DID YOU KNOW? Back when the New York Jets were still called the Titans, their team colors were not green and white. They were blue and gold.
QUIZ: 1. Who was the last Twin to lead his league in homers? 2. In the 1950s there were only seven no-hitters thrown by National League pitchers and two were turned in by the same man. Or, narrowing things down, over an eight-year span from 1952 through 1959, the man in question threw two of the five NL no-hitters. This pitcher, a Dodger, threw two of them. Name this player. 3. Although the Pirates have had a rich history of producing great hitters from Wagner to Clemente and so on, they never had one of their players win the Rookie of the Year Award until this Canadian born player won it in the early part of the 21st century. Name this man who was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos. 4. The Red Sox traded future Hall of Famer to the Astros for a decent, but far from spectacular reliever known for his wit as much as for his pitching prowess. Name him. 5. Who was the first Astro to have his uniform number retired? Like a fellow Astro, Doug “The Red Rooster” Rader, this man had a unique nickname.
NFL TRIVIA: Not positive, but I think the first time an NFL team played a Super Bowl game in either their usual home arena or, at the least, in their home city, was the Rams when they took on the Steelers.
PERSONAL PICK FOR THE NCAA’S MOST FASCINATING PLAYER: I don’t watch tons of college hoop, but Duke’s Zion Williamson is amazing, at times possessing moves of a playmaking guard, at times looking like a behemoth of a power forward. He can make a pretty bounce pass, tear down a rebound, carve space under the bucket for stick backs, and, as a crowd pleaser, he can dunk as forcefully as just about anyone, and he’s only a freshman. I’m not overly impressed with dunks like I guess I was when I was a lot younger, so Williamson’s other skills really appeal to me (like his many pivot moves). In short, he is a unique talent.
MY NEXT BOOK (DUE OUT IN 2020) will cover colorful baseball characters. The working title is Baseball Colorful Characters: The Witty, The Flakes, and The Clowns. If you have any funny stories about such characters, drop me a line. I will cover the obvious guys such as Yogi, but also some obscure and very funny players. Here’s one sneak peak example.
Rocky Bridges was asked why he wouldn’t eat snails. He cleverly replied, “I prefer fast food.” He joked that he played for so many teams he had more numbers on his back than a bingo card. He once finished second in a pre-game cow milking contest then explained, “I didn’t try too hard. I was afraid I’d get emotionally involved with the cow.”
Perhaps his funniest line came when he spoke about shortstop Jose Gonzalez who was traded in 1985. Between the time the deal was consummated and the time he reported to his new team, he had his name legally changed to Jose Uribe (because he said there were too many Gonzalezes in the majors). That prompted Bridges to quip, “Jose truly was the player to be named later.”