Willie Randolph got the shaft. Plain and simple. You don’t keep an employee hanging for weeks, then fire him.
If Jeff Wilpon, Omar Minaya and the rest of the Mets brass really wanted to fire Randolph, they should have let him go following last September’s colossal collapse when they below the division to the Phillies.
The Mets decided to bring Willie back for another season. That’s fine. But once they continued the death spiral this year and speculation about Randolph’s firing intensified, Minaya should have pulled the trigger.
Instead they dragged things out, fueled even more fan and media speculation, then fired him in the middle of the night under cover of darkness in Southern California, 3,000 miles from home.
“And in the history of New York baseball, there has not been a more cowardly, indecent, undignified or ill-conceived firing of a manager,” said Bill Madden, baseball scribe for the New York Daily News.
That’s saying something when you consider some of the other memorable New York managerial firings. Does George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin ring a bell?
Good luck with these Mutts, Jerry Manuel. The Mets once again proved they’re second-class citizens in New York.
My father is the man who first instilled in me a love of sports. Growing up in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, we followed the traditional New York teams — the Yankees, football Giants, Knicks and Rangers.
It was 50 years ago this summer that my Dad took me to my first baseball game at Yankee Stadium. I’ll never forget that day, that first glimpse of the green cathedral in the Bronx. The Yankees lost 7-1 to the White Sox, but my favorite player, Bill “Moose” Skowron, homered to account for the only Yankee run. I was hooked on sports. For life. The SportsLifer.
My father also took me to my first NFL game at Yankee Stadium, to Knicks and Rangers games at the old Madison Square Garden. We watched games on the old black and white Philco and listened to the Yankees and Giants on the radio. We played golf with my younger brother. We lived sports.
My Mom and Dad moved to Florida nearly 30 years ago, and they still live there. Dad roots for the Yankees, although he now follows the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Lightning.
We talk all the time about the state of the Yankees, the modern player, the glory years. This morning, we spoke at length about Tiger Woods and the US Open.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for showing me the way.
They’re great players, Hall of Famers almost to a man, half of them named to the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list in 1997. Some were MVP and scoring leaders, Rookies of the Year, rebounding kingpins, assist champions.
And they have something else in common. They’re the Lords Of The Ringless: Hoops Edition, the best players never to win an NBA championship. Some came close, others never made it to the NBA Finals.
All are members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, with the exception or Reggie Miller, who just retired and will undoubtly make it once he’s eligible.
Some came oh-so close. Patrick Ewing (right), Karl Malone, John Stockton and Charles Barkley were all derailed by the great Jordan. Elgin Baylor’s Lakers lost eight times in the NBA Finals and he retired just months before Los Angeles won the 1972 NBA championship. Adrian Dantley just missed out on the Lakers 1980 title and was traded to Dallas months before the Detroit won the 1989 championship
LORDS OF THE RINGLESS
C — Patrick Ewing: New York Knicks’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder, averaged 21 points, 9.8 rebounds, 11-time All-Star, first pick overall in 1985.
F — Elgin Baylor: Lifetime Laker, averaged 27.4 ppg (4th all-time) and 13.5 rebounds for career, 11-time All-Star, 71 points in one game in1960, first pick overall in 1958.
F — Karl Malone: “The Mailman” spent nearly entire career with Utah Jaxx, second leading all-time NBA scorer with 36,928 points, two-time MVP in 1997 and 1999.
G — John Stockton (left): 19 years with Utah Jazz, played 82 games 17 times, all-time NBA assist (15,806) and steals (3,265) leader, led NBA in assists 9 straight years.
G — George Gervin: “The Iceman” played in both ABA and NBA, primarily with San Antonio Spurs, won four scoring titles, average 26.2 pgg, 407 straight games in double figures.
C — Nate Thurmond: First player to record a quadruple double (1974), averaged 15 points and 15 rebounds per game, spent most of career with Golden State Warriors
F — Charles Barkley (right): “The Round Mound of Rebound” averaged 22.1 ppg and 11.7 rebounds, was NBA MVP in 1993 with Phoenix Suns.
