Monday, May 27, 2019

To Absent Friends - Bill Buckner

Bill Buckner
1949 - 2019

Bill Buckner played for 22 seasons in the major leagues.  He amassed over 2,700 hits, over 1,200 RBI, and scored over 1,000 runs.  He had a career batting average of .289 and won a batting title in 1980.  By any standard, Buckner had a career of great distinction, but guess what was in the first paragraph of every wire story and news outlet story of Buckner's death?

Yep, his error in the ninth inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series that allowed the Mets to tie and then win that game and then win the World Series in Game Seven the next night.  Buckner came to terms with that error, and accepted it  as a sort of "shit happens" moment that can happen to any major league player.  He even teamed up with Mookie Wilson, the Met who hit that ground ball, in later years by selling signed copies of photos of that fateful play at card and memorabilia shows.  For sure he accepted it more readily than the Red Sox fans, who , in a classless manner typical of sports fans everywhere, excoriated him for years for that play.  

I can remember that when the Red Sox finally won a World Series in 2004, someone asked Buckner if he thought that Boston fans would now forgive him for that play in 1986.  I don't have the exact quote but Buckner said, in effect, "Forgive ME?  I never did anything that deserves forgiveness.  That's baseball."  As I said, not an exact quote, but you get the gist.  In the end, Bill Buckner was a classy guy.

Buckner died today at the age of 69, a victim of Lewy Body Dementia.  It scares the hell out of me when someone only two years older than me falls prey to such a terrible illness.

RIP Bill Buckner.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

To Absent Friends - Bart Starr

Bart Starr
1934 - 2019

Listen up, kids (being defined in this case as pro football fans under the age of, say, 55 or so).  Before there was Tom Brady and the Patriots, before there was Joe Montana and the 49'ers, before there was Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers, there were the Green Bay Packers of Bart Starr and Head Coach Vince Lombardi, and this fact came home to me with the news of the death of Bart Starr today at the age of 85.   In my own life arc as a fan of pro football, those Packers were the first truly great team of my memory, and Starr was their quarterback, then, as now, the most important position on the field.

Starr came to the Packers in 1956 out of the University of Alabama, and spent his first year backing up at the quarterback position.  In 1959, Vince Lombardi became the Packers head coach, installed Starr as his starting quarterback, and a dynasty was born. 

 The QB and the Coach

In 1960, the Packers lost to the Eagles in the NFL Championship game.  It was Starr's first post-season game, and it would be the only one that he and his teams would ever lose.  There would be nine subsequent post season games for the the Starr/Lombardi Packers (no multiple playoff rounds back then).  The would win the NFL championship in 1961, 1962, and 1965.  They would then win the  "NFL-AFL World Championship" in 1966 and 1967.  That was before that game came to be known as the SUPER BOWL.  Those 1965-66-67 teams became the first, and to this day, the only team to win NFL Championships three seasons in a row.

Remember this play?:

The 1967 NFL title game.  The famous "Ice Bowl Game" in Green Bay on December 31, 1967.  Packers trailing the Cowboys 17-14 with :16 left in the game and no times out remaining, Starr, behind the block of Jerry Kramer, sneaks in for the game winning touchdown.  The Packers win 21-17 and earn a trip to the second NFL-AFL title game, now known as Super Bowl II.  If it is not the most famous play in the history of the NFL, it is surely among the Top Five of such plays.

Starr was a Hall of Fame quarterback on a team that was loaded with Hall of Famers.  He played on five NFL championship teams (only Brady has played on more), was NFL MVP in 1966, was selected to the Pro Bowl four times, was the MVP of both Super Bowls I and II, was the QB on the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1960's, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.

Starr lived to age 85.  He had a good long run, and has earned his rest after struggling health wise these past few years.  I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings running through the minds of so many fans up in Titletown USA today.

RIP Bart Starr.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Hilton Head Island Sojourn

I will keep this short and sweet, but, if for no other reason than preserving the historical record for my own memory, I do want to mention the six day vacation that Marilyn and I took to Hilton Head Island, SC earlier this month.

