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The Greatness of Justin Verlander
[Posted early Sun. p.m., before a lot of results.]
College Football Quiz: [Courtesy of Phil W.] While Rutgers-Princeton, 1869, is considered the first college football game, and Yale vs. Princeton is the oldest rivalry, dating to 1873 (Harvard vs. Yale commenced in 1875), name the three oldest non-Ivy League rivalries. Answer below.
--At the start of each day, I jot down a note or two to remind myself to follow certain players in baseball, normally big starting pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, to make sure I document them. 100 years from now, someone might give a damn, I figure. After all, back in the 1880s, someone gave a damn about pitcher Larry Corcoran...but I’m jumping ahead of myself.
You see, this morning I jotted down Justin Verlander, seeing that he was on the mound in Toronto today as the Astros faced the Blue Jays.
And wouldn’t you know, this afternoon future Hall of Famer Verlander joined an amazingly select group in throwing his third career no-hitter, Houston winning 2-0 as Abraham Toro, recently called up, hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth, giving Verlander the opportunity to close the deal in the bottom of the frame.
Verlander walked just one, struck out 14, and his last pitch, a grounder to Toro at third, appropriately, was pitch No. 120.
I’ve only said it about a million times on this site, but I love when the ‘greats’ come through.
I mean think about it. Without ‘Great Performances,’ this world would suck.
Pavarotti, Arthur Rubinstein, Secretariat, Sinatra, the Beatles, Churchill, Bobby Orr, Joe Namath, Arnie, Willie Mays....you get the picture...life would be pretty, pretty dull.
So good on Justin Verlander, who became just the sixth pitcher in baseball history to throw three career no-hitters.
Nolan Ryan 7
Sandy Koufax 4
Cy Young 3
Bob Feller 3
Larry Corcoran 3
Justin Verlander 3
That’s phenomenal, and Verlander also became the first to throw two in the same park, the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Meanwhile, just a word on Mr. Corcoran.
The guy was all of 5’3”, 120 lbs., but he was quite a workhorse in the 1880s for the Chicago White Stockings.
1880...43-14, 536 innings
But then he hurt his shoulder, had other issues, and was essentially out of the game. The poor lad died in Newark in 1891 of Bright’s Disease (kidney disease).
When I die they will say, “The Editor died of Not-So-Bright Disease,” owing to many factors.
--The injuries continue to pile up for the Yankees, as third baseman Gio Urshela became the 28th to hit the IL this season, which is incredible. He shouldn’t be out more than two weeks, though.
But this is why the Yankees signed DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million free agent contract in the offseason. He can play everywhere, and Saturday he hit the game-winning walk-off home run in the Yanks 4-3, 11th-inning win over a potential playoff opponent, Oakland. LeMahieu played third, after filling in at first for the injured Luke Voit, who has returned from the IL (though he struck out all four times in the game).
Classic Yankees...all four runs were on solo homers...four home runs out of six total hits.
Meanwhile, CC Sabathia may have just seen his last action on the mound, period, after exiting Friday after three innings in the Yanks’ 8-2 loss to the A’s. More knee issues.
It’s been like this all year for New York.
But the Yanks keep overcoming adversity, and today they were sleep-walking through their game with the A’s, down 4-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth, despite six innings of one-hit ball by starter J.A. Happ, an encouraging development.
Then they scored three to make it 4-3, and in the bottom of the ninth, Brett Gardner tied it with a shot to right, and pinch-hitter Mike Ford blasted another for the 5-4 walk-off win. Tough to keep Ford off the postseason roster.
So in the battle for best record in the A.L., and home-field advantage....
New York 90-48
--When we last left my Metsies, I noted how the next two games against the Cubs were the season, and New York responded by losing both with their two best pitchers on the mound.
Wednesday, Noah Syndergaard picked a poor time for the worst start of his career, 9 earned in 3 innings, his ERA soaring from 3.71 to 4.14, the Mets losing 10-7.
But what was so frustrating is that the Mets had battled back from down 10-1 to cut it to 10-6 after five, and then in each of the next four innings they had at least two base runners, but plated only one more. They really could have pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history.
So it was do-or-die with Jacob deGrom and he looked great, except for two pitches to Cubs catcher Victor Caratini, who accounted for all four Chicago runs in a 4-1 win with two homers.
