The extra-curricular violence that takes place in sports is appalling. The violence that is within the rules of the respective sport should be expected; Iíve always been a proponent of the intimidation factor in sports. But not the cheap shots! The latest recipient of the Not-So-MVP Award (Marty McSorley and Roger Clemens, among others, are past winners) is Vancouverís Todd Bertuzzi for his sucker-punch to Coloradoís Steve Moore that broke his neck, caused a concussion, and possible permanent damage.
Were I the Commissioner of the NHL, Bertuzzi would be suspended, obviously without pay, for as long as it takes Steve Moore to regain full and complete health, and fined whatever his medical bills are. And that's not to mention the legal repercussions, financial and otherwise, that should occur. And if Vancouverís coach had a bounty on Moore, he, too, should face the same punishment. Although he has suspended Bertuzzi, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has not yet made a complete and final judgment on that situation.
Story of the Week
During a Yankees-White Sox game in May, 1990, Carlton Fisk blasted Deion Sanders for not running out a pop fly, starting a brawl but enhancing Fiskís role on the Sox. Moreover, it came at a time when Fisk, a 10-time All-Star, was trying to push an unknown pitching staff to a division title.
That year, Fisk, already the oldest regular catcher in baseball history, hit 18 homers to pass Johnny Bench as baseballís leading home run-hitting catcher, extended his AL record of games caught, and added to his total as modern baseballís best base-stealing catcher. Fisk, Bench and Berra are the only receivers to hit 300 home runs, and both score and drive in 1,000 runs.
Carlton Fisk grew up in Charlestown, New Hampshire on the heavy side, and was dubbed "Pudge" by a female relative. A three-sport MVP in high school, he earned a basketball scholarship to the University of New Hampshire, but signed instead with the Red Sox in 1967.
Brought up to the "bigs" late in 1971 for a look-see, he was the All-Star catcher by the summer of í72. That fall, he became the first AL Rookie of the Year to be chosen unanimously. In 1975, injuries limited him to only 79 games during the regular season, but he created one of baseballís most remembered moments in the World Series with a 12th. inning, body-English home run off the Redí Pat Darcy to end the now fabled sixth game.
After the 1980 season, free-agent Fisk signed with the White Sox. He had worn number 27 in Boston, but changed his number to 72 in Chicago; he felt it represented a turn-around in his career. Following a workmanlike 1982 season, Fisk slumped in early-1983, and was hitting only .136. Replaced in both halves of a June 12 doubleheader in Oakland, Fisk had a run-in with Oakland manager Tony LaRussa (the latter isnít one of my favorites either).
That skirmish seemed to be a wake-up call. In the next 71 games, Fisk hit 16 home runs, drove in 49 runs, raised his average more than 100 points, and led Chicago to a division win.
An opening day abdominal muscle hampered him in 1984. The next year, however, at age 37, he had his greatest season, knocking in 107 runs and hitting 37 homers.
Carlton Fisk retired in 1993 after 23 years in the majors. He caught more games and hit more home runs than any catcher in major league baseball history. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Last Weekís Trivia
Todd Steussie is the NFL iron-man from Agoura Hills, CA.
Trivia Question of the Week
The N.E. Pats won Super Bowl XXXVIII, but in the process they did something highly unusual. What is it? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.