Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last World Championships Won, As Of October 2014


Last won the World Series (MLB), NFL Championship/Super Bowl, NBA Championship or Stanley Cup in calendar year 2014: San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Seahawks.

2013: Boston Red Sox, Miami Heat, Chicago Blackhawks, Baltimore Ravens.

2012: New York Giants.

2011: St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Bruins, Dallas Mavericks, Green Bay Packers.

2010: Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Saints.

2009: New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Steelers.

2008: Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Celtics, Detroit Red Wings.

2007: Anaheim Ducks, Indianapolis Colts.

2006: Carolina Hurricanes.

2005: Chicago White Sox, New England Patriots.

Began in 2004 and have never won: Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets.

2004: Tampa Bay Lightning.

2003: Miami Marlins (as Florida Marlins), New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2002: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Began in 2002 and have never won: Houston Texans.

2001: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Avalanche. The Avs, as the Quebec Nordiques, won, slightly prophetically, the Avco Trophy as World Hockey Association Champions in 1977, Quebec City's only hockey title of the last 100 years. But after joining the NHL in 1979, they never even reached a Conference Final until they moved to Denver.

2000: St. Louis Rams.

Began in 1999 and have never won: Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild.

1999: Dallas Stars, Denver Broncos.

Began in 1998 and have never won: Atlanta Thrashers/"new" Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Rays.

1998: Chicago Bulls.

Began in 1997 and have never won: Nashville Predators.

1996: Dallas Cowboys.

Began in 1995 and have never won: Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars.

1995: Atlanta Braves, Houston Rockets, San Francisco 49ers.

1994: New York Rangers.

Began in 1993 and have never won: Florida Panthers.

1993: Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Canadiens.  Each is the last title by a Canadian team in their respective sport.

Began in 1993 and have never won: Colorado Rockies.

Began in 1992 and have never won: Ottawa Senators (current version).

1992: Washington Redskins.

1991: Minnesota Twins.

Began in 1991 and have never won: San Jose Sharks.

1990: Cincinnati Reds, Edmonton Oilers.

Began in 1989 and have never won: Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves.

1989: Oakland Athletics, Calgary Flames.

Began in 1988 and have never won: Charlotte Hornets/New Orleans Hornets/New Orleans Pelicans.

1988: Los Angeles Dodgers.

1986: New York Mets, Chicago Bears.

1985: Kansas City Royals.

1984: Detroit Tigers, Oakland Raiders (as Los Angeles Raiders). Super Bowl XVIII remains the last football title won by a Los Angeles pro team (unless you want to count the 2001 XFL title). The last time they won as the Oakland Raiders was in 1981.

1983: Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Islanders.

1979: Pittsburgh Pirates, Oklahoma City Thunder (as Seattle SuperSonics).

1979 was the last time they went as far as they were allowed to go: Phoenix Coyotes as "old" Winnipeg Jets, WHA Champions. Although they won 3 WHA titles, more than any other team, they are the only one of the 4 WHA teams to enter the NHL in 1979 to have not yet won a Stanley Cup, although both the Quebec Nordiques (1996 Colorado Avalanche) and New England/Hartford Whalers (2006 Carolina Hurricanes) had to move before doing so; the Edmonton Oilers (1984) did not.

1978: Washington Wizards (as Washington Bullets).

1977: Portland Trail Blazers.

Began in 1977 and have never won: Seattle Mariners.

1976 was the last time they went as far as they were allowed to go: Brooklyn Nets (as New York Nets), ABA Champions.

1975: Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia Flyers.

Began in 1974 and have never won: New Orleans/Utah Jazz, Washington Capitals. While the Jazz have never won a title, the Utah Stars won the ABA title in 1971.

1974: Miami Dolphins.

1973: New York Knicks.

1973 was the last time they went as far as they were allowed to go: Indiana Pacers, ABA Champions.

1971: Milwaukee Bucks.

Began in 1970 and have never won: Cleveland Cavaliers, Buffalo Braves/San Diego Clippers/Los Angeles Clippers, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres.

1970: Kansas City Chiefs.

Began in 1969 and have never won: San Diego Padres, Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.

1969: New York Jets. This is easily the longest drought for a New York Tri-State Area team.

Began in 1968 and have never won: Phoenix Suns, Cincinnati Bengals. Although the Bengals have won 2 AFC Championships, they are the only one of the 10 teams to have been in the 1960s AFL that was merged into the NFL in 1970 not to have won the title either in that league or in the NFL.

Began in 1967 and have never won: Denver Nuggets, St. Louis Blues. Not only do the Nugs have the longest drought of any current NBA team in its current city, they are also are the only one of the 4 ABA teams to enter the NBA in 1976 that hasn't won its league -- either the NBA or the ABA -- at least once, or even twice: The Nets won 2 in the ABA, the Pacers 3 in the ABA, and the Spurs 5 in the NBA. Unless you count the defunct Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons, the Blues are the last of the 1967 NHL expansion teams not to have won a Stanley Cup.

1967: Toronto Maple Leafs, longest drought of any current NHL team.

Began in 1966 and have never won: Atlanta Falcons.

1965 was the last time they went as far as they were allowed to go: Buffalo Bills, AFL Champions.  This was also the last AFL Champion to not meet the NFL Champion in a Super Bowl. The next year, the Bills got to the AFL Championship Game for the 3rd year in a row, but got clobbered by the Chiefs, who then lost Super Bowl I to the Packers.

1964: Cleveland Browns, the last time any Cleveland team has gone as far as they were allowed to go. No, they did not meet the AFL Champion Buffalo Bills halfway in Erie, Pennsylvania in Super Bowl -II.

1963 was the last time they went as far as they were allowed to go: San Diego Chargers, AFL Champions.

Began in 1962 and have never won: Houston Astros.

1961 was the last time they went as far as they were allowed to go: Tennessee Titans (as Houston Oilers), AFL Champions.

Began in 1961 and have never won: Minnesota Vikings, Washington Senators/Texas Rangers.

1960: Philadelphia Eagles.

1958: Atlanta Hawks (then St. Louis Hawks).

1957: Detroit Lions, longest drought of any current NFL team in its current city.

1951: Sacramento Kings (as Rochester Royals), longest drought of any current NBA team.

1948: Cleveland Indians.

1947: Arizona Cardinals (as Chicago Cardinals), longest drought of any current NFL team.

1927: Ottawa Senators (original version), Ottawa's last Stanley Cup.

1925: Victoria Cougars, British Columbia's last Stanley Cup, and the last one won by a team outside the NHL.

1924: Washington Senators (now Minnesota Twins), longest current drought of any current MLB city.

1915: Vancouver Millionaires, Vancouver's last Stanley Cup.

1913: Quebec Bulldogs, Quebec City's last Stanley Cup.

1908: Chicago Cubs, by far the longest drought of any current team in any major league in North American sports.

1902: Winnipeg Victorias, last Stanley Cup for Winnipeg, longest current drought of any NHL or major league city.

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Or, to put it another way...

The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Seahawks, Boston Red Sox, Miami Heat, Chicago Blackhawks, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Bruins, Dallas Mavericks, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Saints, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers have all won World Championships while Barack Obama has been President.

Under George W. Bush: The Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Celtics, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago White Sox, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Lightning, Miami Marlins, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Avalanche.

Under Bill Clinton: The St. Louis Rams, Dallas Stars, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Braves, Houston Rockets, San Francisco 49ers, New York Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Canadiens.

Under George H.W. Bush: The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Edmonton Oilers, Oakland Athletics and Calgary Flames.

Under Ronald Reagan: The, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Islanders.

Under Jimmy Carter: The Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Bullets/Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers.

Under Gerald Ford: The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Flyers.

Under Richard Nixon: The Miami Dolphins, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Kansas City Chiefs.

Under Lyndon Johnson: The New York Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers.

Under John F. Kennedy: The Houston Astros and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans.

Under Dwight D. Eisenhower: The Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Lions.

Under Harry Truman: The Rochester Royals/Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Indians, Chicago/Arizona Cardinals.

Under Calvin Coolidge: The Ottawa hockey, British Columbia hockey, Washington baseball.

Under Woodrow Wilson: Vancouver hockey, Quebec City hockey.

Under Theodore Roosevelt: The Chicago Cubs, Winnipeg hockey.

