"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 6/9/12
ITEM: Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley is arrested again--this time after driving under the influence and attempting to elude police; he was allegedly traveling close to 100 miles-per-hour when he passed a POLICE CAR. Yes, this is the same dolt who was busted in early April on marijuana charges in his home state of Alabama. Call me judgmental, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Fairley was NOT majoring in Aerospace Engineering (with a possible minor in Anthropology) while he was attending Auburn...........TRIVIA QUESTION: This Oakland A's pitcher put together a combined, stellar record of 35-14 in 1988-'89, but ended up winning a modest total of 113 games over a 13-year career. Can you name this former right-hander? Answer to follow..........Did you know that the 1986 Minnesota Twins had FIVE players who hit 20 or more home runs that season (196 as a team in all)--but STILL finished sixth in the AL West with a record of 71-91? Just another reason why PITCHING is so important to the game of professional baseball; their team ERA that year was a whopping 4.77--dead last in the American League..........This week in sports history, June 12, 1948: Citation claims the eighth Triple Crown in horse racing history--winning the Belmont Stakes by an impressive eight lengths over runner-up Better Self. With jockey Eddie Arcaro aboard, Citation's time of 2:28 1/5 matched the fastest-ever time for the Belmont; Count Fleet finished with an identical time back in 1943. It was Arcaro's fourth win at the Belmont Stakes and Citation's 18th win in 20 career starts. The victory earned owner Warren Wright (Calumet Farm) close to $78,000..........Sad to hear about the passing of boxing great Johnny Tapia at the age of 45 (a fighter who won titles in three weight classes), but FAR from surprising. I don't believe I've ever come across an athlete who had more "demons" than one Johnny Tapia. His was a chaotic life that included jail, mental illness, suicide attempts, drug overdoses--the list goes on and on. Yes, and it all stemmed from seeing his mother kidnapped/murdered when he was just eight years-old. At this juncture, I'll simply prefer to remember the Johnny Tapia who gave so many great performances in his most comfortable element--the boxing ring; it was perhaps his ONLY place of solace. I hope you're finally at peace, "Champ".......... Scenario: Former tennis player Tracy Austin marries NBA player Kyrie Irving, divorces, marries New Zealand rapper David Dallas--divorces again--then ties the knot with ex-NBA-er Allan Houston. Fans of the Texas landscape would surely delight in her full married name of Tracy Austin Irving Dallas Houston..........Answer to trivia question: GEORGE "STORM" DAVIS--who came up with the Orioles in 1982 and would play for five different clubs before leaving the game in 1994...........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league infielder Brian Koelling--who blows out 43 candles on June 11th. A native of Cincinnati who attended Bowling Green, Koelling may not be a household name to the readers of this column. Here's WHY: Koelling played just one season in the "bigs"--1993 with the Cincinnati Reds--appearing in just seven games. And the numbers were NOT pretty, folks: In 15 major league at-bats, Koelling managed just ONE single--thus going into the MLB records books with a lifetime batting average of .067. But he CAN tell his grandchildren that he DID score a pair of runs that year and also played with newly-elected Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, right? Here's wishing you many more birthdays to come, Brian..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of NBA Hall of Famer Jack Twyman--who passed away recently in Cincinnati from a form of blood cancer; he was 78. After playing at the University of Cincinnati, Twyman played 11 seasons for the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals between 1955 and 1966--averaging more than 19 ppg for his career. He had a career-high average of 31.2 ppg during the '59-60 season and appeared in six All-Star games. A true gentleman/humanitarian, Twyman became the guardian for teammate Maurice Stokes in 1958 (after he had become paralyzed) in order to assist Stokes in receiving medical benefits. Following his playing career, Twyman became a TV analyst (a GOOD one, too) and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983. Personally, I'll always think of Twyman fondly for a kind gesture shown to me years ago. After reading a column I had written about Stokes, Jack was kind enough to write me a letter--thanking me immensely for bringing attention to the life of his former friend/teammate. Yeah--refreshing, huh? Twyman is survived by his wife, Carole, three daughters, a son, and 14 grandchildren. You were a class act, Mr. Twyman; you'll surely be missed.