Ozzie Smith will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 28th. I’ll be doing a feature story about him one of these days, so I don’t want to steal from that here. For now, I’ll state that Ozzie is the greatest shortstop I ever saw, and the number 1 that he wore on his uniform was a perfect way to describe him.
Congratulations to the Wizard of Oz.
Story of the Week
NBA's LONGEST GAME
We all want as much for our money as we can buy. But sometimes we get much more than we bargained for, and more than we really want.
Until the 1954-55 season, pro basketball teams could move at idling speed. Or not at all if they wished. And not at all was what they frequently wished to do in those days. Offense was certainly not the order of the day back then. The advent of the 24-second clock not only moved the action by requiring a shot within that prescribed time, but it put an end, on a very practical level, to any repetition of what took place on January 6, 1951 in Rochester, New York.
The attendance that night was some 3,000, who, at more than one point, probably wished they weren’t present at all. The Indianapolis Olympians visited the Rochester Royals for an NBA game. This barn-burner went six overtimes. It was to be a 78-minute game on the play clock, the longest game in NBA history.
At the end of the regulation 48 minutes, the game was tied at 65. In the first overtime period, each team scored only one basket. There was no scoring at all in the next five-minute overtime period. And only two points apiece in overtime number three. The fourth overtime was scoreless.
Rochester coach Lester Harrison said that his key ballhandler, later New York Knicks coach Red Holzman, "could dribble the ball indefinitely." Which he did, and did, and did. Holzman played in 76 of the game’s 78 minutes that night.
The fifth overtime awakened everyone. Each club scored a whopping four points in those five minutes. Now that’s what I call action. The game was now tied at 73. In the 25 minutes of overtime, there was a total of 16 points scored.
The players sleep-walked through most of the sixth overtime period. Then, for some unexplained reason, a Rochester player chose to shoot the ball as the clock ran down. He missed, and Indianapolis’ Alex Groza rebounded. Two passes later, the Olympians’ Ralph Beard had the ball near the foul line, dribbled once and shot the ball. With one second to play, a 75-73 lead was enjoyed by Indianapolis. No, the Royals did not tie the game. It was midnight, some four hours after the opening tip-off. Mercifully, the game ended.
Four clock hours and 148 points total. We can only hope that the Rochester Royals provided their fans with great-looking cheerleaders. Not!
Last Week’s Trivia
T. C. Chen had two "claims to fame" at the 1985 U. S. Open. What did he do? He is the only golfer to ever score an "albatross" in a U. S. Open. An albatross describes a hole completed in three strokes under par. Chen had a more unfortunate rarity later in that tournament; he hit the same ball twice on one swing, a double hit, and both counted. From one end of the spectrum to the other for T. C. Chen.
Trivia Question of the Week
What is the record for base hits by a major league team for a nine-inning game? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.