|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
DJ Bags A Biggie
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
MLB MVP Quiz: Jose Abreu was the A.L. MVP this season, Freddie Freeman the N.L. winner. Name the other three White Sox players to win the award, and the five Braves to do so in franchise history (though I’ll explain I have a problem with one of these answers). See below.
After a big storm delayed play in the first round, we had a soft course, which remained so until later Saturday, when at least the greens began to firm up some.
First round leaders….
Dustin Johnson -7
Paul Casey -7
Dylan Fritelli -7
Justin Thomas -6
Sungjae Im -6
After two rounds….
Dustin Johnson -9
Justin Thomas -9
Jon Rahm -9
Abraham Ancer -9
Cameron Smith -9
[This was the first time in PGA Tour history that the Nos. 1, 2, 3 in the world were at the top of the leaderboard in an event….DJ, JT, and Rahm.]
After three rounds….
Dustin Johnson -16…65-70-65…stunning play
Sungjae Im -12 (South Korea)
Abraham Ancer -12 (Mexico)
Cameron Smith -12 (Australia)
Dylan Fritelli -11 (South Africa)
Justin Thomas -10 (USA)
Quite an international leaderboard. As Ian Baker-Finch noted Saturday, after three rounds, every Masters winner came from the top five, so Thomas doesn’t seem to be in the picture. Tiger remained at -5…bye-bye.
Thankfully, the outstanding weather continued for Sunday’s early start, due to CBS’ football commitments, the leaders teeing off at 9:30 a.m. ET. A week ago the forecast looked dreadful and we seemed destined to a Monday finish, so this is good.
After the first 5 holes….
DJ -15…a birdie and two bogeys (4&5)
Smith -13 (thru 6)
But then Im bogeyed 6, while Johnson birdied it, and Smith birdied 7, so….
And Rory McIlroy was suddenly at -11 thru 8, but he bogeyed 10.
After 9 holes
Smith -15 (thru 10)
After 11 holes
Smith -14 (thru 12)
After 13 holes…Johnson with a ‘safe’ birdie on the par-5 13th.
Smith -14 (thru 14)
After 16 holes…Johnson birdieing 14 and 15.
Yup…it’s over…Dustin Johnson’s first green jacket, second major, 24th PGA Tour win overall, a Hall of Fame career that is far from over.
DJ’s a great and deserving champion.
Smith -15…first with four rounds in the 60s at Augusta…67-68-69-69
C.T. Pan -10
Brooks Koepka -10
--Tiger Woods shocked us all with a ‘10’ on the par-3 12th today. I’ll get all the details for next Chat, but 6 had been his highest on any par-3 in his career, if I heard it right, though I’ll correct this if necessary. But give him credit, he then birdied five of his last six and finished the tournament -1, after his solid first-round, bogey free, 68.
--And give 63-year-old Bernhard Langer mucho credit. He not only made the cut, the oldest to do so in Masters history (one month older than Tommy Aaron, 2000), but he ended at -3. I had him in my DraftKings lineup, just 0.6% of us doing so, because I saw him play well down the stretch of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and figured he was a good bet (for the money) to make the cut. Alas, while I had Dustin Johnson, Rory and Tommy Fleetwood, I also had Adam Hadwin and Matthew Wolff. No dinero for the Editor.
--Bryson DeChambeau’s pre-tournament hype proved all for naught, his performance mediocre at best…70-74-69-73 (T34), Bison complaining of not feeling right in the head, dizziness and such. No one cares, dude.
--Phil Mickelson had a solid 69-70 to handily make the cut, but then he blew up with a 79 on Saturday and a 73 today, +3.
Finally, yes, there was no drama today like we’ve seen in the past at this event, but the folks at Augusta and with the PGA Tour have gotten it done all year, giving us sports fans something to follow, week in and week out, amid a godawful pandemic.
And, incredibly, we are back in just five months.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of latest AP Poll.]