The Mets were now five games back of the Cubs for the second wild card. Season over.
Only the Mets then traveled down the Turnpike to take on the Phillies this weekend and won the first two, 11-5 (Todd Frazier with two, 3-run homers) and 6-3, your editor in attendance with Mark R. and his two terrific grandchildren. I left early for various reasons, having enjoyed my Tony Luke’s cheesesteak immensely, and some adult beverages, and knowing I could listen to the rest of it in the car, and so the Mets heading into tonight still had a little hope, 4 games back in the WC chase.
I do have to note the scalding hot bat of Mets catcher Wilson Ramos, who extended his hitting streak to 24 games yesterday in going 4-for-5.
Ramos ended up batting .434 for the month of August, a staggering 43-for-99, the most hits by a Met in a single month since Jose Reyes had 45 in June 2011.
--The Dodgers have real cause for concern with the recent pitching of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who over his first 22 starts posted a league-best 1.45 ERA. He allowed over two runs in just one of the 22.
But in his last three starts he’s given up 18 runs on 25 hits across 14 2/3 – good for an 11.05 ERA – his overall earned-run average rising to 2.35.
Ryu insists he is not fatigued, even though his 157 1/3 innings is his most since 2014.
--The Reds’ Aristides Aquino broke the N.L. rookie record for home runs in a month, 14, one better than Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers (June 2017), in a loss to the Marlins on Thursday. Aquino then finished August with 14 homers, 33 RBIs.
By the way, Rudy York holds the MLB rookie record for homers in a month, 18, August 1937, with Detroit. York had quite a rookie campaign that year...35 homers, 101 RBIs, in just 104 games, and only 375 ABs!
York ended up being a seven-time All-Star, mostly with the Tigers, with six, 100-RBI seasons; 277 HR 1,149 RBI overall in his career.
--The Minnesota Twins broke the major league record for home runs in a season – with a full month to go. The Twinkies finished Saturday with 268, one more than the Yankees hit last year (the Yanks entering play Sunday with 254). Minnesota hit six home runs last night, but still lost 10-7 to Detroit.
It just hit me that Max Kepler has 36 homers this season! Max Kepler! Good gawd.
--Max Scherzer in his first two starts since returning from his back injury has gone 4 and 4 1/3 innings. He’s on the mound again Tuesday. Washington is going nowhere in the postseason without him at peak form.
His mound-mate, Stephen Strasburg, is having an outstanding season, 16-5, 3.47 ERA, but the thing about him is you never know when he’ll throw a stinker. Four times this season he has given up five runs or more. Something to consider when placing your bets come playoff time.
[Strasburg picked up win No. 16 last night, 7-0, going eight, striking out 14.]
But talk about a clutch performance in their ‘walk year,’ 29-year-old Anthony Rendon had another big day today in Washington’s 9-3 win over Miami and now has 32 home runs, 111 RBIs, and a .337 batting average, while playing a Gold Glove third base.
The Nats are nuts not to lock him up, but Rendon has put himself in Manny/Bryce territory in terms of a 10-year, $300 million deal.
--St. Louis reliever John Gant is now 10-0 after picking up a ‘W’ in the Cards’ doubleheader sweep of the Reds Saturday. [These two teams played back-to-back doubleheaders, Sat. and Sun.]
Shades of Elroy “Roy” Face, circa 1959, when the little Pirates’ righthander was 18-1 out of the pen.
--David Glass and his family on Friday announced the sale of the Kansas City Royals to an ownership group led by a local entrepreneur, John Sherman, in a deal said to be about $1 billion.
Sherman and his co-investors will become only the third owners since Ewing Kauffman founded the club in 1969. He made his money building and selling a series of energy companies and has lived in Kansas City for more than four decades, generously supporting a number of civic projects such as the Truman Presidential Library in nearby Independence (great spot), and the Negro Leagues Museum in K.C. (equally so).
Sherman will have to divest his 30% ownership in the Cleveland Indians.
Glass, 83, the former longtime Walmart executive, kept the Royals in town following Kauffman’s death in 1993, but he has been criticized during the team’s many 100-loss seasons for being unwilling to spend money on payroll. But they did win the World Series in 2015.
--According to a toxicology report released Friday, Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone along with alcohol in his system when he was found dead in his Texas hotel room July 1.
