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Remembering Johnny Majors

I know what the 1976 University of Pittsburgh title won under coach Johnny Majors, who died days back, at age 85, meant to my friend Beano Cook.

After the great Marshall Goldberg led teams and frankly after the Majors coached and Tony Dorsett led ’76 title team, the “title cupboard” has been bare at “Pitt.”

However, they do have that 1976 title, 20 years after Johnny Majors, a great Tennessee player and later coach (he also coached at Iowa State) finished second to Paul Hornung, in the Heisman Trophy race.

Tony Dorsett’s tribute to his coach resonates and follows:

“He was more than just an integral part of my college football career; he was a dear friend who continued his relationship with me far beyond my playing days,” Dorsett said in a statement. “He took a young high school kid and showed him how to be a leader and a man. My prayers are with his family, the Pitt community and all the players and coaches who have been a part of his life. Rest in heaven, Coach.”

 

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Johnny Majors, pictured above. 

 

Coach Majors moved Tony Dorsett in the backfield and that sparked Pittsburgh to a (24-7) win vs Penn State, to complete an undefeated regular season in 1976. 

The video above offers perspective on that game.

Remembering The First ABC Monday Night Game

Perhaps what it started, ultimately was not good, however, today a look back at an old post, about the first ABC package/ Monday Night Football tilt.

I will add a note regarding that Cleveland Browns’ (31-21) win vs the New York Jets on September 21, 1970.

As he so often did, a truly great NFL receiver, Gary Collins (see the ’64 NFL title game, when Gary caught 3 touchdown passes from Frank Ryan as the Browns won the last Cleveland football crown) scored on a post pattern and those were the “package’s” first points.

Remembering The First ABC Monday Night Football Game

 

Gary will turn 80 in August and unjustly in my opinion, is still not and likely will not be in the NFL hall.

 

 

 

Remembering The Great Wes Unseld

Let’s just say in almost every big game the great Wes Unseld, who died this week, too young at age 74, played, I was on “his side.”

He was the most important player on Baltimore/Washington/Capital Bullets teams, that had a period of sustained excellence from (1969-1979), highlighted by winning the ’78 crown.

There were defeats, three in other NBA final series, one expected vs the last year of Lew Alcindor (next year he was Kareem Abdul Jabbar), who stood close to a foot taller than Wes and others in ’75 vs Rick Barry and Golden State and ’79 vs Denis Johnson and Seattle, in which the Bullets were either favored or had home advantage.

Wes Unseld was the epitome of determination, never more evident than his “return shot/offensive rebound” basket for the final points in the Bullets’ two point win vs the big series favorite Philadelphia 76ers, that clinched the ’78 “semis” in 6 games.

That and the subsequent title series win vs Seattle, dedicated to the Bullets’ director of public relations, Marc Splaver, who died so young (29 years) that year, was our win.

Those days, the NBA semis were not shown on television, not even on delayed tape (now I wish the NBA would just go away and certainly hope they do not contest, what would be distorted playoffs) so I listened to Bullets’ broadcaster Frank Herzog, lying on the floor, so my ear would be next to the stereo speaker.

It was “important” that Wes, the Bullets and me, so often denied, would win this one. Unseld’s play and that of Bob Dandridge, who as Thomas Boswell wrote in his Washington Post tribute to Wes, outplayed (Julius) Erving, led the victory.

The title win vs Seattle was not as important to me, but I was on the “ride.”

Fourteen years later, I was in L.A. to attend the Sunday game, which was highlighted by the retirement of Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s #32.

Two days earlier, I saw the bus transporting the Bullets, coached by Wes Unseld, moving slowly out of the (L.A.) Forum.

I got in the bus and said to Wes, how great it and he were–the outlet pass, rookie/year and MVP in the same season (only Wilt Chamberlain and he have ever accomplished that), his rebounding and the ’78 title.

He smiled and we both knew to “hang in there,” during the tough times, until we get on that “final bus.”

Wes is on it now, leaving much good behind and with the blessings of so many, as he goes.

 

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Wes Unseld, pictured above. I believe that is Phil Chenier, a member of the ’78 title team, #45, in the backround.

