“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” Yogi Berra.
Cheers to Gregg Dovel’s article on CBS Sportsline.Com on 7/18. Gregg has an open war on baseball’s cheaters, all performance-enhancing drugs, and Bud Selig. It reads like some of my writings.
Here’s to Barry Bonds. Permit to rephrase that………here’s to Barry Bonds’ indictment and conviction. I hope they toss him in a cell for a long, long time. And he definitely deserves a roommate, so I pick O. J. Simpson.
Not long after I wrote that the Yankees would not make the playoffs this season, they got very hot. I’d hate to think that I’ll be the cause of them playing this post-season. I’d never be able to forgive myself.
You’re not going to believe this one. I certainly didn’t! On 6-26-76, shortstop Toby Harrah played an entire doubleheader for the Texas Rangers without handling even one batted ball from the Chicago White Sox. Can you imagine………not one ground ball to the shortstop in two complete games?!
I wish my stock portfolio would go up as quickly as Jeff Weaver’s ERA. He was 6.29 this year with the Angels. With the Cards this year, it’s already 13.50. He literally pitched batting practice to the Braves Monday night. The Cardinals dumped Sidney Ponson for this.
Story of the Week
My personal criteria for a sport to be called a sport are:
1. It’s got to be competitive. The pro golf tour certainly qualifies.
2. It requires physical exertion. I don’t mean walking around a golf course. I mean real physical exertion in the exercise of the specific sport. I mean the need of athletic supporters, and I'm not talking fans here. Golf does not qualify.
This does not mean that I do not fully respect the tremendous talent that a successful golfer must possess. I marvel at the talents of a fine golfer as I personally suck at golf, and I fully appreciate a really outstanding golfer. I did write an article some time ago on my website about Gary Player, my favorite all-time golfer. It’s certainly time I pay my respect to the guy who brought his own personal army to golf. Arnold Palmer made it showtime!
The 1960 U.S. Open is remembered for Arnold Palmer’s greatest final-round charge, but the elevation of Arnie to mythic status is only part of its legacy. Three definitive eras collided at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver as Palmer, 30, fought off 47-year-old Ben Hogan and 20-year-old amateur Jack Nicklaus in a wild finish that marked the end of Hogan and presaged the rise of Nicklaus.
Ripples from the 1960 U.S. Open were even felt across the Atlantic. Having also won the ’60 Masters, Palmer traveled to St. Andrews shortly after Cherry Hills, lured to his first British Open by a shot at the Grand Slam. He finished one stroke behind winner Ken Nagle. Palmer would return to win it in 1961 and 1962, but before his victory at Royal Birkdale, most top Americans thought of the British Open as a musty little tournament, and usually skipped it because of the long distance hassle. It was Palmer who made it matter.
Along with those two British Opens, the King won four Masters in his career, but his only US Open victory in 1960 remains his defining moment in that magnificent career. After holing a final par putt on 18 for the win, Arnie flung his white visor in the air. That moment is an iconic image of the thrill of victory. It was the final exclamation point on a tournament that catapulted both Palmer and the world of golf into the big time.
In any walk of life, be it sports or business or entertainment or whatever, when a person possesses both great talent and great charisma, that person is extra special. The combination of Arnold Palmer’s tremendous talent and charisma was the catalyst to the great popularity enjoyed by golf today. Make no mistake about it…………Arnold Palmer put golf on the map of international popularity and glamour as we know it today!
Arnold Palmer’s Illustrious PGA Tour Wins:
1955 Canadian Open
1956 Insurance City Open, Eastern Open
1957 Houston Open, Azalea Open Invitational, Rubber City Open Invitational, San Diego Open Invitational
1958 St. Petersburg Open Invitational, The Masters, Pepsi Championship
1959 Thunderbird Invitational, Oklahoma City Open Invitational, West Palm Beach Open Invitational
1960 Palm Springs Desert Golf Classic, Texas Open Invitational, Baton Rouge Open Invitational, Pensacola Open Invitational, The Masters, U.S. Open, Insurance City Open Invitational, Mobile Sertoma Open Invitational
1964 The Masters, Oklahoma City Open Invitational
1966 Los Angeles Open, Tournament of Champions, Houston Champions International
1967 Los Angeles Open, Tucson Open Invitational, American Golf Classic, Thunderbird Classic
1968 Bob Hope Desert Classic, Kemper Open
1969 Heritage Golf Classic, Danny Thomas-Diplomat Classic
1970 National Four-Ball Championship
1973 Bob Hope Desert Classic
Last Week’s Trivia
The immortal Babe Ruth owns the distinction of reaching base in a season more than any other player. In 1923, Ruth reached base a record 379 times, not including those via errors. 205 hits, 170 walks and being HBP four times. And he didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs to do it; just booze, food and women, and not necessarily in that order. And let’s never forget the great talent of the man!
Trivia Question of the Week
What fighter holds the record for the most successful consecutive title defenses for a career? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.