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By City:

2014 San Francisco (last Oakland title, 1989 A's)
2014 San Antonio
2014 Los Angeles (last Anaheim title, 2007 Ducks)
2014 Seattle
2013 Regina (sort of, reigning CFL/Grey Cup Champions)
2013 Boston
2013 Miami
2013 Chicago
2013 Baltimore
2012 Toronto (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
2012 New York (Giants, in New Jersey; in City, 2009 Yanks; Long Island, 1983 Islanders)
2011 Vancouver (sort of, their last Grey Cup, but Canucks fell 1 game short)
2011 St. Louis
2011 Dallas
2011 Wisconsin (Green Bay; last Milwaukee title, 1971 Bucks)
2010 Montreal (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
2010 New Orleans
2009 Pittsburgh
2008 Calgary (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
2008 Philadelphia
2008 Detroit
2007 Indiana
2006 Carolina (Raleigh; Charlotte has never won)
2005 Edmonton (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
2004 Tampa Bay
2001 Arizona
2001 Colorado
1999 Hamilton (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
1995 Atlanta (last Finals: 1998-99 Falcons)
1995 Houston (last Finals: 2005 Astros)
1993 Toronto
1993 Montreal
1992 Washington
1991 Minnesota
1990 Cincinnati
1990 Edmonton (last Finals: 2006 Oilers)
1989 Calgary (last Finals: 2004 Flames)
1988 Winnipeg (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
1985 Kansas City (last Finals: 2014 Royals)
1979 Winnipeg (sort of)
1977 Portland (last Finals: 1992 Trail Blazers)
1977 Quebec City (sort of)
1976 Ottawa (sort of, their last Grey Cup)
1965 Buffalo (sort of; last Finals: 1999 Sabres)
1964 Cleveland (sort of; last Finals: 2007 Cavaliers)
1963 San Diego (sort of; last Finals: 1998 Padres)
1951 Rochester
1927 Ottawa (last Finals: 2007 Senators)
1925 Victoria
1915 Vancouver (last Finals: 2011 Canucks)
1913 Quebec City
1902 Winnipeg (for real)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29, 1939: In Memory of Babe Siebert

October 29, 1939, 75 years ago: The Babe Siebert Memorial Game is played at the Montreal Forum. It raised $15,000 for his family -- about $257,000 in today's money.

Charles Albert Siebert grew up in Zurich, Ontario, on the shore of Lake Huron. He played left wing and won Stanley Cups with the 1926 Montreal Maroons and the 1933 New York Rangers. With Nels Stewart and Hooley Smith, he formed one of the first named forward lines in hockey, the S-Line.

In 1934, playing for the Boston Bruins, he played in the 1st All-Star benefit game for an NHL player, Ace Bailey of the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose career was ended by a vicious check by Bruin defenseman Eddie Shore. Indeed, Bruins general manager Art Ross traded for Siebert specifically to convert him to a defenseman and play in place of the suspended Shore. When Shore returned, they formed a formidable defensive pairing.

But the 2 stars couldn't get along, and, in 1936, the Bruins traded him to the Montreal Canadiens. He was immediately named Captain, and won the 1937 Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. The following fall, he played in another All-Star benefit game, this time for Canadiens superstar Howie Morenz, who had died in March from complications from leg surgery. (The Habs had slumped since his injury, and this, plus the thought that he would never play again, and all the well-wishers coming in and bringing him booze, brought on a heart attack. With today's medicine, he would have had his leg in an immobilizer, been out of the hospital the next day, and would have been back on the ice at the start of the next season, presuming he didn't want to retire. He was only 34, so he should have had several years left if he so chose.)

Siebert's wife Bernice was left a paraplegic following complications during the birth of their 2nd child. He spent most of his income on her medical bills and various means of making life more convenient for her. Fans at the Forum routinely saw him carry his wife to her seat before every home game, and then carry her out after. This made him immensely popular with fans, especially women.

In 1939, 35 years old and plagued with injuries, he retired. This made him, probably, the last NHL player other than a goaltender to wear Number 1. He was immediately offered the Canadiens' head coaching position.

He never got the chance to coach a game. On August 25, 1939, while vacationing with his family and swimming with his daughters Judy and Joan, then just 11 and 10 years old, at a family cottage on the shore of Lake Huron, he drowned attempting to retrieve an inflatable tire they were playing with.

The league organized an all-star benefit game to aid Siebert's widow and daughters. It was the third such benefit game in NHL history, and, as I said, Siebert had played in the 1st 2. The Canadiens faced an all-star team composed of the best players from the remaining teams. The All-Stars won, 5-2. Though only about 6,000 fans showed up, the organizers met their target of $15,000.

Albert "Babe" Siebert should not be confused with Earl Seibert (note the different spelling), a defenseman who also played in the 1930s, and most of the 1940s. He won the Cup with the 1933 Rangers and the 1938 Chicago Blackhawks, and he was the player who got tangled up along the boards with Morenz, and, until his own death in 1990, blamed himself -- unfairly, since it wasn't the broken leg that killed him. Seibert is also in the Hockey Hall of Fame, as is his father, Oliver Seibert (the 1st father & son in the Hall), and in 1998, as part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, The Hockey News ranked him Number 72 on their list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players. (Babe Siebert didn't make the list.)

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October 29, 1860: In the match for the 1860 whip-pennant‚ emblematic of the championship of the U.S.‚ the Atlantics top the Eckfords‚ 20-11. Both clubs are from Brooklyn, until 1898 a separate city from New York. With the game tied at 5-5 after 5 innings‚ the Atlantics score 6 in the 6th‚ 5 in the 7th‚ and 4 in the 8th to win.
As agreed upon‚ in order to maintain neutrality, all umpires are players from a 3rd club. The umpire chosen for this game is Asa Brainard, the star pitcher for another Brooklyn team, the Exceslior club. That he was chosen to umpire such an important game at the age of 19 shows how highly regarded he must already have been.
After the shocking death of teammate Jim Creighton in 1862, Brainard would succeed him as the best pitcher in baseball. Forced out by the arrival of Candy Cummings (not the inventor of the curveball, as some would have you believed, but a very good practitioner of it), he left for the National club of Washington, D.C. (not the forerunners of today's Washington Nationals). In 1869, he became the pitcher – not the only single pitcher, but he tossed more than 70 percent of their innings in those 1869 and '70 seasons – for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first openly professional team, and his name, Asa, became the source of the pitching term “Ace.”
When the National Association was formed in 1871, Red Stockings founder Harry Wright took 5 of his players to Boston and formed the Boston Red Stockings, the team that would eventually become the Atlanta Braves. Brainard took the other half of the team with him back to the capital and formed the Washington Olympics.
But he suffered from tuberculosis, and, like many such people in that era, he traveled to Denver for its dry, thin air. It did him no good: He died there in 1887, just a few weeks after the famed gunfighter and dentist John Henry "Doc" Holliday also died from tuberculosis in Colorado.
There is a bias among voters for the Baseball Hall of Fame against the true pioneers of the game. Only 8 men who played so much as 1 game before the NL's 1876 founding are in the Hall: Knickerbockers member and original rules compiler (and no less than co-writer) Alexander Cartwright, Harry and George Wright from the Cincinnati & Boston Red Stockings/Braves, Al Spalding and Cap Anson from the Chicago White Stockings/Cubs, Candy Cummings who didn't last long into the NL, Jim "Orator" O'Rourke who later starred for the Giants, and James "Deacon" White who went on the play for several teams. Until White was elected in 2013, the last one elected was Harry Wright, all the way back in 1953. (George Wright was the last survivor of these, living until 1937.) 
There are quite a few players from the pre-NL, or even pre-NA era, who have been overlooked. Coming to mind are Brainard and Creighton from the Excelsiors; Joe Start, Lip Pike, George Zettlein and Dickey Pearce of the Atlantics; and Bobby Matthews of the New York Mutuals, who also had Start and Pike at times. Brainard, for his stardom in both the amateur and the early professional era, is a particular omission that should be corrected at the next available opportunity.
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October 29, 1866: The final championship match of the season is between the Irvington club of New Jersey and the host Atlantics‚ with the 2 clubs playing a rubber match to determine the champion of the 1866 season.

The Atlantics break a 5-5 tie by scoring 7 in the 10th inning and winning‚ 12-6, to keep the Championship. This is the closest a team playing its home games in New Jersey will come to being a sport’s “world champion” until the New York Giants win Super Bowl XXI, 120 years later.

October 29, 1889, 125 years ago: The National League Champion New York Giants win their 2nd consecutive World Championship by taking this year's best-of-11 matchup in 9 games. After spotting the American Association Champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms (the once-and-future Dodgers were so named because 3 of their players had gotten married in the 1887-88 off-season) 2 runs in the 1st‚ the Giants rally to win 3-2 behind Hank O'Day's pitching -- the same Hank O'Day who would be the umpire who ruled against them in the Fred Merkle Game 19 years later. Slattery scores the winning run in the 7th inning‚ coming in from second as catcher Doc Bushing misses a two-out 3rd strike.
The next season, the 'Grooms would join the NL, and win the Pennant. They would win 2 more Pennants before the Giants won another, in 1899 and 1900. But over the next 40 years, the Superbas/Robins/Dodgers would win just 2 Pennants, while the Giants would win 13. And the Yankees, not even formed yet, would win 11. Ah, but over the last 17 years of New York's 3-team availability, it would be a different story: The Yankees would win 12 Pennants, the Dodgers 7, the Giants only 2.
October 29, 1898: Because of NL interest in curbing rowdyism on the field‚ information is provided indicating that there were 62 expulsions during the season. Bill Dahlen of the Chicago Colts (soon to become the Cubs) and Patsy Tebeau of the Cleveland Spiders (soon to collapse and go out of business) tied for the lead with 6 thumbings each. Dahlen was also suspended for 3 days.
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October 29, 1920: The Yankees sign Red Sox manager Ed Barrow as business manager – the job that will, in a few years, begin to be called “general manager” – completing the front office team that will build the game's most successful record. Hugh Duffy, the Boston Braves star who batted a record .438 in 1894, replaces Barrow at Fenway Park.

