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We Were the First
Fair Winds and Following Seas
Love Each Other
Hey Dad it's Me, I'll call You Back
Some Things Never Change
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We Were the First

Nineteen Sixty-Three was a very memorable year in the world of sports.  Wilt Chamberlain dropped 67 points on the Lakers and then 70 the following week on Syracuse.  “Sonny” Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson in the 1 round to win the heavyweight title, and Jack Nicklaus won “The Masters.”  A young Pete Rose debuted for the Cincinnati Reds, and both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays signed the first $100,000 a year contracts in Major League baseball history.  The great Jim Brown won the Bert Bell Award by setting the NFL single-season rushing record with 1,863 yards; the Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs; and Jim Thorpe, “Red” Grange, George Halas were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Look into those eyes.  Notice that smile.  Now you know why so many stop by to see him.  They come by, young and old, to say “hello,” pay their respects, to place their hand on his shoulder or shake his hand.  Most of them want to take a picture with him.  Because of his WWII military service, he has been written about as much as any Corpus Christi resident.  There are not many Pearl Harbor survivors left, and his life story is indeed incredible. 



But this is a tribute to a baseball fan.

Love Each Other

I have always wanted to write this story but be as it may, it always became a bit to emotional for me.  You see, sometimes we can be too close to something.  So close that it feels wonderful and hurts all at the same time.  Oh, I tried and then all the memories rose up, my mind reeling, I would move on to something else, always intending to return.  It’s been 33 years.  Now that another season of NCAA basketball has started, I will try again to express my feelings.  I will never forget the following article that was written in the Albuquerque Journal on the morning of April 3, 1983.

Hey Dad it's Me, I'll call You Back

While in high school, Jeff Francoeur played football and baseball.  He was a terrific wide receiver and defensive back on the football team.  Jeff led Parkview High School, located in Lilburn, Georgia, to the State 5A High School Football Championships in 2000 and 2001.  He also led his high school to the State 5A Baseball Championships in 2001 and 2002.  He was recruited for both sports near and far, by many colleges.  Head football Coach, Tommy Bowden, from Clemson University was after Francoeur to play for the Tigers, and he offered Jeff a scholarship to play wide receiver.

Some Things Never Change

There is no doubt that Pete Rose had a compulsion for hitting.  In the summer of 1990, Pete Rose confessed to tax evasion and was sentenced to five months in jail and a fine.  In January of 1991, after serving his time in prison, he was picked up by his son, Pete Rose, Jr.  Pete asked his son if he knew where the closet batting cage was located.  “Yes,” said Jr. “there happens to be one close by.  When they got there, Pete asked the attendant which machine was the fastest.

Thoughts on the Greatest

How do you begin to write about an icon; one of the few people, other than the Pope, who have been known worldwide for over a half century?  The world knew his name.  He was perhaps the most recognized man on the planet Earth.  What more could be written?  What secrets lie unknown?  His entire life has been documented for history on radio, film, television, and in more books than the entire collection of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  From the jungles of the Philippines to the deserts of Africa and all across this great land, the name Ali resonates with young and old, men and women, of every color and nationality, sitting around tables and telling stories.

Mudville Nine

June gives all baseball cranks a chance to relive the legend of Mighty Casey.  Of all the fictional characters to come out of baseball, none has ever held a place in the minds and hearts of fans, as has Casey.  The legendary poem, “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, celebrates its 128 anniversary this month.  This poem has appeared in nearly all baseball magazines or periodicals and every true fan has heard of the team known as the Mudville Nine.  No matter how many times you have read this poem or heard it read, you can’t help but sift through the verse to find out about Cooney and Burrows or Flynn and Blakely.

Cowboy Joe

Umpire Joe West is called “Cowboy Joe” because he’s the only umpire to record two country music albums in Nashville.  As a singer and songwriter, Joe West is currently the most tenured umpire in all of Major League Baseball.  West played quarterback and pitched in college.  I was his suitemate for a time, while we were in college together.  West, who wears #22, started his umpiring career in 1976.  He has worked five World Series, two All-Star Games, and many league and division series.

Bud

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, Vin Scully, tells a wonderful story of how current Atlanta Braves’ pitcher, David Norris, Jr., became known as “Bud.”   Norris was about three years old when he and his family entered a restaurant for a bite to eat.  Several of the adults ordered a beer with their meal.  When the waitress ask young David what he would like to drink he said, “Bud.”  His answer broke the family members up.  From that moment on, he became known as Bud. 

A Night to Remember

On September 29, 1959, Gil Hodges scored the winning run and the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first National League pennant.  They had finished in seventh place the year before and were expected to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack.  It had been an amazing finish to the season; but it had started off with a celebration of life.  At the end of the 1957 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
On Thursday, May 7, 1959, the L.A. Dodgers played the New York Yankees in a special exhibition game set up to be played at the L.
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