Quick Take


    Terry Bradshaw was one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. He led the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in six years. He’s equally talented at the Fox studio microphone. Don’t let that Shreveport drawl and his fun-loving approach fool you, as was quite evident when Jay Leno pointed out to Terry on a recent Tonight Show that his fly was unzipped. That was hilarious. Bradshaw is sensational!


Story of the Week



    All three of these shortstops played in New York in the same era. All three were tremendous as players and leaders of their respective teams.




    Alvin Dark was a standout in both baseball and football at LSU, and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he chose baseball as his career, and signed with the Boston Braves. He won the 1948 Rookie of the Year award, hit .300 four times, led the NL in doubles once, led league shortstops three times each in putouts and double plays, and hit 20 or more home runs and scored over 100 runs twice each. Dark's single in the ninth inning of the third 1951 NL playoff game started the rally that culminated in Bobby Thomson’s famous pennant-winning homer. As a manager, Dark won the 1962 NL pennant for San Francisco and the 1974 World Championship with Oakland. While leading San Francisco, he once tore off a finger at the joint throwing a metal chair after a loss. After finding religion, his calmer personality enabled him to work two tours for A's owner Charlie Finley.


    When he singled to start the bottom of the ninth inning of the third game of the 1951 National League Playoffs, Alvin Dark started the rally that culminated in Bobby Thomson's famous home run. Had Dark only done that, he probably would still be remembered by Giants fans, but he accomplished much more in a long career in baseball. Dark was the Rookie of the Year in 1948, was a three-time All-Star, managed the Giants to the 1962 pennant, and guided the A's to their third World Series title in 1974 after replacing Dick Williams at the helm. With a red-hot temper and burning desire to win, Dark at times found himself embroiled in controversy, but he was always colorful and at the center of the action. He and his double play partner, Eddie Stanky, were both traded to the Giants in the same deal in 1949. In 1969 fans chose Alvin Dark as the top shortstop in Giants' history. Dark, ala Reese and Rizzuto, belongs in the HOF.


PEE WEE REESE: DODGERS. 1940-1942. 1946-1958. HALL OF FAME.


    Harold Reese got his nickname as a young champion marble shooter; a “pee wee” is a type of marble. After being signed by the Boston Red Sox, the 5'10" 160-lb Reese proved his worth in Louisville. A Kentucky native, he was known as the Little  Colonel as the star shortstop on the Louisville Colonels (American Association). Managing and playing shortstop for Boston at the time was Joe Cronin, who wasn't ready to make room for the talented youngster by moving himself to third base. He was sold to Brooklyn for $75,000.

Reese's rookie 1940 season was marred by a fractured heel. He recovered in 1941 to lead the Dodgers to their first pennant since 1920. From 1941 through 1956, with a three-year absence in the navy during WWII, he averaged 148 games a year.


    After his arrival in Brooklyn, he was named captain of the Dodgers, and many called him The Captain. The title was well earned, as he was the leader of Dodger teams that won seven pennants in the 1940s and 1950s. When Jackie Robinson arrived in Brooklyn amid enormous pressures and player resentment, it was Reese who set the example of acceptance, putting his arm around Robinson's shoulder on the field, showing the world he was Robinson's teammate and friend.


    A smooth fielder, he became the premier shortstop of his era, an All-Star each year from 1947 to 1954. He was also a great leadoff hitter, leading the NL in walks (104) in 1947, in runs scored (132) in 1949, and in stolen bases (30) in 1952. He was also noted for his clutch hitting and excellent bat control. Reese's highest average was .309 in 1954.
    Reese was one of the most popular players on an idolized team. For his birthday in 1955, the Dodgers threw a party at Ebbets Field, showering him with $20,000 worth of gifts, and 35,000 fans lit candles and sang "Happy Birthday" to him as the lights went dark in the fifth inning. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Reese went along. He played 59 games in 1958 and became a coach. But he soon retired and went to work for the Louisville Slugger bat company. His leadership on the Dodgers' pennant-winning teams gained him election by the Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame in 1984. Pee Wee Reese passed away in 1999. 


PHIL RIZZUTO: YANKEES. 1941-1942. 1946-1956. HALL OF FAME.

    Phil Rizzuto was in the right place at the right time. The New York native was with the powerhouse Yankees in the period of their greatest domination, and as a result is among the all-time leaders in many World Series statistics: 52 games (6th), 183 at-bats and 45 hits (7th), 21 runs (10th), 30 walks (4th), and 10 steals (3rd). One of the best shortstops in the AL in his time, he led three times each in double plays and total chances per game, twice each in fielding and putouts, and once in assists.

    Rizzuto was a fair hitter for a shortstop and a superb bunter. He moved Frankie Crosetti aside in 1941 and 1942, but spent 1943-45 in the military. On an all-star service team, coach Bill Dickey played Pee Wee Reese at shortstop and Rizzuto at third base. The peak of Rizzuto's career came in back-to-back standout seasons in 1949 and 1950. Though he had previously been the Yankees' number-seven or number-eight batter, his hot 1949 moved him to the leadoff spot, and he produced 110 runs while batting .275 and walking 72 times.


    He finished second in the MVP voting (behind Ted Williams, who missed his third Triple Crown by a fraction of a point). Rizzuto's 1950 season earned him the MVP award by over a hundred points: he had career highs with a .324 batting average (sixth in the AL), 125 runs (tied for second), 91 walks, 36 doubles (third), and a .439 slugging average, the only time he topped .400.

Rizzuto continued at the top of the lineup (first or second in the order) until he slumped badly in 1954, hitting just .195. Thereafter he was a backup used mostly for his defense. The Yankees retired his number 10 in 1985. Phil Rizzuto passed away earlier this year.


Last Week’s Trivia


    UNLV is in the NCAA Final Four record book. Why? They set a record for the least number of free throws made in a Final Four game in 1977 against North Carolina. UNLV shot but five free throws, making just one of them. UNLV lost that game by just a single point, 84-83.


Trivia Question of the Week


    What is the highest scoring game in NFL history? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.