"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 4/30/11
Did you know that the lowly 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates--who finished 57-104 under manager Chuck Tanner--were led in RBI's by second baseman Johnny Ray with a modest total of just 70? The team didn't hit many home runs, either (80 total round-trippers), as first-baseman Jason Thompson was the team leader with only 12..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the leading scorer for the 1987-'88 world champion Los Angeles Lakers--who finished the regular season with a record of 62-20 under Pat Riley. Answer to follow..........ITEM: Canadian football player Yonus Davis is busted in California after federal agents nail him possessing nearly 67 pounds of Ecstasy tablets. Davis, the most outstanding special teams player in the CFL's West Division last season, was arrested April 9th by DEA agents posing as FedEx workers when he accepted a package containing the pills. My first thought was that Davis has MUCH more success recognizing kick returners/blocking schemes than he does recognizing the "feds"..........This week in sports history, May 3, 1980: Ridden by jockey Jacinto Vasquez, Genuine Risk becomes the first filly in 65 years to win the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Having finished a disappointing third at the Wood Memorial two weeks earlier, the filly put together a terrific stretch run while holding off Rumbo for a one-length victory--covering the 1 1/4 mile course in a time of 2:02. The last filly to have won this prestigious race was Regret--who was victorious at the Derby back in 1915..........Gotta 'love' the hypocrisy of the NBA and its players in general. During last weekend's Indiana/Chicago playoff game, the Bulls' Carlos Boozer appeared in an "NBA Cares" commercial--talking about his responsibility to kids, staying in school, etc. Ten minutes later, the same guy is given a technical foul for trash talking/taunting..........More negative news coming out of the questionable UCONN basketball program as forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel is arrested on drug charges. Sheesh--I think I was MORE surprised when gasoline prices rose another nickel the other day..........Just wondering if Reds pitcher Mike Leake--recently arrested on shoplifting charges--lists the album "Sticky Fingers" by the Rolling Stones as one of his favorites of all-time..........Did you know that Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan swiped 689 bases in his terrific career--but NEVER won a stolen base title? Morgan's career high in a season was 67, which he accomplished twice--in 1973 and 1975; in both years, he finished second in the league in stolen bases behind Lou Brock and Davey Lopes, respectively..........Answer to trivia question: BYRON SCOTT--whose average of 21.7 ppg was higher than teammates such as James Worthy, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar..........It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since the death of Pat Tillman--the true American hero who walked away from a lucrative NFL contract only to lose his life in Afghanistan. This week, as I reflect on Tillman, I'm wondering what he'd now think of the league and its players being unable to come to an agreement on how to divide TONS of money. The image I get of him right now is a man sitting on a high cliff somewhere--shaking his head in total disgust; I also picture him composing himself and then simply laughing at the absurdity of it all. In a skewed, warped society lacking TRUE heroes, you are sorely missed, Pat Tillman..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major leaguer Keith Moreland--who blows out 57 candles on May 2nd. Drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the '75 amateur draft, Moreland was a three-time All-American at Texas--where he led the Longhorns to three NCAA College World Series berths. In the big leagues, Moreland played 12 seasons as a member of the Phillies, Cubs, Padres, Tigers, and Orioles--hitting .279 lifetime. He was used as a catcher, first baseman, third baseman, outfielder, and DH throughout his career--appearing in over 1,300 games. Perhaps Moreland's best year came in 1985 while with the Cubs--a season in which he hit .307 and drove in 107 runs while appearing in 161 games. Recently, Moreland was named as a color commentator on Cubs radio broadcasts; best wishes, Keith..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former PGA golfer Mason Rudolph--who died recently in Alabama at the age of 76. In a 23-year PGA career, Rudolph was an amazingly consistent golfer--making cuts in 409 of 430 career starts. He amassed five victories on the PGA Tour, and once went 105 consecutive tournaments WITHOUT hitting a ball out of bounds. Rudolph was also one of the youngest golfers ever to play in a major golf tournament when he qualified for the U.S. Open in 1950 just SIX days after his 16th birthday. He later went on to play 44 events on the Champions Tour and also coached golf at Vanderbilt University. He is survived by his wife, Carol, and his sons Mason II and Griff; he was predeceased by a son, Craig, who died in a 1998 helicopter crash. May Mason Rudolph rest in peace.