Hilton Head is one of our favorite spots anywhere. This was the sixth time that we have visited this wonderful place over the years.  It continues to grow, but at the same time it remains delightfully unchanged, which means that we were able to visit once again some of our favorite places...Harbortown, Scott's Fish Market, Giuseppe's, The Salty Dog Cafe, and of course all of the ubiquitous shops - both high end and schlocky - that populate Hilton Head and other seaside resorts across the land.

I'm not going to give an extensive narrative here, but I will share some photos from what was a great trip at one of the great beach resort towns anywhere.  If you love the beach but have never been to Hilton Head, you need to put it on your Places To Go Bucket List.

The view from our room

Nothing beats the peace and 
quiet of an "adults only" pool!

Our hotel was right on the beach 

Morning walks

Went on a "dolphin watch cruise" 
and, yes, we saw dolphins!

 The pause that refreshes


"Stay Up With Hugo Best"

Hugo Best, age 68, is a late night TV talk show host - think Leno or Letterman - who is retiring (or was he pushed out?) from his TV gig after a twenty-five year run of his  mostly successful television show.

June Bloom, age 29, is a lowly writers' assistant  on the show who now finds herself out of a job.  She is also the first person narrator of the book.

After a party celebrating the end of the show, Hugo impulsively asks June to spend the upcoming Memorial Day weekend at his palatial home in Greenwich, CT. June just as impulsively accepts not knowing why she was invited, what will be expected of her, although she has her suspicions, or what the possible outcome of the visit might mean to her.

This novel was reviewed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette a few weeks ago, and while it is not the usual type of book that I read, the review intrigued me enough to head on to the library and check it out.  I wish I could say that I loved the book and the story, but, alas, I found it to be a rather annoying story about a bunch of annoying people, and I found that for the last half of the book, I was reading it just so I could be done with it.  I was glad that it was only 265 pages long, although I will say that despite all of the annoying people, I did want to stick with it to see how it ended.

Oh, and speaking of annoying, wasn't it annoying that I used the word "annoying" three times in the last two sentences of the preceding paragraph? (That's a rhetorical question, folks.)  I did that deliberately, in case you were wondering.

In its defense, the book did have a few interesting insights into the character of both a show biz success/legend, Hugo, and that of a struggling barely-making-it-in-show-biz person, June.  But in the end, I found myself not really caring about either one of them.

One and One-Half Stars from The Grandstander.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Dear Evan Hansen"

When we learned last year that Tony Winner "Dear Evan Hansen" would be a part of this season's Broadway in Pittsburgh series, we began listening to the music from this show and learning as much as we could about it.  The best  summation of it that I came across was this from the 2017 Tony Awards ceremony:  "A letter that was never meant to be seen generates a lie that was never meant to be told and leads to a life that a young man never dreamed he could have."

"Dear Evan Hansen" is about a lot of things.  It is about being teenagers who don't fit in and feel lost all the time.  It is about anxiety that can lead to the worst possible outcomes.  It is about parents who constantly worry about their children and struggle with their own issues, and it is about how families, friends, and acquaintances struggle with death and grief.  From our ten years of volunteering at the Caring Place and working with families who have experienced death and loss, we know that the emotions and experiences seen in this show are presented in very real terms.  It is a powerful and an almost emotionally overwhelming show.

The music and songs are wonderful: "You Will Be Found", "For Forever", "Waving Through A Window", "Words Fail", and "So Big/So Small" are among those that are so haunting and beautiful that they may well stay with you, well, "for forever".

Ben Levi Ross as Evan

It is a small cast, only six actors, that perform this show.  In the touring company, young Ben Levi Ross plays Evan, and he is on stage for almost the entire show.  It is a fabulous role.  Also noteworthy in this cast are Jessica Phillips as Evan's mother, Heidi,  and Christiane Noll as Cynthia Murphy, the mother of Connor, the young man who commits suicide (but still "appears" throughout the show).

Ross and Jessica Phillips

I mentioned earlier how we had been listening to the music from this show for several months, and knowing the music ahead of time certainly adds to the enjoyment of the play, but seeing the full show certainly added to the meaning, impact, and enjoyment of the music as well. 

