Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 5/2/09

From the “All in the Family” Dept.:  Red Sox fan Jimmy O’Hara of Shelton (CT) recently pointed out to me that the ’79 Bosox squad had a “Papi” and four “sons” on it:  Stan Papi, Gary Allenson, Rick Burleson, Butch Hobson, and Bob Watson.  A gem, Jimmy–thanks for sharing!……TRIVIA QUESTION:  The lowly 1993 San Diego Padres had only one player on the team who was anywhere NEAR the 100 RBI mark.  Can you name this former outfielder?  Answer to follow……Athletes from ANY sport could learn A LOT from the candor and grace shown by PGA golfer Kenny Perry following his recent, late collapse at the Masters.  After blowing a two-stroke lead with two holes left to play (and then losing in a playoff to Angel Cabrera), Perry bluntly critiqued himself, but spent more time focusing on the positives in his life–truly putting golf in perspective.  Ah, so refreshing in these days of the often-clueless athlete spewing garbage after a defeat.  You’re a winner in MY book, Mr. Perry……The “Unwatchable NBA” Update:  In a playoff game between San Antonio and Dallas last week, the Spurs shot a pathetic 2-for-17 from three-point range (12%) and had a TEAM total of just 10 assists.  Ummm, baseball season, anyone?……This week in sports history, May 4, 1985:  Jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. wins his third Kentucky Derby–guiding Spend A Buck to an easy, 5 1/4-length victory in the annual “Run for the Roses” at Louisville’s Churchill Downs.  Breaking out of the gate quickly, Cordero rode the talented thoroughbred to the biggest winning margin in the Derby since 1946; his first mile time of 1:34 4/5 was the fastest in the history of the race.  Cordero had previously won the famed Kentucky race aboard Cannonade in 1974 and while riding Bold Forbes in 1976……Lazzari’s “Lopsided Score of the Week”:  In a recent Connecticut girl’s softball game played in Hartford, Bulkeley annihilated University by a score of 31-0; the game lasted just 4 1/2 innings and saw the winning squad score 24 runs in the first two innings.  As soon as I saw the score of that fiasco, I immediately thought of Marvin Gaye’s classic hit “Mercy Mercy Me”–a song I used to love.  The problem now is that I haven’t been able to get it out of my head SINCE then–humming and whistling it constantly–to the point where I NEVER want to hear it again.  Sheesh–thanks, Bulkeley!!……Answer to trivia question:  PHIL PLANTIER–who drove in an even 100 runs while hitting just .240 for Jim Riggleman’s last-place club……ITEM:  12-year-old Mackenzie Brown becomes the first girl in the history of the Bayonne (NJ) Little League to pitch a perfect game.  Rumor has it that she will soon hire Scott Boras as her agent and demand the following:  an unlimited supply of Gummi Bears after each game she pitches, tickets to all Hannah Montana concerts in the tri-state area, and a chauffeured-limo trip to Six Flags/Great Adventure for herself and six friends at least three times each calendar year……Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league player Rick Leach–who blows out 52 candles on May 4th.  A first baseman/outfielder, Leach played ten seasons between 1981 and 1990 for the Tigers, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Giants–hitting .268 lifetime.  A tremendous athlete, Leach was also a star QB at Michigan from 1975-1978 and was named to the All-Big 10 team three times; he was co-most valuable player in the 1979 Rose Bowl.  Best wishes, Rick……Finally, condolences go out to the family of legendary sportscaster Merle Harmon–who died recently of complications from pneumonia at the age of 82.  In a sportscasting career that spanned five decades, Harmon was the voice of five MLB teams (A’s, Braves, Twins, Brewers, and Rangers); he also worked for ABC and NBC as well as broadcasting New York Jets games during the Joe Namath glory years.  One of Harmon’s many career highlights was calling Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th career strikeout–which came on on August 22, 1989 vs. Oakland’s Rickey Henderson.   Married more than 50 years to his wife, Jenny, the couple had four sons and one daughter–plus seven grandchildren.  May Mr. Harmon rest in peace.

About the Author

Bob Lazzari

Bob Lazzari is an award-winning sports columnist for both Connecticut's Valley Times and NY Sports Day--where his "Sports Roundup" column is featured weekly. He is a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance and host of "Monday Night Sports Talk" --a cable television show on CTV/Channel14 in Connecticut. A Fordham grad, Bob is a regular contributor to ESPN Radio's "Inside Yankee Baseball"; he can also be heard weekly every Tuesday morning on WXLM/104.7 FM in New London, CT. He has a popular blog where many of his past columns have been archived.

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