.” Seaver agreed that an extension was the way to go and he worked it out with one of the Mets’ principal owners who could win Grant’s approval.
But that day, Dick Young ran a column about how Nancy Seaver was jealous of Ruth Ryan (Nolan’s wife) because the Angels had just given Nolan a long-term contract and a big raise and now Nancy wanted the same deal for Tom. Lang was the one who broke the story to Tom as they were sitting around the pool. “WHAT?” said Seaver. “That’s it! That’s it!” Seaver ran to a phone and screamed at a Mets official. “That’s it! Get me outta here!” That night, “The Franchise” was traded to Cincinnati for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Dan Norman and Steve Henderson. [Kingman was also unloaded the same evening for Bobby Valentine and Paul Siebert.] While the city of New York knew of the problems between Seaver and Grant, it was a total shock nonetheless. The New York Post ran the headline, “Dick Young Drove Seaver Out Of Town.”
On the issue of M. Donald Grant, Seaver said later, “I just did not want to work for that individual anymore. The whole organization was chaotic. There was no direction. There was no strength, there was no Gil Hodges.”
New York Times legend Red Smith, another Seaver fan, would write: “Tom Seaver has been one of the finest pitchers in the game...He is his own man, thoughtful, perceptive and unafraid to speak his mind. Because of this, M. Donald Grant and his sycophants put Seaver away as a troublemaker. They mistake dignity for arrogance.”
As for Young, he became a real cause celebre. “When Dick Young dragged my wife and my family into this, it was all the abuse I could take,” said Seaver. “He’s a mouthpiece for Don Grant. Grant has admitted he seeks Young’s advice. He has been siding with Mets management ever since the club hired his son-in-law to work in their sales department.” Young defended the kid's position with the Mets, while not denying that his relationship with Grant had provided the contact his son-in-law used to secure his position.
“What it comes down to with Seaver,” Young retorted, “is that he wanted more money. Everything else is extraneous. If he says he told them it was all off because of my mentioning his wife and Ruth Ryan - all because of one sentence - well, I find that pretty hard to believe.”
Of course, the Mets franchise collapsed, as the won-loss record and attendance figures below make clear.
1976: 86-76 1.5 million attendance [1970 it was 2.7 million.]
1977: 64-98 1.1 million
1978: 66-96 1.0 million
1979: 63-99 0.8 million
1980: 67-95 1.2 million...oh, these were dark years.
Seaver went on to a successful career with the Reds, before coming back to the Mets in 1983, now age 38, for just one season, and then retiring after the ‘86 campaign with a 311-205
career mark (198 of those wins as a Met).
Meanwhile, Dave Kingman hit home runs for 4 different teams in 1977 (Mets, San Diego, California and the Yankees), before signing a 5-year deal with the Cubs, his best season being ‘79 when he slammed 48 home runs. And except for a brief flash from both Zachry and Steve Henderson, the players the Mets got for Seaver never panned out.
[Primary Sources: “Talkin’ Baseball” Phil Pepe; “The New York Mets” Jack Lang and Peter Simon.]
--The league season officially begins March 13 (free agency negotiations Monday), so you’re seeing some preannounced ‘unofficial’ deals.
The Oakland/Vegas Raiders agreed on Saturday to acquire wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers and will give him the contract he wants, $50.125 million over three years, vs. the $38.925 million he was owed by Pittsburgh. Pro Football Talk first reported the Steelers would get third- and fifth-round picks from Oakland.
Importantly for Jon Gruden and the Raiders, they didn’t have to give up any of their first-round picks, acquired in trades last season for Khalil Mack and receiver Amari Cooper. Oakland has four picks in the top 35 in the upcoming draft.
Brown, 30, has topped 100 receptions and 1,200 yards each of the last six seasons. By comparison, the top receiver for Oakland (which moves to Vegas in 2020) was Jordy Nelson with just 63 catches for 739 yards.
But of course Brown finished the season in Pittsburgh on the bench, after coach Mike Tomlin tired of Brown’s act, which included Brown going radio silent for the 48 hours leading up to the team’s finale. There are many in Pittsburgh who no doubt are saying today, ‘good riddance.’
The Steelers, though, need to figure out how to replace his record-setting production.
The Washington Redskins have agreed to acquire quarterback Case Keenum from Denver, the Redskins sending a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft to the Broncos, and Denver sending Washington a seventh-rounder in the same draft. Denver takes on $3.5 million of Keenum’s salary after reworking his contract, the Redskins also paying $3.5 million.
