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Death of a Racing Legend
[Posted Wednesday a.m.]
Cleveland Indians Quiz: 1) Name the seven Cleveland players to hit 40 home runs in a season, all post-1930. 2) Name the only two with 150 RBIs. Answers below.
--So the NFL draft is next week and I’ll watch a little Thursday. The big story is Tua Tagovailoa. I’m shocked, frankly. Unless everyone is full of merde, Tua says he is healthy and ready for training camp. Last week he did a virtual pro day with former NFL QB Trent Dilfer (the quarterback whisperer) and agent Leigh Steinberg told the AP, “His health is just fine. There’s two doctors that have seen him, Dr. Lyle Cain (Alabama’s orthopedic surgeon), and Dr. Chip Routt, who performed the surgery. Both have said that he is healthy and he’ll be lively and ready to go for training camp and the likelihood of recurrence is very low.”
Doctors had cleared Tua on March 9 to being running and begin football activities and he has been training with Dilfer.
Steinberg said: “He’s running around, he’s bouncing around with high energy.”
But one hit…just one hit….
So what team is going to take the chance? Some say the Chargers at No. 6. Miami with the fifth pick, is now looking like it would take Justin Herbert.
--Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, after a monster season (just the third in league history to amass 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season), signed the biggest contract ever for a running back, $64 million over four years, $16 million a year. Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys signed a six-year extension this offseason worth $90 million, or an average salary of $15 million.
--Former NFL quarterback Tarvaris Jackson died in a one-car crash outside Montgomery, Ala., authorities said Monday. He was 36.
The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro that Jackson was driving went off the road, struck a tree and overturned at 8:50 p.m. Sunday, an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spokesman said in a news release.
The wreck occurred about seven miles south of Montgomery, his hometown. No other details were released.
Jackson played in 59 games for Minnesota and Seattle from 2006-2015, compiling a 17-17-0 record in his 34 starts, with 39 touchdown passes and 35 interceptions overall for his career.
Death of a Racing Legend
The great Stirling Moss died Sunday. He was 90.
Moss, a daring, speed-loving Englishman was regarded as the greatest Formula One driver never to win the world championship.
Moss was known in England as “Mr. Motor Racing,” a driver with a taste for adventure that saw him push cars to their limits across many racing categories and competitions. As the Associated Press described: “He was fearless, fiercely competitive and often reckless.
“That attitude took a toll on his slight body. His career ended early, at age 31, after a horrific crash left him in a coma for a month in April 1962.
“ ‘It you’re not trying to win at all costs,’ he said, ‘what on Earth are you doing there?’”
By the time he retired, Moss had won 16 of the 66 F1 races he entered.
Arguably, his greatest achievement was victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia – a 1,000-mile road race through Italy – by nearly half an hour over Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine great who was Moss’ idol, teammate and rival. My brother, a massive auto racing fan, said this was the greatest drive of all time. Moss maintained an average speed of nearly 100 mph over 1,000 miles of public roads in the annual one-lap race around Italy.
But an F1 title didn’t follow, though – a travesty to many in motorsport. Moss finished second in the drivers’ championship four times (1955-58) and third on three occasions.
In 1958, Moss lost out to Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn by one point despite winning four races to his rival’s one. His good sportsmanship cost him the title, with Moss defending the actions of Hawthorn following a spin at the Portuguese Grand Prix, sparing his rival a six-point penalty.
In 1959, Moss’ championship hopes were dashed where his car failed during the final race of the season in Florida.
“I hope I’ll continue to be described as the greatest driver who never won the world championship, but it doesn’t really matter,” Moss once said. “The most important thing for me was gaining the respect of the other drivers, and I think I achieved that.”
In total, Moss raced in 107 different types of cars and boasted a record of 212 wins in the 375 competitive races he finished.
Moss was born in 1929 into a racing family. His father, Alfred, competed in the Indianapolis 500; his mother, Aileen, was English women’s champion in 1936. Sterling learned his trade during the post-World War II racing boom in England.
