Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 5-31-08

A good cause, folks: "Hal Levy Night" will be held in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cromwell on Thursday, June 26, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and hors d'oeuvres will be served; a cash bar will also be available. Levy, a native of Middletown, has been the executive sports editor of the Shoreline Newspapers for almost 30 years. He is a former president of the CT Sports Writers' Alliance and is currently serving as that organization's financial secretary. Hal is a member of five local halls of fame and was given the CSWA's Art McGinley Award in 2000 for meritorious service. All proceeds from this event will benefit Levy directly--who is currently battling cancer. Send a check to the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, 393 Main St., Middletown, CT 06457-3309; make checks payable to "Hal Levy/MCCC." For more information, please contact Joan Wood of the Middlesex Chamber at (860)347-6924..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Although they won the NL West in 1980, the Houston Astros did NOT have a player on the team who drove in 100 runs. Can you name the top RBI man on that team? Answer to follow..........How 'bout minor leaguer John Odom--who was recently traded to the Laredo Broncos of the United League (from Calgary of the Golden Baseball League) for a bunch of MAPLE BATS (I kid you not--10 Prairie Sticks maple bats/34-inch, double-dipped black)? I'm now wondering if there were any snags during the negotiating process--and if a pine tar rag was thrown in toward the end in order to consummate the deal..........Yes, very appropriate that S.F. Giants SS Omar Vizquel was featured on ESPN Baseball Tonight's "Web Gems" last Sunday for an incredible play he made that afternoon--the same day he broke Luis Aparicio's all-time record for games played at shortstop (2,584). With all due respect to Ozzie Smith and others, Vizquel remains the best fielding shortstop I've ever seen--an opinion also shared by many "old-timers" I've spoken to over the years..........Geez--first Jennie Finch, then Alicia Hollowell, now Taryne Mowatt. Do talented, attractive, blonde pitchers who dominate the college softball scene enroll at any school BESIDES the University of Arizona?..........Speaking of lovely ladies, the chances of finding a prettier sideline reporter on this planet than NESN's Heidi Watney are about the same as Britney Spears soon seeking advanced degrees in molecular biology, epistemology, biochemical engineering, and astrophysics..........This week in sports history, June 3, 1932: Slugger Lou Gehrig of the N.Y. Yankees hits a modern day record FOUR home runs--leading his team to a 20-13 slugfest victory over the Philadelphia Athletics in a game played at Shibe Park. Gehrig unloaded for a two-run blast and three solo shots in his first four at-bats. Earle Combs, Babe Ruth and Tony Lazzeri also went deep for New York; Lazzeri capped off a memorable day by hitting for the cycle with a ninth-inning grand slam..........I'm still trying to figure out what was the most exciting/riveting thing about last weekend's Indy 500: Scott Dixon skillfully holding on for the victory, Danica Patrick going after Ryan Briscoe following a pit crash, or the outfit worn by Julianne Hough while she was performing the National Anthem..........I'm now wondering if Oakland A's manager Bob Geren--when witnessing his starting pitchers faltering badly--summons closer Huston Street on the bullpen phone and says bluntly, "Huston, we have a problem."..........Answer to trivia question: JOSE CRUZ--who led Houston with 91 RBI's (while hitting .302) for Bill Virdon's first-place club..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league catcher Jim Gaudet--who blows out 53 candles on June 3rd. One may have trouble remembering this native of New Orleans as Gaudet played just two years in the "bigs"--1978 and 1979 with Kansas City; he came to bat just 14 times and accumulated ONE hit. Yes, baseball fans, Jim Gaudet compiled a lifetime major league batting average of just .071. Hey, at least he can tell his grandchildren that he played with the great George Brett, right? Best wishes, Jim..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of Herbert (Herb) Hash--who had been the oldest living former Red Sox pitcher; he died recently of a stroke in his hometown of Culpeper, VA at the age of 97. Hash played just two major league seasons, both with Boston (1940-41), and compiled an 8-7 record with a 4.98 ERA in 38 appearances. He also played several college sports at the University of Richmond--where he is a member of that school's Hall of Fame. Hash is survived by three sons-- Herbert, Randy, and Happy---as well as a daughter, Reva. Rest in peace, Herb.


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