Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 8/11/09

Paul Ferrante–a local baseball stadium historian–recently chimed in on the new Yankee Stadium: “Surely, it’s a shrine to the Yankees–but it’s also a shrine to EXCESS”……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1983 Kansas City Royals had three players on the team who stole more than 25 bases apiece. Can you name these three individuals? Answer to follow……….Newly-acquired N.Y. Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur recently told the New York Post that his favorite actress is Charlize Theron. Two things: 1) This guy just became my favorite athlete in New York. 2) There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with his eyesight……….GM Charlie Dowd and the Connecticut Defenders continue to give fans a huge “bang for their buck.” Senior citizens can truly benefit from the many promotions at Dodd Stadium as there are three “Senior Citizen Wednesdays” remaining this season (8/12, 8/26, and 9/2). Fans 55 and older can purchase tickets for just $3 and are allowed to participate in “Seniors Stroll The Bases” following the game. More info can be obtained by visiting the Defenders’ website at ……….This week in sports history, August 10, 1980: The great Jack Nicklaus wins his fifth PGA Championship–shooting a final round 69 at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. It was the 19th major tournament win in the “Golden Bear’s” fabulous career and his 68th career victory overall. His four-round total of 274 was SEVEN shots better than runner-up Andy Bean–making for the largest margin of victory in the history of the tournament……….I still think my favorite Chris Berman nickname of all-time is the one given to former outfielder Bernard “Innocent Until Proven” Gilkey……….Newly-enshrined Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson was named after famed singer Ricky Nelson; the former player’s full name is Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson. Ah, that now seems to be very appropriate seeing that this “Travelin’ Man” played for a whopping NINE different teams over his long, storied career……….Speaking of well-traveled men, how ’bout Todd Donovan of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA Eastern League)–who’s played for SEVEN different organizations (Padres, Dodgers, Indians, Orioles, Rangers, A’s and Blue Jays) over the past decade or so? If THIS guy doesn’t deserve a lucrative endorsement deal from American Tourister or Samsonite, then NO ONE does……….I had the pleasure of interviewing former MLB outfielder Carlos May on “Monday Night Sports Talk” recently–a man who lost his thumb back in 1969 while serving in the Marine Reserves. Luckily, May was able to adjust socially and proceeded to enjoy a fairly productive baseball career thereafter–both here and in Japan. However, it’s become very clear that many individuals who’ve served in Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom–including some athletes not as talented as Mr. May–are struggling mightily these days. Enter the VOIEF (Veterans of Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom), founded by Kurt Schwab–a fine organization that helps men/women who have fought for our country transition/cope after returning home. More info about donating to this terrific cause/organization can be obtained by visiting or by emailing Mr. Schwab at [email protected] ……….Great point made by Tim McCarver during last week’s Yankees/White Sox game on FOX–talking about pitching success: “Even at its highest level, baseball remains a simple game: STRIKE ONE”……….Answer to trivia question: WILLIE WILSON (59), UL WASHINGTON (40), and JOHN WATHAN (28)……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league first baseman George Canale–who blows out 44 candles on August 11th. Don’t remember this native of Memphis? You’re forgiven. Canale played just three years in the “bigs” with Milwaukee from 1989-’91–appearing in only 44 games–and he surely didn’t make Brewers fans forget about Cecil Cooper. In 73 career at-bats, Canale tallied just 12 hits–thus resulting in a lifetime batting average of just .164. I guess an optimist points out that four of Canale’s 12 lifetime hits were home runs–a terrific ratio–and that he also walked a dozen times during his short major league tenure. Best wishes, George……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league relief pitcher Luis Quintana–who died recently in West Palm Beach, FL; it was determined that Quintana died of natural causes after being found in his car after it crashed. Quintana appeared in a total of 22 games in 1974 and ’75 for the California Angels–going 2-3 with an ERA of 5.03. A native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, Quintana was originally signed by the S.F. Giants back in 1971 as an amateur free agent; he was 57 years old at the time of his death. May Luis Quintana 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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