This is hardly a blockbuster move for Redskins fans, but with franchise quarterback Alex Smith out for 2019, at best, after his compound fracture in his leg and multiple surgeries for infection, Washington needed someone to compete with Colt McCoy for the starting job.
So Keenum is a rental at a bargain price for one year, and the Redskins can still take a quarterback in the upcoming draft to develop.
As for Denver, they had earlier acquired Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, essentially replacing Keenum, who had a poor 2018, after a solid 2017 with Minnesota.
The Patriots are set to acquire veteran defensive end Michael Bennett from the Eagles for a late-round draft pick, Philadelphia deciding the three-time Pro Bowler is too expensive. Bennett recorded nine sacks and forced two fumbles, with 18 tackles for a loss.
But he’s also the older brother of Martellus Bennett, a former Patriots tight end, who retired last March, though some believe he would come back to play with Michael, and should Rob Gronkowski retire, New England would really want Martellus back in the fold.
--Since I noted the comments from Charley Casserly concerning quarterback Kyler Murray, it’s only fair I state an opposing view.
Zach Braziller / New York Post
“Charley Casserly may be right. He may have a point. Maybe Kyler Murray didn’t come off great in team interviews during the NFL combine.
“But the former NFL general manager and NFL Network analyst has his own explaining to do about his own performance.
“Casserly ripped Murray multiple times, saying the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma was not prepared for interviews, but Casserly also may have been taking a shot at Murray because he didn’t take part in his side business of preparing NFL prospects for said interviews. Casserly stands to benefit from his own criticism.
“He works for EXOS, training players for these interviews. It’s one thing to be critical about a prospect – which Casserly was, relaying that teams gave him ‘the worst comments I ever got on a high-rated quarterback.’ It’s another to get paid for preparing other prospects and then spreading flak of another who didn’t seek your expertise. It’s clearly a conflict of interest, especially if one of Casserly’s clients is a top quarterback.”
--The NFL annually invites teams to propose rule changes, but the competition committee is charged with vetting and either endorsing or allowing them to stand on their own. The committee meets later this month to finalize its recommendations for 2019, which the owners would later vote on, and the Denver Broncos came up with an interesting one to replace the onside kick.
The Broncos propose that each team would have one opportunity per game to remain on offense after a fourth-quarter score. Instead of kicking off, the team would line up at its 35-yard line for what is in essence a fourth down-and-15. If the team gains at least 15 yards, it maintains possession. If not, the defense takes over.
I told you of the new Alliance of American Football’s rule that replaces the onside kick. Teams can convert a fourth-and-12 from its 28 if it is down by 17 points or more in a game, or if it is trailing by any deficit with five minutes or less remaining in the fourth quarter.
Among other NFL teams proposing rule changes, the Washington Redskins proposed that all plays be subject to coaches’ challenges, but thus far, competition committee members have expressed skepticism about expanding replay.
The Kansas City Chiefs proposed that each team be guaranteed a possession in overtime, regardless of whether a touchdown is scored on the first possession.
--Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Cedrick Hardman died. He was 70. Hardman played with the Niners from 1970-79, an All-Pro selection in 1971 and 1975, anchoring a defensive front known as the “Gold Rush,” which included Cleveland Elam, Tommy Hart and Jimmy Webb.
Hardman left San Francisco for Oakland in 1980 and was a member of the Super Bowl-winning team that season.
Hardman was a first round selection in the 1970 NFL draft out of the University of North Texas.
--At the start of today’s final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick had a one stroke lead over Rory McIlroy and it was setting up to be an exciting Sunday.
Only Francesco Molinari, the reigning Open Champion, fired an otherworldly 64, coming from five back to win by two over Fitzpatrick, Rory once again fading on a Sunday, finishing sixth.
This was Molinari’s third PGA Tour title, but fourth worldwide in just the last nine months.
--We note the passing of the legendary Hall of Fame golf writer, and novelist, Dan Jenkins, who died Thursday at 89.
Jenkins got his start in sports reporting under another legend, Blackie Sherrod, of the Fort Worth Press, Bud Shrake among the other writers in the fold.
From his longtime colleague, Golf Digest Contributing Editor Tom Callahan:
Jenkins over time “found his own words, his own voice. It was a blend of prairie-twang and ranch-hand nasalness softened by and cultivated with a surprising lilt of sophistication. He was willing to be funny, but only if it was true.