But in taking his profession to the extreme, he risked his own safety. Moss broke both legs and damaged his spine in a crash in 1960. Even worse was the accident two years later in Goodwood, England, when he smashed into a bank of earth at 100 mph without a seat belt while competing in the Formula One Glover Trophy.
It took minutes to cut him from the wreckage. He suffered brain injuries, and his body’s left side was partially paralyzed for six months. With his eyesight and reflexes also permanently damaged, Moss quit racing.
--I posted last Sunday prior to The Masters rewind coverage of Tiger Woods and 2019. While he was nowhere near as engaging as Phil was on Saturday, Tiger did get very emotional at the end when Jim Nantz, who has replaced Barbara Walters as the one interviewer who can make you cry, asked Woods about getting to hug his mother and kids after he had won it.
It was moving. But Woods also gave major kudos to caddie Joe LaCava.
As he said Sunday, after shaking hands with playing partners Tony Finau and Francesco Molinari – Woods had one thought: “Where the hell is Joey? I need Joey,” he told Nantz as he watched the replay. “I said, ‘We did it,’ because we did. We did it together. Joey was there helping me go to [my kids’] soccer games when I couldn’t drive a car. He came down here as a friend [to Florida] to try to nurse me back to health.”
Tiger, for all the things you may have an issue with, has been an amazing friend to LaCava. He asked him, “Hey, if you want, I can go out and get you a bag, get one of these young, upcoming guys, and you can go out and caddie for them,” Woods told UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma on a 2017 podcast.
“And he said: ‘No, no, I’m committed to you. I’m committed to your return and you playing golf again.’ And I said, ‘Well, I understand that, but I don’t know when that is or if that’s even going to happen, so let me help you get you another bag.’ But he keeps saying no.”
Tiger continued to pay LaCava but he knew the time off was tough on him. “I miss being in the mix with him. We’re a hell of a pair out there.”
LaCava had been a long-time caddie for Fred Couples, but as Couples himself said, he told LaCava to look for another bag.
LaCava was all set to hook up with Dustin Johnson, but then Woods called, not promising the world.
Joey recalled: “He said, ‘Are you interested?’ And I’m like, ‘[Expletive] yeah, I’m interested.’”
After Tiger won The Masters last spring, LaCava was scrolling through hundreds of texts and found this: “ ‘We did it. Appreciate you hanging in there with me. I love you like a brother.’”
Tiger also revealed this fascinating factoid about his career during the CBS rewind. He’s had 20 holes-in-one, but only one of them came after 2000, and that came in a casual round with Fred Couples.
--We note the passing of a golf original, Doug Sanders, who died Sunday at the age of 86. Sanders was a terrific golfer for his time, winning 20 PGA Tour titles, but he’ll always be remembered for two things. He was the sport’s most colorful dresser, and he couldn’t close the deal in a major, despite being right there in contention at the end countless times, with four runner-up finishes (at the 1959 PGA Championship, 1961 U.S. Open and 1966 and 1970 British Opens). In all, he had 13 top-10 finishes in majors.
Most notably, and most painfully, Sanders lost the 1970 British Open to Jack Nicklaus in a playoff after missing a 30-inch putt for the win on the 72nd hole at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
“I didn’t get the job done,” Sanders once said of what later was tabbed the “most famous miss in golf.” “I knew the putt was going to miss straight away. I moved on it. The most expensive missed putt in the history of the game.”
The miss forced a playoff the next day, which Sanders lost by one stroke, shooting 73 to Nicklaus’ 72.
[I just watched a gory replay of Scott Hoch’s miss in the 1989 Masters, which rivaled Sanders’ miss.]
Sanders was known for a very short backswing, barely passing shoulder height, and a follow-through to match.
He also grew up poor (“No doctors, lice in our hair, ratty hand-me-down clothes”) and he says he started looking for golf balls as a kid at his home club in Cedartown, Georgia, that he could sell for 20 cents a day (yes, 20 cents a day). He also caddied 36 holes a day. The short backswing was because the Cedartown course had narrow fairways and he couldn’t afford to lose a ball.