Barrow had managed the Red Sox to the 1918 World Series, and, regarding the hitting and pitching talents of Babe Ruth, said, “I’d be a fool to turn the best lefthanded pitcher in the game into an outfielder.”
The choice had already been made for him, but he would help the Yankees win 14 Pennants and 10 World Series in his 26 seasons as Yankee GM. Shortly before his death in 1953, he was elected to the Hall of Fame. At the Yankees’ next home opener, a plaque was dedicated in his memory and hung on the outfield wall near the Monuments, and would later be moved to Monument Park.

He is buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, along with several other baseball-connected personalities: The Yankee owner who hired him, Jacob Ruppert; a Yankee slugger he signed, Lou Gehrig; the Boston owner and Broadway promoter who previously hired him, Harry Frazee; the Governor of New York who sometimes threw out the first ball at big Yankee games, Herbert Lehman; the opera singer who often sang the National Anthem at Yankee games, Robert Merill; and the Brooklyn-born comedian who remained a Dodger fan after they moved West to his own new home of Hollywood, and was a member of the first ownership group of the Seattle Mariners, Danny Kaye.

October 29, 1921: The Harvard University football team loses to Centre College of Danville, Kentucky, ending a 25-game winning streak. This is considered one of the biggest upsets in college football, as the “Praying Colonels” (no, I’m not making that mascot name up) were the 1st team from outside the old Northeast (Jim Thorpe's Pennsylvania-based Carlisle counts) to beat one of the old “Big Three” of Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
Today, Harvard, like all the Ivy League teams, is in the FCS, the Football Championship Subdivision, what used to be known as Division I-AA. Since the official founding of the Ivy League as a sports conference in 1955, Harvard has won its football championship 14 times, including sharing last year's title with Princeton (its most recent outright win being in 2011).
Centre would prove that their 1921 win over Harvard was no fluke: On 4 consecutive Saturdays in 1924, the Colonels defeated Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Their biggest star of 1921, Bo McMillin, was a rough Texan who was one of the 1st good NFL quarterbacks, and would coach Indiana to its 1st football title in the Big Ten in 1945. Today, however, Centre are in Division III, but have won their league 12 times, including 6 times from 1980 to 1990. Their last title was in 2003.
October 29, 1931: For the 1st time under the current format, as voted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the Most Valuable Player award is given, in the American League. The choice is an easy one, and is unanimous: Robert "Lefty" Grove of the Philadelphia Athletics, who had maybe the best season any pitcher has ever had, going 31-4 with a 2.08 ERA, and helping the A's win their 3rd straight Pennant.
The 1st official NL MVP will be Frankie Frisch, 2nd baseman for the Pennant-winning Cardinals. The Fordham Flash batted .311 and led the NL in stolen bases, before leading them to victory over the A's in the World Series, avenging the previous season's defeat. He will become player-manager in 1934, and lead "the Gashouse Gang" to another World Championship, his 4th as a player, also including 1921 and 1922 with the Giants. He and Grove, who'd won the Series with the A's in 1929 and 1930, will both become easy choices for the Hall of Fame.
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October 29, 1950: King Gustav V of Sweden dies of flu complications at age 92. As the host of the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, he presented decathlon and pentathlon champion Jim Thorpe with a laurel wreath and, according to legend, said, “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world,” coining a phrase that has become an unofficial title for the Olympic decathlon champ. Thorpe’s response is said to have been, “Thanks, King.” Gustav V was the great-grandfather of the current monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf.

October 29, 1953: Denis Charles Potvin is born in Hull, Quebec, across the Ottawa river from the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario. One of the greatest defensemen in hockey history, he was the Captain of the New York Islanders’ 4 straight Stanley Cups of 1980 to 1983. Arguably the team’s greatest player ever, certainly its most important, his Number 5 has been retired, and he was the first Isles player elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. His brother Jean Potvin also played for the Isles for a time, and his cousin Marc Potvin also played in the NHL.
However, his name is best remembered for an incident in the Ranger-Islander rivalry. On February 25, 1979, the teams played at Madison Square Garden, and Potvin checked Ranger All-Star Ulf Nilsson into the boards, breaking Nilsson’s ankle. In spite of the fact that no penalty was called, and the fact that Nilsson has always maintained that it was a clean hit, and that fact that then-Ranger coach Fred Shero also said it was a clean hit, the moron Ranger fans have spent 30 years chanting, “Potvin sucks!” – against all opponents, not just the Islanders. This led to some confusion, years later, when Felix Potvin (no relation) would tend goal for various teams, including the Islanders for a time.

In retaliation, Islander fans have done a “Rangers suck!” chant for every home game, regardless of opponent, and New Jersey Devils fans do the same. Ranger fans also had a chant of “Beat your wife, Potvin, beat your wife!” Denis Potvin usually beat the Rangers instead.
Part of Ranger mythology is that Potvin’s hit knocked Nilsson out for the season, and that’s why they lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Montreal Canadiens. In fact, Nilsson returned in time for those Finals, in which the Rangers won Game 1 at the Montreal Forum, but then dropped the next 4, including all 3 at the Garden.

October 29, 1959: Michael Alfred Gartner is born in Ottawa. Mike Gartner was a right wing who starred for several hockey teams, including the Washington Capitals, who retired his Number 11. But he never appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals, being traded by the Rangers at the trading deadline in 1994, in a trade that helped them win the Cup, to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing.
Among players who have never won a Cup, he is 2nd to Phil Housley in games played and 2nd to Marcel Dionne in goals, with 708.
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October 29, 1961: Joel Stuart Otto is born in Elk River, Minnesota. The center won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989.

October 29, 1964, 50 years ago: Ground is broken for the current Madison Square Garden, on top of Penn Station at 32nd Street & 7th Avenue.

October 29, 1968: Johan Olav Koss is born in Drammen, Norway. The speed skater won a Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics in 1992 and 3 more at the 1994. He and American speed skater Bonnie Blair were named Sportspeople of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1994.

October 29, 1969: The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, thus making this a possible birthdate for the Internet.
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October 29, 1970: Edwin van der Sar is born in Voorhout, South Holland, the Netherlands. The goalkeeper starred in his native land for Ajax Amsterdam (winning 4 league titles, 3 Dutch Cups, the domestic “Double” in 1998 and the Champions League in 1995), in Italy for Juventus (where he was the first non-Italian to be their starting goalie) and in England for Fulham, before going to Manchester United (where he backstopped them to 4 Premiership titles and the 2008 Champions League). He has now retired.

October 29, 1971: Winona Laura Horowitz is born in Winona, Minnesota. Her hippie parents named her for her birthplace. Sometimes, that works, as with Florence Nightingale. Sometimes it doesn't, as with David and Victoria Beckham's son Brooklyn.
She renamed herself Winona Ryder, after 1960s rocker Mitch Ryder. She is bets known for playing Veronica Sawyer in Heathers. You don’t like that? “Lick it up, baby, lick it up!”
October 29, 1972: Dwayne Tyrone Wade Jr. is born in Chicago. He led the Miami Heat to the 2006 NBA Championship with Shaquille O'Neal, and the 2012 and 2013 titles with LeBron James, and remains one of the league’s top stars.

Also on this day, Gabrielle Monique Union is born in Omaha, Nebraska. She played Alice Kramden to Cedric the Entertainer’s Ralph in the 2005 film version of The Honeymooners. She was formerly married to Michigan and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Howard, and was one of several actress who had been linked to Derek Jeter. She is now, interestingly enough, married to the aforementioned Dwayne Wade.
Also on this day, Tracee Joy Silberstein is born in Los Angeles. The daughter of singer Diana Ross (and sister of actress Rhonda Ross Kendrick), she acts under the name Tracee Ellis Ross. She starred as Joan Clayton on the Fox sitcom Girlfriends. That show has often been compared to a sitcom of the previous decade, Living Single, with Joan compared to Queen Latifah’s character Khadijah James, not least because both characters’ fathers were played by basketball player turned actor Michael Warren (Officer Bobby Hill on Hill Street Blues). She now stars on the ABC sitcom Blackish.
October 29, 1973: Robert Emmanuel Pirès is born in Reims, France, the son of a Portuguese father and a Spanish mother. The midfielder was a member of France’s World Cup winners in 1998, and the Arsenal champions of 1998 (League and FA Cup “Double”), 2002 (another Double) and 2004 (undefeated League season).

"Super Rob" recently signed with FC Goa on India's west coast -- not surprisingly, as the city was a Portuguese colony before it was a British one, and still has a large Portuguese community. The Indian Super League is going for a higher profile in this, its 2nd season of operation: Goa's manager is Brazilian legend Zico, and they also have Andre Santos, who, unlike Pirès, did very little to help Arsenal while he was there. Pires' countryman David Trezeguet, Spanish World Cup hero Joan Capdevila, and Italian legend Alessandro del Piero have also joined teams in the ISL.