“Missouri’s Dan Devine looked like a man who just learned that his disease was incurable. He was leaning against a table in the silent gloom of his locker room, a towel around his neck, a paper cup of water in his hand, whip-dog tired, and his large brown eyes fixed vacantly on a lot of things that could have happened.”
“Sherrod called Jenkins ‘a news dog’ and ‘the most effortless writer I’ve ever known. The most confident, too. Most writers, they’re insecure to the point of hiding under the bed. Dan always had the attitude of a competent athlete – and he was a good athlete. Golf. Basketball. Pool. I think he could’ve roped buffaloes. Nothing in the world spooked Dan except snakes. Just a picture of a reptile would crater him. We spent a lot of time rolling snake photos into his typewriter. He’d come sailing in, smoking his 19th cigarette of the morning and drinking his 12th Coke. When he rolled hit typewriter carriage, out would jump this hideous rattler. And Dan would beat and thresh and fall down in wastebaskets. Then he’d sigh and sit down and, once he quit trembling, write you the best 800 newspaper words you ever read.
“If every college football team had a linebacker like Dick Butkus, all fullbacks would soon be three feet tall and sing soprano.”
“Dan’s inaugural and eternal hero (along with Texas footballers Doak Walker and Bobby Layne) was Ben Hogan, his local assignment on the golf beat. They played some 40 rounds together, often just the two of them. ‘I’d be watching him practice,’ Jenkins said, ‘and he’d say, ‘Let’s go.’
“ ‘In 1956, Ben called me up and said, ‘I want you in a foursome for an exhibition at Colonial benefiting the Olympic Games.’ I said, ‘OK, I guess, but there must be somebody better than me.’ ‘No, I want you,’ he said. I worked half a day at the paper, came out, didn’t even have a golf shirt, wore a dress shirt, rolled up the sleeves, changed my shoes, didn’t hit a practice ball, got to the first tee, and 5,000 people were waiting. Now, what do you do? Somehow I got off a decent drive into the fairway, and proceeded to top a 3-wood 50 yards – it was a par 5 – then topped another 3-wood, then topped a 5-iron. All I wanted to do was dig a hole and bury myself in the ground forever. As I was walking to the next shot, still 100 yards from the green, Hogan came up beside me and said, ‘You could probably swing faster if you tried hard enough.’ I slowed it down, got calm, and shot 76. He shot his usual 67. That’s the Hogan I knew.’
“Famously, Hogan was said to harbor a ‘secret,’ but Jenkins reckoned the real secret was just practice....
“Dan never threw over Hogan, but he moved over to Arnold Palmer with ease, cued by gentleman Marine Jay Hebert, whom Dan asked one morning, ‘What are on the list of qualities helping Ken Venturi become the next great golfer?’
“Hebert answered, ‘Venturi’s not the great golfer. Arnold Palmer is.’
“Arnold Palmer? Dan thought. The guy who can’t keep his shirttail in? The guy who thinks he can drive a ball through a tree trunk? ‘Why him?’
“ ‘Because he’s longer than most of us,’ Hebert said, ‘and he makes six birdies a round. He also makes six bogeys, but one of these days he’d going to eliminate the bogeys.’
“ ‘He did,’ Jenkins said, ‘and the sports world became a more exciting place.’
“Along with his loud, lovable friend, Bob Drum of the Pittsburgh Press – right to Palmer’s face between the third and fourth rounds of the 1960 Open – Jenkins belittled anyone’s chances of coming from seven strokes and 14 players behind. But when Palmer drove the par-4 first green at Cherry Hills and went out in 30, here came Drum and Jenkins on the dead run to the 10th tee. Relieving Jenkins of a Coca-Cola and a pack of Winstons, Arnie said, ‘Fancy meeting you guys here.’
“Jenkins could say things pretty quickly, too, if he wanted. ( ‘I don’t suppose anybody’s ever enjoyed being who they are more than Arnold enjoyed being Arnold Palmer.’) But
Dan caught Palmer best at the close of his exquisitely titled book, The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate, when he wrote: ‘This is true, I think. He is the most immeasurable of all golf champions. But this is not entirely because of all that he has won, or because of that mysterious fury with which he has managed to rally himself. It is partly because of the nobility he has brought to losing. And more than anything, it is true because of the pure, unmixed joy he has brought to trying. He has been, after all, the doggedest victim of us all.’
“Like every Texan, Dan loved college football as well, though his first novel, 1972 wildfire Semi-Tough, was set in the National Football League...Dandy Don Meredith, the ex-Cowboy quarterback who made a foil of Howard Cosell on ‘Monday Night Football,’ appeared to have memorized every passage, sprinkling Billy Clyde Puckett references throughout his conversation (confusing Cosell).”