I’m sorry. Most of us realists said back in September as the likes of the ACC, SEC and Big 12 set out on their schedules, with the Big Ten following later, and then the Pac-12, that November was going to be the key month in determining whether a ‘real’ season could be completed, including the College Football Playoffs. And as we got well into October, we saw states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio become the epicenter of the surge…as in how could the Big Ten get in a true season?
But we then had a fair amount of cancellations in October and the handwriting was already on the wall.
That said, this was the first real week where, I’m sorry, but it was hard to get into it when 15 FBS (I-A) games were postponed or cancelled this weekend.
3 Ohio State-Maryland
5 Texas A&MJ-Tennessee
15 Coastal Carolina-Troy
24 Auburn-Mississippi State
Air Force-Wyoming…and others
Among those that were played, 4 Clemson being idle, we had….
2 Notre Dame is 8-0 after handling a feisty Boston College (5-4) 45-31, as Ian Book had another terrific game, 20/27, 283, 3-0, plus 85 yards on the ground and a score. ND transfer QB Phil Jurkovec struggled, 18/40, 272, 2-1.
The Fighting Irish, after an off week, close with North Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest before a projected rematch with Clemson for a CFP bid in the ACC title game.
6 Florida (5-1) beat a solid Arkansas (3-4) team, 63-35, as the man who should get the Heisman, Kyle Trask, threw another six touchdown passes, 23 of 29, 356 yards, and no INTs.
In six games, a starling 28 touchdown passes, 3 interceptions. As Ronald Reagan would have said, while reading the Sunday sports pages, Nancy serving him a blueberry scone, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
The Gators should be in the CFP, though there is the matter of an SEC title game against Alabama.
7 Cincinnati kept its legitimate CFP hopes more than alive with a 55-17 thrashing of East Carolina (1-7), the Bearcats 8-0.
Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell apologized after the game for the Bearcats running a fake punt up 42-10 in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati’s Joel Dublanko took a direct snap and rumbled 29 yards to the ECU 43. Cincy then scored making it 49-10.
Fickell and ECU coach Mike Houston had a lengthy discussion on the field as their teams headed to their locker rooms.
Fickell said the fake punt was not a called play, and that he apologized to Houston.
9 Miami is 7-1 after a come from behind 25-24 win over Virginia Tech (4-4) in Blacksburg. Great job by second-year coach Manny Diaz for the Hurricanes in turning the program around.
The surprise of the year, 10 Indiana, is 4-0 after a fine 24-0 win over Michigan State (1-3), the Hoosiers outgaining the Spartans 433-191, MSU held to just nine first downs.
11 Oregon (2-0) defeated Washington State (1-1) 43-29, the Ducks with a balanced offense…312 passing, 269 rushing.
13 Wisconsin (2-0) finally played again and thoroughly embarrassed Michigan, Jim Harbaugh’s boys now 1-3! The Badgers outgained their lowly opponents 468-219.
19 SMU (7-2) makes these pages a last time this season after losing to Tulsa (4-1) 28-24.
20 USC is 2-0 after another sloppy but entertaining win, 34-30 over Arizona (0-1).
22 Liberty played 1-AA (FCS) Western Carolina and whipped them 58-14 to improve to 8-0.
23 Northwestern, like Indiana, is a surprising 4-0 after a nice road win at Purdue (2-1) 27-20.
Penn State is a shocking 0-4 after losing to a highly mediocre Nebraska (1-2) squad, 30-23 in Lincoln.
Rutgers fans are having to get used to losing all over again, falling a third straight time, 23-20, to a poor Illinois (1-3) team, the Scarlet Knights’ Noah Vedral with another 3 interceptions, 7 in four games. Greg Schiano had some questionable play calling down the stretch.
One guy who doesn’t turn it over is Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman, who was 29/45, 429, 4-0, in guiding Wake Forest to a stunning 45-24 lead midway through the third quarter at Chapel Hill, UNC struggling to contain the Deacs.
But then it was the Sam Howell Show for the Tar Heels, the future NFL top pick throwing three touchdown passes, and running it 20 yards for another score, as North Carolina scored 35 unanswered before Wake Forest responded with a late touchdown to finally stop the bleeding, the Deacs falling short 59-53 to fall to 4-3, the Tar Heels 6-2.
