Sunday, June 11, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 06-17-06

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently visited the White House--where they presented President Bush with a #43 jersey--commemorating Bush's position in presidential history. If this team TRULY had a collective sense of humor, they would have given George a jersey emblazoned with $3.05 on it--to reflect the exorbitant gasoline prices in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas..........TRIVIA QUESTION: In her outstanding tennis career, Steffi Graf captured just one Grand Slam doubles title--in 1988. Name the event at which she was victorious, along with her partner; answer to follow..........Did you know that former major league third baseman Bill Madlock--who won four batting titles--never had more than 182 hits in a season? Amazingly, Madlock was the only right-handed batter (excluding switch-hitters) to win an NL batting crown between 1972 and 1992..........Very fitting that Wayne Chrebet and Doug Flutie retired from professional football at approximately the same time--two classic overachievers who truly utilized every ounce of their individual talents. The physical size that both of these guys lacked was easily overshadowed by their tremendous determination and supreme toughness; thanks for the memories, fellas..........This week in sports history, June 19, 1973: 45-year-old hockey legend Gordie Howe ends his two-year retirement--signing a four-year, $1 million contract with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. The deal would enable Howe to play for Houston with his two sons--Marty, a 19-year-old left wing, and Mark, an 18-year-old defenseman. Upon signing, Howe had held the NHL career records for games (1,687), goals (786), and assists (1,023)..........I'm setting October 1, 2006 as the over/under date for the Dolphins' new signee--undrafted college QB Marcus Vick--to have his first run-in with Miami police officers..........Lazzari's "Cheap Win of the Week": This week's winner is the Mets' Tom Glavine--who pitched a not-so-good five innings on 6/7 vs. L.A.; he gave up seven hits (including three home runs) while allowing SIX runs but gets the "W" nonetheless as the Mets pounded Dodgers starter Odalis Perez during a 9-7 victory..........Opponents are quickly learning that trying to defeat French Open tennis champion Rafael Nadal on clay is like trying to clip one's toenails BLINDFOLDED.........."Simply phenomenal" is just one way to describe Seymour (CT) High softball pitcher Danielle Liska--whose perfect game (her second in a row) in last weekend's Class M final vs. Lauralton Hall gave the Lady Wildcats yet another state championship. Liska finishes her amazing high school run with a career mark of 50-0; she went 26-0 this past season and gave up just four runs the ENTIRE year. As she now heads to Babson College, all of us here in New England wish her continued luck; congrats on being simply one of the top softball hurlers in Connecticut high school history, Danielle..........Can you imagine if LPGA golfer Brandie Burton walked down the aisle with former NBA player Terry Cummings? Fans of The Guess Who would surely delight in the married name of this "American Woman": Brandie Burton Cummings..........Answer to trivia question: WIMBLEDON--where Graf teamed with GABRIELA SABATINI to take the crown; Graf also won the singles title there that year..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former N.Y. Mets outfielder Dave Schneck--who blows out 57 candles on June 18th. Those who remember Schneck may recall that he was a stocky player who, literally, could not hit his weight. In his three big league seasons from 1972-1974 (all in New York), Schneck hit .199 lifetime--putting him one point under the infamous "Mendoza Line" for futility. Regardless, best wishes, Dave..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NFL running back Craig "Ironhead” Heyward--who died recently of a brain tumor at the age of 39. Heyward spent 11 seasons in the NFL as a member of the Saints, Bears, Falcons, Rams, and Colts. A New Jersey native, Craig's best season came in 1995 with Atlanta--a year in which he rushed for 1,083 yards while being named to the Pro Bowl; he finished with 4,301 career rushing yards. The bruising, 260+ pound fullback will surely be missed; rest in peace, "Ironhead."

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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