Much of the audience at Heinz Hall on Tuesday consisted of young people, teen aged boys and girls, who were there with their parents.  You could almost see and feel the emotions that were being felt by those young families around us as they watched "Dear Evan Hansen."

This was not a "musical comedy" in the traditional sense, although there were humorous moments in it.  I would describe it as a "musical drama", if there is such a genre in the American musical theater.  It no doubt deserved its 2017 Tony for Best Musical.  It is a show that is well worth seeing, and I can certainly see why it is so popular with younger audiences.

Four Stars from The Grandstander.

This show wrapped up the 2018-19 Broadway in Pittsburgh season.  None of the shows disappointed us, and, indeed, a few of them were very pleasant surprises.  Herewith is a presentation of The Grandstander Theater Rankings (a variation of The Grandstander Power Rankings used during the past NFL season) for the Broadway In Pittsburgh season:
(If you are interested in what I had to say about each of these shows at the time I saw them, just type the name of the show in the search box that appears in the upper left corner of this screen.)

Any of the first four shows on this list are shows that I would happily and eagerly see again if ever given the opportunity.  We have already renewed out subscription for 2019-20 and are looking forward to seven more terrific nights in the theater next year.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Josh Bell On Fire

Before the baseball season goes any further, The Grandstander just has to stop and pay a brief tribute to Pirates first baseman Josh Bell.  

Here's is how 2019 has started for him:

Games - 43
At Bats - 162
BA - .333
Runs - 30
Home Runs - 14
RBI - 43
OPS - 1.106

It is unfair to say this about any young player, but he has been invoking memories of Willie Stargell this season.

Awesome. Wow!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"The Big Bang Theory" Ends (Contains Spoilers)

This post contains spoilers pertaining to the final episodes of "The Big Bang Theory".  If you recorded the show, but have not yet seen it, you may want to pass on this post and come back to it after you have seen it.

The Final Scene

Once upon a time in television, shows were canceled or ended for various other reasons and that was that.  They just ended. No tying up loose ends, no happily ever after grand finales.  Somewhere along the way, that changed, and producers and networks felt that long running, popular series had to have some sort of Grand Finale, and this has produced decidedly mixed results.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show had an ironic and funny ending, the ending to Bob Newhart's second TV series was an undeniable classic, The Sopranos finale was ambiguous and unsatisfying, The Americans ended on a high note last year, and, of course, the ending to Seinfield was a complete and total disaster.

So it has been with mixed feelings that we have watched the final season of The Big Bang Theory and wondered just what the producers and writers were going to do with this one.

Well, I am happy to say that the two episode finale of TBBT was great, an almost perfect ending to a twelve year run (the longest running sitcom in television network history) of what has been a consistently funny and terrific series.  Sheldon and Amy won their Nobel Prize, Penny and Leonard were pregnant, we finally saw Howard's and Bernadette's kids, and in a scene that was a perfect piece of comic timing, the elevator finally got fixed!!  More importanly, Sheldon realized that he needed to stop being so self-centered and acknowledged that the love and friendships of those around him contributed to his success just as much, if not more, than his own undeniable brilliance.  It was a touching and very moving scene, and, yes, it was still funny.

And I hope that you also watched the episode of "Young Sheldon" that followed Big Bang's final episodes.  The ending of that was also quite touching, and it explained a lot about Sheldon's character that we have followed for the last twelve years and served as an additional emotional touch to the ending of The Big Bang Theory.  If you didn't see that episode try to find it On Demand and check it out, even if you have never watched Young Sheldon.

