YOUR SPORTS MEMORIES START HERE

Here’s a brief Quiz for the Sports Lover:
NBA: 2003: A major brawl took place between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers.
Which player was given (what was then) the longest suspension ever handed out?
1992: Name at least seven players on the US Olympic Dream Team.
1976: Name the 4 ABA teams that merged with the NBA.
1954: What rule change revolutionized pro basketball?

NFL: What team-oriented scandal took place before Deflate Gate?
Hint: The alleged scandal caused a head coach to be suspended 1 year.
2004: This player was drafted by the San Diego Chargers but refused to play for them.
1991: This Atlanta Falcons draftee was 0-5 at his position before being traded away.
Hint: This record-setting player retired more than once.
1983: This player was drafted by the Baltimore Colts but refused to play for them.
1970: Name the 3 NFL teams that switched to the AFC to give the league balance.

MLB: This century: After 80+ years of futility, name the 2 AL teams that won a World Series.
1989: What tragic event took place during the World Series?
1969: Name the 2 new teams added to the NL. One of these teams now play elsewhere.
1968: What pitcher totally dominated the National League?
1947: What was Jackie Robinson’s original position?

How did you do? The answers are listed at the end.

LET ME OVERSTATE THE OBVIOUS: YOU LOVE SPORTS.

Chicago Sports Journal

Call it what you will: Sports in general can be something to look forward to, a great diversion, or simply an event that breathes life during dull, painful moments. But there’s a host of others that embrace sports as a major part of their life. How so? They reach for the sports section before opening up the rest of the newspaper, know the channel and times of the next game or listen at length to strong opinions on sports radio. These folks are both passionate and possessive: it’s not just a team, it’s their team.

And most fans are not passive. Just watch how they twist their bodies while watching a play or listen to them
(from afar) as they yell at the TV set; many even carry a strong dislike for a particular opponent. And what of those who wear war paint, or arrive several hours early to obtain a player’s autograph?

On game day, fans are busy buying jerseys, caps, terrible towels, and foam cheese they proudly wear on their head. Travel near or far: How many bars do you see that have a sports theme? Check inside: How many widescreen TVs do they have? This is not surface-level affection. Nope. This kind of love embraces a team, or an era, a particular game and its score, or more importantly, a long-held hero.

This much is certain: Books on sports are many, but none have what is offered here. My journey started in 1991 when I wanted to find how a certain team or a specific league did on a year-by-year basis. It had to be more than just the final standings. Who were the stars? Who was picked first in the draft? Who was traded, injured, fined, or choosing to play out their final year? What were the games of note? What were the rule changes and trends? Who won the year-end awards? I wanted the story, the details, and a few necessary statistics. After a lengthy search, I found no such book. That is, not until now. So, whether you call yourself a casual fan, a sports “junkie,” or even a history lover, you are in the right place.

What is offered? Plenty! Seventeen books (some are shortened versions of the whole) and 20 free reports.

NBA:

History of the NBA (1966-2018)
History of the Chicago Bulls (1966-2018)
History of the Chicago Bulls (1984-2018)
NFL History of the NFL (1933-2017)
History of the Chicago Bears (1920-2017)
History of the Chicago Bears (1963-2017)
History of the Chicago Bears (1985-2017)

MLB:

American League Players’ Stats (1901-2018)
History of the American League (1901-2018)
History of the Chicago White Sox (1901-2018)
History of the Chicago White Sox (1959-2018)
History of the Chicago White Sox (1983-2018)
National League Players’ Stats (1901-2018)
History of the National League (1901-2018)
History of the Chicago Cubs (1901-2018)
History of the Chicago Cubs (1967-2018)
History of the Chicago Cubs (1984-2018)

Freebies (20)
NBA:

Early American Basketball (1892-1949)
History of the NBA (1949-1965)
NBA 2017-2018
Chicago Bulls 1990-1991
Chicago Bulls 2017-2018

NFL:

Early American Football (1893-1920)
History of the NFL (1920-1932)
Chicago Bears (1975; Walter Payton’s 1st year)
Chicago Bears (1985)

MLB:

Baseball (Pre-1876)
American League Players’ Stats (2018)
American League – a review (2018)
National League Players Stats (2018)
National League – a review (2018)
History of the Chicago Cubs (1876-1900)
Chicago Cubs (1984)
Chicago Cubs (2018)
Chicago White Sox (1983)
Chicago White Sox (2005)
Chicago White Sox (2018)

What will you find? Page after page, you will quickly recall names, dates, and even minor details. You will also note how much the game has changed over time. Remember when pro basketball defenses were always man-to-man? There was also a time when (with minor exceptions) pro football was always played on Sunday afternoons. Follow baseball? Not all that long ago, Major league pitchers often pitched all 9 innings, batters struck out less frequently, and games often took a little more than 2 hours to play.

Each book is a quick read, so select one or several and begin taking note of trends and context. Find out when the AL began to use the DH or who were the first players to seek free agency. Football is not the only sport that has suffered scandals: check out what happened during and after the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. I could go on, but there is still one more thing that awaits…

It’s time to renew your relationship with that long-held hero. Fascinated by the likes of Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig? Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Pete Maravich or Larry Bird? How about Jim Brown, Paul Hornung, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, Joe Montana, or Peyton Manning? That’s the short list, but you get the picture.

Answers:
NBA:

  • Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace). His record has since been broken (2014, NYY Alex Rodriguez).
  • Choose 7 of the following: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson, Chris Mullen, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, and rookie Christian Laettner.
  • San Antonio Spurs, NY Nets, Denver Nuggets, and the Indiana Pacers.
  • The 24-second clock.

NFL:

  • Bounty-Gate. Saints’ head coach Sean Payton was suspended 1 year.
    Eli Manning refused to play for the San Diego Chargers.
  • The Falcons’ Brett Favre was 0-5 at QB before being traded to the Green Bay Packers.
  • John Elway refused to play for the Baltimore Colts.
  • Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • MLB: After 80+ years, the Boston Red Sox (2004) and Chicago White Sox (2005) finally won a World Series.
  • The 10/17 earthquake lasted 15 seconds, registered 6.9, and caused 69 deaths.
  • The San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos.
  • St. Louis Cardinals’ Bob Gibson: 22-9, 1.12 ERA, and 13 shutouts.
  • Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson, normally at 2B, played 1B his 1st season.

 

                  Don’t delay. Your reserved seat awaits; sports memories start right now.

Finally: A lot can happen while one sleeps or is not looking! Since each sport is on-going, subscribe to the weekly Journal Notes newsletter and get updates on baseball, football, and basketball plus a reminder of events and noteworthy games that took place 5, 10, 20, and 50 years earlier!

About the Author

Full disclosure: I indulged myself in this project; I hope you will indulge yourself as well. So, find out how each sport has evolved, follow your favorite team(s) or locate that long-held hero! Time to embrace those things we truly want to remember.
On a more personal note, my wife (Donna) and I currently live in Wheaton, Illinois. We are blessed with 3 adult children and our wonder dog, Gracie.

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