F — Dominique Wilkins: “The Human Highlight Film” spent majority of career with Atlanta Hawks, scored 26,668 points, ninth all-time 24.8 pgg.
G — Lenny Wilkens: Played first eight years with St. Louis Hawks, 9-time All-Star, 10th all-time in assists, all-time winningest coach.
G — Reggie Miller: Indiana Pacers sharpshooter all-time career leader with 2560 three-point field goals, scored 25,279 points, 13th all-time.
C — Bob Lanier: Played with Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, averaged 20.1 points, 10.1 rebounds career.
F — Alex English: Denver Nuggets, first ever with 8-straight 2,000 point season, 11th all-time scorer, won scoring title in 1983.
F — Adrian Dantley: 18th all-time with 23,177 points. led NBA with 30.6 in 1984 with Utah Jazz, averaged 30 plus 4 straight years.
G — Pete Maravich (left): “Pistol Pete” all-time college scoring champ, averaged 24.9 ppg in NBA, scoring champ in 1977.
G — Dave Bing: Primarily a Detroit Piston, averaged 20.3 ppg, won scoring championship in 1968 averaging 27.1 ppg.
C — Walt Bellamy
F — George Yardley
F — Harry Gallatin
G — Mark Jackson
G— David Thompson
F — Chris Webber
G — Allen Iverson
G — Jason Kidd
Check out Lords Of The Ringless: Baseball Edition
The old Madison Square Garden on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th streets, scene of many NBA doubleheaders in the 1950s and 60s.
The SportsLifer is a lucky man. Throughout his life, he’s been to World Series, Super Bowls, Stanley Cup playoffs and Final Fours. He’s seen the Olympics, Triple Crown horse racing, major golf tournaments, even a perfect game. And so much more. He’s been to Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, the old and the new Madison Square Garden, and the Polo Grounds.
Although making a career switch more than a quarter century ago and giving up my job as a sportswriter for the world of high-tech public relations, I’ve never lost my love for sports.
I’m often asked to list the best sports events I’ve ever seen. Beginning today the SportsLifer will chronicle the greatest 50 sporting events he’s ever attended. This week’s list starts the countdown, with a special category as a bonus.
Let the list begin:
50. Yankees sweep Royals 7-6 and 9-8 in 16 innings in wild doubleheader, Yankee Stadium, 1972
49. Giants rout Braves 23-8 behind Will Clark’s two home runs, Fulton County Stadium, 1988
48. A’s beat Yankees 2-0 in ALDS, Game 2, shortly after 9/11, start delayed to televise Bush press conference, 2001
47. Boston College beats Holy Cross 56-26 in final meeting at Fitton Field, Worcester, Mass., 1986
46. Providence beats Holy Cross at Memorial Auditorium, Worcester, en route to Final Four appearance, 1973
45. Knicks beat St. Louis Hawks in old Madison Square Garden, 76ers-Pistons also play, NBA doubleheader, 1966
44. Cubs beat Pirates 4-3 on Sammy Sosa home run to split Wrigley Field doubleheder with Pirates, 2002
43. Rangers crush Bruins 9-0, score 3 goals in 38 seconds, new Madison Square Garden, 1969
42. Barry Bonds steals 500th base, Giants beat Dodgers 3-2 in 11 innings, Pac Bell Park, San Francisco, 2003
41. Astros’ Mike Scott again shuts down Mets 3-1 in NLCS, Game 4, Shea Stadium, 1986
Sat in NBC booth for the Silent Bowl (no announcers), Jets beat Dolphins 24-17, Orange Bowl, 1980
Hey Jeremy Shockey, here’s a news flash. The Giants can win without you.
Jeremy Shockey is at it again. You’d think this loudmouth would have taken a slice of humble pie after breaking his leg and watching the Giants march to the Super Bowl without him. But nooooo….
Shockey is a talented football player. The former number one draft pick (14th overall) out of the University of Miami in 2002, is a four-time Pro Bowler. But he’s no team player, never has been, never will be.
