Quick Takes


    Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Sports Junkie. Just based on the weekly e-mails I receive, it has become far more popular than I ever imagined, and I thank you all for that.


    The Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies Saturday were terrific, as always. However:

    “Bullet” Bob Hayes should be in the Hall. The great Florida A & M, Olympic and Dallas WR revolutionized that position because of his blazing sprinter speed. He was a Pro-Bowler three times over his 10+ seasons. He caught 371 passes for a tremendous 20.0 yards-per-catch, and had 71 receiving scores. He was invaluable to the Cowboys as he forced defenses to double-cover and zone him, thus opening up other offensive schemes for Tom Landry. Bob Hayes passed away in 2002. See my feature article on Bob Hayes dated 1/1/04. Bob Hayes belongs in Canton.

    Art Monk should be in the Hall. The WR was a finalist this year, but didn’t get in.  1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles. He caught 58 passes to earn All-Rookie honors, 1980. He had 50 or more receptions nine seasons. He set then-NFL records for catches in a season (106), most consecutive games with at least one reception (164), and career receptions (820). He finished his career with 940 catches for an average of 13.5 yards, and 68 receiving scores. He was named to three Pro Bowls. Art Monk belongs in Canton.


    Larry Doby, who followed Jackie Robinson across baseball’s color barrier as the American League’s first black player, will have his legacy honored when every member of the Cleveland Indians wears his retired number 14 tomorrow night when the Indians host the Yankees. Like Jackie, Doby’s first MLB year was 1947 (July 5), having been signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck. Larry Doby was a pioneer against racial abuse in major league baseball as he established himself as a quality player. Doby was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1998. He passed away in 2003 at 79. See my feature article on Larry Doby dated 1/30/03.


Story of the Week



    The memory of Maury Wills achieving his 104th stolen base for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962 evokes images of an athlete extraordinaire. This outstanding achievement is only one in a long list of accomplishments that give insight into a man who is both an important athlete and a true sports personality.

    On September 23, 1962, Wills broke Ty Cobb's record of 97 stolen bases in one year. At the time, it was almost inconceivable that the century mark could be broken, but that's exactly what Wills did. By season's end with his record 104 stolen bases, Wills set a new major league record. Wills went on to lead the National League in stolen bases for six straight seasons, from 1960-1965, and has a lifetime total of 586 stolen bases.


    Wills was also a major force on the winning L.A. Dodgers team for 14 years, and helped lead the Dodgers to three World Series victories in 1959 (his first year wearing the Dodgers uniform), 1963 and 1965. In addition, he also guided the Dodgers to a National League pennant victory in 1966.

    Wills' many achievements include:
National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1962.
Shortstop of the Year in 1970-71 Season, at age 39.
Golden Glove award for Fielding in 1961-62 season.
Honored as Outstanding Fielder among National League shortstops.
"SPORT" Magazine's Man of the Year.
Hickok Pro-Athlete Award.


    Wills' accomplishments are even more meaningful when we remember that it took him nearly 10 years in the minors to break through to the majors in 1959. In fact, after 13 years in the majors, at the senior age (in baseball terms) of 39, he was still batting an impressive .288.

    Maury's sporting career did not end when he put away his bat in 1972, after 23 years in the pros. His goal was to become a manager in MLB. Beginning with the winter, 1970-71 season, Wills began managing at Hermosilli, Mexico between seasons. It was at this time that he was voted the top manager in the league. Wills realized his dream of becoming a MLB manager when he became manager of the American League Seattle Mariners during the 1980-81 seasons.

    Wills' other post-Dodgers highlights include six years as a baseball analyst for NBC Sports, " Major League Baseball Game of the Week, " and one year as an HBO network in-studio sports personality. He also has been a trainer for 15 different MLB teams, teaching the art of base running and stealing, and trained the Osaka Hanky Braves in Japan for four years.

    During his playing days, and over the last several decades, Maury Wills has been viewed by baseball experts as a Hall of Fame shortstop. Joe Morgan regularly states that Wills deserves to be in the Hall, and Joe has been joined by Sandy Koufax, Lou Brock and Orlando Cepeda supporting Maury's election to the Hall.


    As recently as February 16, 2007, Justice B. Hill of MLB.com said, "Not since Babe Ruth in the 1920's had one player changed the game of baseball the way Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills did in the 1960s. . . . Wills’ credentials should earn him a plaque in Cooperstown." On December 6, 2006, Bruce Jenkins said he repeatedly voted for Maury's election, and that Maury was "just as influential as Willie Mays, Henry Aaron or Juan Marichal." On July 13, 2006, Steve Bisheff wrote that "plenty of us think Maury should be in the Hall of Fame". In July, 2002, ESPN.com carried an article calling for Maury's election because he changed the game, and in 2003 and 2004, Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times concurred.


    Putting Wills’ mark of stealing bases in the proper perspective, Maury entered the majors in 1959, and broke the major league stolen base record in 1962. The year before Maury entered the majors, 1958, the National League had a total of 388 stolen bases. In 1962, Wills alone stole over 27% of the NL total of the year before he entered the league.


    Yet another case of Hall of Fame injustice. Maury Wills belongs in Cooperstown.


Last Week’s Trivia


    Both fighters are knocked down at the same time. Both fighters are unable to get up before the count of 10. What’s the ruling? The bout is stopped, and the fighter who was ahead on points prior to the knockdowns is declared the winner.


Trivia Question of the Week


    The NHL began its expansion in 1967. Name the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup. When? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.