Sanders could also play and shot 29 in a high school tournament at age 17 and qualified for the finals of the 1951 national Jaycees tournament in Durham, N.C.
“But my family had no money. It took 10 men, who got together and gave me $10 a piece so I could buy my train ticket, which was $28.50. The first night I got there, one of the guys stole my money. Sanders birdied the last three holes to win 1 up.
Sanders was recruited by the University of Florida and received an invite to play in the Canadian Amateur in Toronto. He stayed for the Canadian Open the following week in Montreal and birdied the last to tie professional Dow Finsterwald and beat him in a playoff.
Sanders was the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event and turned pro. It would be 29 years before an amateur accomplished what he had.
Sanders won five times in 1961, and he was a member of the victorious 1967 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
As for his flamboyant dress, highlighted by ‘loud’ shoes, the “peacock of the fairways” was a handsome lad, who loved to chat with the galleries and he was easily one of the more popular players of his generation, though some of his fellow competitors didn’t like him hamming it up with the crowds.
“Some guys just don’t have it in them to get laughs. But they shouldn’t resent the rest of us putting on a good show. That’s what we’re out there for, isn’t it?”
--Former manager Jim Frey died. He was 88.
Frey managed the 1980 Kansas City Royals to the A.L. pennant and the Chicago Cubs to within one win of the 1984 World Series.
Frey replaced Whitey Herzog as the Royals’ manager after the 1979 season and the team went 97-65, finishing 14 games ahead of the Oakland A’s in the A.L. West.
This K.C. team was led by George Brett and Willie Wilson, with a pitching staff featuring Dennis Leonard, Larry Gura and Dan Quisenberry. They swept the Yankees, 3-0, in the ALCS, then lost to the Phillies in the World Series in six.
But Frey was fired in the second-half of 1981’s split season caused by the six-week players’ strike.
After coaching a few years with the Mets, he was then hired by the Cubs to replace Charlie Fox and led the ’84 Cubs to a 96-65 season and the N.L. East title.
But then after winning the first two in the best-of-five NLCS against San Diego, they lost the next three in San Diego. It wouldn’t be until 2016 that the Cubs would reach their first World Series since 1945.
Frey was fired in 1986 after a 22-33 start. His career managerial record was 323-287.
Since 1998, Frey had been associated with the nearby Somerset Patriots, a New Jersey minor league team. It was the Patriots who announced his passing.
--We note the passing of Hank Steinbrenner, 63, after a long illness. Hank was the co-owner of the New York Yankees, the eldest son of George Steinbrenner, though he was largely out of the spotlight over the last decade, with brother Hal becoming the organization’s managing general partner and the more visible of the two.
--Unbelievably, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, participating in a livestream broadcast of a virtual exhibition race on Sunday night, used a racial slur and was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR Monday.
Larson, of Chip Ganassi Racing in NASCAR’s Cup Series, was competing in the iRacing event when he seemed to lose communication on his headset with his spotter. During the microphone check, Larson could be heard saying, “You can’t hear me?” he said on the livestream. “Hey, (expletive).”
“Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud,” one driver replied. Another person said, “No way did that just happen.”
Larson was first suspended without pay Monday morning by Chip Ganassi Racing, which called the words “offensive and unacceptable,” before NASCAR also weighed in with its own punishment for violating its Member Conduct Guidelines. The 27-year-old was also ordered to attend sensitivity training.
“NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event,” the NASCAR statement said. “Our Member Conduct Guidelines are clear in this regard, and we will enforce these guidelines to maintain an inclusive environment for our entire industry and fan base.”
Larson issued an apology on Twitter on Monday, saying he was sorry, “especially (for) the African American community” and “understands the damage is probably irreparable.”
How this guy could be this stupid is beyond me.
Larson has been a rising star in the sport, with six wins and 101 top-10 finishes in his six full seasons as a full-time Cup Series driver.