The cause of death is listed as a mixture of “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” meaning Skaggs, 27, essentially choked on his vomit while under the influence. The death was ruled an accident. He was found on his bed, fully clothed, and there were no signs of trauma.
A statement from the Skaggs family issued Friday mentioned that an Angels employee may have some involvement in the tragedy, specifically “how Tyler came into possession of these narcotics,” per the family.
The police reports have not been released but the family would not have said what they did if they weren’t tipped off to some of the details in the ongoing inquiry.
--In the biggest game of this first weekend, #11 Oregon and #16 Auburn hooked up in Arlington, Texas, at “Jerry’s World.” Oregon came in as a sleeper contender for the CFP, with All-American quarterback Justin Herbert at the helm.
But the Ducks came up small when it mattered, blowing a 21-6 lead late in the third quarter and falling to the Tigers 27-21, as it was true freshman QB Bo Nix, not the senior Herbert, who rallied his team to victory, despite being outplayed statistically. Nix barely converted a fourth-and-3 at midfield on the final drive when he tucked and ran. Only the nose of the ball was past the chain when officials measured. Then on third-and-10 from the Oregon 39 with no timeouts, Nix hit Seth Williams for 13 yards, and then found him again on the next play to put Auburn ahead for the first time.
So bye-bye hopes of a playoff for the Ducks. Yes, there are teams that have lost their first game to a ranked opponent and then ran the table and still made the CFP, but what is going to hurt Oregon in particular is the fact that Auburn has a brutal schedule and is unlikely to go better than 8-4.
What was equally disappointing was the lack of coverage for the Oregon cheerleaders. As in I saw them for the first time late in the game. This is a travesty!
But this game was also another huge blow to the Pac-12’s image. In last season’s opener in Atlanta, Auburn beat No. 6 Washington 21-16, dealing the Huskies’ CFP hopes an early fatal blow.
--What an exciting first game for my Wake Forest Demon Deacons, at home against Utah State. I picked up the action in the second half and there were about four different times I thought the Deacs had lost it, in this back-and-forth contest (neither scoring twice in a row). But in the end, the Deacs pulled it out 38-35 on a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass from Jamie Newman to Kendall Hinton.
Newman threw for 401 yards, 3 touchdowns, no picks, while his counterpart for the Aggies, Jordan Love, who some are saying is among the top four quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft (along with Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm), threw for 416 yards and three TDs, but was picked off three times.
As for Hinton, the fifth-year senior and former starting quarterback has had an interesting career at Wake to say the least, with numerous injuries and suspensions. But he’s also the best athlete on the team and he seems to have found a home at slot receiver. It would be a huge boost if he can keep his act together, and also stay healthy.
Yes, Friday’s game could easily set up Wake’s entire season.
But I can’t help but mention Utah State linebacker David Woodward. He had 134 tackles as a sophomore last year, is one of the best in the sport, and all the dude did on Friday is come up with 24 tackles, 18 solo, 3 ½ for a loss. An absolutely remarkable performance and someone to watch.
--In the seven seasons from 2010-2016, under Jimbo Fisher Florida State finished in the top 25 all seven, with four top 10s and a national championship in 2013.
Fisher then struggled in 2017, going 5-6 (the team finished 7-6), as he bolted for the big money at Texas A&M.
Willie Taggart then took over and was a miserable 5-7 in his first year, hardly the back-to-back campaigns Seminoles fans are used to.
So yesterday, Florida State blew a 31-13 second quarter lead and lost to Boise State 36-31, as Broncos freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier threw for 407 yards.
Needless to say, Taggart is in deep trouble.
--Boston College had a huge opening win against Virginia Tech, 35-28, as junior quarterback Anthony Brown had a solid all-around game, even as the Hokies’ defense held All-American running back AJ Dillon to just 81 yards on 23 carries.
--Thursday, #1 Clemson had its way with Georgia Tech 52-14. It didn’t matter that Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence had a poor performance, for him, because another Heisman candidate, running back Travis Etienne, was beyond spectacular. 205 yards, three touchdowns, on a mere 12 carries, scoring on runs of 90, 14 and 48 yards. A cool 17.1 average. As Ronald Reagan would have said to Nancy, as she made waffles, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
--Back to Saturday action, #2 Alabama beat the spread in whipping Duke 42-3, as Tua was a cool 26/31, 336, 4-0, while the college game’s best receiver, Jerry Jeudy, got off to a 10-137-1 start.
