Friday, July 4, 2014

A Sports Illustrated "Special Issue"

No, the title of this post is NOT referring to the annual soft-core porn swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, but rather the "Where Are They Now" issue published each summer and which arrived in the mailbox yesterday.

I have spent most of this morning reading some of the stories in the issue including ones on Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, the 1976 (0-14) Tampa Bay Bucs,  and Angelo Pizzo, who wrote the screenplays for "Hoosiers" and "Rudy", and there are at least three more stories I want to read.

The cover story about Banks is terrific.  What a guy!

The Aaron story is not so much about Aaron himself as it is about some of the peripheral people who were around Aaron forty years ago when he hit that famous 715th home run.  One of them is ex-Pirate announcer Milo Hamilton!   The best quote in the story, however, belongs to Al Downing, whom baseball fans will recall as the pitcher who gave up that historic dinger.  It notes that Downing does not regret the fact that his 17 year, all-star career has been reduced to a trivia question to many, and he says that he was dismayed when pitchers a few years back talked about being willing to walk Barry Bonds to avoid being the guy who would serve the pitch to Bonds that would break Aaron's record, and here is the money quote from Downing:

"If you don't want to give up home runs, don't pitch."

Love it.

There are many weeks when I can glance through SI and be done with it in about 20-30 minutes, but then there are the half dozen or so times each year when they serve up stories that make the cost of an annual subscription worth every penny you pay, and this issue is one of them.

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