1. Quick Hits
- Former managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are all elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Pitcher Roy Halladay retires from baseball at the age of 36. He won the Cy Young Award with both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Monday Night Football: In frigid Chicago the Bears beat Dallas 45-28.
- Six Heisman Trophy finalists were announced including last years winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and the favorite to win, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. The Heisman will be awarded Saturday.
You can’t quibble with the new Hall of Famers. Obviously the Veterans committee didn’t since all three were elected unanimously. All three are great ambassadors for the game. But how Marvin Miller can be snubbed escapes me. Not only didn’t he make it, he received fewer votes than he did the last time. Perhaps some people hold Miller, the former head of the Players Association, accountable for the high cost of going to ballgames, but you can’t ignore the fact that baseball wouldn’t be nearly as popular today if it were not for him.
3. Rotten Apple
There’s a perception that New York sports teams will just buy their way to the title. Then there’s reality. There are 9 major pro sports teams in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and only one of them, the Yankees has/had a winning record. Add in the Buffalo teams, and it’s still just one. And it’s the Yankees who are the ones spending as if they’re drunken sailors because they’re perceived to be a failure. So, for anti-New Yorkers around the country you can rejoice that the Big Apple can’t be confused with Titletown U.S.A. but at least they’ve got the Super Bowl. Dress warm.
4. Are You Ready for Some What?
Speaking of the Super Bowl, an outdoor Super Bowl conjures up football like it “ought to be” or “used to be.” Braving the elements, frozen tundras and the like. Good old football. Except for the New Jersey Super Bowl. There will be no tailgating (yes you can tailgate if you don’t use a grill and don’t take up an extra parking spot), no dropping off passengers from any type of limo, taxi or black car and no walking to the stadium either. Parking lots will strictly be for parking. I guess that’s the way it used to be too.
5. 20/20 Hindsight
So you look at Today in Sports, and you wonder how a team like the Mets could possibly trade a Hall of Fame pitcher like Nolan Ryan? Just look back at the New York Times story written that day by Joe Durso. In the first sentence he references Ryan’s “wandering fastball,” and he quotes the great Gil Hodges, the Mets manager, as saying “You always hate to give up on an arm like Ryan’s, he could put things together overnight, but he hasn’t done it for us and the Angels wanted him. I would not hesitate making a trade for somebody who might help us right now, and (Jim) Fregosi is such a guy.” Sounded good at the time. But Fregosi didn’t help the Mets batting just .232. The following year they sold him to Texas. Ryan, on the other hand, pitched 7 no-hitters and became baseball’s strikeout king before entering the Hall of Fame. But on the bright side Mets fans, neither of them ever won a World Series after the trade.
Happy Birthday: Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. 30.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Susan Dey. 61.
Today in Sports: The Mets traded pitcher Nolan Ryan to the California Angels for third baseman Jim Fregosi. 1971.
Bonus Event: Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published. 1884,
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