Jenkins ingratiated himself with all the legendary coaches, like Texas’ Darrell Royal and Bear Bryant of Alabama. The coaches respected his knowledge, while Jenkins “had a nose that twitched automatically at any odor of the bull.”
“ ‘You see that helmet over there?’ Bryant told him in the Bear’s office at Tuscaloosa. ‘That’s Lee Roy Jordan’s helmet. He was the greatest hitter I ever had. You look at that helmet real close, you’ll see on there the color of every team we played. A little orange for Tennessee, a little maroon for Mississippi State...’
“ ‘C’mon, Bear,’ Dan interrupted, ‘who’s the artist who painted it? I know you all wash the helmets after every game.’
“ ‘Goddammit,’ Bryant exclaimed, ‘it works on recruits!’”
After TCU won the 2011 Rose Bowl to complete a perfect season, Jenkins was shocked to receive a championship ring engraved Jenkins. Coach Gary Patterson said, “Dan can be my biggest critic...but I don’t think there’s anybody out there who knows as much about the history, not only of TCU but of all college football, as what Dan Jenkins does.”
Jenkins eventually moved to Sports Illustrated and a place on Park Avenue. “Dan threw much of his Scotch-and-water trade to Elaine’s (directions to the bathroom: take a right at Michael Caine) and Toots Shor’s (‘the joint is quieter without the proprietor’), but P.J. Clarke’s was his home field. It was in Clarke’s where Howard Da Silva poured drinks for Ray Milland in the movie ‘The Lost Weekend,’ and where, according to legend, with a publishing windfall, Jenkins bought a house in Maui over the telephone. ‘That’s not exactly true,’ Bud Shrake said, ‘but it’s not completely false, either.’”
Dan and Bud Shrake co-wrote a screenplay for Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop II” but were fired because it was too funny. “You know,” Jenkins told the producer, “that’s kind of what we were shooting for.” “You don’t have to be funny,” the man said. “Eddie be funny.”
Callahan: “For the next 20 years, the co-conspirators looked across rooms at each other, pronounced ‘Eddie be funny’ and howled.”
Jenkins’ 10 Stages of Drunkenness came from his 1981 novel Baja Oklahoma. They “popped up on the walls of grog shops all across the country (plus at least one pub in the U.K.) The last two stages, nine and 10, ‘invisible’ and ‘bulletproof,’ were inspired by a friend of Dan’s who careened into Clarke’s one evening accompanied by a lovely-adorable not his wife or even his daughter (though she could have been). He thinks he’s invisible. No, bulletproof.”
Jenkins eventually found his way to Golf Digest.
“If you want to put golf back on the front pages again and you don’t have a Bobby Jones or a Francis Quimet handy, here’s what you do: You send an aging Jack Nicklaus out in the last round of the Masters and let him kill more foreigners than a general named Eisenhower.”
But as Tom Callahan writes:
“Tiger Woods didn’t want to know Jenkins. ‘We have nothing to gain,’ agent Mark Steinberg* said, the dumbest thing any agent ever said. During the 2006 Open Championship at Hoylake, Woods’ second-most-amazing tour de force, coach Hank Haney was staying at the Golf Digest house. Every night, after hitting balls post-round, Tiger dropped Haney off and never came in. Perhaps just that squandered opportunity of a beer with Jenkins, or at least the astonishing cluelessness it represented, was the real first cough by Ali MacGraw in ‘Love Story’ (as it preceded Tiger’s come-from-ahead loss to Y.E. Yang in the 2009 PGA). At Woods’ peak, Jenkins wrote, ‘Only two things can stop him: injury or a bad marriage.’ Birdie, and birdie.
*Ed. This is the same Mark Steinberg who is also Matt Kuchar’s agent. The same Steinberg who screwed up Caddiegate for Kooch. Steinberg is a d---.
“Presidents of the United States did want to know Jenkins, particularly George Herbert Walker Bush, Dan’s sometime golfing partner. Whenever the presidential helicopter overflew a course, Bush telephoned Jenkins for a rundown. George and ‘Bar,’ June Jenkins and Dan, stayed in each others’ homes. Dan called Camp David ‘my favorite hotel.’ Driving Jenkins around in a golf cart there one daybreak, ‘41’ (as Bush signed his letters to Dan) said, ‘See that porch bench in front of Holly Cabin? You might want to sit on it for a minute. That’s where Roosevelt and Churchill planned the D-Day invasion.’