October 29, 1974, 40 years ago: Robert Allen Dickey is born in Nashville, Tennessee. It's bad enough that he has the name "Dickey," but instead of "Bob," "Bobby" or "Rob," he prefers to call himself "R.A." In baseball, "R.A." is a longtime slang term, short for "Red Ass," meaning a player who's always angry.

Baseball has never truly trusted knuckleball pitchers, and Dickey didn't make his major league debut until 2001, with the Texas Rangers. As late as the dawn of the 2010 season, when he signed with the Mets, he was 35-year-old journeyman from whom little was expected. But pitching in the spacious confines of Citi Field helped him, and in 2012 he won 20 games, had the best season by a Met pitcher since David Cone in 1988, and won the Cy Young Award. He became a superstar.

And what did the Mets do with this superstar? Immediately traded him, of course, to the Toronto Blue Jays, along with 2 other players, for 4 players, including Travis d'Arnaud, whom they think will be their catcher of the future. This trade hasn't yet worked out for the Mets. As for the Jays, this trade, and some other offseason pickups, led many "experts" to pick them for the Playoffs in 2013. Then, Dickey and the other new mound acquisitions discovered something they'd forgotten: Pitching in the American League is hard.

Dickey's career record is 89-82, including 14-13 each of the last 2 seasons. Take away his 20-6 season in 2012, and it's 69-76. His career ERA is 3.98, his ERA+ 104, his WHIP 1.299. In only 2 of his 9 full seasons has he been better than 2 games over .500, and in only 3 has he had an ERA+ over 105. In other words, he's really no better than an average pitcher who had 1 incredible season and made the most of it.
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October 29, 1981: Bill Giles‚ the Philadelphia Phillies' vice president for the past 11 years‚ heads a group of investors which purchases the club for just over $30 million‚ the highest price paid to date for an MLB club.
Giles is the son of longtime National League President Warren Giles. He turned over day-to-day operation of the club to David Montgomery in 1997, and since 2000 has been NL president himself, although this is a powerless, purely ceremonial role, pretty much limited to awarding the trophy named for his father to the NL’s Pennant winner.
Also on this day, Amanda Ray Beard is born in Newport Beach, California. The swimmer won Gold Medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics.

October 29, 1983: Maurice Edward Clarett is born in Youngstown, Ohio. As a freshman, the running back helped Ohio State win the 2002 National Championship. Then, figuring freshmen are allowed to come out for the NBA Draft, he tried to make himself eligible early for the NFL Draft, and racked up over $1 million in legal fees.
When he was finally drafted, in 2005 by the Denver Broncos, he was released before ever stepping onto the field, even in an exhibition game, and remained in debt. In 2006, he was arrested for armed robbery, and plea-bargained. Released from prison in 2010, his only pro playing experience has been in 2010 and '11 for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. He has become an advocate for mental health, citing his own issues with it, and a motivational speaker. He has also repaired his relationship with Ohio State. Although it seems incredibly unlikely that he'll ever again be involved with pro football, unless it's in a coaching or advisory role, he seems to be okay now.

October 29, 1984, 30 years ago: Eric Craig Staal is born in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The All-Star center is the Captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, with whom he won the 2006 Stanley Cup. In May 2009, he scored the winning goal with 31 seconds left in regulation in Game 7 to give the 'Canes a first-round Playoff series win against the New Jersey Devils. For this, I hate his guts.
He has 3 brothers who play pro hockey: Carolina teammates Jordan and Jared (Jordan won the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins), and Marc of the New York Rangers (therefore someone who sucks).
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October 29, 2006: Silas Simmons passes away at the Westminster Suncoast retirement community in St. Petersburg, Florida. The 111-year old Delaware native was a southpaw hurler in the Negro Leagues for 17 years, and played for the Homestead Grays, New York Lincoln Giants, and Cuban All-Stars. He is believed to be the oldest professional baseball player who ever lived. The longest-lived major leaguer was Chester "Red" Hoff, who pitched in the 1910s and lived to be 107. (The oldest living former major leaguer now is Mike Sandlock, a catcher for the 1940s Braves, who just turned 99.)

October 29, 2008: After a 2-day delay for rain, Game 5 of the World Series is resumed at Citizens Bank Park. It begins in the bottom of the 6th, with the game tied 2-2. Geoff Jenkins doubles, is bunted to 3rd by Jimmy Rollins, and driven in by a Jayson Werth single. Rocco Baldelli ties the game with a home run in the 7th. Later in the inning, Utley takes a grounder, fakes a throw to 1st, then throws Jason Bartlett out at home for the 3rd out in a play later described as having saved the Series for the Phillies.
In the bottom of the 7th, Pat Burrell leads off with a double. Eric Bruntlett, pinch-running for Burrell, scores on a single by Pedro Feliz to put the Phillies up by a run again, 4–3.

In the top of the 9th, Brad Lidge gives up a single and a stolen base, but faces Eric Hinske with the chance to give the city its 1st World Championship in any sport since the 1983 76ers. Harry Kalas, the Hall of Fame voice of the Phils, had the call:
One strike away, nothing-and-two to Hinske. Fans on their feet. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0–2 pitch! Swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball!

Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season, 48-for-48 in save opportunities! And let the city celebrate! Don't let the 48-hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment and celebration! Twenty-five years in this city that a team has enjoyed a World Championship, and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night! Phils winning, 4–3, Brad Lidge gets the job done once again!


Harry would die early the next season. He deserved that title.
October 29, 2012: Hurricane Sandy hits the New York Tri-State Area, causing devastation all over the Jersey Shore, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, and causing flooding in Lower Manhattan. In some places, power was out for a week. (It was a Monday, and power wasn't restored to my residence until the following Monday.) In terms of damage, it was the 2nd-worst hurricane in American history, behind Katrina, which nearly destroyed New Orleans in 2005. In terms of lives lost, there are 286 that were blamed either directly or indirectly on the "superstorm."
In sports terms, the main effect around here was that the Nets' 1st game as a Brooklyn team, scheduled for November 1 against the Knicks at the Barclays Center, was postponed, and was instead played on November 3, the regularly-scheduled 2nd game against the Toronto Raptors. The Nets won, 107-100. The New York City Marathon was also canceled, for the 1st time in its history.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28, 1981: A Dark and Dodger Blue Day


October 28, 1981: A dark day in my life, even darker for me than the same day in 1975. One might even say a blue day... Dodger Blue.

The L.A. Bums finally beat the Yankees in the World Series, after 2 failed attempts in 1977 and ’78. Pedro Guerrero drives in 5 runs, and Burt Hooton and the Dodgers beat the Yankees 9-2 to win the World Series in 6 games. In a remarkable postseason‚ the Dodgers came from behind to win 3 series (down 2-0 to Houston and 2-1 to Montreal in the best-of-5 NL Division Series and League Championship Series).

Guerrero‚ Ron Cey‚ and Steve Yeager (2 home runs) are named co-MVPs‚ while Dave Winfield and relief pitcher George Frazier are the goats for New York. Winfield was just 1-for-21‚ while Frazier tied a Series record by losing 3 games. The record was set by the White Sox Lefty Williams in 1919‚ but Williams‚ one of the 8 "Black Sox‚" was losing on purpose. Frazier was trying to win, and didn't.

The long-term effects on the Yankees were as follows:

* This was the last game that Reggie Jackson ever played for the Yankees, and George Steinbrenner refused to exercise the option for a 6th year on his contract, and Reggie happily accepted an offer from Gene Autry to return to the West Coast and play for the Angels.

* Winfield’s performance contrasted so much with Reggie’s Mr. October persona that George eventually nicknamed him Mr. May, never gave him the respect he deserved, and ended up chasing Dave out of town – coincidentally, also to the Angels, although Reggie was retired by that point – and getting himself in trouble with how he did it. While George gave Dave a "Day" after he was elected to the Hall of Fame, to this day, Dave's Number 31 has not been retired, along with those of his Yankee teammates Jackson (44), Ron Guidry (49) and Don Mattingly (23) and his occasional manager Billy Martin (1). Nor has he gotten a Plaque in Monument Park like those 4, and also like Goose Gossage.

* George went through various experiments in managers and styles of play (booming bats one year, speed the next, and so on) to get the Yankees back on top, but they wouldn’t reach the World Series again for 15 years, giving the new ownership of the Mets the chance to become from 1984 to 1992 what they have not been since ’92, New York’s first team.

Blowing that lead, to the evil O'Malley Bums and their fat hypocritical slob of a manager Tommy Lasorda, losing the Series at home, and when I was just 11 going on 12...

More than any other Yankee defeat, this one sticks in my craw. As bad as the 2001 and 2003 World Series losses were (I don't really remember the 1976 sweep loss); or the 1980 and 2012 ALCS sweeps or the 2010 ALCS bottle-job; or the ALDS losses of 1995, 1997, 2006 and 2011; or the 1985 and 1988 regular-season near-misses; even the 2004 ALCS collapse doesn't bother me as much as the 1981 World Series. And, unlike with the 2004 Red Sox, I can't even rationalize it away by saying the Dodgers cheated! (That I know of. There are some people who have alleged that the mound at Dodger Stadium was actually less than 60 feet 6 inches from home plate, but I don't think this was ever seriously challenged.)

