Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 11-18-06

ITEM: Preakness winner Bernardini has been retired to stud after finishing second to Invasor at the Breeder's Cup Classic. Question: Shouldn't there be a stud farm for certain sports columnists who ran many 5K/10K races during the ‘80s and ‘90s?..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The legendary Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain won both the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award and MVP Award in the same year, 1959-60. Who was the next player to accomplish this rare feat in the same season? Answer to follow..........Ex-tennis star Chris Evert has announced her divorce from ex-Olympic skier Andy Mill after 18 years of marriage. With a skier involved, does it really come as a surprise that their relationship has gone "downhill" and become "icy"?.......
This week in sports history, November 20, 1977: RB Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears rushes for an NFL record 275 yards vs. the Vikings--leading his team to a 10-7 victory at Soldier Field. Payton, who went into the game in a weakened condition due to the flu, broke O.J. Simpson's mark of 273 yards set just one year before--and increased his season rushing yardage total to 1,404 yards..........If anyone out there had told me back in April that the St. Louis Cardinals would win the World Series without ANY contributions from Jason Isringhausen, Jason Marquis, and Mark Mulder, I would have viewed that person as being more unstable than Tom Cruise, Robert Downey, Jr., and Courtney Love COMBINED..........If I'm starting a new football team from scratch, I want Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson on offense, Bears LB Brian Urlacher on defense, and at least three New England Patriots cheerleaders as my personal assistants..........Can you imagine if UCONN women's basketball player Mel Thomas walked down the aisle with former big league outfielder/World Series hero Kirk Gibson? "Lethal Weapon" fans would then surely delight in her married name of Mel Gibson..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a men's college basketball game last week in the southwest, Oklahoma annihilated Norfolk St. 99-36. Geez, I've heard the expression "Virginia is for lovers," but if residents of that state are still lovin' the Norfolk team after THAT kind of performance, then they have to be considered the most amorous people on the PLANET..........Answer to trivia question: WES UNSELD--who won both awards for his stellar play during the 1968-69 season with the Baltimore Bullets..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league outfielder Rick Monday--who blows out 61 candles on November 20th. A "bonus baby" back in 1965, Monday played 19 seasons with the A's, Cubs, and Dodgers; sadly, chronic back problems prevented the two-time All-Star from becoming the superstar many had envisioned. A .264 lifetime hitter and a fine outfielder, he will be best remembered for a memorable incident while playing in Los Angeles: snatching an American flag from a fan who was about to set fire to it. It was difficult NOT to like Rick Monday; baseball aficionado/New Haven businessman Tony DeAngelo has always maintained that Monday "looked, acted, and SOUNDED like a ballplayer." Best wishes, Rick..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league pitcher/pitching coach Johnny Sain--who died recently at an Illinois nursing home at the age of 89. A four-time 20-game winner, he and teammate Warren Spahn have been immortalized by the slogan "Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain"--referring to their importance to the Braves' staff back in the late ‘40s. As a pitching coach, he tutored sixteen 20-game winners and was Denny McLain's mentor when he won 31 games for the '68 Tigers. May Johnny Sain rest in peace.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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