--#5 Ohio State fans weren’t totally happy with their team’s 45-21 win over Florida Atlantic, but quarterback Justin Fields, the highly-touted transfer from Georgia, showed he has the goods, going 18/25, 234, 4-0, while rushing for another 61 and a score.
--#15 Penn State mauled Idaho 79-7! as the Vandals showed they really do belong in I-AA. The Nittany Lions outgained them 673-145.
--Last season, the Chip Kelly Era at UCLA got off to a dreadful 3-9 start, and then on Thursday, the Bruins lost at Cincinnati, 24-14. Fans need to see improvement, quickly.
--The other big school in Los Angeles, USC, is coming off a 5-7 season but had high hopes for 2019, owing to the improved play of sophomore quarterback JT Daniels, and the Trojans defeated Fresno State last night, 31-23.
But Daniels went out with a serious knee injury, after starting the game 25/34, 215, 1-1. No details as I go to post.
--Mack Brown’s return to the sidelines at North Carolina was a fruitful one, the Tar Heels defeating South Carolina 24-20, Brown’s first game as a head coach since leaving Texas after the 2013 season. True freshman quarterback Sam Howell threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns, but Brown did make some ‘interesting’ decisions, such as not punting the ball at midfield with 10 seconds left and giving the Gamecocks a shot at a last-second Hail Mary.
--And we had a massive upset Saturday, as lowly Georgia State, 2-10 last season and a Division I team since just 2013 (having launched the program in 2010), pulled off a shocker at Tennessee, 38-30, before over 85,000 fans at Neyland Stadium. The Panthers had never beaten a Power Five team.
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who threw for 311 yards but had two fourth-quarter turnovers, said, “I’m disgusted, to be honest.” Tennessee was a 25-point favorite. Panthers coach Shawn Elliott was an assistant at Appalachian State when the Mountaineers stunned fifth-ranked Michigan in the first week of the 2007 season. [Phil W., I still remember your phone call from the stands. Great moment.]
This sets back the Vols program bigly. They are already coming off 5-7 and 4-8 seasons, after back-to-back 9-4 campaigns (2015-16).
Oh, one other thing. Georgia State received $950,000 for making the trip to Knoxville!.
--Intriguing game tonight...Houston at #4 Oklahoma.
--Finally, we had one of those special college football moments on Friday night, as Nevada upset Purdue 34-31 on a last-second, 56-yard field goal off the leg of freshman walk-on Brandon Talton. Yes, a walk-on, who was informed just before the game he was starting.
What made it all the sweeter is that after the game, Talton was awarded a full scholarship.
The win was just the second for the Wolf Pack against a Big Ten team.
--It all starts for real next weekend (Thurs. night, Packers-Bears). Saturday was cut-down day to the 53-man rosters. Let’s get it on.
--Giants fans can’t wait to see Daniel Jones at quarterback, after Jones’ sterling camp, going 29-34, 416, 2 TDs.
But Jones won’t be behind center for at least the first three weeks. It’s still Eli Manning’s job, and if Eli plays well he’ll remain the starter. It’s pretty simple. But if the Giants start out 1-4, look for Jones. At least that’s how I see it.
--Jadeveon Clowney, the three-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher, found himself in a contract disagreement with the Texans this offseason as negotiations on a long-term deal disintegrated. Clowney refused to sign the franchise-player tag and the whole deal dragged on throughout training camp and the preseason.
So Houston gave up and granted Clowney permission to meet with other teams, putting together a deal with Seattle...or rather, he signed the Texans’ franchise tag, allowing Houston to then trade Clowney for a 2020 third-round pick as well as linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin.
Clowney will now not only earn a fully guaranteed salary of $15,967 million this season but also positions himself for the coming offseason where he could command a long-term deal worth around $20 million annually.
A lot of teams were rumored to be interested in him, including the Jets and Eagles, but fans of both are glad he didn’t sign. He’s just seen as a problem, though his last two seasons were pretty good.
--LeSean McCoy was cut by the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, and hours later it was reported he had signed with the Chiefs, a one-year, $4 million deal, $3 million guaranteed. The Bills saved more than $6.42 million by releasing McCoy, who was in the last year of his contract.