Also on this day, Nathan Richard McLouth is born in Muskegon, Michigan. In 2008, the center fielder for the Atlanta Braves was named to the All-Star Team and won a Gold Glove. In 2012, he drove the Yankees crazy for the Baltimore Orioles. This year, he helped the Washington Nationals win the NL East.

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October 28, 1879: Jimmy Hallinan, a former National Association and National League shortstop born in Ireland and grown up in Chicago, dies at age 30. The official cause of death was "inflammation of the bowels." Sounds painful, but it also sounds like something that could have been treated with modern antibiotics. It's been suggested that his actual death was due to alcoholism.

In 1877, split between for the Cincinnati Red Stockings (not to be confused with the current Reds franchise) and the Chicago White Stockings (forerunners of the Cubs, not the White Sox), he batted .321. His career OPS+ was 122, meaning he was 22 percent better than the average player of his time at producing runs. But, even by the standards of the time (no gloves, a much heavier ball than in the 20th Century), he was an atrocious fielder, equally inept at shortstop, 2nd base and the outfield. Whatever his illness was, it forced him to quit baseball in 1878, and it killed him in 1879.

October 28, 1882: The Philadelphia Athletics reveal that, in the 1st season of the American Association, they reaped a $22‚000 profit‚ more than any National League team earned. This helps convince the NL that the AA is a viable league.

However, within 10 years, both the league and this version of the Philadelphia Athletics will be gone anyway. But within 12 years of that, the AA name and the A’s name will be revived (but not in the same league).

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October 28, 1904, 110 years ago: After a 4th-place finish‚ the Cleveland Blues release Bill Armour and name Nap Lajoie manager. Armour takes over the Tigers‚ where Ed Barrow and Bobby Lowe split the season‚ as Detroit falls to 7th.

But with their star 2nd baseman, one of the game’s best hitters, as manager, the Cleveland team – now nicknamed the Naps for him – becomes a contender. After he leaves in 1914, they will jump on a bandwagon, seeing the team called the Braves as World Champions, and rename themselves the Cleveland Indians.

October 13, 1913: In the only time the 2 greatest pitchers of their time face each other‚ Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson square off at South Main Park in Tulsa‚ Oklahoma. Johnson‚ backed by the Chicago White Sox‚ wins the battle‚ 6-0‚ pitching the distance‚ while Matty exits after 4 innings. Johnson strikes out 8. Tris Speaker and Buck Weaver do the hitting for the Sox‚ while Oklahoma native, Sac and Fox Indian and fan favorite Jim Thorpe has 2 hits off Johnson.

The game is delayed for nearly 2 hours when the stands collapse‚ injuring 52 people and killing a soldier. Governor R.L. Williams of Oklahoma narrowly escapes injury in the tragedy.

October 28, 1922: Willem Hendrik van Breda Kolff is born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and grows up in neighboring Montclair. "Butch" was an original member of the New York Knicks, playing from 1946 to 1950. He coached Princeton University to the first Final Four appearance of any New Jersey school, in 1965 with future Knick star and Senator Bill Bradley.

But he’s best remembered as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1969, who saw Wilt Chamberlain come out for an injury with 5 minutes left in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, then ask to go back in with 2 minutes left. VBK refused to let him back in, and the Lakers lost Game 7 and the World Championship to the Boston Celtics by 2 points.

He was fired soon thereafter by Laker owner Jack Kent Cooke (who later owned the Washington Redskins), and spent the rest of his career in the college ranks before dying in 2007. His son Jan van Breda Kolff was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year with Vanderbilt in 1974, played for the Nets in both New York and New Jersey, and was also a college coach, including at his alma mater.

October 28, 1926: Bowie Kent Kuhn is born in Takoma Park, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. He was Commissioner of Baseball from 1969 to 1984 – though he often seemed like a puppet to Dodger owners Walter and later Peter O’Malley.

He frequently acted, in his own words, “to preserve the integrity of the game,” but all too often he seemed more like the lawyer he was than the fan he should have been. He was prudish, moralistic, unimaginative, and a tool of the owners. That he, and not the leader of the players’ union, Marvin Miller, is now in the Hall of Fame is deeply disturbing – but not all that surprising. Like Butch van Breda Kolff, he died in 2007.

Although he was a native of the suburbs of Washington, during his stewardship Major League Baseball left Washington for a third of a century.

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October 28, 1933: Manuel Francisco dos Santos is born in Mane, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Known as Garrincha, while not the 1st great Brazilian soccer player, he was the 1st to be widely known outside South America.

He starred for Rio club Botafogo from 1953 to 1965, and led Brazil to victory in the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, mentoring a young Pele along the way. Sadly, his drinking curtailed his health, and he died in 1983.

October 28, 1937: Leonard Randolph Wilkens is born. One of New York City’s greatest basketball players, he starred for Brooklyn’s Boys High, where he was a basketball teammate of future baseball star Tommy Davis, before moving up to New England (Seriously, Lenny?) to play for Providence College.

He played for the St. Louis Hawks in the now-Atlanta franchise’s last NBA Finals appearance in 1961, and starred for the early Seattle SuperSonics before coaching the franchise to its only NBA Title in 1979. He was a 9-time All-Star, and at his retirement had more career assists than any player except Oscar Robertson.

He’s also coached the Hawks, his hometown Knicks, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors, first coaching while still a player with the Sonics in 1969 and last (for now?) with the Knicks in 2005. He was the first NBA coach to win 1,000 games – and the first to lose 1,000. He has been surpassed by Don Nelson as the NBA's winningest coach. His final (?) coaching record is 1,332-1155, a .536 winning percentage. He coached the U.S. team to the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal.

One of the oddities of his career is that the Hawks traded him immediately before moving to Atlanta, and he resigned his executive’s position with the Sonics as they moved to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Providence retired his Number 14, and the Sonics retired his Number 19, and in each case he was the 1st on the team to be so honored.

Along with John Wooden and Bill Sharman, he is one of just 3 people elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as player and elected again a coach. But he tops them both, and everyone else, in a manner of speaking, by having been named, as part of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, as one of its 50 Greatest Players and one of its 10 Greatest Coaches, the only man to receive both honors. He is now a basketball analyst for Fox Sports.

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October 28, 1944, 70 years ago: Dennis Franz Schlachta is born in Maywood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He served in the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam, and became an actor upon his discharge from the Army, dropping his last name.

Best known as Detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue, Dennis Franz previously starred in the original Chicago production of Bleacher Bums, a play about Cub fans, of which he is one. You wanna make somethin’ of it?

October 28, 1946: Wim Jansen is born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The midfielder played most of his soccer career with his hometown club, Feyenoord, helping them to win 4 Eredivisie (Dutch 1st division) titles, and the KNVB Beker (national cup) in 1969, having also won the League that year, therefore having done The Double. In 1970, he helped them to become the 1st Dutch team to win the European Cup, immediately preceding the 3 straight wins by their arch-rivals, Ajax Amsterdam. He also helped them win the UEFA Cup in 1974, defeating that other North London team, Tottenham Hotspur, despite the "Spurs" fans rioting in the stadium and in the streets of Rotterdam, resulting in them getting banned from European play for 2 years.

He played on the Netherlands teams that reached the Finals of the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, each time losing the Final to the host nation (Germany in 1974, Argentina in 1978). He also played in America, for the Washington Diplomats, alongside the superstar formerly of Ajax, Johan Cruyff. He returned to the Netherlands, and joined Cruyff at Ajax, winning the 1982 Eredivisie title.

He managed Feyenoord to KNVB Cups in 1991 and 1992, and, ironically, the team Feyenoord beat to win the European Cup, Glasgow club Celtic, to the Scottish title and the Scottish League Cup in 1998. He is now back at Feyenoord as an assistant coach.

October 28, 1949: William Bruce Jenner is born in Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York. Bruce won the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, becoming an international hero and the man on the Wheaties cereal box.

But these days, he’s best known as the weird, desperately trying to hang onto his youth husband of Kris Jenner and the stepfather of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian. Recently, he and Kris split up.

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October 28, 1953: Fed up with the meddling of Brooklyn Dodger owner Walter O’Malley, Red Barber leaves the Dodgers’ broadcast booth, and signs with the crosstown Yankees. During his time in Brooklyn, O’Malley chased off Branch Rickey in 1950, Red Barber in 1953, and Jackie Robinson in 1956. And he shortchanged his players in contract negotiations.

In other words, O'Malley was already a dirty bastard, and would have remained one even if he had kept the Dodgers in Brooklyn as God intended it.

October 28, 1957: Singer Bing Crosby sells his shares of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even he couldn’t stand all the losing anymore. In the 1951 film Road to Bali, Dorothy Lamour asked him, “Do they still have pirates in America?” He said, “Yes, but they’re in the basement.”