He actually came to Giants mini-camp this year (a shock in itself) but did not come on to the practice field on the first day of the mandatory, three-day camp. The Giants had eight other injured players unable to practice in the morning and five others in the afternoon, but all of them were out on the side of field working. All except Shockey.
Throughout his six-year career, Shockey has caught 27 touchdown passes, but he is better known for his hands of stone. He’s had plenty of big drops, perhaps none more critical than the sure TD he dropped in San Francisco in the 2002 playoffs, the turning point in a dramatic 49ers comeback win.
Contrast that with rookie Kevin Boss, who made a key catch and run to help spark the Giants fourth-quarter comeback against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXII.
Don’t get me wrong, the Giants need the enthusiasm Shockey brings to the game. But they could do without the baggage, the arm-waving at Eli Manning, the stupid penalties, the big drops.
It’s tough enough winning a Super Bowl, let alone trying to repeat. The Giants don’t need these kind of distractions. They’ve already proven they can win without Jeremy Shockey.
They should have trade him to New Orleans when they had the opportunity a few months ago.
It’s not too late. Get rid of the bum.
Incredibly, no Boston Celtic has ever won the NBA scoring title
The Celtics, along with the New York Knicks, are the only original NBA teams dating back to the Basketball Association of America (BAA) which began in 1946. The Philadelphia Warriors, who moved to California to become the Golden State Warriors in 1962, were also part of that inaugural BAA season.
Just before the start of the 1948-49 season, four teams from the National Basketball League (NBL) joined the BAA — the Fort Wayne (now Detroit) Pistons, Indianapolis Jets, Minneapolis (now Los Angeles) Lakers and Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings).
Before the 1949 season, the six remaining NBL teams — Anderson (Ind.), Denver, Sheboygan (Wis.), Syracuse Nationals (now Philadelphia 76ers), Tri-Cities Blackhawks (now Atlanta Hawks), and Waterloo (Iowa) — joined the BAA, along with the new Indianapolis Olympians, and became the National Basketball Association.
As for the two other original teams, the Knicks have had one scoring champion, Bernard King in 1985. The Warriors have had a number of scoring champs, including Joe Fulks, right, in 1947, Wilt Chamberlain (6), Neil Johnson (3) and Paul Arizin (2). However the Warriors have not had a scoring champ since Rick Barry averaged 35.6 points per game in 1967.
BTW, Lakers who led the league in scoring were George Mikan, three times with Minneapolis beginning in 1949, Jerry West in 1970 and Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.
Related NBA reading: Celtics-Lakers Would Be Historic NBA Final
Do the math. The Boston Celtics have won 16 NBA titles, the Los Angeles (nee Minneapolis) Lakers 14. When the 62nd NBA Finals are completed in a few weeks, the Celtics and the Lakers will have combined for 31 titles, exactly half of the 62 championships. This is their 11th meeting in the finals, another NBA record.
What about the other sports?. Who are the champions of championships?
It starts with the New York Yankees, the king of champions. The Yankees have won 26 World Series, the most in any of the North American team sports. That’s more than double the number of championships won by the St. Louis Cardinals (10) and Philadelphia-Oakland A’s (9).
In the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers have each won five Super Bowls. The Green Packers have won nine total NFL titles and the Chicago Bears 7 since the first NFL championship game in 1933.
In hockey, the Montreal Canadiens, Les Habitants, are far away the ring-leaders with 23 Stanley Cups. The Habs are followed by the Toronto Arenas-St. Pats-Maple Leafs with 13 and the Detroit Red Wings with 11, including this year’s Stanley Cup.
UCLA has won 11 NCAA basketball championships and Kentucky seven since the advent of the NCAA tournament in 1939. Kentucky also won a national championship in 1933.
Notre Dame is the king of college football with 13 national championships, including nine since the polls were first instituted in 1936. In the so-called “early years” of college football (1869-1935), Yale won 18 championships and Princeton 17. All told, Alabama and USC have each won 10 total football championships, seven apiece since 1936.