So McCoy reunites with his first coach Andy Reid, who was the Eagles’ head coach when the team selected McCoy in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. McCoy blossomed into one of the best running backs in the league under Reid.
--It’s pretty pathetic that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starting quarterback for Miami in its opener and not Josh Rosen, which tells you everything you need to know about the latter’s future. Head coach Brian Flores said there is no timetable for Rosen to become the starter.
Rosen was the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, having a miserable rookie season in Arizona, after which the Dolphins acquired him for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round selection.
--Yippee! Wake Forest’s Greg Dortch made the Jets’ roster as a punt returner/wide receiver. He might surprise on the latter, despite his 5’7”, 173 lb. size. But the life of a punt returner is often a short one, especially for an unproven rookie. One bad fumble and off to the glue factory you go.
--We note the passing of Pro Football Hall of Fame center Jim Langer, who was in the middle of the action for the Miami Dolphins during their 1972 perfect season. Langer was 71 and died of a sudden heart-related problem, according to his wife.
Langer was a first-year starter and played every offensive down for the NFL’s only unbeaten, untied team that went 17-0. The following year he helped the Dolphins repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Langer played in six consecutive Pro Bowls for Miami while playing in 128 games in a row.
--And Bobby Dillon died. He was a long-time defensive back and safety for the Green Bay Packers of the 1950s, 1952-59, when Dillon set a franchise record for interceptions that still stands today, 52, including four against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day 1953, a single-game NFL record shared by many players.
Dillon returned five interceptions for touchdowns. And he did all this while playing with a glass eye, losing his left eye as a result of childhood accidents.
But he never played on a winning Packer team until 1959, when Green Bay went 7-5 in Vince Lombardi’s first season as coach and general manager. He had planned to retire after the 1958 season, but Lombardi, impressed by film of Dillon in action, persuaded him to return.
But then Dillon retired after ‘59, missing out on the dynasty that Lombardi would build. The fact he didn’t play on winning teams no doubt hurt his Pro Football Hall of Fame chances.
Dillon was born in Pendleton, Texas, growing up in nearby Temple, and played his college ball at Texas, intercepting 13 passes in his three years, earning All-American honors his senior year.
--15-year-old Coco Gauff lost her third-round match against defending U.S. Open champ Naomi Osaka, 6-3, 6-0, Saturday, after which Osaka consoled her.
After they hugged at the net and Gauff started shedding tears, the two huddled on the sidelines. Osaka, in a class act, then convinced Gauff to do the post-match interview in tandem on the court.
“She told me I did amazing and good luck and asked if I could do the on-court interview with her,” Gauff said during the interview, as tears rolled. “I said no because I knew I’d cry.”
Gauff gave Osaka, all of 21, kudos for her action.
So Coco-mania will have to wait for the Australian Open next year. But what a stretch, having made the fourth round at Wimbledon before losing to eventual champion Simona Halep.
--Speaking of Halep, qualifier Taylor Townsend stunned her Thursday in three sets, and then yesterday, Townsend, ranked 116th, advanced to the fourth round (sweet sixteen) in defeating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, 7-5, 6-2, joined by another American outside the top 100, 141st-ranked Kristie Ahn, who beat the 2017 French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko, 7-5, 6-3. Ahn, a wild card, will next play 25th-seeded Elise Mertens.
Townsend and Ahn, who each reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, were the ninth and 10th different American women to reach the second week of a major this year, though none of them have won a Grand Slam title this season.
By contrast, only three American men – Frances Tiafoe, Sam Querrey and Tennys Sandgren – have reached the second week of a Grand Slam event this year. The last American men in contention at the U.S. Open, the 14th-seeded John Isner and Sandgren, lost on Saturday.
This afternoon, No. 3 seed Roger Federer beat 15 David Goffin in straight sets, while Serena Williams overcame an ankle issue to defeat 22 Petra Martic 6-3, 6-4.
No. 2 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia was upset by China’s Qiang Wang. “Everybody have fun tonight....Everybody Wang Chung tonight....”
I just had a hit placed on me by the Chinese secret police.
--It really is remarkable that just three months ago, Tottenham was sitting atop the soccer world, alongside Liverpool, in the Champions League final, Liverpool pulling it out after a stunning Spurs run in the CL to get to the championship game.
