Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 7/23/11

Recently, I talked with Dave Sims--voice of the Seattle Mariners--and asked him for his thoughts about Ichiro Suzuki's "down year" so far in 2011; a .327 lifetime hitter, he was hitting just .264 going into last weekend's action. Sims simply told me, "Ichiro? Heck, he's not Superman. He's getting older like everyone does. It happens."..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The lowly 1979 Oakland A's--who finished 54-108 under manager Jim Marshall--were led in home runs by a player who hit only 63 during his entire CAREER. Can you name this individual? Answer to follow..........Still MORE evidence how much the 'bar' is being lowered regarding big league baseball pitching performances: Last weekend, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe said that John Lackey had "pitched well again" during a 9-5 Red Sox victory over the Rays. Lackey's line that day? 5 2/3 innings pitched, 10 hits, 4 runs. Question: Just HOW low will the bar be lowered, say, ten years from now, folks--or will it already have touched GROUND by then?..........If Red Sox OF J.D. Drew had aged HALF as well as actress Diane Lane, Boston would be leading the AL East by 8 games at this juncture..........This week in sports history, July 26, 1964: Two players from the Chicago Bears--Willie Galimore and John Farrington--die tragically in a car crash not far from the team's training facility at St. Joseph's College. The accident occurred around 10:30 PM as the duo apparently tried to avoid breaking the team's curfew. Galimore had gained close to 3,000 yards rushing over seven seasons while Farrington had owned the record for catching the longest TD pass in club history (98 yards back in 1961)..........ATTENTION BOXING FANS: In the mood for an excellent, interesting, short read this summer? Check out Mark Allen Baker's Title Town USA: Boxing in Upstate New York--published in 2010. Baker skillfully writes about the geographical area near Canastota, NY--home of the International Boxing Hall of Fame--and how it has produced some of boxing's most prominent pugilists. Fighters like Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus are mentioned; it also goes into detail how some of the greatest fighters of all-time (i.e. Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, Henry Armstrong) were drawn to fight in that region. More information about this terrific publication can be obtained by visiting http://www.historypress.net ..........Answer to trivia question: JEFF NEWMAN---who hit 22 round-trippers in '79; his career was spent with Oakland and Boston and lasted from 1976-1984..........Former Trinity College (CT) football star Mickey Kobrosky was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last weekend in South Bend, Indiana; Kobrosky led the Bantams to a combined 19-2 record from 1934-1936 and later played professionally with the New York Giants. Inducted this year was a VERY impressive quartet: Kobrosky, American hero Pat Tillman, former Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard, and five-team Super Bowl champion Charles Haley. While at Trinity, Kobrosky played both offense and defense--truly one of the most versatile athletes of his day. He also played baseball, too, and once signed a MLB contract with the Cleveland Indians. Mickey died in Longmeadow, MA, back in 2003 at the age of 88. His son Neil Kobrosky--who played soccer for Trinity back in the 1970's--represented his Dad at the induction ceremonies. Yes--a well-deserved honor for a tremendous athlete of the past--and a long time coming..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major leaguer Greg Colbrunn--who blows out 42 candles on July 26th. In a 13-year career from 1992-2004, Colbrunn surely kept his bags packed--playing for a total of SEVEN different teams over that time frame. Used mostly as a part-time first baseman and pinch-hitter, Colbrunn DID play regularly for the Florida Marlins during the '95 and '96 seasons--hitting a combined 39 home runs while collecting a total of 146 hits in each season. Greg was also a member of the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. A native of Fontana, CA, Colbrunn ended his career with a very respectable .289 lifetime batting average. He is currently the batting coach for the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class A South Atlantic League; best wishes, Greg..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NBA player Armen Gilliam--who died recently while working out at a gym in Pennsylvania; he was 47. A first-round pick of the Phoenix Suns in the 1987 draft, Gilliam played for six different teams (including the New Jersey Nets) before retiring in 2000; he averaged 13.7 ppg/6.9 rpg while appearing in 929 games. Gilliam also coached and played for the Pittsburgh Xplosion in the American Basketball Association in 2005 and 2006. During his college days, Gilliam was a key member of Jerry Tarkanian's 1987 UNLV team that made it to the Final Four. Nicknamed "The Hammer," Gilliam's #35 jersey was retired by the school during a halftime ceremony at the Thomas & Mack Center back in 2007. May Armen Gilliam rest in peace.


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