I had the distinct privilege of meeting Jim McKay. It was more than 25 years ago, in the early 1980s, when I was a 20-something sports writer, working the desk and writing a TV-Radio sports column for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
McKay was in South Florida, perhaps to cover a golf tournament or the Florida Derby. I met him in a hotel lobby on the Galt Ocean Mile, and he was a wonderful interview. He talked of ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and the Summer and Winter Olympics, the British Open at St. Andrew’s or Carnoustie, the Masters, the great horse races and so many other big events McKay covered.
What a story teller. We were scheduled for a half hour, but Jim McKay gave me more than an hour of his time on that Saturday morning. I had more than enough material for a column and beyond. I’ll never forget it
The defining moment of McKay’s career, of course, came during the 1972 Munich Olympics when a Palestinian terrorist organization called the Black September group kidnapped 11 Israeli athletes. After a commando rescue attempt ended terribly, McKay reported simply but so eloquently with three words: “They’re all gone.”
ABC estimated McKay traveled 4 1/2 million miles on assignment for ”Wide World,” covering 40 countries. Ironically he died hours before Big Brown failed in his attempt to complete the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes in McKay’s favorite sport of all, horse racing. McKay called the last Triple Crown in 1978 when Affirmed edged Alydar at the wire in the Belmont.
Give me rewrite.
Admit it, you were ready to bury the Yankees today when they fell five runs behind the Blue Jays in the fifth inning. I was.
Going into the last of the ninth, the game was a microcosm of the Yanks thus-far disappointing season. Same old mistakes, same old lethargic play, same old same old.
Starting pitchers with no staying power. A leaky bullpen with Farnsworthless and LaBoom Hawkins. A dropped fly ball by Melky on a certain double play. Poor situational hitting, No clutch. Another pitiful day at the plate with runners in scoring position. Robby “Can’t Do” Cano’s failure to get down a bunt..
Struggling to get to .500 again. Then suddenly the Giambalco hits one nine miles into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium, and for one day at least, all is forgiven.
102 games to go. Put away the shovels. Kill the obituary.
Give me rewrite.
There are so many good stories about Artie. He was funny, he was talented, he was a great musician. Art possessed that rare ability to make all those around him somehow feel better about themselves.
Artie passed away a year ago after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. All those who knew him miss him. He’s still the top name on my instant message stack.
When I think of Artie, I think of wonderful gatherings at Scotch & Sirloin, where Art would play the piano long into the night. I think of New Year’s Eve and parties and weddings. I think of Artie laughing and smiling and entertaining.
My favorite Artie story revolves around a Jell-O Mold. If you’ve never seen a Jell-O mold, here’s a picture of one. Generally speaking, they are colorful deserts made out of Jell-O, fresh fruit, fruit cocktail and other items, then molded and served. Served in many different ways, which leads to my Artie story.
A bunch of us were out one holiday night …. must have been sometime in the early ’80s — sampling the nightlife in White Plains. Around 2 in the morning, we went back to Timmy and Nancy’s apartment for some food. If memory serves me correct, a certain Eddie La-La was also present.
Nancy, being the dutiful hostess, put out some food for us, munchies and cookies and a Jell-O Mold. When Artie saw the Jell-O Mold, his eyes lit up and he had that mischievous grin on his face as he said, “Timmy, what the hell is this s—?”
Upon which, Timmy, gleam in his eye, picked up the Jell-O Mold and smashed it right into Artie’s face.
Understand, Art had a bit more hair in those days, and Jell-O and pieces of banana and fruit cocktail were stuck in his hair, in his beard, all over his shirt, and splattered on the wall behind him. (Bet there’s still some pieces of that Jell-O Mold embedded into the radiator behind where Artie was sitting.)
For perhaps 15 seconds we were silently shocked. Nancy was appalled. Then we all started laughing, and couldn’t stop.
In fact, 25 years we’re all still laughing about the Jell-O Mold. And I’m sure Artie is smiling down upon us, laughing loudest of all.