And yet as the New York Times’ Rory Smith wrote the other day, that moment in Madrid seems like five years ago, Tottenham off to a miserable start to the new Premier League campaign that is even worse than the 1-1-1 record in their first three. The team is simply out of sorts, despite a roster that has only been bolstered and a new stadium that most agree is perhaps the best in Europe.
But at the same time, a number of the stars, particularly Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld, want to leave, and another stalwart, Jan Vertonghen, was mysteriously dropped (though back in the lineup today against Arsenal), all three out of contract next summer; meaning Tottenham could lose all three for nothing.
So this afternoon, the Spurs traveled across town to play rival Arsenal in the north-London derby. It was a terrific match, Tottenham taking a 2-0 lead, only to barely hold on for a point, Arsenal with two terrific goals to gain the draw, 2-2. This was the Premier League at its best.
In the end, the Spurs were fortunate.
In other contests of note, Manchester United could manage only a point at Southampton, 1-1; Chelsea had a disappointing 2-2 draw with newbie Sheffield (Dr. W. very irritated by his Blues’ play thus far); Man City blitzed Brighton 4-0; Liverpool shut down Burnley 3-0; and Everton beat the Wolves 3-2, Wolverhampton off to a very disappointing 0-3-1 (W-D-L) start.
And after just four of 38 matches, Liverpool is the only perfect team, 4-0-0; Man City’s only blemish (3-1-0) the draw with Tottenham in week two (another fortunate point for the Spurs).
The Premier League is off for international play next week.
--Back to the Champions League, they held the draw for the 2020 edition, group stage play beginning Sept. 17...the final May 30 in Istanbul.
European heavyweights Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid are together in Group A, while former winners Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan all meet in Group F.
The Premier League’s four entrants, Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea, would appear to have an easy time of it advancing to the knockout stage, with all four avoiding the Big Three of Spain – Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
A joyful Dale Earnhardt Jr. returned to the racetrack Saturday, finishing fifth in the Xfinity event at Darlington Raceway a little more than two weeks after he and his family escaped a plane that crash-landed in Tennessee and went up in flames.
“It’s just good to be at the track,” Earnhardt said. “I can’t count how many people give me a warm feeling when I see them at the track. This is good therapy.”
Earnhardt, NASCAR’s most popular driver 15 straight times until his retirement two years ago, was showered with cheers and affection following the horrifying events at the airstrip.
--The sport of racing had another tragedy yesterday, as Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert was killed in a crash at the Belgian Grand Prix, the Frenchman, 22, suffering “a huge impact” from the car of American Manuel Correa at about 170 mph, Correa in stable condition.
Formula 2 is the rung below Formula 1 and is the proving ground for up-and-comers in the sport. Hubert was lying eighth in the points standings and was part of Renault’s F1 young driver program.
Former F1 driver Fernando Alonso posted on Twitter: “What a sad afternoon. I have no words. It hurts the heart. Rest in peace, champ.”
Lewis Hamilton wrote on Instagram: “This is devastating. God rest your soul Anthoine. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family today.
“If a single one of you watching and enjoying this sport think for a second what we do is safe you’re hugely mistaken. All these drivers put their life on the line when they hit the track and people need to appreciate that in a serious way because it is not appreciated enough.”
I do. I appreciate the hell out of you guys, as I glance over at my 1968 photo of me looking over Denny Hulme’s shoulder at the British Grand Prix when I was all of 10 years old. And another picture of Jochen Rindt in the pits. He won the Formula One championship two years later, posthumously, after dying in a crash during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
So in the Formula One race today, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc captured his first F1 victory, dedicating it to Hubert.
“Feels good, but difficult to enjoy on a weekend like this,” he told his crew over the radio after crossing the finish line. Leclerc had raced against Hubert as he moved up the ranks.
Lewis Hamilton was second, having won 8 of the first 13 races this season.
--Racer and television host Jessi Combs – known as the “fastest woman on four wheels” – died in a fiery crash while attempting to beat her own land speed record, officials said Wednesday.
Combs, 39, was barreling through a dry lake bed in Oregon’s Alvord Desert on Tuesday afternoon inside a 56-foot-long, 52,000-horsepower “jet car” when the “horrific accident” happened, her team said.