Strangely, the Pirates start to get a lot better after Der Bingle sells them. But the Cleveland Indians didn’t get any better after his pal Bob Hope sold his shares in them.

October 28, 1961: Ground is broken for Flushing Meadow Park, the stadium that will later bear the name of the attorney, activist and baseball fan who made it possible, William A. Shea.

October 28, 1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis is resolved as Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that he has ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. In a secret deal between Kennedy and Khrushchev, Kennedy agrees to the withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Turkey. The fact that this deal is not made public makes it look like the Soviets have backed down.

Also on this day, Daphne Eurydice Zuniga is born in Berkeley, California, across the Bay from San Francisco, and grows up in Woodstock, Vermont. After a brief guest run on Family Ties, and appearing as the Princess Leia analogue in Mel Brooks' sci-fi spoof Spaceballs, she played Jo Reynolds on Melrose Place. She later played Victoria Davis on One Tree Hill, and her new series Hindsight will premiere next year.

October 28, 1963: James Jarrett Miller is born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, hometown of the Ripkens. He was a parachutist and paraglider pilot from Henderson, Nevada, outside Las Vegas, known for his outrageous appearances at various sporting events.

His most famous appearance was the November 6, 1993 boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. He used his powered paraglider to fly into the arena, eventually crashing into the ring. The fan on the device got him nicknamed Fan Man. "It was a heavyweight fight," Miller would joke later, "and I was the only guy who got knocked out."

Heart disease and mounting medical bills led him to commit suicide in 2002, and the age of 29.

October 28, 1966: Stephen Dennis Atwater is born in Chicago. The safety bridged the eras of Denver Bronco glory, playing for them in Super Bowl XXIV before appearing on the winning side in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII, retiring after the latter. His 1990 tackle of Christian Okoye, the Kansas City Chiefs’ huge fullback known as the Nigerian Nightmare, is regarded as one of the greatest hits in NFL history.

Steve is a member of the Broncos’ Ring of Honor, but he has not yet received his rightful induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also on this day, Paul Andrew Richter is born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the sidekick for Conan O’Brien when he took over as host of NBC’s Late Night, and is back with Conan as the announcer for TBS' Conan. In between, he starred in the Fox sitcoms Andy Richter Controls the Universe (in which he, well, didn’t) and Quintuplets (in which he was the father of the eponymous teenagers).

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October 28, 1972: Terrell Lamar Davis is born in San Diego. One in a long line of star running backs at the University of Georgia, in Super Bowl XXXII he fought a literally blinding headache to become the only player (through SB XLVIII) to score 3 touchdowns in a Super Bowl, leading the Broncos to victory. He also starred in the Broncos’ victory the next year in Super Bowl XXXIII.

A knee injury cut his career short, and, like Atwater, he is in the Broncos’ Ring of Honor, but not yet the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

One of my favorite sports oddities is that, in calendar year 1998, the football season ended with the Broncos winning the Super Bowl, and the baseball season ended with the Yankees winning the World Series, and since the Super Bowl is always held at a neutral site, and the Yankees beat the Padres, both contests ended at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, and each had a San Diego native who was key to the victory: The Broncos had Davis, and the Yankees had David Wells (although Wells’ lone appearance in the Series was in Game 1 at Yankee Stadium; the Yanks swept, and had it gone to a Game 5 Wells was scheduled to start in San Diego). “The Murph” is the only stadium ever to host a Super Bowl and the clinching game of a World Series in the same calendar year. The Los Angeles Coliseum, the Metrodome and the Dolphins’ current stadium have hosted both, but not in the same calendar year.

Also on this day, Brad Douglas Paisley is born in Glen Dale, West Virginia. The country singer, married to actress Kimberly Williams, had one of those songs that you figure has to got to be a parody, but it was all real: “Alcohol.”

October 28, 1974, 40 years ago: Braden LaVerne Looper is born in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Now retired, the reliever won World Series with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. In between those titles, he pitched for the Mets. He was considerably less successful with them.

Also on this day, Joaquin Rafael Bottom is born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Formerly acting under the name Leaf Phoenix and now Joaquin Phoenix, he is a member of the Phoenix acting family. He is best known for having played Emperor Commodus in Gladiator and Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. Or he was, before growing a beard and becoming a rapper, leading to him becoming an object of ridicule.

Also on this day, also in San Juan, Dayanara Torres Delgado is born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was Miss Universe in 1993, but is best known for her marriage to singer Marc Anthony, who cheated on her interminably, and, while she was pregnant, left her for Jennifer Lopez. Look, I love J-Lo, too, but I wouldn’t leave a woman who looks like Dayanara for anyone. Not even if Catherine Zeta-Jones came up to me wearing an Obama campaign button on a Yankee cap, and nothing else.

October 28, 1975: I underwent surgery at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, then located at 123rd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem, to correct a problem in my legs that made walking difficult. The surgery was successful, to an extent, although I still have pain in my legs that sometimes makes walking a chore.

My 2 weeks in that hospital are a blur, as I was almost 6. What I do remember from the experience, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. (I've been a hospital patient on Halloween Night at age 5 and on Thanksgiving Day at 17. Halloween at 5 in a hospital is worse.)

Those 2 weeks included the Daily News' “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD” headline and the Rangers’ trade of Eddie Giacomin and his well-received return to The Garden, but I don’t remember those things happening at the time. Nor do I remember, the week before, the 1975 World Series including Carlton Fisk's "Fenway Twist."

Also on this day, Georges Carpentier dies of a heart attack in Paris at age 81. A hero who helped to save France from the invading Imperial Germans in World War I, he was Light Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1920 to 1922, beating Battling Levinsky to take the title.

But he's better known for the fights he lost. In 1921, he challenged Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight title, at a huge, 90,000-seat temporary stadium in Jersey City called “Boyle’s Thirty Acres.” Dempsey knocked him out. He lost his title to Battling Siki, a Senegalese (and thus, then, legally a fellow Frenchman) and the 1st black African to win any boxing title. He then lost to Tommy Gibbons (whom Dempsey had defended his title against), Tommy Loughran (a later light heavyweight champion) and Gene Tunney (who took the heavyweight title from Dempsey).

October 28, 1979: George Steinbrenner officially fires Billy Martin for the second time, following his barroom brawl with a man described as a “marshmallow salesman.” (It always sounded ridiculous. Was this a guy walking around yelling, like a ballpark vendor? “Marshmallows! Get yer marshmallows here!” He was probably a businessman who simply negotiated contracts to sell something in bulk, and it just happened to be marshmallows.)

Also on this day, Martin Skoula is born in Litomerice, in what is now the Czech Republic. The defenseman won a Stanley Cup with the 2001 Colorado Avalanche, and is now playing in his homeland's Extraliga.

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October 28, 1980: Alan Smith is born in Rothwell, West Yorkshire, England.  He is not to be confused with Alan “Smudger” Smith, the former striker for Arsenal and now TV soccer pundit, who was an Arsenal teammate of David O’Leary, who was this Alan Smith’s first manager, at Leeds United.

In between Leeds and Newcastle, each of which was relegated while he played for them, this Alan Smith played for Manchester United in their Premier League Championship season of 2007 -- earning the eternal hatred of Leeds fans, who despite Man U more than any other team. He now plays for Notts County.

October 28, 1982: Jeremy Allen Bonderman is born in Kennewick, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. His 1st season in the majors, at age 20, was with the 2003 Detroit Tigers, a horrible team, and he was 6-19 before being benched for the final week of the season, in order to avoid becoming the 1st pitcher since Brian Kingman of the ’80 A’s – but this same courtesy was not extended to his Tiger teammate, Mike Maroth, who went 9-21.

But while Maroth dealt with injury issues that kept him off the 2006 postseason roster (he's now a coach in their minor league system), Bonderman bounced back, helping the Tigers win the Pennant. But he was injured for nearly all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and all of the 2011 and 2012 seasons. After being released by the Tigers, he started 2013 with the Mariners, and the Tigers were impressed enough to reacquire him. But he didn't pitch for them in the postseason, and was released again. He did not pitch in 2014, and it looks like his career is over at just 32.

October 28, 1983: Jarrett Matthew Jack is born in Fort Washington, Maryland. The guard helped get Georgia Tech into the 2004 National Championship game, and now plays for the Brooklyn Nets. Only twice has he made the Playoffs, with the New Orleans Hornetsin 2011 and the Golden State Warriors in 2013.

October 28, 1984, 30 years ago: Obafemi Akinwumi Martins is born in Lagos, Nigeria. The striker played for Internazionale Milan in their 2006 “Double” season, and starred for Newcastle United. Twice, he bedeviled Arsenal: With a Champions League goal for Inter when he was not quite 19, followed by celebrating by doing handsprings; and with the winning goal for Birmingham City following a defensive miscue in the 2011 League Cup Final.

He now plays for the Seattle Sounders, and helped them to win this year's U.S. Open Cup (American version of the FA Cup) and Supporters' Shield (regular-season champions).