Talk about an entertaining game (Wake has been in a lot of them thus far), Howell finished 32/45, 550, 6-1, plus the touchdown on the ground in one of the great performances in ACC history.
North Carolina ended up outgaining Wake 742-606, after Wake had the halftime edge 394-388.
Back to Wake’s Sam Hartman, he has now thrown 195 passes with zero interceptions this season.
And now the new AP Poll…as in, whatever….
1. Alabama (60) 6-0
2. Notre Dame (1) 8-0
3. Ohio State (1) 3-0
4. Clemson 7-1
5. Texas A&M 5-1
6. Florida 5-1
7. Cincinnati 7-0
8. BYU 8-0…first eight spots unchanged from last week
9. Indiana 4-0
10. Wisconsin 2-0
11. Oregon 2-0
12. Miami 7-1…penalized for ‘poor win’ over VT
T-15. Marshall 7-0
T-15. Coastal Carolina 7-0
19. Northwestern 4-0
21. Liberty 8-0
25. Tulsa 4-1
By the way, the first College Football Playoff rankings will be released on ESPN, Tuesday, Nov. 24.
--As for the season even being completed, including the coronation of a new national champ, Chuck Culpepper / Washington Post:
“A calendar once beaming with handy open dates for conferences that started early has grown clogged just as a whole country has gone all red zone. Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, in an interview with SiriusXM Radio on Thursday, told of discussions of potential postponements for the College Football Playoff, set now for Jan. 1 and 11. (SEC Commissioner Greg) Sankey said on his SEC teleconference Wednesday, “I’m not going to hypothesize about change, but I’m not inattentive to the potential that change may need to occur at a number of different levels.”
--Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA TODAY had a mock draft with the Jets taking Trevor Lawrence at No. 1, and the Jaguars selecting Ohio State QB Justin Fields at No. 2.
I only mention this because the author then has BYU QB Zach Wilson at No. 5 (Washington).
North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance is seen as the No. 16 pick of the Bears, while Kyle Trask goes to the Colts at No. 17.
Lawrence returned to practice this week for Clemson after admitting he did have a bout with Covid, realizing, upon reflection, he had minor symptoms, after which he tested positive, though he initially thought it was allergies.
--Finally, No. 16 (now 15) Marshall remained undefeated at 7-0 Saturday with a 42-14 win over Middle Tennessee State (2-6).
Saturday, Nov. 14. 50 years to the day of a tremendous tragedy in the world of sports.
I’ll never forget as a kid first hearing of the plane crash in Huntington, West Virginia, that claimed 36 Marshall University football players, 9 coaches and administrators, 25 fans and a crew of 5.
75 passengers dead in the worst sports disaster in U.S. history. For a 12-year-old it was unfathomable, but the Southern Airways DC-9 crashed into a hillside, in rain and fog, just short of the Huntington airport runway as the team was returning from a game at East Carolina.
It is a tragedy that has defined the Marshall University community ever since, and it’s a reason why every American should always hold a special place in their heart for the school.
Just a few notes on the action….
--The Giants won their second in a row and at 3-7 are in the thick of the NFC East race, defeating the first-place Eagles (3-5-1) 27-17. Daniel Jones had his second straight error free game, throwing for 244 yards and rushing for 64, including a 34-yard TD scamper.
--The Washington Football Team lost 30-27 on a last-second 59-yard field goal by Matt Prater in Detroit (4-5), 30-27, the Red Clouds 2-7.
So with the Cowboys off this week, the NFC East standings look like this.
Washington F.C. 2-7
The NFL has assured the clubs in the division that they will host a home playoff game even if the league decides to implement its postseason contingency plan.
On Tuesday, all 32 NFL owners voted to approve a 16-team playoff structure as part of a postseason plan. This would only be put in place if the NFL was unable to play out its entire 2020 schedule due to pandemic limitations.
--The Buccaneers are 7-3 after a 46-23 win over the Panthers (3-7), Tom Brady throwing for 310 yards the 3 touchdowns. Ronald Jones II had quite a day, rushing for 192 yards on 23 carries, including a 98-yard TD scamper.
