Lazzari’s Sports Roundup

Great line by WFAN Radio’s Mike Francesa last week–describing to a caller how the greedy, New York football teams have “put the screws” to fans with seat licensing fees:  “They turn you upside down until the nickels fall out of your pockets”……….TRIVIA QUESTION:  Who was the last member of the New York Yankees to lead the American League in runs scored in consecutive years?  Answer to follow……….I used to think that watching Rick Barry shoot free throws underhanded was a pure thing of beauty–that is, until I saw a recent picture of lovely actress Jessica Alba in a form-fitting dress at the LA screening of her upcoming movie “Machete”……….ITEM:  Oregon State offensive lineman Tyler Patrick Thomas is dismissed from the team after police find him drunk AND naked in a stranger’s home; when told by police to get on the ground/surrender, Thomas proceeded to form his usual three-point stance and actually lunged at the officers.  Yes, stun guns had to be used to tame the massive 19-year-old.  If I was one of the arresting officers involved in this saga, my first question after corralling the intoxicated Thomas would have been, “Hey Ty–by the way–do you remember if this was supposed to be a running or passing play?”……….This week in sports history, September 7, 1970:  In the fourth race at Del Mar (California), horse racing legend Bill Shoemaker becomes the world’s winningest jockey–guiding 2-year-old filly Dares J to a 2 1/2 length victory.  The win was the 6,033rd of Shoemaker’s storied career–passing Johnny Longden’s old mark of 6,032.  With Longden among the 20,000 people in attendance, Shoemaker broke the record while on his 24,534th mount; the two legendary jockeys also posed for photographs together following this memorable, six-furlong race……….Recently, I was surprised AND impressed to find out that All-Pro NFL guard Alan Faneca has lived with epilepsy for years and has enjoyed a tremendous football career.  Funds continue to be desperately needed to assist in the fight against epilepsy.  Robert Fiore–the president and founder of The Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate, Inc.–will soon partake in the first annual “Walking Miles For Epilepsy” on Wednesday, September 15th; Fiore will venture out at 8:00 AM from the Washington Bridge in Milford (CT) and walk to the University of New Haven.  This year’s donations will be used for The Yale Epilepsy Program–which provides promising options for many pediatric and adult patients with epilepsy.  A great cause, folks; to support Mr. Fiore and his valiant fundraising efforts, please make checks payable (and mail) to:  Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate, Inc., 20 Salem Walk, Milford, CT 06460-7132……….This is directed at all male, Boston Red Sox fans out there:  I know you’re amazingly devoted and truly take each loss to heart.  But when you get to gaze at the lovely Heidi Watney doing interviews following those tough defeats, doesn’t a LOT of the sting suddenly disappear?……….Answer to trivia question:  RICKEY HENDERSON–who led the AL in runs scored in 1985 and ’86 with totals of 146 and 130 respectively……….Happy birthday wishes go out to NBA Hall of Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald–who blows out 62 candles on September 2nd.  A product of the Bronx who played at UTEP, “Tiny” spent 13 seasons playing in the league–most notably with the Kings and Celtics–averaging an impressive 18.8 points and 7.4 assists per game over the course of his career.  Archibald undoubtedly had one of the greatest seasons in the HISTORY of the NBA back in ’72-73 while playing in Kansas City–a year in which he led the league in both scoring (34.0) AND assists (11.4).  Archibald was named to the All-NBA First Team three times during his marvelous career and was a six-time All-Star.  Nate was also a member of the world champion Celtics team in ’80-81–playing alongside a young Larry Bird.  He was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team and elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.  Funny, Archibald was listed as being 6’1″ tall when he played; if that was the case, Mickey Rooney was a six-footer, too.  Best wishes, “Tiny”……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of legendary college running back Johnny Bailey–who died recently at the age of 43 from pancreatic cancer.  Bailey played at Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) from 1986-1989.  In his collegiate career, Bailey rushed for a staggering 6,320 yards; at the time, only he and Tony Dorsett from Pittsburgh had run for more than 6,000 yards in a career.  He was a three-time NCAA Division II player of the year and gained 7,803 all-purpose yards–an NCAA career record.  Bailey later played six seasons in the NFL with the Bears, Cardinals, and Rams; he holds the Bears team record for the longest punt return as he returned one 95 yards for a touchdown as a rookie.  Bailey also made the Pro Bowl in 1992–a year when he averaged 13.2 yards returning punts for the Cardinals.  Appropriately, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.  May Johnny Bailey 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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