"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 4/23/11
Did you know that Alfonso Soriano--then of the New York Yankees--led the American League in stolen bases in 2002 with a modest total of just 41? That was the lowest total to lead the league since Luis Aparicio of the Orioles led the AL with 40 swipes back in 1963..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last major league player to have more than 400 total bases in a season? Answer to follow..........ITEM: California youth football coach Saivaauli Savaiinea is arrested on a felony battery charge after attacking a parent; he allegedly punched the parent in the shoulder and then kicked him in the stomach--causing the victim to fall to the ground. The topper? The confrontation took place after Savaiinea thought he overheard the parent trying to recruit one of his best players (this took place in a league consisting of 9, 10, and 11-year-olds, folks). I can just picture Savaiinea taking his physically-intimidating tactics to the more competitive college atmosphere in the near future--where some "football factory" assigns him the new job title of Protector/Safeguard of Prized Recruits..........This week in sports history, April 26, 1952: Golfer Patty Berg sets a new women's record by shooting an opening round 64 at the Richmond Open--ultimately zooming to a seven stroke lead. Berg had ten birdies and two bogeys during her record-breaking performance--lowering the previous low mark of 66 shared by both Babe Didrickson Zaharias and Opal Hill. Berg shot a blistering 30 on the front nine at the Richmond Country Club; in addition, four of her birdies came on putts that were from distances of 12, 15, 25, and 31 feet..........After keeping tabs on this recent Barry Bonds fiasco/farce that was disguised as a federal trial, I just have one question: If I start ingesting flaxseed oil on a regular basis, will I able to write longer sports columns in HALF the usual time?..........Anyone out there remember when former Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Richie Hebner used to spend his off-seasons as a gravedigger at a cemetery run by his brother and father? It just got me thinkin' (which can be dangerous): Do you think he ever choked up on the shovel to increase his digging speed?..........Answer to trivia question: SAMMY SOSA--who put together a monstrous total of 425 total bases in 2001 as a member of the Chicago Cubs..........Anyone out there catch Steve Somers on WFAN Radio last weekend--"officiating" a memorial service in honor of the "dead" arm of Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes? I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time; funny stuff, Steve..........Did you know that the last MLB pitcher to throw ten shutouts in a season was the Cardinals' John Tudor--who accomplished it back in 1985? Amazingly, Tudor started that season with a 1-7 record through the month of May before going a mind-boggling 20-1 the rest of the way. Though finishing 21-8 with an impressive ERA of 1.93, Tudor finished second in the Cy Young voting that season as a young Dwight Gooden went 24-4 with the Mets with an ERA of 1.53..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former NBA player Dexter Boney--who blows out 41 candles on April 27th. Boney may have never been a star in the league (he played in only eight career games for Phoenix--all during the 1996-'97 season) but he surely left his mark on basketball in other ways. He was a three-time All-State player at Brandywine High School in Delaware; he holds the state scoring record with over 2,000 points. He later played at Nevada-Las Vegas and went on to become the CBA's MVP during the '96-'97 season while playing for the Florida Beachdogs--averaging 21.7 points per game. In 1999, Boney was named as one of the "Top 50 Greatest Delaware Sports Figures" by Sports Illustrated. Here's wishing you many more birthdays to come, Dexter..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league player/manager Eddie Joost--who passed away last week in California at the age of 94. An infielder who was used mostly as a shortstop, Joost spent 17 seasons in the "bigs" between 1936 and 1955; he played for the Reds, Boston Braves, and Athletics before finishing his career with the Boston Red Sox in '55. Joost compiled a lifetime batting average of just .239, but DID have six straight seasons ('47-'52) of 100+ walks. A two-time All-Star while in Philadelphia ('49 and '52), he later replaced Jimmy Dykes as manager of the Athletics for the 1954 season before finishing his career as a utility infielder with the Red Sox the following season. At the time of his death, Joost was the oldest living member remaining from the 1940 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds. May Eddie Joost rest in peace.