So ends a great series.  One good thing about it is that we will no doubt be able to see it forever in syndication and reruns.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Reading the Newspaper While On Vacation

While on vacation in Hilton Head Island last week, I made it a point each day to pick up a copy of the daily newspaper, The Island Packet - and, yes, I was amazed to see that tiny Hilton Head was publishing a daily newspaper.  Anyway, I found the paper to be fascinating reading.  It included stories like these....
  • The Hilton Head School District fired one of its principals, a woman named Amanda O'Nan for carrying on an extra-marital affair after hours while on school property.  It was a pretty salacious story, and if you want details, just type in "Amanda O'Nan" and "Hilton Head school principal firing" into your Google Machine.   This news story was followed a few days later with two lengthy letters to the editor - one denouncing O'Nan for her immoral behavior, and one ripping the School Board for unjustly firing a stellar educator for what was a personal matter that had nothing to do with her job performance.
  • The case of John Terry Murdaugh.  Murdaugh is the 20 year old scion of an influential South Carolina legal family (judges, prosecutors, and high powered lawyers populate several generations of the family tree) who is charged with a BUI (Boating Under the Influence, a common crime in the SC Low Country) incident that resulted in the death of a teen age woman, and injuries to others on board the craft that young Murdaugh was piloting.  All passengers on  board were heavily imbibing and were under the legal age do so.  It seems that the entire booking, hearing, and indictment process were handled with so many kid gloves that charges of legal favoritism amongst the South Carolina "good old boy" network of justice are just flying left and right.  It is a case that I plan on following via the Internet as it unfolds in the months ahead.
  • An absolutely horrific case of a man named Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. of Lexington County, SC, who will go on trial this week on the charges of killing his five children.  In fact, "horrific" is a word that doesn't even begin to describe this awful crime.  It is another case that I will be following from afar, even though I will feel the need to take a shower after doing so.
  • In the world of sports, the big news in South Carolina last week was that the state legislature approved a bill that would grant $115 million in freebies to the NFL's Carolina Panthers and build a practice facility for the Panthers in South Carolina, fifteen miles south of the Panthers' Charlotte, NC home base.  It seems that the North Carolina lawmakers weren't willing to give the Panthers and their owner, former Steelers investor and Pittsburgh native David Tepper, who bought the team for $2 billion last year and has personal worth in excess of $9 billion, all the taxpayer paid goodies that the lawmakers south of the state border were willing to fork over.  There was predictable outrage from the opposition in the SC state house, but as they always seem to do, the lawmakers caved, probably in the hopes that they will all now be able to get their pictures taken with Cam Newton.
  • Finally, this one for my pal, Dan Houston, an alumnus of the University of South Carolina.  I didn't bother the read the story about USC football coach Will Muschamps, but this headline caught my eye......"Gamecocks Supporters Unhappy With Team's Performance."  How about that?
So, in the underbelly of the beautiful and sleepy tourist resort of Hilton Head Island, there are lots of hinky doings taking place.  Like I said, the local fish wrap made for fascinating reading while on vacation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

To Absent Friends - Peggy Lipton

Peggy Lipton
1946 - 2019

How about this for a coincidence?  Just let week, my pal Mike Shanley posted to Facebook a Blog Post of his ( about Peggy Lipton, the beautiful actress from television's "The Mod Squad" and "Twin Peaks".  Specifically, he was writing about Lipton's lesser known career as a singer, and his rediscovering this 1970's era album of hers:

That caused he and I to have little back and forth about Miss Lipton's career and also prompted a listen to some of the songs on that album.  Very pleasant listening I might add.

Then, of course, the news came of Peggy Lipton's death this past Saturday due to cancer at the age of 72.

Lipton had a lengthy career as an actress (49 credits in IMDB), including the television series "Twin Peaks", but she will be best known, at least to me and those of my generation, for playing Julie Barnes on television's "The Mod Squad".  The show ran on ABC from 1968-73 and produced 124 episodes.  The premise of the show was to take three young "hippie/outlaw" types (Julie, for example, was a teen age runaway - her mother was a hooker!!! -  who got arrested for vagrancy), and make them undercover cops and have them infiltrate the Sixties-era counter culture, and arrest the various bad guys who preyed upon them.  The series co-starred Michael Cole and Clarence Williams III and produced, for my money, one of the best tag lines in series television history: "Three cops.  One white, one black, one blonde."

The Mod Squad
Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton

Lipton went on to an acting career of some note, released several record albums, won a Golden Globe, was nominated for an Emmy four times, and married composer Quincy Jones, and that marriage produced two daughters, Rashida Jones and Kadida Jones, who are actresses of some renown today.