--The Browns are 6-3 with a totally uninspiring 10-7 win over the Texans (2-7), Nick Chubb with 126 yards on the ground.
If you had the ‘over’ at 46, you lost!
--Pittsburgh is 9-0 after a 36-10 win over Cincinnati (2-6-1), as Big Ben threw for four touchdown passes.
--The Raiders are 6-3 following a 37-12 over the Broncos, with Las Vegas picking off Denver QB Drew Lock four times.
--Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter, the Dolphins now 6-3, with a 29-21 win over the Chargers (2-7).
--And then in a stunning finale, Buffalo (7-3) took a 30-26 lead over Arizona (6-3) on a 21-yard touchdown strike from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs with 0:34 remaining in the game.
But then Kyler Murray takes the Cardinals 75 yards on four pass plays, including the final 43-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins for the win, 32-30. Unreal ending. Epic.
--Thursday night, the Colts beat the Titans 34-17, both teams now 6-3, as Indy QB Philip Rivers threw for 308 yards and in doing so passed Dan Marino for fifth on the all-time NFL career passing yards list.
Rivers has 61,666 and now sits behind Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
--We note the passing of Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packers star, Paul Hornung, who died Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, age 84, after a long battle with dementia, the Louisville Sports Commission announced.
Pete Dougherty / Packer News (via USA TODAY)
“Paul Hornung was a Vince Lombardi favorite and maybe the most important player on the famed coach’s early championship teams with the Green Bay Packers.
“Lombardi loved Hornung for his versatile skill set and clutch play as the featured left halfback in the Packers’ offense, as well as for his fun-loving off-field persona that helped get Hornung the nickname ‘Golden Boy.’….
“Though Hornung never put up big rushing numbers in the NFL – his single-season high for rushing was only 681 yards – he filled the key position in Lombardi’s offense as a runner in the famed Lombardi sweep and option passer. He was a big back (6-feet-2 and 215 pounds) with a nose for the goal line and for much of his career also was the Packers’ kicker.
“His 176 points in the 12-game 1960 season was an NFL record that stood until 2006, 29 years after the league had moved to a 16-game schedule. He was voted the NFL’s most-valuable player the following season, 1961. [Ed. Norm Van Brocklin was MVP in 1960.]
“Hornung also was voted a member of the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1960s and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 after a nine-year career that ended in 1966. But perhaps the greatest tribute to him came from Lombardi himself in his two-volume book, ‘Vince Lombardi on Football,’ which was published in 1973.
“ ‘Paul may have been the best all-around back ever to play football,’ Lombardi wrote.
“Hornung joined the Packers in 1957 as a so-called ‘bonus choice,’ which was the first overall pick of the draft that rotated among the 12 teams in the league from 1947 to ’58. His career floundered for two years until Lombardi was hired as Packers coach in 1959 and built his team. Hornung immediately thrived and would be a key player on offense from 1960-65, during which time the Packers won three NFL championship games and played in a fourth. He won three NFL scoring titles in that time.
“He also was suspended by the NFL for one season, 1963, after admitting to gambling on NFL games. In an indication of the vital role he played in the Packers’ success, the team didn’t advance to the championship game that season after winning the title in ’61 and ’62.”
Hornung won his Heisman in 1956 at Notre Dame even though the team finished 2-8 that year.
Consider his terrific seasons in 1960 and ’61, when he scored 176 and 146 points to lead the league. He kicked 82 of 82 extra points, and 30 of 50 field goal attempts (a solid percentage back then), while scoring 25 touchdowns (15 in ’60, 10 in ’61).
That, my friends, is a “football player.”
After his playing career, Paul Hornung was a product pitchman, most notably for Miller Lite, and active in real estate in his hometown of Louisville.
Vince Lombardi is quoted in the book, “The Great Running Backs”:
“You have to know what Hornung means to this team. I have heard and read that he is not a great runner or a great passer or a great field-goal kicker, but he led the league in scoring for three seasons. In the middle of the field he may be only slightly better than an average ballplayer, but inside the twenty-yard line he is one of the greatest I have ever seen. He smells that goal line.”
