Scotty Bowman (See my article dated 12-6-01) retired from hockey coaching last week after winning his NHL-record ninth Stanley Cup. He has won more games than any coach in NHL history. He is 68 years old, and has been a head coach since 1967. I was a season ticket holder of the St. Louis Blues when Scotty became the Blues’ head coach 35 years ago. Down through the years, I’ve had three favorite NHL teams; the Blues as a resident of St. Louis for half of my life, the Kings as a resident of L.A. for half of my life, and whatever team Scotty Bowman coached. Now I’m down to two favorite teams, and no Scotty Bowman to cheer for anymore, and I will miss him.
On a far more serious note, legendary St. Louis Cardinals announcer Jack Buck passed away Tuesday (6-18-02) at age 77. Buck teamed with Harry Caray in 1954 doing Cardinals games, and became the number one Cards announcer when Caray moved on to Chicago. He became a St. Louis institution. He also did Super Bowls and the World Series as the world-class announcer that he was; he is enshrined in both the Baseball and Football Halls of Fame. For the record, Jack Buck was a terrific guy in addition to being a tremendous talent, and I will miss him as well.
Story of the Week
GEORGIA TECH SQUEAKS BY
Picture this. You live in Atlanta. It’s Saturday afternoon. You have football tickets to see Georgia Tech play Cumberland College. You’re a graduate of Cumberland, so you’re excited about the game. You hop your horse-and-buggy, and head for a great afternoon of football. Not!
No laughing please; this article goes back to 1916. 1916 was a vintage year for sports. It was the year of the first pro golf tournament, and the year of the first Rose Bowl. It was also a monumental year for baseball and football.
The Boston Braves notched the longest winning streak in modern baseball history---26 games. Pete Alexander compiled a season record of 16 shutouts. But the most phenomenal events of all were taking place on the collegiate football field.
Consider these football scores. Tulsa cleaned out Missouri Mines, 117-0. Ohio State humbled Oberlin, 128-0. Oklahoma scalped Shawnee, 140-0. But surely the slaughter of them all took place on Grant Field in Atlanta on October 7 when Georgia Tech "squeaked by" Cumberland College.
No matter which team comes along, what rule changes are made, what lay-down-and-die attitude any destitute team might take, that game’s scoring record will never be beaten. Indeed, only the first quarter score of 63-0 was ever matched; it was matched exactly in the second quarter of the same game. When it was all over, Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland College 0.
By game’s end, Tech had gained 528 yards rushing, 220 yards on punt returns, 222 yards on kickoff returns, but threw not one single pass. Cumberland completed two of 11 passes for 14 yards, lost 45 yards rushing, and fumbled the ball away nine times.
The G.T. coach was none other than John Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named. Heisman was one of football’s great innovators. He gave us the center snap, got the forward pass legalized, schemed the elusive hidden-ball trick, and invented the scoreboard.
Heisman also, to that point, was not known for running up the score. Legend has it that he did it to prove a point—his own. He was reportedly incensed over newspaper articles which alluded to comparative football scores around the country. He determined that if sports writers respected crazy, one-sided scores, he’d give them a football score to remember.
Said one Cumberland player at their 40-year reunion, little did they know that day that they were playing themselves into immortality.
Last Week’s Trivia
Who was the first college player ever drafted by the Dallas Cowboys? In 1960, the expansion Cowboys made TCU defensive tackle Bob Lilly their very first draft choice. Lilly turned out to be a pick for the ages. He is also the first Cowboy to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Trivia Question of the Week
His given name was Bobby Moore. You know him by another name. Who is he? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.