October 28, 1989, 25 years ago: The Oakland Athletics take an 8-0 lead, and beat the San Francisco Giants 9-6 at Candlestick Park, to complete a 4-game sweep of the Bay Bridge World Series‚ the first Series sweep since 1976. Oakland native Dave Stewart‚ who won Games 1 and 3‚ is named MVP. However, with the Loma Prieta Earthquake only 11 days prior, it may be the most subdued World Series celebration ever.

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October 28, 1995: In a pitcher's duel‚ the Braves win Game 6 of the Series‚ 1-0‚ on a combined 1-hitter by Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers. David Justice's 6th-inning homer accounts for the game's only run.

In winning‚ the Braves become the 1st team to win World Championships representing three different cities: Boston in 1914‚ Milwaukee in 1957‚ and Atlanta in 1995. Catcher Tony Pena's leadoff single in the 6th is Cleveland's only hit. The Indians, who led the majors in homers and runs scored‚ bat just .179‚ the lowest average for a 6-games series since 1911.

October 28, 2000: Andujar Cedeno dies in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic. He was 31, and the shortstop had been playing in the Dominican league. Previously, he had played in the majors, including for the Houston Astros, who previously had pitcher Joaquin Andujar and center fielder Cesar Cedeno – both with nasty tempers, unlike Andujar Cedeno, but also considerably more talented.

October 28, 2001: The Arizona Diamondbacks jump out to a 2-0 Series lead on the Yankees, as Randy Johnson hurls a 3-hit shutout. Matt Williams hits a 3-run homer for the Diamondbacks. Andy Pettitte takes the loss for New York. This makes Williams the 1st player to hit Series home runs for 3 different teams, having also done so for the 1989 Giants and the 1997 Indians. (He would later confess to having used steroids.)

Also on this day, Commissioner Bud Selig says it is possible that 2 major league teams could be eliminated by the start of next season. The Montreal Expos‚ Florida Marlins‚ Minnesota Twins‚ and Tampa Bay Devil Rays are the teams mentioned as most likely to be eliminated.

The ensuing furor results in a 2002 collective bargaining agreement that leaves all 30 current teams in place, although the Expos will be moved to Washington after the 2004 season. Since then, the Marlins won the 2003 World Series, the Rays have made the Playoffs 4 times including winning the 2008 AL Pennant, the Twins have won 6 AL Central titles, and the Nationals have won 2 NL East titles. Looks like Bud was looking at the wrong teams.

October 28, 2002: The Mets name former Houston Astros 2nd baseman, and former Oakland Athletics manager, Art Howe as their new skipper. Howe had just led the A’s to their 3rd straight Playoff berth. His tenure in Flushing will be significantly less successful.

October 28, 2005: Bob Broeg dies at age 87. The longtime baseball writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was elected to the sportswriters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and later sat on its board of directors and on its Veterans’ Committee.

Hearing Brooklyn Dodger fans, with their 1940s rivalry with the Cardinals, say of Stan Musial, noted for hitting the Dodgers hard, “Uh-oh, dat man is back in town,” he started calling him “Stan the Man” in his columns, and the name stuck. I’d like to know who gave 1970s Baltimore Oriole pitcher Don Stanhouse the oh-so-appropriate nickname “Stan the Man Unusual.”

October 28, 2006: Arnold Jacob Auerbach dies at age 89, and finds out that, in Heaven, you can eat all the Chinese food you want, and not have to worry about calories, cholesterol, or monosodium glutamate. As the leading figure in the history of professional basketball, he rarely had to worry about the other MSG, Madison Square Garden.

A native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, “Red” Auerbach starred in basketball at Eastern District High School, before moving on to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., later coaching in that city at the high school, college and professional levels, taking the Washington Capitols to the NBA Finals in 1949. When they didn’t reach the Finals the next season, owner Mike Uline fired him. Within another year, the Caps folded, and the NBA would not return to the D.C. area until 1973. Still, Red would live in Washington for the rest of his life.

He would, of course, go on to become the head coach, general manager, and eventually president of the Boston Celtics, leading them to 9 NBA Championships as coach and 16 while he was involved with them. While still running the team, in 1985, a statue of him, on a bench, with a basketball by his side and a trademark “victory cigar” in his hand, was dedicated at Boston’s Quincy Market. The accompanying plaque says he won 15 Championships. The 16th came a year later. Rubbing the statue’s bald head is said to be good luck. I have a picture of the statue wearing one of my Yankee caps. I’m a wiseass, but then, so was Red.

When Celtics founder Walter Brown died, leaving Red in charge of the franchise, Red ordered the Number 1 retired for Brown. At the time of the statue’s dedication, the Celtics held an old-timers’ game, with Red coaching a team in green Celtic road jerseys and his star pupil and successor as head coach Bill Russell coaching a team in white Celtic home jerseys – Red’s team won of course – and the Number 2 was retired for Red, even though, like Brown, he never played for the team.

Also on this day, Trevor Berbick is killed. The Jamaican boxer, the last man to fight Muhammad Ali, knocked out Pinklon Thomas to win the WBC version of the heavyweight title in 1986, but lost it later that year when Mike Tyson knocked him out. Brain damage from boxing left him impaired, and though he became a minister, he was murdered inside his church in Kingston, Jamaica, by his own nephew and an accomplice. He was just 51.

October 28, 2007: The Boston Red Sox hold off a late comeback by the Colorado Rockies, and win Game 4, 4-3, to sweep the World Series. After 86 years of never winning a Series, the Sox now have 2 in the last 4 years, 7 total. When Boston Globe columnist, now WEEI radio show host, Michael Holley writes a book about this group of Red Sox, and titles it Red Sox Rule, many people fume over the the wording, but, for now, few can put up much of a complaint about its essential truth.

Also on this day, sports agent Scott Boras announces that his client, Alex Rodriguez, has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract with the Yankees, and will become a free agent. Both A-Rod and Bore-Ass are criticized as classless for making the announcement during a World Series game -- the deadline was not for another few days -- and for looking like a couple of greedy bastards who didn't give a damn about the player's team.

The Yankees would, essentially, tell A-Rod, "You don't want to sign with us? Good luck getting anybody else to pay you what you want." Essentially, he came back groveling -- and the Yankees paid him more anyway! It was worth it, though: They would not have won the 2009 World Series without him.

Also on this day, Porter Wagoner dies. The country singer known as “Mr. Grand Ole Opry,” who discovered and did many fine duets with Dolly Parton, was 80. He had the 1st hit version of “The Green, Green Grass of Home.” Clearly, the inventor of artificial turf wasn’t listening.

October 28, 2009: For the 1st time, a World Series game is played at the new Yankee Stadium. However, as with the 1st at the old Stadium in 1923, and the 1st after that Stadium's reopening following the renovation in 1976, the home team loses. Chase Utley hits 2 homers off CC Sabathia, and Cliff Lee pitches lights-out, and the Phillies beat the Yankees 6-1.

October 28, 2011: Game 7 of the World Series. After being down by 10 1/2 games on August 25 for the NL Central Division lead, the Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium 6-2, to win their 11th World Championship, easily the most of any NL team. (Next best is the Giants with 7, although only 2 of those were in San Francisco; if we're talking about the most in 1 city, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds are next with 5.)

David Freese, the 9th and 11th inning hero of the night before, gets his 21st RBI of the postseason, setting a new record. (Keeping in mind there was no Division Series before 1995, and no League Championship Series before 1969.) He is named Series MVP.

The Rangers were 1 strike away from winning the World Series in both the 9th and 10th innings of Game 6. They had already clowned their way to a World Series defeat in 2010, and have since choked away an AL West title and the Wild Card play-in game in 2012, and fell apart in 2013. It doesn't look like they're going to win the 1st World Series in franchise history anytime soon.

October 28, 2013: Game 5 of the World Series. David Ortiz ties Billy Hatcher's 1990 World Series record, reaching base in his 9th consecutive plate appearance, with a 4th-inning single to extend the streak that began in Game 3. Of course, Hatcher didn't need to use steroids to set his record. The Red Sox win, 3-1, behind a strong pitching effort from Jon Lester, and need just 1 more win to take the Series.

Monday, October 27, 2014

How Long It's Been: The Mets Won a World Series


October 27, 1986: The New York Mets beat the Boston Red Sox 8-5, at Shea Stadium, to win Game 7 and take the World Series.

They haven't won another title since. Indeed, they've only won 1 more World Series game, and only reached the National League Championship Series 3 times.

It's been exactly 28 years. That's 336 months, or 1,456 weeks, or 9,947 days. On December 19, 2014, it will have been 10,000 days. Ten thousand days.

For now, it's been 28 years since The Other Team won a World Championship.

Here's how it compares to the New York Tri-State Area's teams:

1. New York Giants: 2 years, 8 months, 23 days.
2. New York Yankees: 4 years, 11 months, 23 days.
3. New Jersey Devils: 11 years, 4 months, 19 days.
4. New York Rangers: 20 years, 4 months, 13 days.
5. New York Mets: 28 years, 0 months, 0 days.
6. New York Islanders: 31 years, 5 months, 10 days.
7. Brooklyn Nets: 38 years, 5 months, 14 days.
8. New York Knicks: 41 years, 5 months, 17 days.
9. New York Jets: 45 years, 9 months, 15 days.