On his podcast yesterday, Tony Kornheiser related the story that Peggy Lipton attended the same summer camp in northeastern Pennsylvania that he did for several summers during their teen aged years.  Even then, the New York born and raised Peggy Lipton was possessed of the ethereal kind of California Girl beauty that made most teen aged boys realize that THIS was the kind of woman with whom any normal teen aged boys would have never had a chance!

Peggy Lipton certainly had a "look" that captivated young men who watched "The Mod Squad" back in the day, and she remained a beautiful woman to the end.

RIP Peggy Lipton.

By the way, for more on Peggy Lipton the singer, here is a link to Mike Shanley's blog post referred to in the first paragraph above.

Monday, May 13, 2019

To Absent Friends - Doris Day

Doris Day
1922 - 2019

This was the headline in The Hollywood Reporter this morning:

Doris Day, Hollywood's Favorite Girl Next Door, Dies at 97

The accompanying obituary told the story of the life and career of Doris Day, and it is worth reading:

I have written often of Doris Day on this Blog, usually in conjunction with her April birthday (just last month I noted that she had turned 97) and usually with the line "who doesn't like Dories Day?"

Rather than restate what I have written in the past, I thought that as my Absent Friends Tribute, I would except portions of a post that I wrote last August, after I had watched Miss Day's classic movie "Pillow Talk" on TCM.  Here you go...

In her opening comments (prior to the TCM showing of the movie), TCM hostess Alicia Malone noted that by the end of the 1950's, the musical films in which Day had starred were becoming passe, and that she needed something to boost her career when she was approached to make this "sex comedy" (more about THAT term later on).  She was reluctant at first, but did it anyway, and, presto-chango, Day's career was revived - she was nominated for an Oscar for PILLOW TALK -  and a great screen team, Doris Day and Rock Hudson (and Tony Randall) was born.  The three of them would take two more movies together after this one.

In PILLOW TALK, Day plays a single career woman, an interior decorator, who is forced to share a party line with Hudson, a philandering song writer.  Now today, no one watching this movie under the age of fifty would know what a "party line" was, but you get the idea pretty quickly.  Unknown to each other, they are connected by Randall, a three times divorced rich guy who is in love with Day and who is employing Hudson to write songs for  show he is backing.

As it can only happen in the movies, Hudson realizes that his hated party line partner is not some wizened old crone, but rather the beautiful Doris Day, introduces himself by using another identity (again, only in the movies), Day, of course, falls madly in love with him, and hijinks, as they say, ensue.

I came away from watching PILLOW TALK with a heightened respect for Doris Day.  She was quite beautiful (as emphasized with a gorgeous wardrobe), and very funny.  She  also had the ability to roll her eyes and make faces to terrific comic effect.  The scene where she realizes that Hudson's "Rex Stetson" is really her party line nemesis Brad Allen by playing a bit of music on a piano is a brilliant bit of comic acting.

I mentioned that this was considered a "sex comedy" when it was released.  Sexual mores have sure changed since then.  In 1959, the sex comedy PILLOW TALK featured a New York City single career woman fighting off leering men in an effort to preserve her virtue.  In the early 2000's, the sex comedy "Sex and the City" featured New York City single career women like Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Catrall shedding their clothes and boffing good looking guys at the drop of a hat.  Times have certainly changed.  Whether for the better or not is, I suppose, in the eye of the beholder.

For better or for worse  Doris Day became typecast as the virtuous not-until-you-marry-me type soon after PILLOW TALK.  This probably worked against her in the mid-1960's when director Mike Nichols strongly considered Day for the role of Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate", or so the story goes.  Of course that role went to Anne Bancroft, but one wonders "What if Doris Day became the predatory Mrs. Robinson?"  We'll never know, but it's fun to speculate. 

RIP Doris Day.

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Pirates at the 20% (actually 19.1%) Mark

I have always said that I would wait until a team played about 30 games, and batters accumulated around 100 at bats, and pitchers got a reasonable amount of innings under their belts before making any pronouncements on a team and a season.  Well we are now at that point.  The Pirates have played 31 games and sit at 16-15, good for fourth place in the NL Central, three games behind the first place Cubs.