In July 2016, Hornung sued equipment manufacturer Riddell Inc., saying football helmets he wore during his professional career failed to protect him from brain injury. Hornung suffered multiple concussions with the Packers and had been diagnosed with dementia, the lawsuit said.
Hornung and another of the league’s star, Detroit’s Alex Karras, were suspended for the 1963 season by Commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with people with suspect backgrounds.
Hornung almost missed the Packers’ 1961 title game when he was summoned to duty by the Army, but a call from Lombardi to President John F. Kennedy led to Hornung being granted leave.
Said JFK in arranging the leave, “Paul Hornung isn’t going to win the war on Sunday, but the football fans of this country deserve the two best teams on the field that day.”
Hornung scored 19 points – then a title game record – on one touchdown rushing, three field goals and four PATs in the Packers’ 37-0 win over the New York Giants.
In 1965, in his last effective season, he scored five touchdowns against the Baltimore Colts in a 42-27 victory.
It’s been a tough year for Green Bay Packers from the glory days. Along with Hornung, defensive greats Willie Wood, Herb Adderley and Willie Davis have also died.
--Mets fans got their first look at Uncle Stevie, new owner Steve Cohen, who had his introductory press conference with team president Sandy Alderson, and the man said all the right things.
“New York fans have high expectations, and I want to exceed them.”
“I don’t want to just get into the playoffs. I want to win a championship.”
“You build champions, you don’t buy them.”
“I’m all in. Let’s go Mets.”
“This is a major market team and it should have a budget commensurate with that.”
“I’m not in this to be mediocre.”
“I don’t want to be good one year and bad three years. I want to be good every year.”
“I’m not competing against the Yankees. This is the Mets. We’re going to create our own excitement.”
“If I don’t win a World Series in the next 3-5 years…I would consider that slightly disappointing.”
“Are we going to act like drunken sailors in the marketplace? No.”
He even said at one point, “Black lives do matter.”
--The Miami Marlins made history in selecting Kim Ng to be their new general manager. A cool moment. Good for owner Derek Jeter.
Dave Sheinin / Washington Post
“There may have been no more qualified general manager candidate in baseball than the one the Miami Marlins just hired to lead their baseball operations department. The resume was extensive. The respect around the game, universal. And the news, which came late Friday morning, was historic….
“The announcement was both earth-shattering – for its glass-ceiling-shattering impact – and perfectly mundane, owing to Ng’s impeccable qualifications: seven years in the Chicago White Sox’s front office, beginning as an intern and working her way up to assistant director of baseball operations; stints as assistant GM for the New York Yankees (1998-2001) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-2011); and nearly a decade in the central office of MLB, topping out as senior vice president of baseball operations. She has three World Series rings.
“ ‘This challenge is one I don’t take lightly,’ Ng said in a statement. ‘When I got into this business, it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a Major League team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals. My goal is now to bring Championship baseball to Miami. I am both humbled and eager to continue building the winning culture our fans expect and deserve.’”
Dylan Hernandez / Los Angeles Times
“Finally, something good happened to a person who isn’t a jerk.
“Set aside the possibility that nothing good can come from accepting a position with the Miami Marlins. Kim Ng is now a general manager.
“Baseball rejoiced Friday when the Marlins made the 51-year-old Ng the first female general manager in a major North American sports league.
“The celebrations were more than about the glass ceiling she broke, however.
“Ng’s appointment marked the rare instance in which a decent person caught a break in baseball’s shark-infested waters….
“Ng spent nearly a decade with the Dodgers as an assistant general manager before she followed Joe Torre to work in the league office in 2011.
“What was particularly striking about her then was how her subordinates described her in private conversations.
“She didn’t rule by fear, like some other high-ranking executives.
“She was smart. She was approachable. She was funny. People who worked under her didn’t want to disappoint her because they liked her.”