(Of course, in the Nets' case, that's only if you count the ABA. If you don't, then it's actually never.)

Since the Mets were last even in their sport's finals, 14 years ago, the Yankees and Devils have each made it 3 times, the Giants and Nets twice, and even the Rangers once. Though the Jets, Knicks and Islanders haven't.

Without a title, 28 years. How long has that been?

*

Of the 25 players on their World Series roster, 24 are still alive. Only Gary Carter has died. It's (pardon the choice of words) an Amazing thing that none of the other '86 Mets have died. Accidents and illnesses can happen, before you consider the substance abuse issues of Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra, and the eating habits some of them developed. (Seriously, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling put on a lot of weight. Ironically, the fattest guy on the team, Sid Fernandez, has lost weight. He looked great the last time I saw him.)

For perspective: While all members of the 1996 and 2000 World Champion Yankees are still alive, they've also lost 1 member of their 1998 and 1999 World Champions, to suicide: Hideki Irabu. In contrast, from their 1978 World Champions, 3 of them -- Thurman Munson to a plane crash, Catfish Hunter to Lou Gehrig's Disease, and Jim Spencer to a heart attack -- died within 24 Opening Days of that title.

When the Mets won the 1986 World Series, they beat the Boston Red Sox, who hadn't won the Series in 68 years. The Chicago White Sox hadn't won in 69. The Giants hadn't won since moving to San Francisco, the Braves since moving to Atlanta, the Twins since moving to Minnesota. The team then known as the California Angels, the Toronto Blue Jays had never won. The Blue Jays and the Houston Astros hadn't yet won a Pennant.

The Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers had never even made the Playoffs. The Montreal Expos hadn't moved to become the Washington Nationals. The Colorado Rockies, the Miami Marlins, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays hadn't yet begun play. MLB hadn't yet seen a stadium with a retractable roof, or Interleague play, or, with 1 exception in the mid-1960s, a player from an Asian country. All of those things have since happened.

Comiskey Park (built in 1910), Tiger Stadium (1912), the original Yankee Stadium (1923) and Cleveland Municipal Stadium (1931) were all still standing and hosting Major League Baseball. They're all gone now. Only 6 ballparks in use then are still being used: Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, the Oakland Coliseum, and both Los Angeles-area parks, Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium. And all of those 6 (some more so than others) have undergone, or (in the case of Wrigley) are undergoing, major renovations.

In addition to the old Yankee Stadium, the Mets have replaced Shea Stadium, the Giants and Jets have moved out of Giants Stadium, the Devils and Nets have moved out of the Meadowlands Arena, and the Islanders are about to move out of the Nassau Coliseum. The Knicks and Rangers haven't moved, but Madison Square Garden has undergone 2 major renovations.

There was an NFL team in St. Louis, but it was the Cardinals, not the Rams. There was an NFL team in Houston, but it was the Oilers, not the Texans. The Rams and the Raiders were both in Los Angeles, and both have left. Baltimore was without a team. Phoenix was trying to get one (supposedly, they nearly got the Eagles a couple of years earlier), and so was Jacksonville, but they hadn't yet. Charlotte wasn't even trying to get in the picture: The best stadium within 50 miles of downtown had just 21,000 seats and was already 50 years old. (It was American Legion Memorial Stadium. Oddly, it still stands, although one side of it has been replaced.)

The NBA was planning an expansion, but hadn't yet selected Charlotte, Miami, Orlando and Minnesota. The NHL still had teams in Quebec City and Hartford. There was a team in Minnesota, but it was the North Stars, not the Wild. The Edmonton Oilers ruled the league, the Islanders weren't that far off of their dynasty, and the Rangers had just reached the Conference Finals. The Devils? At the time, they were a joke, and the idea that the Devils would win a 1st Stanley Cup, let alone a 3rd, before the Mets won a 3rd World Series would have gotten you laughed out of the room.

Edd Roush, star of the Cincinnati Reds team that won the 1919 World Series (with a little "help" from 7 Chicago White Sox), was still alive. So were 1926 St. Louis Cardinals player Specs Toporcer, 1930s Yankee stars Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez and Frank Crosetti, and 1930s Giants stars Bill Terry and Carl Hubbell.

The defining players of my childhood had either hung 'em up or were in the process of doing so. Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Bench retired 3 years earlier. Tom Seaver was playing out the string -- ironically, for the Red Sox against the Mets in the World Series, although he did not appear. Pete Rose never really announced his retirement, but he had played his last game a few weeks earlier. Reggie Jackson and Steve Carlton would play 1 more year, Mike Schmidt 3.

Derek Jeter was 12 years old, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz were 11, Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia were 6, Robinson Cano had just turned 4; David Wright, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera were 3; Matt Kemp was 2, and Felix Hernandez was 1. Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper weren't born yet. Neither were 24 of the players on the Mets' current 40-man roster.

The team the Mets dethroned as World Series winners was the Kansas City Royals. The other defending World Champions were the Chicago Bears, the Boston Celtics and the Montreal Canadiens. Between them, those 4 teams have won just 2 titles since (the 1993 Canadiens and the 2008 Celtics). The Heavyweight Champion of the World was Michael Spinks, but Mike Tyson was coming.

The Olympic Games have since been held in America and Canada twice each, Korea, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, Australia, Greece, Italy, China, Britain and Russia.
The President of the United States was Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush was Vice President. His son George W. had recently quit drinking (or so he says), but was still a 40-year-old businessman who couldn't find oil in Texas, and had run for office once and lost, having failed at everything he'd ever done to that point. Bill Clinton, the same age, was about to be elected to his 4th term as Governor of Arkansas. Barack Obama was at Harvard Law School. Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, their wives, and the widows of Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy were all still alive. (Mr. and Mrs. Carter still are.)

The Governor of New York was Mario Cuomo, and his son Andrew was one of his aides; he's the Governor now. The Governor of New Jersey was Tom Kean, while current Governor Chris Christie was at Seton Hall University School of Law. The Mayor of New York, uh, was, uh, Ed Koch. Current Mayor Bill de Blasio was working for the City's Department of Juvenile Justice.

The Prime Minister of Canada was Brian Mulroney. The monarch of Great Britain was Queen Elizabeth II -- that hasn't changed -- and the Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher. England's Football League title and its FA Cup were both won by Liverpool; for all that club's achievements, this is the only time they've ever won both in the same year, the only time they've "done The Double."

Major novels of 1986 included The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising and Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Supremacy. Major films released in the fall of 1986 included Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Hoosiers, Blue Velvet, Crocodile Dundee, Children of a Lesser God, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Mosquito Coast, An American Tail, and the film that finally got Paul Newman the Oscar for Best Actor, the sequel to the film that should have, The Hustler: The Color of Money.

Saturday Night Live did a parody of it, The Hustler of Money, turning Newman's Fast Eddie Felson and Tom Cruise's Vincent Lauria into bowlers. Newman and Cruise were both played by newcomers to the show, Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey, respectively. Kevin Nealon had also recently debuted on the show. The Fox Network had just become the 4th major network, and The Oprah Winfrey Show had just gone to national syndication after 2 years as a Chicago-only show. Shows debuting that fall included L.A. Law, Head of the Class, Matlock, Designing Women, ALF, It's Garry Shandling's Show and Pee-wee's Playhouse.

The Smiths broke up. Metallica's bus crashed, killing bass guitarist Cliff Burton. The Beastie Boys released License to Ill, and every teenager who'd ever said, "What a drag!" about his parents failed to realize that "You Gotta Fight for Your Right (To Party)" was a joke, a parody of that kind of teenage boy. Cyndi Lauper released True Colors, Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet, Slayer Reign In Blood, and Stryper To Hell With the Devil.

There were home computers and desktop computers, but they were still pretty bulky. The idea of a computer fitting on your lap, let alone in your pocket, was ridiculous. Hardly anybody had heard of the Internet, and there was no World Wide Web, to say anything of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

In the fall of 1986, Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. Queen Elizabeth became the 1st British monarch to visit China. The M25 motorway, London's answer to a capital beltway, was completed. Earthquakes shook Greece and El Salvador. Former supermodel Gia Carangi died of AIDS. So did Jerry Smith, a former tight end for the Washington Redskins, who never came out of the closet during his lifetime.

The Democrats regained control of the U.S. Senate. And just 1 week after the Mets won the World Series, it was revealed that President Reagan had sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of American and other Western hostages. A few days after that, it was revealed that the money made from these sales had gone to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Either was an impeachable offense; had Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama done these things, conservatives would have wanted them impeached, imprisoned and hanged, not necessarily in that order. But it was Reagan who did it, and he completely got away with it.

Cary Grant, and Keenan Wynn, and Hank Greenberg died. Oscar Pistorius, and Shaun White, and Olivier Giroud were born. And, on the very day the Mets won it, one of their current pitchers, Jon Niese, was born.

October 27, 1986. The last time the New York Mets won the World Series.

And I truly do mean the last time. It will never happen again.

Curse of Kevin Mitchell, people.