“When Jenkins sent Bush a friend’s book, the president wrote the author a note of thanks that began, ‘Any friend of Dan Jenkins...has to be investigated by the Secret Service.’
“Dan’s final tally of majors would be 63 U.S. Opens, 45 Open Championships, 56 PGAs and 68 Masters, which, as he said, ‘is a lot of peach cobbler no matter how you slice it.’”
One by one, Dan Jenkins’ friends died off.
“Finally, on Thursday night, March 7, 2019, at 89, His Ownself.
“He long ago picked out the exit music: Vera Lynn singing ‘We’ll meet again.’ As for the carving on his stone, while he supposed he should go with something Oscar Wild-ish like ‘Ah, now for the greatest adventure of them all,’ the inscription he floated at the Hall was more his style: ‘I knew this would happen.’
“What it was, was great.
“Dead solid perfect.
“Eddie be funny.
“A news dog.
“Best in Show.”
And then the depression set in. My Tottenham Spurs, who kind of shockingly have qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals, are suddenly on the verge of failing to make the top four (and Champions League qualification) in the PL, the Spurs falling for a third time in four games, 2-1 to lowly Southampton Saturday, the Saints with two late goals, including a phenomenal free-kick from 25 yards out from James Ward-Prowse.
At the top, Man City beat Watford 3-1, while Liverpool stayed one point back with a 4-2 win over Burnley today.
And we had Chelsea having to scramble at the 91-minute mark for a 1-1 draw with tough Wolverhampton, Eden Hazard with the crucial strike for the Blues, while in the big one, Arsenal defeated Man U 2-0.
So it’s an amazing scramble for both the title and the top four. As good as it gets.
Standings after 30 of 38....
1. Man City 30 – 74
2. Liverpool 30 – 73
3. Tottenham 30 – 61
4. Arsenal 30 - 60
5. Man U 30 - 58
6. Chelsea 29 - 57
Southampton’s win was huge in its battle to avoid relegation....
16. Southampton 30 – 30
17. Burnley 30 – 30
18. Cardiff 30 – 28
19. Fulham 30 – 17
20. Huddersfield 30 – 14
Back to the Champions League, Wednesday, Manchester United faced a virtually impossible task in Paris against Paris St-Germain. United had fallen in the first leg at home, 2-0, but prevailed 3-1 in the second, thus while the aggregate was 3-3, they advance to the quarterfinals on away goals.
Marcus Rashford scored on an injury-time penalty that was awarded in the 94th minute for the decider, the referee’s decision that the PSG defender, Kimpembe, was guilty of a hand ball.
PSG star Neymar, out with an injury, raged on Instagram after the game and the controversy.
“This is a disgrace. Four guys who know nothing about football watch a slow-motion replay in front of the television. It was nothing! What can [Kimpembe] do with his hand while his back is turned? Go f--- yourselves!”
Uefa backed the video assistant referee system’s decision to award the penalty.
This week, Manchester City and Liverpool look to become the other two Premier League teams to advance to the quarters of the CL.
And one more concerning English football, in the second-tier Championship League (the league from which teams get promoted to the Premier League), bitter rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham City were squaring off when early in the match, Villa’s Jack Grealish was attacked by a spectator who ran on to the pitch, the guy swinging his arm towards Grealish’s face.
[Greailsh ended up scoring the game winner.]
The man, who was wearing a home team Birmingham City jacket, blew kisses towards the crowd as he was led away by stewards. Needless to say he was arrested, but you have to understand English football’s dark history, and the time when fans were literally sectioned off in cages to avoid violence, to understand how many in the country have a pit in their stomach tonight.
This also comes at a time when England has had a big increase in knife attacks, scores killed.
The Football Association said it “strongly condemned the incident,” the man arrested. Aston Villa’s players exhibited amazing control in not going after the fan themselves and beating the crap out of the guy.
But this bears watching, because a man also ran on the pitch in the Arsenal-Man U match and pushed a United player as Arsenal was celebrating a goal.
--On the women’s side of the sport, 28 members of the world champion United States women’s soccer team significantly escalated their long-running feud with the country’s soccer federation over pay equity and working conditions, filing a gender discrimination lawsuit on Friday.
The suit, filed in District Court in Los Angeles, comes just three months before the team will begin defense of its Women’s World Cup title at this summer’s tournament in France.
