Monday, November 24, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 11-29-08

I was privileged to interview Minnesota Twins pitcher Craig Breslow on my cable TV show last week--where he touched upon his recent success in the majors, his Connecticut upbringing, and his baseball playing days at Yale. More important, he lent insight into his newly-developed Strike 3 Foundation--whose mission is to "heighten awareness, mobilize support, and raise funding for childhood cancer research." Breslow's own sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the tender age of 14 (she's cancer-free now)--thus spurring on his continued efforts to combat the devastating disease. Great cause, Craig; more information can be obtained by visiting TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1974-'75 Los Angeles Kings featured goalie Rogie Vachon--who accumulated 27 victories, 13 ties, and posted an impressive 2.24 goals against average. Can you name Vachon's very capable back-up that season? Answer to follow..........I used to think that watching Paul Blair track down a fly ball was a thing of pure beauty--that is, until I saw 47-year-old Carol Alt (almost 48!) on the cover of the current issue of Playboy. O.K., I'll admit it--a pitcher like Jamie Moyer HAS aged well, folks, but Ms. Alt brings the whole phenomenon of "turning back the clock" to an ENTIRELY different level..........This week in sports history, December 1, 1951: Ole Miss halfback A.L. "Showboat" Boykin sets a major college record when he scores SEVEN touchdowns vs. Mississippi State--leading the Rebels to a 49-7 victory in a game played at Starkville. Boykin ran for a total of 187 yards on 14 carries--scoring on runs of 85, 21, 14, 12, 14, 1, and 5 yards during his record-setting performance. Jimmy Lear of Ole Miss also converted seven extra points during the lopsided victory to help the victorious squad up their record to 6-3-1..........Can you imagine if former Savannah College golfer Ashley Warsaw married ex-NFL lineman Bubba Paris, divorced, married sports talk show host Jim Rome--divorced again--then married free agent NFL receiver Eddie Berlin? Fans of European geography would surely get a kick out of her full married name of Ashley Warsaw Paris Rome Berlin..........Anyone with a heart can't help but feel happy for Harvard senior DT Matt Curtis after the Crimson's 10-0 victory over Yale last weekend. The 135th captain in Harvard history grew up with BOTH parents dealing with alcohol/drug addictions; his father ended up dying while he was in high school. At one juncture, Matt was forced to live in public housing and subsisted on Salvation Army handouts. Regardless, he went on to be a National Honor Society student at Lynn English High School and will graduate from Harvard in June. Now, answer me one question: Anyone out there in the mood to hear excuses about ANYTHING right now?..........Answer to trivia question: GARY EDWARDS--who had an impressive 15-3-8 record with a 2.34 GAA and three shutouts..........Those people out there who are on the Mike Mussina bandwagon for Hall of Fame induction should be pushing for Bert Blyleven, too. Though he pitched a few more seasons than Mussina, Blyleven had a better career ERA than "Moose" (3.31 vs. 3.68 while pitching 1,400 more innings) and won 17 more games (287-270). Also, take into consideration that Mussina spent the second half of his career on MUCH better offensive teams than Blyleven did at the same juncture. I simply say that if one gets enshrined, then BOTH deserve it..........Happy birthday wishes go out to current Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren--who blows out 53 candles on December 2nd. As a former NHL player, Holmgren spent 10 seasons between 1975 and 1985 as a member of the Flyers and North Stars--netting 144 goals and tallying 179 assists in his career. He later coached the Flyers and Whalers between '88 and '96--posting a record of 161-219-45. A native of St. Paul, MN, Holmgren assumed his current job when Bob Clarke resigned a month into the '06-'07 season; best wishes, Paul..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former college basketball coach Pete Newell--who died recently in California at the age of 93; he had undergone serious lung surgery back in 2005. Newell spent 14 seasons at the college level coaching San Francisco, Michigan State, and California before his doctors advised him to give up the profession due to health concerns. At California, Newell won four straight conference titles and led his team to the national title in 1959 with a win over West Virginia--a team led by the great Jerry West. Newell also coached the U.S. gold medal-winning team at the 1960 Olympics--a talented group that featured Oscar Robertson, West, and Jerry Lucas. He later became famous for his "big men" basketball camps where he instructed such greats as Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Newell is survived by sons Greg, Tom, Roger, and Pete Jr.--along with four grandchildren. Rest in peace, "Coach."


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