Of hawks and sports

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One week after a visit to where eagles dare, I saw a hawk outside my kitchen window in the midst of a snowstorm. Got me thinking about hawks and sports.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Seattle — a natural, the Seahawks, who were founded in 1976, just won their first Super Bowl with a 43-8 dismantling of the Denver Broncos.

2. Chicago — another champion, the Blackhawks, below right, are the defending Stanley Cup champs after beating the Boston Bruins for the 2013 NHL title. The Blackhawks also won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and have five NHL championships overall.

3. Atlanta — the Hawks, lacking a championship pedigree, won their only NBA title as the St. Louis Hawks in 1958. Starting play in 1949 as the Tri-City Blackhawks, they also called Tri-Cities and Milwaukee home before moving to Atlanta in 1968.

4. College nicknames — 28 four-year college teams use some variation of the nickname Hawks, including such notables as the Kansas Jayhawks, Iowa Hawkeyes, St. Joseph’s Hawks and Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

5. Andre Dawson — a Hall of Fame outfielder, “The Hawk” hit 438 home runs, won an MVP with the Cubs in 1987, and was Rookie of the Year with the Montreal Expos in 1979.

6. Connie Hawkins — NBA Hall of Famer and Brooklyn hoop legend who dominated the first ABA season in 1967-68, and later played in the NBA with the Suns, Lakers, and, most appropriately, the Atlanta Hawks.

7. A.J. Hawk — Green Bay Packer linebacker and fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft, he played college ball at Ohio State.

8. Ken Harrelson — “Hawk” played nine years with four American League clubs and led the league in RBIs in 1968. He’s now a broadcaster with the Chicago White Sox.

9. Ralph Branca — yet another baseball “Hawk” Branca was a  21- game winner with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, but is most famous for being the man to surrender Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world” which won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.

10. Waterloo — these Hawks, no relation to the Atlanta entry, were a founding member of the NBA in 1949, finished 19-43, and then moved to the National Professional Basketball League. They remain the only major professional sports franchise based in Iowa.

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