"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 4/12/14
Column reader Abe Knaster of New York chimes in with this gem: If socialite Ivana Trump married singer Neil Diamond, divorced him, then married legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, she'd then be known by the full married name of Ivana Diamond Nicklaus..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last member of the Kansas City Royals to lead the American League in slugging percentage? Answer to follow..........This week in sports history, April 19, 1986: Michael Spinks retains his heavyweight boxing crown with a 15-round split decision over former champ Larry Holmes in a bout held in Las Vegas. Holmes--who had lost the crown to Spinks the previous September--tried feverishly to end the bout early with a barrage of furious punches. However, Spinks survived and would dominate the second half of the fight as a tiring Holmes could not press the attack in the final round. Even though the champion Spinks entered the fight with a 29-0 record, he was considered an 8-5 underdog entering this highly-awaited rematch..........*Great reading: Called Out But Safe: A Baseball Umpire's Journey--written by Al Clark (with Dan Schlossberg). Clark was a former umpire from 1976-2001 who was ultimately terminated by MLB (due to an airline ticket issue); he also did jail time due to his role in a memorabilia scandal back in 2004. I recently interviewed the well-spoken Clark on "Monday Night Sports Talk" (www.mondaynightsports.net) where he was very candid and apologetic for his past actions. Quite simply, it's a book about LIFE that any baseball fan would enjoy immensely. More info on this wonderful publication can be obtained by visiting www.nebraskapress.unl.edu..........Anyone out there catch the photo of sultry actress Sofia Vergara on the cover of the May issue of Women's Health Magazine? Ummm--well, yours truly DID. Sheesh--and I used to think that a Pete Maravich behind-the-back pass was the ultimate thing of beauty..........You know how they still have the famed "Dawg Pound" at Cleveland Browns home games--where devoted fans sit in the end zone while rooting the team on? I'd like to see some select NY Jets aficionados have their own "Dog Pound" this coming season at MetLife Stadium--where "rabid" fans simply boo the heck out of slime-ball Michael Vick EVERY time he takes a snap..........Is it just me--or should outfielder (I use that term VERY loosely) Alfonso Soriano of the N.Y. Yankees be required to wear a protective HELMET every time he takes the field?..........Congratulations go out to Fermi High (CT) senior Andrew Haraghey and Glastonbury High junior Morgan Bjarno--who have been selected as co-recipients of this year's Bob Casey Courage Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance. Haraghey--having been diagnosed with viral encephalitis as a baby which later contributed to cerebral palsy--has become an accomplished skier and will attempt to qualify for the 2018 Paralympic Games in Korea. Bjarno was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia a year ago, has undergone chemotherapy, and has had to visit the CT Children's Medical Center in Hartford more than 50 times. She was the starting midfielder on Glastonbury's JV soccer team last season, but has been forced to stop playing due to her illness. These two specials teens, along with many others, will be honored at the CSWA's 2014 Gold Key Dinner--April 27th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets to this yearly event can be obtained by contacting Alliance President George Albano at (203)434-2320 or by emailing VP Bob Ehalt at Ehalt.Bob@sbcglobal.net..........Answer to trivia question: DANNY TARTABULL--who led the AL in 1991 with a slugging % of .593..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NBA star Lou Hudson--who passed away recently following a stroke at the age of 69. A first-round pick of the St. Louis Hawks in the 1966 draft, "Sweet Lou" played 13 seasons in the league between '66 and '79--averaging an impressive 20.2 ppg while appearing in almost 900 games for the Hawks and Lakers. Hudson was a six-time All-Star who also shot 80% from the FT line during his stellar career. His #23 jersey was retired by the Hawks, as well as his #14 jersey by the University of Minnesota--where he was one of that school's first black players. Hudson suffered his first stroke back in 2005 and subsequently performed lots of work on behalf of the "Power to End Stroke" organization. Hudson is survived by his wife, Mardi, a daughter (Adrienne), and his former wife, Bernadette. Rest in peace, "Sweet Lou."