Quick Takes


    Memphis’ 24-game winning streak is on the line tonight. Here’s hoping for 28 straight! I lived in Memphis, and I've been a big fan of the city and the team for many years.


    The Knicks extended the contract of Isiah Thomas. One explanation; Thomas has photos of Knicks owner James Dolan having a wild affair with a couple of sexy sheep. There is no other possible explanation. (I promise; I’ll never again write another negative word about so-called executives Thomas and Matt Millen, and the winning-isn’t-important owners who employ them, namely the Knicks and the Lions respectively. That means I’ll never be able to write about them again period.)


    Speaking of negatives, Bud Selig is permitting Pete Rose back on the field. He’s doing promo work for the Cincinnati Reds this season. I’m absolutely shocked at this Rose reversal of fortune. That’s a total contradiction to the Bart Giamatti agreement. My guess is that it’s now a matter of time before Selig changes those Rose rules even further.


    In 1966, Texas Western was the first NCAA basketball team to start five blacks. They beat Kentucky and their bigoted coach Adolph Rupp for the NCAA title.


    Former Steelers DB Brady Keyes has an interesting distinction. After his NFL days, he became the first black ever to own a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.


    Want to know how important it is to make shots from the foul line? Just ask Xavier! If they make their very last free throw in regulation against Ohio State, they advance to the Regionals and Ohio State goes home. Xavier could have fouled Ron Lewis, Ohio State’s three-point shooter, before he shot the ball to send it to overtime, but that’s another story. The point is simple; teams have to hit their free throws to win championships!


    As I wrote on 3/1, the Baseball HOF Veterans Committee selected no one to enter this year. My Quick Take of 3/1 details the stupidity of the Committee.

    Jonathan Krost wants Bert Blyleven in the Hall of Fame as much as I want Gil Hodges there. Jonathan’s right and Jonathan writes:

    I couldn't believe Blyleven not only did not get in but got a lower percentage of votes this year than last year. Compare Blyleven's career stats to his contemporaries who are in; Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Catfish Hunter, Don Sutton and Phil Niekro.  See the following comparisons:

Complete games: Only Niekro and Carlton had more.

Shutouts: Only Seaver and Ryan had more, and then only by one.

Home runs allowed:  Niekro and Sutton gave up more.

Extra base hits:  Sutton, Niekro and Carlton gave up more.

Innings pitched:  More than Seaver, Hunter and Palmer.

Strikeouts: Only Ryan and Carlton had more.

Grounded into double plays: Only Niekro and Carlton forced more.

ERA: Only Palmer and Seaver were better.

WHIP: Better than Ryan, Niekro and Carlton.  

K:BB ratio: Better than all of them.

    As you can see, Blyleven does indeed compare favorably with his contemporaries who are in the HOF.  Add his post-season performance and his 15 1-0 wins (only Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson have more) and it's easy to see that he belongs.


Story of the Week


    Archie Moore fought for an incredible 27 years and knocked out more opponents, 141 victims, than anyone else in the history of boxing. He became the light heavyweight champion at the age of 39, and is the only man to have fought both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali.


    Moore, who turned pro in 1936, debuted in the world rankings as a middleweight in the early 1940s. By 1945, Moore moved up to light heavyweight, and although he was continually passed over for a title shot, he remained a fixture in the 175-pound rankings.


    Finally in 1952, four days after his 39th birthday, Moore secured a shot against light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim. The fight was held in Archie’s home town and my home town, St. Louis. Moore won the title by unanimous decision.


    In 1955, Moore attempted to win the heavyweight title from Rocky Marciano. Although he dropped Marciano early in the fight, Marciano rallied and stopped Moore in the ninth round. (The only reason Marciano was able to defeat Moore was the tremendous 10-year age difference. In Moore’s prime, it would have been no contest.) A year later, after Marciano retired, Moore met Floyd Patterson for the vacant heavyweight crown but was stopped in five.


    Although he fell to bigger men, Moore was nearly unbeatable at light heavyweight. He made nine title defenses and engaged in memorable contests with Maxim, Yvon Durelle and Harold Johnson. In his first fight with Durelle, the Canadian challenger dropped Moore three times in the first round and once in the fifth round. But Archie responded by dropping Durelle in the seventh and knocking him out in the 11th round.


    Moore would eventually be stripped of the light heavyweight title by the NBA and the New York State Athletic Commission for failure to defend that title. He simply continued to battle bigger men. He knocked out former Olympic heavyweight champion Pete Rademacher in 1961, and was stopped by Ali in 1962. Moore's age was listed as 49 at the time of the Ali fight, but some ring experts insist he was actually older since his date of birth has been disputed. Moore retired in 1963.


    All totaled, Moore fought nine world champions and seven Hall-of-Famers. He had multi-fight series with some of the game's top fighters. He won four of five fights from Jimmy Bivins and Harold Johnson, he won all three fights against Maxim, and lost all three of his fights against Ezzard Charles.

Moore’s resume is most impressive. An amazing record of 194 wins to go along with 26 losses and eight draws. And keep in mind those 141 wins by knockout, a staggering (pardon the play on words) stat to be sure. (I thought it was clever.)


    Moore remained active in boxing as a trainer. He once worked with a young Ali and later with heavyweight champion George Foreman. He also appeared in many movies and television shows.


    Archie Moore was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He died on December 9, 1998 in San Diego. Cause of death was heart failure. He was four days shy of his 85th. birthday.


Last Week’s Trivia


    Joe Namath was the first and only QB to be named Super Bowl MVP despite not tossing a TD pass. It was Super Bowl 3 as he led his New York Jets to an improbable win over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.

    Note: It was Super Bowl 3 and not Super Bowl III. Roman numerals were not used in Super Bowl designations until Super Bowl V. The first four Super Bowls were actually referred to by numerical digits.


Trivia Question of the Week


    What is the only incident in NHL history that resulted in a death on the ice? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.