Quick Take

    Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals is as good as any player in baseball today. Heís 24, he led the majors in batting last year at .359 with 43 homers and 124 RBIís. In three seasons in the "bigs", he has hit 114 homers, tying Ralph Kinerís record for homers in his first three years. And heís the only player in major league history to bat .300 or better with 30 homers, 100 RBIís and 100 runs scored in each of his first three seasons. And heís not on drugs or steroids; how unique!

Story of the Week

THE FAMILY TREE OF THE COLTS

    We all have a family tree. On my family tree, Iím the sap; I love Rodney. This article traces the family tree of the Indianapolis Colts. Itís a very interesting history that Iíll bet you didnít know. You will now.

    The NFL played with 12 teams in 1951, and there was no doubt that the weakest franchise was the New York Yankees. After watching his team stumble to a 1-9-2 record, owner Ted Collins realized the Yankees couldnít compete with the Giants in New York. So he sold the club back to the NFL, thus beginning the long process that brought pro football to Indianapolis.

    A group from Baltimore put in a bid for the Yankees, but the NFL didnít believe the city could support pro football. Instead, it accepted an offer for the 1952 season from a Dallas-based consortium headed by Giles and Connell Miller, sons of the founder of a Texas textile company. The league felt Dallas was a canít-miss proposition, given its love of football.

    However, poor promotion, a mismanaged front office, and weak personnel left over from the dismal Yankees curbed fansí interest in the pro game, dooming the Texans before they were a year old.

    There were other problems, too. One was the contract of George Ratterman, which stipulated that if the team ever left New York, he was free to pursue other work. When New York moved to Dallas, Ratterman moved to the Cleveland Browns. Another issue was the racial prejudice in the South at the time. Two of the Texansí best players, Buddy Young and George Taliaferro, were black, and the fans refused to accept them, which helped to explain the woeful attendance.

    The Cotton Bowl was Dallasí home stadium, but in four games there, the combined attendance failed to reach 50,000. Halfway through the season, the Miller brothers washed their hands of the team. The NFL ran the operation for the remainder of the year. The Texans played all their remaining games on the road. Dallas won one game that year.

    In December, 1952, Commissioner Bert Bell, in a speech to the Baltimore Advertising Club, declared that if 15,000 season tickets could be sold in advance, the Texans would become the Colts. Baltimore fans came through, and Bell talked his good friend, Carroll Rosenbloom, into running the franchise.

    You know the rest of it. After a storied tenure in Baltimore, the trucks came, and the team moved on. New York to Dallas to Baltimore to Indianapolis; thatís the family tree of the NFL Colts.

Last Weekís Trivia

    The three Lís, all great quarterbacks, played for the Chicago Bears in 1948. Bobby Layne and Sid Luckman went on to the Hall of Fame. Heisman winner Johnny Lujack did not. Iíll drink to that, and believe me-----Bobby Layne did. He once commented that the only thing he feared when getting tackled was breaking the flask in his hip pocket. If I were the owner of a NFL team, Iíd gladly take tough and clutch Bobby Layne at QB.

    There was another QB few people ever heard of whose surname began with L. You never heard of him because the highest he ever got was the BíNai BíRith Flag Football League. The bumís name was Lippel.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Whoís the only major leaguer to have hit into four triple plays? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.