I’ve written of this topic before, but the suit claims the discrimination faced by the women affects not only their paychecks but also where they play and how often, how they train, the medical treatment and coaching they receive, and even how they travel to matches.
Among the players involved are Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd.
The continuing battle with U.S. Soccer, which is not only their employer, but the federation that governs the sport in America, is about the broader fight for equality in women’s sports.
The women’s players argue they are required to play more games, win more of them than the men, and yet still receive less pay from the federation.
--She did it again. Mikaela Shiffrin returned to action this weekend in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, winning the slalom for her record 15th World Cup victory of the season. This is the same resort where Shiffrin started her World Cup career at the age of 15 in 2011.
No other skier, male or female, has won more than 14 races in a single campaign in the 53-year history of the WC, and with the season ending next week in Andorra, she will likely race in three final events...the super-G, slalom and giant slalom.
Saturday’s win in the slalom was her 39th in the discipline, one shy of the 32-year-old World Cup record held by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark.
Shiffrin also picked up a podium finish in the giant slalom this week, finishing third (rival Petra Vlhova taking it).
Shiffrin, who turned 24 this week, now has 58 World Cup wins, just 24 behind Lindsey Vonn’s record 82.
--Kyle Busch won this week’s NASCAR race at Phoenix, his 52nd Cup win.
--When you watched A-Rod and J-Lo these past two years of courtship, you could only say one thing...these two were made for each other. They are in love with the cameras, and themselves.
Saturday, A-Rod popped the question and as he wrote on Instagram, “She said yes,” with a photo of J-Lo’s hand with a massive rock.
For A-Rod, 43, this will be his second marriage. For J-Lo, 49, it’s her fourth.
--I watched “SNL” last night and there was a very funny segment on “Gold Diggers of the WNBA,” terrific satire. Worth looking up.
--A woman who stepped over a barrier to take a selfie at the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix, Arizona, Saturday, was attacked by a jaguar who reached through the fencing, leaving deep gashes on her arms.
But she was well enough to return to the zoo today to apologize, according to ABC News. Zoo officials had decided yesterday not to euthanize the animal because it wasn’t his fault.
The same animal had previously attacked someone else who crossed the barrier, which warrants a Bar Chat citation for “Honorable Behavior.” Jaguar is No. 12 on the All-Species List.
--Jan-Michael Vincent, a golden boy of Hollywood action films in the 1970s, and the mid-1980s TV adventure series “Airwolf,” died back on Feb. 10, which was not publicly announced until the other day. He was 74 by most accounts, though the death certificate listed him as 73. He died in Asheville, N.C.
Vincent was a stud, the hitman apprentice to Charles Bronson in “The Mechanic” (1972) and a handsome young stuntman in “Hooper” (1978, with Burt Reynolds as an aging one).
His biggest breakthrough was the male ingénue part in the ABC miniseries “The Winds of War” (1983). The following year he starred in CBS’ action series “Airwolf” as a moody helicopter pilot.
But it was while on the show that Vincent spoke of his addictions that for years had kept him off the A-list of movie roles. His erratic behavior and cocaine use led to “Airwolf” being canceled in 1986.
Then came a series of DUIs and barroom brawls and, needless to say, his screen credits dried up.
--Sales, streams, and radio plays of Michael Jackson’s music took a hit this week after HBO aired “Leaving Neverland.” Sales of Jackson’s music dipped 4%. Overall album sales fell 39% over the same time before the documentary premiered. Plays on terrestrial and satellite radio were down 13%.
“The Simpsons” producer James L. Brooks announced Thursday that the 1991 episode “Stark Raving Dad,” which features a voice-cameo from Jackson, will be pulled from the show’s rerun rotation and not included in future physical home video collections. “It feels clearly the only choice to make,” Brooks said.
Top 3 songs for the week 3/11/67: #1 “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” (The Supremes) #2 “Ruby Tuesday” (The Rolling Stones) #3 “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” (Johnny Rivers)...and...#4 “Kind Of A Drag” (The Buckinghams) #5 “Penny Lane” (The Beatles) #6 “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” (The Casinos) #7 “Sock It To Me-Baby!” (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels) #8 “Happy Together” (The Turtles) #9 “My Cup Runneth Over” (Ed Ames) #10 “Dedicated To The One I Love” (The Mamas & The Papas...a solid ‘A’...)
NCAA Basketball Quiz Answer: 1962-63 Loyola (Ill.) coach George Ireland; 1960-61 and 1961-62 Cincinnati coach Ed Jucker; 1959-60 Ohio State coach Fred Taylor.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.