In 2013, Combs piloted the North American Eagle at a speed of 398 mph in 2013.
She wound up beating it three years later with a 440 mph run – and then again two years after with a speed of 483 mph.
On Aug. 24, the former “Mythbusters” and “Xtreme 4x4” host tweeted:
“It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire. Those who are willing are those who achieve great things. People say I’m crazy. I say thank you.”
--Finally, we note the passing of the great actress, Valerie Harper. She was 80. Harper first became known for her portrayal of Rhoda Morgenstern on the long-running “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which is in my top five comedy series of all time....in no particular order along with “All In The Family,” “M*A*S*H”, “The Wonder Years,” and “Seinfeld.” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” would be on my list, except it has hardly been a regular series.
“Friends” would head up my second five, along with both iterations of “Newhart.”
“The Honeymooners” was really before my time so I can’t include it, as much as I love the re-runs.
Anyway, Harper’s Rhoda was everybody’s best friend in the 1970s. She often said that fans identified so strongly with Rhoda that they sometimes seemed to regard the actress and her popular character as one and the same.
Harper won four Emmys for the role, including for “Rhoda,” the spinoff that ran from 1974 to 1978.
In 1970, Harper was appearing in a play at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum when she auditioned for the role of Moore’s neighbor in the star’s proposed new series, which would tell the story of an unmarried career woman making a fresh start in Minneapolis.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977, a huge hit, with one of the two or three best ensemble casts of all time.
Harper was born Aug. 22, 1939, in Suffern, N.Y., the middle of three children of Iva, a nurse, and Howard Harper, a lighting sales executive. The father’s career required frequent moves, and as Harper was growing up, the family lived in Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan and Southern California.
Eventually, she studied drama and worked with the Chicago-based Second City improv group.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/1/62: #1 “Sheila” (Tommy Roe) #2 “The Loco-Moton” (Little Eva) #3 “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” (Neil Sedaka)...and...#4 “You Don’t Know Me” (Ray Charles...great tune...) #5 “Party Lights” (Claudine Clark) #6 “She’s Not You” (Elvis Presley) #7 “Things” (Bobby Darin) #8 “Roses Are Red” (Bobby Vinton) #9 “Vacation” (Connie Francis) #10 “Little Diane” (Dion)
College Football Quiz Answer: Three oldest non-Ivy League rivalries.
Lafayette vs. Lehigh, dates backs to 1884 and is the most played rivalry across both the FCS and the FBS, the two having met a total of 154 times since the start, Lafayette leading 78-71-5. [They used to meet multiple times in a season.]
North Carolina vs. Wake Forest, dates back to 1888 and has been played 106 times since, the Tar Heels leading 69-35-2. Given the two are in different divisions of the ACC these days, they no longer play every year, but do this coming Sept. 13.
Miami (OH) vs. Cincinnati, dates back to 1888, the “Battle for the Bell.” Miami leads the series, 59-57-7.
Others of note:
South Dakota State vs. South Dakota, dates back to 1889. South Dakota State leads 54-50-7.
Army vs. Navy got its start in 1890, Navy now leading 60-52-7.
1969 Mets, cont’d....
New York traveled up the coast to take on the Giants in a four-game weekend series.
Aug. 29: The Giants won their ninth straight, 5-0, behind Juan Marichal’s shutout as he improved to 16-9, Bobby Bonds with a 3-run homer in the first off loser Gary Gentry (9-11). San Francisco was up a ½ game in the N.L. West.
Aug. 30: The Mets snapped the Giants’ streak, 3-2 in 10 innings as Donn Clendenon hit the game-winning home run off Garylord Perry (16-11). Tug McGraw (7-2) picked up the win in relief after starter Don Cardwell went an effective 7 1/3.
Aug. 31: In the first game of a doubleheader, Tom Seaver (19-7) threw a shutout, the Mets hitting Giants starter Mike McCormick hard early as New York cruised 8-0.
Aug. 31: But in the nightcap, the Mets lost a heartbreaker 3-2 in 11. Ron Swoboda had tied it in the seventh with a 2-run homer, Jim McAndrew going the first nine for the Mets, but Ron Taylor, in relief of McGraw, walked Jim Davenport with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th.
So the Mets were 76-54, 4 ½ back of the Cubs at the end of August. On to Los Angeles.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.