Sally Jenkins / Washington Post
“When a woman becomes the ‘first’ to do anything, it’s always the triumphant end of something, too. When Kim Ng was named the first female general manager in Major League Baseball, she terminated once and for all the idea that sports leadership requires some tribal-magic inner maleness, some secret passcode acquired from having ‘played the game.’ Henceforth, women execs won’t be seen as incursions but as deservedly promoted.
“It’s hardly compensation for the whole lousy historical imbalance, the sexist exclusions, but it’s not small, either. Because it’s one more check mark off the list, one more chance to tell your eye-rolling daughter that, when you said she could do anything, you weren’t feeding her a sugared lie.
“Thirty years of patient observation – some salt, grit and a little dirt under her unpolished nails – that’s what it took for Ng to rise through the ranks in baseball. ‘Decades of determination,’ as she said in a statement through the Miami Marlins.
“She started as an intern out of the University of Chicago, where she played softball. She worked her way up to a vice presidency in the MLB office, along the way doing long stints as an invaluable assistant GM for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. She helped eight teams to the playoffs while handling the inky tedium of player contracts, arbitration hearings and valuations, putting ‘dollar signs on the muscle,’ to employ an old expression.
“During that time, she seems to have found the sweet spot between statistics and unmeasurables, rightly realizing that data is only a gauge of past performance and doesn’t necessarily show you someone’s future, and how they might surprise you – until she herself became the surprising future.
“And suddenly, ‘the impossible seemed inevitable in retrospect,’ to steal a description from Condoleezza Rice.”
--Freddie Freeman of the Braves is this year’s N.L. MVP, gaining 28 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, besting the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts.
It’s quite an award for a player who became so ill with Covid-19 that he prayed, “Please don’t take me,” his body temp having spiked to 104.5 degrees three weeks before the delayed Opening Day in late July.
Freeman batted .341 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs while playing all 60 games. He led the majors with 23 doubles and 51 runs.
Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu earned the A.L. MVP, a recognition for leading his team back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Abreu had 19 home runs and 60 RBIs, leading the A.L. in hits (76), while batting .317.
--Trevor Bauer won the 2020 N.L. Cy Young Award on Wednesday, Bauer with a spectacular season for the Reds, 5-4, but with a 1.73 ERA, striking out 100 in 73 innings while allowing only 41 hits.
And now Mets fans are hoping the charismatic Bauer, a free agent, signs with Uncle Stevie and our Metropolitans, though the hated Evil Yankees Empire is in hot pursuit as well.
Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, in winning the A.L. Cy Young Award, had an even better season than Bauer, the 25-year-old going 8-1, 1.63, 122 strikeouts in 77 1/3. Alas, he can’t be a free agent until 2025. But Mets fans want him too, before we die.
You see, with Uncle Stevie calling the shots and having a rather large banking account, Mets fans have become exceedingly greedy. But we deserve to be.
--Seattle Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis was the unanimous choice for the A.L. Rookie of the Year, Lewis hitting .262 with 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and five steals in 58 games.
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Devin Williams took the N.L. honors, Williams with a phenomenal 53 strikeouts in 27 innings (22 games), allowing only 8 hits, while pitching to a 0.33 ERA.
Phillies outfielder Alec Bohm, who hit .338 in 44 games, was second.
--The White Sox are standing behind their selection of Tony La Russa to be their new manager, despite the revelation he had been arrested for DUI in February in Arizona.
But because the case was not filed until Oct. 28, because it was first filed in the wrong jurisdiction, this meant the official filing came a day before the White Sox introduced him as their new manager, Oct. 29. The team knew about the DUI, La Russa’s second, his first in Florida in 2007, and apparently thought it wouldn’t become public.
This comes after Marcus Stroman, who accepted the Mets’ qualifying offer after Steve Cohen became owner, officially, said “no amount of money” could get him to play for La Russa, Stroman contemplating free agency prior to the Cohen confirmation; Stroman saying La Russa was a racist.
Remembering Tommy Heinsohn
We note the passing of Boston Celtics great, Hall of Fame player/coach, Tom Heinsohn.
A draft pick out of Holy Cross in 1956, Heinsohn played nine years with Boston, 1956-65, making six All-Star teams, scoring 18.6 points per game out of his forward position, 8.8 rebounds, eight NBA titles…and then he coached the team to two more titles during his stint on the bench, 1969-78.