He is also in the final year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing. His sponsors are McDonald’s and Credit One Bank.
Credit One terminated its sponsorship of Larson and then McDonald’s announced it was doing the same.
It’s the second week in a row that a NASCAR driver has drawn scrutiny while racers use the online platform to entertain fans. Last week, Bubba Wallace “rage quit” an official NASCAR iRacing event televised live nationally and his sponsor dropped him immediately.
--On a brighter note, a group of horse bettors hit it big on Saturday, thanks to some longshots winning at Gulfstream Park.
Track records show that one person hit the Race 1 superfecta – correctly guessing the first four horses to win – with 70-1 Freddy Soto in front.
Nine tickets hit the Pick 3 of horses with 70-1, 36-1 and 26-1 odds, who won the first three races. The 50-cent ticket paid $14,483.65.
But the big winner was a guy who hit the winner in the first five races. That 50-cent bet paid out $524,966.50, the fifth-highest payout for a 50-cent wager in U.S. horse racing history, according to Ed DeRosa, director of marketing for Brisnet.
Last year, a bettor hit the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream (first six races). The 20-cent ticket paid $2.2 million. [Yes, 20 cents. I just went on the Gulfstream Park website because I frankly hadn’t heard of a 20-cent wager. Actually, my father and I went to a racetrack in Budapest back in 1973, which looking back is bizarre we did that but he knew I liked horse racing, and I remember the minimum bet was the equivalent of 20 cents at this particular establishment, and we were net winners! But I digress…]
I reminded of another foreign racing story. The first time I went to Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, I thought I’d watch a race or two before placing bets and so the race starts and I’m looking one way, and the crowd is all looking the other way.
I didn’t realize the horses ran clockwise there.
--From the New York Daily News:
“The rat race has turned nasty.
“Rodents have resorted to open warfare, cannibalism and eating their young since coronavirus shut down restaurants and other food sources vital to the existence of the city’s creatures of the night, according to NBC News.
“ ‘It’s just like we’ve seen in the history of mankind, where people try to take over lands and they come in with militaries and armies and fight to the death, literally, for who’s going to conquer that land,’ rodent expert Bobby Corrigan said.
“According to Corrigan, the hungrier rats get, the more desperate they will become in places like New York City. A 2014 study found that 2 million cheese-eaters call the Big Apple home.”
Top 3 songs for the week 4/18/70: #1 “Let It Be” (The Beatles) #2 “ABC” (The Jackson 5) #3 “Spirit In The Sky” (Norman Greenbaum)…and…#4 “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)” (John Ono Lennon) #5 “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” (Edison Lighthouse) #6 “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon & Garfunkel) #7 “Come And Get It” (Badfinger) #8 “Love Or Let Me Be Lonely” (The Friends of Distinction) #9 “American Woman” (The Guess Who) #10 “Up The Ladder To The Roof” (The Supremes…#s 1, 4, 6, 8 and 9 solid to great…salvage a ‘B+’ week…)
Cleveland Indians Quiz Answers: 1) The seven Indians who have hit 40 home runs are Jim Thome (52, 49, 40), Albert Belle (50, 48), Manny Ramirez (45, 44), Al Rosen 43, Rocky Colavito (42, 41), Travis Hafner (42), and Hal Trosky (42). 2) Only two with 150 RBIs: Manny Ramirez, 165 (1999) and Hal Trosky, 162 (1936).
Trosky had a relatively short, but great, career, with six straight 100-RBI seasons for Cleveland from 1934-39, including his monster 1936 campaign, when he had 42 HR, 162 RBI, and a 1.026 OPS. He also had 45 doubles and 9 triples for 97 extra-base hits that year.
Trosky finished his career with 228 HR and 1,012 RBI, but the six 100-ribbie seasons were when he was age 21-26. Sadly, he retired after the 1941 season, just 28, due to severe migraines. He then returned in 1944, playing with the White Sox, driving in 70 runs, and quit for good after 1946.
Trosky was out of Norway, Iowa, population 545, according to the last census.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.