Quick Takes


    If it’s professional reporting you seek, look no further than Keith Olbermann. This statement is true in both his sports and his world news coverage. He is knowledgeable, insightful and honest. Sports or world news coverage, when he talks, I listen. And we surely share the same opinion of our president.


    Kobe Bryant recently became the youngest NBA player in history to score 20,000 career points. He surpassed the great Wilt Chamberlain by a whole 12 days, both at 29. Michael Jordan, also at 29, is third on that list.


    The Montreal Canadiens are one of the original six NHL teams, the teams of the NHL just prior to the expansion of the league in 1967. They have won more Stanley Cups (24, the first in 1916, before the NHL existed) than any other NHL team. On a percentage basis, as of 2006, this made them historically the third most successful major professional sports team in North America, having won 25% of all NHL/NHA Stanley Cup championships. Only the Boston Celtics (26.2%) and the New York Yankees (25.2%) have higher success rates as a winning percentage of the ultimate prize in their respective sports.


    Talk about baseball records that have no chance of ever being broken. As MLB managers go, Connie Mack is #1 in history with 3,731 wins. He is also #1 in history with 3,948 losses. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for six years, and the Philadelphia A’s for an incredible 50 years. Imagine……………he managed 7,679 MLB games, an everlasting managerial record.


    As I recently wrote, the Cardinals made a horrific trade when they sent the great Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton to the Phils for Rick Wise. But Charles Bennett, a very knowledgeable baseball guy, reminded me that Wise did have his moment in the sun. On June 23, 1971, as a member of the Phils, he no-hit the Reds and hit two home runs in the same game, one of the greatest days any pitcher has ever enjoyed.

    Charles will be pleased as I’ll throw in the following as a Rick Wise bonus. Wise, Wes Ferrell (1931) and Earl Wilson (1962) are the only three no-hit pitchers to hit a home run in the same game. And on August 18, 1971 against the Giants, Wise had another day when he hit two home runs. And finally, on September 28th. of that same year, against the Cubs, he performed an amazing feat by retiring 32 batters in a row, four shy of the record. He also knocked in the winning run in the 12th inning.

    Having stated all this, when it's all said and done, it was still a terrible trade for the Cardinals. There haven't been too many Steve Carltons.


    Pat Ross, you’ll appreciate this. I’m not a USC fan, to be sure, but I can’t name a college football team that can beat them right now. The operative words are “right now.” Damn, it pains me to write this, but I do believe it.  


Story of the Week



    George Foreman had only eighteen amateur fights before he won the Olympic gold medal as a heavyweight in 1968. The young Texan, often in trouble with the law in his youth, was 19 when he won the gold. He also won immediate fame by parading around the ring and standing on the victors stand proudly holding a small U. S. flag after his victory. The scene was captured on live television from Mexico City, and the photo appeared in newspapers across the country.


    He became a professional in June of 1969, and won his first 34 fights to gain a shot at the heavyweight championship against Joe Frazier. 31 of those victories came on knockouts, 29 of them before the 6th round.


    “Smokin’ Joe Frazier” was a 3-1 favorite in their January 22, 1973 fight in Kingston, Jamaica, but Foreman knocked the champion down six times in less than two rounds to win the title. When Joe hit the mat the first of those six times, roughly two minutes into the first round, perhaps the most famous boxing call ever by an announcer was Howard Cosell's repeated screaming "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!"


    After two defenses, Foreman suffered his first loss, an 8th-round knockout by Muhammad Ali on October 30, 1974 at Kinshasha, Zaire, known as the Rumble In The Jungle. It was brilliant strategy as Ali let Foreman literally punch himself out in the heat. (That was the second time Ali shocked the world. As was the case in the first Liston fight, Ali was given little chance of beating Foreman in Zaire.)


    After a series of exhibitions in 1975, Foreman won his next five fights by knockout, but he retired after losing a 12-round decision to Jimmy Young in 1977. Ten years later, he came out of retirement and knocked out 13 opponents before meeting Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title in 1991. Holyfield retained the championship with a 12-round decision.


    Foreman briefly retired in 1993, but remained very popular because of several television commercials in which he poked fun at himself about his eating habits while selling a cooking grill named for him.


    He returned to the ring in 1994, after being away for nearly a year and half, and became the oldest champion ever in any weight division by knocking out Michael Moorer in the 10th round of their IBF/WBA heavyweight title fight on Nov. 5. George was 45.


    However, Foreman held the joint title only briefly. Because he refused to fight top-rated contender Tony Tucker, the WBA stripped him of that title on March 4, 1995. When the IBF insisted that Foreman should give Axel Schulz a rematch, he relinquished that title as well.


    Foreman lost a decision to Shannon Briggs on Nov. 22, 1997. A much-ballyhooed fight with Larry Holmes, originally scheduled for Jan. 12, 1999, was called off after a couple of postponements.


    Even when not fighting, Foreman has been very much in the public eye as the TV spokesman for that George Foreman grill. He has also served as a commentator on HBO's "World Championship Boxing." He has made millions since he retired as a fighter.
    Foreman has five daughters and five sons and has named all of the sons George. They are George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. It has to be a bit confusing.

    George Foreman’s pro career fight record is 76-5-0 with 68 knockouts. He is enshrined in both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the U. S. Olympic Hall of Fame.


Last Week’s Trivia


    The highest scoring game ever in NBA history took place on December 13, 1983. It produced a whopping 370 points. In a triple overtime game, Detroit beat Denver 186-184.


Trivia Question of the Week


    What college has produced the most Super Bowl-winning QB’s? How many? Name them. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.