As the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy summed it up:
“No. 15 in the rafters. No. 1 in the heart of every Celtics fan.
“Tommy Heinsohn. Boston Celtics. Impossible to separate, one and the same. He was a Hall of Fame player, coach, and broadcaster. If you are a New England sports fan under the age of 75, you have no memory of a time when Tommy Heinsohn was not part of the Celtics.
“Tommy died Monday at the age of 86. It’s a huge loss. Bet he had some NBA draft tips he was ready to share with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. Tommy always had an opinion and never lost his fastball. Ask those smart young folks at NBC Sports Boston who remember a huge man in his mid-80s still driving himself to Burlington two or three times a week for lively, late-night analysis duty. Who does that at that age?
“If you are a Celtics fan, Tommy’s career frames the timeline of your own life. You remember him as a hook-shooting forward, a foot-stomping coach, and a Fred Flintsone-esque broadcaster.
“Those of us who grew up in Massachusetts in the 1950s and 1960s remember Tommy as part of a team that won the championship every spring. It was an April-May ritual. Take down the storm windows, watch the forsythia bloom, and listen to Johnny Most tell us that the Celtics had beaten the Lakers in the Finals again….
“Tommy was a mainstay of that dynasty starting alongside Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Satch Sanders, and Sam Jones. Tommy was the gunning forward with the flattop haircut who rarely looked to pass. He played nine NBA seasons, and the Celtics won the championship in eight of those.
“It always bothered me that so many young fans who came to love Tommy’s green-bleeding TV work had no idea how good he was as a player. A native of Union City, N.J., Tommy was an All-American and NIT champion at Holy Cross. He was NBA Rookie of the Year in Russell’s rookie season (in fairness, Russell didn’t arrive until December because of his Olympic commitment).
“Tommy retired from playing in 1965 when he was only 30 years old. He was a big smoker* back then, and some of us believed that shortened his career. When Russell retired after the 1969 championship, Red Auerbach turned to Tommy to lead the team through a quick rebuilding period. By 1974, the Celtics were world champs again with Tommy as head coach….
*Ed. Heinsohn smoked before games and during halftime. Red Auerbach once said, “If Heinsohn wanted to kill himself, that was OK with me. As long as it didn’t make him run any slower.” He officially retired because of a foot injury.
“All of us who covered the Celtics are indebted to Tommy. He would hold court in the press dining room before every game. Tommy was a guy who stood up to Wilt Chamberlain and coached against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He could talk about brawls in Philadelphia and Syracuse. He was the ultimate go-to guy if you wanted to know LeBron James’ place in NBA history. He had the stories.
“Here’s Tommy on ‘negotiating’ his contract in the early 1960s: ‘You went in to talk contract with Walter Brown. You’d walk into the men’s room, and he’d say, ‘What do you want?’ And you’d say, ‘What do you want to give me?’ And it would be back and forth, and by the time you zipped up, you had a deal.’….
“Tommy’s fans flooded my inbox with e-mails Tuesday afternoon.
“ ‘This is officially the most horrible year,’ one wrote. ‘Basketball will never be the same for me.’
“A lot of folks feel that way. Tommy Heinsohn is gone and the Celtics will never be the same.”
--No Premier League action this weekend due to Nations League play across Europe.
--They are holding the ACC men’s soccer championship this week, starting with play today, and going into it, the top positions in the United Soccer Coaches Poll are all ACC schools…
2. Wake Forest
3. North Carolina
5. Virginia Tech
Of course a lot of conferences and even schools within a conference aren’t playing this fall, and I really don’t know what the NCAA tournament format is.
--Just as they did last March, in becoming the first league to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, the Ivy League canceled its winter sports season.
The NCAA has made concessions to the coronavirus including moving back the start of the season to Nov. 25, as well as prohibiting scrimmages and preseason games. However, the pandemic has already proven a major disruption, with 30 percent of the 125 Division I basketball coaches polled by Stadium saying their teams have either had to shut down for two weeks or are in the process of doing so.