 

Perhaps appropriate to good NBA memories, “The Who” perform “Magic Bus.”

 

 

 

Game Show Hosts On “What’s My Line?”

In July 1967, only eight episodes of the long running, great television show “What’s My Line?” remained, when the following one aired.

The mystery guests were 4 hosts from other Mark Goodson (himself a panelist) and Bill Todman produced shows.

Those hosts were Ed McMahon, Alan Ludden, Budd Collyer and Gene Rayburn.

Joining Goodson on the panel were Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf and Sue Oakland.

John Charles Daly is the host.

The great announcer Johnny Olson is introduced. This is quite an episode. Enjoy.

 

 

Opinion: 24 Hour “News” Contributed To “This”

Amidst the troubling scenes on “that tube,” yesterday (ode to Paddy Chayefsky writing it and Peter Finch delivering it, in the oh so prescient film, “Network,” roughly 45 years ago) was in my opinion, one reason it got this crazy.

CNN which begot others, even worse, made a point it was the 40th anniversary of their beginning.

I feel pretty strongly, that we do not need the 24 hour “news” presented on these networks. 

Their presence is one reason, one of many, the country is so divided. 

They boasted of fair and balanced reporting. All things in life are relative and where has Albert Einstein gone?

Alas, trotting out former reporter Bernard Shaw, he of the inflammatory question of a hypothetical double violent act vs Michael Dukakis’ wife Kitty, at an ’88 presidential race debate, that all but assured “Bush over Dukakis,” certainly is not a good “poster,” for fair and balanced reporting.

Give me the CBS Evening News with Douglas Edwards any time.

That said, we all do need, as “Bread” asked in  “Make It With You,” to see “the other side,” and work from there. It is not easy, but few worthwhile things are. 

 

I have opinions, even strong ones about the “rest of it,” (Paul Harvey perhaps) but they are beyond my scope.

However, knowing about what must be done to have 24 hour networks and what manifests from it, I feel fine expressing my negative opinion, about the concept.

As for Mr. Shaw, who certainly does not need me to cite his career achievements, I am not the first to “? his ?” to Mr. Dukakis.

1961 Yankees Notes Part Two

Though he had been dead for 13 years (perhaps an unlucky #), 1961 was deemed a bad year for the Babe (Ruth).

Mr. Ruth, in my book, though flawed as we all are, is not only baseball’s greatest player, but this hemisphere’s greatest sports figure, had two records broken, a week apart in ’61.

He held the one season record with 59 home runs in 1921.

The “Babe” hit 60 home runs in 1927, the last on Sunday September 30th.

Thirty four years and one day later, also on a Sunday, Roger Maris hit his 61st home run.

One reason Ruth is in my book, the greatest,  was that he was a tremendous pitcher, in addition to being the game’s preeminent slugger.

Ruth held the World Series record of 29 and two thirds innings of scoreless pitching (13 straight in a 14 inning win for Babe’s Red Sox in the 1916 World Series) until another great, Edward “Whitey” Ford broke that mark.

Ford set the record when he got Elio Chacon (the next year, an original New York Mets player) on a Bobby Richardson to Bill “Moose” Skowron groundout, to end the third inning on Sunday October 8th. (Don Larsen authored a perfect game for the Yankees five years earlier on that date).

 

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The great pitcher Edward “Whitey” Ford, pictured above.

Remembering Bobby Joe Morrow

Bobby Joe Morrow, who won three gold medals in the 1956 Olympics, contested in Melbourne, Australia, died yesterday, at the age of 84.

He won the 100 meters, 200 and anchored the 4 X 100 relay sprints to achieve a status matched only by three better known Olympic greats, Jesse Owens in 1936, Carl Lewis in 1984 and Usain Bolt in both 2012 and 2016.

Mr. Morrow is shown winning the 100 meters race yielding a gold medal, in the ’56 Olympics. He also reflects on the priceless moment, a sentiment perhaps, so appropriate now.

 

The narrator is David Perry, whose real name was David Greenspan, the brother of Bud Greenspan, on whose Olympic documentaries, Mr. Perry/Greenspan often worked.