Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 8-02-08

It's with a heavy heart that I mention the passing of Shore Line Times executive sports editor Hal Levy--who died last week of liver cancer at the age of 61. Few journalists have supported/promoted high school sports in CT like Levy did; his numerous awards--too many to mention in this medium--were evidence of a man who was highly respected by his peers. I'll truly miss seeing Hal at the many sporting venues throughout the state, and our monthly Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance luncheons won't be the same without Mr. Levy gracing the table. He'll be remembered for his high level of devotion to CT sports and the seriousness with which he tackled his craft. You'll surely be missed, Hal..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Over the last 20 years, FOUR different members of the Boston Red Sox have led the American League in doubles. Can you name these four players? Answer to follow..........Nice to see former UCONN basketball player Kevin Ollie honored by the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce last week--a journeyman who's played with TEN different NBA teams. While speaking to the audience, Ollie truly relayed how difficult a journey it's been for him--from his struggling days in the CBA to having to move his family all around the country these past few years. He summed up his perseverance perfectly by offering this: "My ship NEVER came in. In fact, I had to SWIM to the ship."..........The other day, I saw a picture of my favorite Red Sox fan, Christie Brinkley, after she bought a pretzel from a street vendor in NYC. I immediately thought that, hey, the newly-single beauty may be a cheap date--you know, maybe a movie and a pretzel afterwards. However, I then gazed at the watch on her left wrist--which probably costs more than my car, my laptop, and my entire wardrobe COMBINED..........This week in sports history, August 4, 1985: On the same day, 40-year-old Tom Seaver of the White Sox and 39-year-old Rod Carew of the Angels reach career milestones--Seaver earning his 300th victory while Carew garners his 3,000th career hit. Seaver beat the Yankees 4-1 in New York to become the 17th pitcher to join the 300-win club. Carew became the 16th member of the 3,000-hit club when he singled off the Twins' Frank Viola in a game played at Anaheim Stadium..........Mets P Mike Pelfrey recently told the New York Post that his three preferred dinner guests would be Roger Clemens, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. I'm not sure who picks up the check, but my guess is that Clemens lies and says he left his wallet back in his hotel room..........Can you imagine if LPGA golfer Young Kim married political commentator Al Franken, divorced, then married former major league infielder Bill Stein? Fans of old Mel Brooks movies would then surely delight in her full married name of Young Franken Stein..........Great line by WFAN's Mike Francesa last week while discussing the aforementioned Tom Seaver's absence from the recent All-Star festivities in NYC--possibly due to "Tom Terrific" being too busy with his winemaking business in California: "Are you gonna tell me that he couldn't get someone to look after the GRAPES for a week?"..........How 'bout the pitching line on Royals hurler Jimmy Gobble, who recently pitched ONE inning vs. Detroit--giving up seven hits, four walks, and TEN earned runs while throwing a ridiculous 45 pitches? I haven't seen a performance THAT bad since I witnessed Carl Lewis butchering the National Anthem at a Nets-Bulls game back in the 90's..........Answer to trivia question: WADE BOGGS (1988 and '89), JODY REED (1990), JOHN VALENTIN (1997), and NOMAR GARCIAPARRA (2002)..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big league pitcher Dave Rozema--who blows out 52 candles on August 5th. The Michigan native made a huge splash as a rookie with the Tigers in 1977--going 15-7 while walking just 1.4 batters per nine innings--the best mark in the AL. However, he never matched his early-on success as he won just 60 games in a 10-year career spent with Detroit and Texas between '77 and '86. The brother-in-law of Kirk Gibson, Rozema threw seven shutouts and 36 complete games as a member of the Tigers; best wishes, Dave.......... Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league catcher/coach Dave Ricketts--who passed away recently after a battle with cancer; he died a day after his 73rd birthday. Ricketts was a reserve catcher who played for the Cardinals in 1963, '65 and '67-69; he also caught one season for the Pirates in 1970. He later became a coach with Pittsburgh and St. Louis and also spent time as a minor league instructor. From a good athletic family, Ricketts teamed with his older brother, Dick, to play basketball for Duquesne University in the 1950's; Dick went on to play three years in the NBA and one in the big leagues--also with the Cardinals. Those who knew Dave Ricketts often talked about his passion for life and his terrific teaching ability; may he rest in peace.


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