Locally, Seton Hall just paused all hoops team activities due to positive Covid test results among players, coaches and staff.
The ACC announced its ambitious 20-game league schedule the other day, the slate running Dec. 12 through March 6.
Fingers crossed….I’m not that hopeful.
--The NHL tentatively is targeting Jan. 1 as a start for its new season, with the league contemplating a reduced schedule and a temporary realignment of its teams to reduce travel. With or without fans is going to be an arena-by-arena issue, said commissioner Gary Bettman the other day.
--Less than a month before his 73rd birthday, Hall of Famer Johnny Bench decided to liquidate much of his memorabilia to fund the education of his two adolescent sons.
More than 400 pieces of Bench’s collection had been auctioned off Saturday virtually by Hunt Auctions. As of Thursday morning, $529,133 had been placed in early bids. Total sales on all the items fell just shy of $2 million.
Of the collectibles auctioned, the item that sold for the highest amount was an “exceedingly scarce and important” 1903 World Series program, with a winning bid of $215,000.
The second highest sold was a 1959 Willie Mays autographed San Francisco Giants professional model road jersey for $160,000. Right behind was a “historic and scarce” 1903 World Series Game 1 program for $128,700.
--DraftKings Inc. reported earnings for the third quarter the other day, revenue growing to $132.8 million from $67 million a year ago. It is looking for revenue to grow about 45% in 2021 over 2020.
DK’s tally of monthly unique players grew by 64% year over year to more than 1 million in the July-to-September period, a stretch that saw the return of play for Major League Baseball and the NBA.
--The murder hornet nest destroyed by scientists in Washington state last month contained about 500 live specimens in various stages of development – including nearly 200 queens, officials said this week.
“We got there just in the nick of time,” Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist leading the fight to kill the state’s Asian giant hornets, said of the basketball-sized nest located in a tree near a house in Whatcom County.
Of the nearly 200 queens discovered – almost 76 were grown virgins, which have the potential to leave, mate and then start their own nests, Spichiger said.
It’s unclear if some of the queens left the nest before it was destroyed, scientists said, but they believe other nests already exist.
Kind of reminds me of the movie, “Invasion of the Bee Girls.” [Right, Steve G.?]
--We note the passing of Borscht Belt comedian Norm Crosby, 93. Those of us of a certain age remember him from his frequent appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, “Tonight Show” (where he appeared 50 times) and other appearances on the circuit. He even did a few beer commercials. His specialty was using words that sound correct but are wildly off base.
Top 3 songs for the week 11/14/70: #1 “I’ll Be There” (The Jackson 5) #2 “We’ve Only Just Begun” (Carpenters) #3 “Fire And Rain” (James Taylor)…and…#4 “I Think I Love You” (The Partridge Family) #5 “Indiana Wants Me” (R. Dean Taylor) #6 “Green-Eyed Lady” (Sugarloaf) #7 “The Tears Of A Clown” (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles) #8 “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” (100 Proof Aged in Soul) #9 “Gypsy Woman” (Brian Hyland) #10 “It Don’t Matter To Me” (Bread…B+ week…)
MLB MVP Quiz Answers: Other three White Sox to win the MVP award…Frank Thomas (1993, 1994), Dick Allen (1972) and Nellie Fox (1959). The other Braves to do so are…Hank Aaron (1957), Dale Murphy (1982, 1983), Terry Pendleton (1991), Chipper Jones (1999) and Bob Elliott (1947, Boston Braves).
But this is what every media story says about the Braves and Freeman’s award. The fact is, Johnny Evers was league MVP for the 1914 Boston Braves, he of “Tinker to Evers to Chance” fame. I mean, hell, that team won the World Series.
“Tinker to Evers to Chance” was really about the 1910 Chicago Cubs, penned by New York Evening Mail scribe Franklin Adams as part of a poem; Adams being born in Chicago and a Cubs fan. [Joe Tinker at short, Evers at second, and Frank Chance at first were on the great Cubs teams of that era before Evers was traded to Boston.]
Next Bar Chat, late Tuesday.