Quick Takes


    Congratulations to Phil Jackson. "Who could have been more fortunate than I am to have stumbled into this success?" Jackson said Friday night in his induction speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame. That’s more than a bit modest given the fact that he has won nine NBA titles as a coach, tying Red Auerbach for the record.


    Don Borst @ FoxSports.Com wrote an interesting article on the much-documented win by Appalachian State over Michigan in Week 1, and where it ranks in all-time college football upsets. It’s a subject for a detailed feature story another time, but I’m not sure it belongs as high as #3 on the list of upsets given the magnitude of others I can think of. Don Borst writes:

Upsets like the one that hit the Big House on Saturday are what makes college football what it is.

But it's Week 1. Before we get too carried away, let's realize that upsets are only truly meaningful when the favorite has a lot on the line — later in the season, when it has earned a lofty ranking. Sure, Michigan has a lot of players back from a pretty good team, but this team hasn't proven anything. At the same time, the Wolverines have 11 more games to prove everything. So, let's consider the two upsets that were even greater.

1. Nov. 18, 1961: TCU over No. 1 Texas, 6-0. The Longhorns were undefeated and ranked atop the polls in November when the Horned Frogs visited with their 2-4-1 record — and walked out with a shocking shutout, dropping Darrell Royal's Longhorns to No. 5 and out of the national championship picture.

2. Nov. 8, 1975: Kansas over No. 2 Oklahoma, 23-3. OU had a 28-game winning streak (and a 37-game unbeaten streak), but fumbled this one away. This result came out of nowhere, as the unranked, 5-4 Jayhawks bumped off the defending national champions.

3. Sept. 1, 2007: Appalachian State over No. 5 Michigan, 34-32. The mere fact that Appy State (Div.I-AA/Championship Subdivision) is not allowed to give as many scholarships, etc., means everything. Still, another way of looking at it is that this is merely an overrated UM team opening the season with a toe-stubber.


Story of the Week


    Orlando Cepeda was known as "the Baby Bull" and "Cha Cha" during his major league career, but known to Spanish speakers as "Peruchin.” It was in the genes. His father, Pedro Cepeda, was a well-known local baseball hero in their native Puerto Rico, and was the original "Perucho" and "the Bull." Pedro "Perucho" Cepeda, was a great Puerto Rican slugger who was known as "Babe Ruth of the Caribbean."


Born: September 17, 1937, in Ponce, Puerto Rico

ML Debut: 4/15/1958
Primary Position: First Baseman
Bats: R   Throws: R   Primary Uniform #: 30


    A powerful slugger during his 17-year major league career, Orlando Manuel Cepeda Pennes withstood a series of knee injuries to become a seven-time National League All-Star. As a 20-year-old rookie with the Giants in 1958, the "Baby Bull" hit .312 with 25 home runs to earn unanimous National League Rookie of the Year honors. Nine years later, the Puerto Rican native compiled a league-leading 111 RBI for the World Champion Cardinals, while becoming the first unanimous MVP in the National League since Carl Hubbell in 1936.


    Cepeda's major league career included nine seasons where he batted .300 or better, and eightseasons of 25 or more homers. In 1958, as a 20 year old rookie with the San Francisco Giants, Cepeda managed to hit .312 AVG, hit 20 home runs and 96 RBI's en route to landing Rookie of the Year honors.


    Orlando's finest season came in 1967; in a year dominated by strong pitching, Cepeda led the St. Louis Cardinals’ offense with a .325 AVG, 25 HR and 111 RBIs. Cepeda earned National League Most Valuable Player honors in that year while taking the Cardinals to beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.


    Acquired in mid-season 1972 by the Oakland A’s from the Atlanta Braves, Cepeda's aching knees could go no more and he played only three games for the A's. After playing most of 1973 in the Mexican League, Cepeda was acquired by the Boston Red Sox at the end of the season. Freed from the necessity to play in the field, Cepeda flourished as the Red Sox designated hitter for the 1974 season and hit 20 home runs. He closed his MLB career with the Kansas City Royals.


    Orlando Cepeda retired from playing baseball in 1975, but continued to be recognized for charity work and humanitarian efforts. Cepeda lived and played in a time when the United States was at a crossroads of social change and racial intolerance. He was often the target of racial slurs, but the tough Cepeda always managed to remain proud and be a spokesperson and pioneer for Hispanic players everywhere.


    But Cepeda's baseball career and professional achievements have always been haunted by an incident in which Cepeda was arrested at San Juan airport after trying to pick up an excess of 150 lb of marijuana. Some say the marijuana was actually being sent to his brother, who had a dubious criminal past, but the proud Cepeda never blamed anybody else. He served 10 months in a state prison.


    Cepeda joined the Hall of Fame in 1999 when the veterans committee elected him, becoming the second native Puerto Rican to join the Baseball Hall of Fame. During his induction into the Hall of Fame, Cepeda said, "I'm proud to be a Puerto Rican and I will be a role model to the people of my country". Orlando Cepeda became the sixth Hispanic and the only living Puerto Rican in the Baseball Hall of Fame.


    Notable Achievements:


    In 1958, following Orlando's rookie year, Willie Mays was quoted as stating "Cepeda  is annoying to every pitcher in baseball. He is strong, he hits to all fields, and he makes all the plays. He's the most relaxed first-year man I ever saw.” I’ll now go further. Orlando Cepeda was one of the most powerful and exciting hitters I have ever seen. He himself was worth the price of admission.


Last Week’s Trivia


    In the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, when our upstart group of hockey amateurs beat the heavily favored Soviet team of professionals, essentially, on their way to the gold medal, what were the classic words of announcer Al Michaels as the game clock ticked down to an American victory? “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” 


Trivia Question of the Week


    Who is the only player to lead the NCAA, NBA and ABA in scoring for a season? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.