Story of the Week

GALE SAYERS

    Gale Sayers was the most exciting and elusive running back Iíve ever seen. He played for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971 (he retired after two games in 1971 following a knee injury in 1970 that virtually ended his career). He was a great rusher, pass receiver, kick-off and punt returner. He was All-Pro five years. Because of his short career, the numbers donít do justice to his greatness.

    And what a rookie year. 22 touchdowns (14 rushing, 6 receiving passes, one returning a punt, and one returning a kick-off.) He scored 132 points as a rookie. He didnít go to the Bears unprepared. In three years at Kansas U., he accounted for 3,920 all-purpose yards, and a 6.5 yards-per-carry average.

    But his most memorable game as a pro was December 12, 1965 against the 49írs. Wrigley Field was wet and swamped when the two teams went onto the field. The fans had come to this last game of the season to see Gale Sayers break one or two patented long runs, but the Chicago weather did not encourage that hope. However, it was to be a most memorable afternoon.

    All Sayers did that day was score six touchdowns, tying the NFL record. He did it on an 80-yard screen pass, a 79-yard run, a seven-yard run, a 48-yard run, a one-yard plunge, and an 85-yard punt return. In all, Sayers accounted for 336 yards in total offense that day. Those who braved the miserable Chicago weather got the football treat of their lives. Do you want to know the final score of that game? Does it really matter?

    Frank Sinatra celebrated his birthday that day. When he learned of Sayersí accomplishments, one legend spoke of another. Frank joked that no one will ever forget December 12, 1965, but not because he turned 50.

    In 1977, Sayers was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. At 34 years of age, he is the youngest player ever to go to Canton, Ohio.

Last Weekís Trivia

    What is the fastest clocked speed that a hockey puck has been known to travel, and who is given credit for it? The spectacular left wing of the Chicago Black Hawks, Bobby Hull, is given credit for slap-shooting pucks at 118 miles an hour with regularity. 

    To put it in proper perspective, thatís about 21 miles an hour faster than Randy Johnson can drill you with a baseball. 

    Try to imagine yourself in goal against the Black Hawks, and Bobby Hull slapping an ice-hard rubber disk at you at 118 miles an hour. You are screened by the maze of players on the ice between you and Hull, so your vision is impaired. But itís your responsibility to stop that thing. Oh, one other detail; prior to 1959 (see my article of 10-18-01 on Jacques Plante), you were doing this act without the benefit of a face mask. No thanks.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Babe Ruth is credited with having hit 714 career home runs. That is not accurate. He actually hit 715 career home runs. Can you explain the homer not accounted for? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.