They got to this point with, thus far, three distinct periods of this still young season.

The started at 12-6 and sat in first place.  This was sparked by unbelievably terrific starting pitching from Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove, and Jordan Lyles.  It also featured some, shall we say, "uneven" work from the bullpen with set-up guys Richard Rodriguez and Keone Kela coughing up leads that they were brought in to protect, often times by giving up soul-crushing home runs.  Still, 12-6 was good for first place at that time.

There then followed an 0-8 tailspin wherein the starting pitchers regressed a bit and the hitters failed to, well, hit.  More on that later.

They have just completed a five game stretch where they have gone 4-1.

Before looking at the shortcomings, let's focus on three guys who have more than held their own.

The offensive performance of Josh Bell was a big question going into the season, and he has more than delivered.  He is batting .287 and leads the team with 8 home runs and 25 RBIs.  His OPS is .981.  Can't ask for much more than that.  Critics keep mentioning that he is less than elegant defensively at first base, to which I say, if he keeps hitting like this, the Pirates will live with his shortcomings with the leather.  I always said that if Pedro Alvarez could only have managed to hit .260 or so, he'd still be playing at first for the Pirates. (Well, he would have been gone by now via trade or free agency because the Pirates wouldn't have paid the going rate, but you get my drift.)

All-Star reliever Felipe Vazquez has been absolutely lights out as the team's closer. In fourteen games and 15.2 IP, he is 1-0 with a 0.57 ERA, 26 K to only 5 BB, and nine saves in nine opportunities.  He would probably have even more saves but for the performances of Rodriguez and Kela alluded too above.

And then there is rookie outfielder Brian Reynolds.

Reynolds came to the Pirates from the Giants in the Andrew McCutchen trade last year.  He should probably still be in Triple-A, but injuries forced the Pirates to bring him to Pittsburgh.  He has responded by hitting in his first eleven games, and batting .405 (albeit in only 37 ABs) with one HR and four RBIs.  He will undoubtedly cool off, but until then, he's not leaving Pittsburgh any time soon.

Now, what are the concerns?

Injuries.  The Pirates have had a litany of guys on the Injured List, including starters and guys expected to play  big roles like Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Lonnie Chisenhall.  Now starting pitchers Taillon and Archer are on the IL, so what has been the strength of the team, it's starting pitching, now has some big question marks.

Lack of offense.  It is at the point where if the Pirates fall behind by three or four runs, there is almost no hope that they have what it takes to overcome such a deficit.  consider these batting averages:

Adam Frazier .257
Colin Moran .239
Starling Marte .211
Cole Tucker .208
Jung Ho Kang .146 (with 30 Ks in 82 ABs)
Francisco Cervelli .176

Too many weak spots in that batting order for any team to contend.  It is a batting order that forces its pitchers to hold the opponents to two or fewer runs a game, and that is just not sustainable over 162 games.

A word on Cole Tucker.  Like Reynolds, he was brought up from Indianapolis, probably too soon, due to injuries on the big club.  He probably needed to get a couple of hundred AB's in Indy this season before advancing to Pittsburgh, but he does appear to be the real goods, a kid well worth that first round draft selection in 2014.  He is over matched at times by NL pitching right now, but he can and will hit, and for sure he is a major league short stop defensively right now.   He may well be the next "Face of the Franchise" for the Pirates.

Conclusions?  Well, they now sit at 16-15, and appear to be a team that will be flirting with that .500 mark throughout the season.  My Las Vegas bet in January, that the Pirates will win "Over 79.5 Games" will probably not be decided until the last week of September, which will certainly cause me to maintain interest right to the end.

The Grandstander will check in once again at the One-Third Pole, or fifty-four game mark, of the season.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Vicarious Thrill - Stephanie Wins!!!!

We experienced a vicarious thrill today when Stephanie Bonk, former distance running star from Montour High School and Purdue University, and now of Houston, Texas, and the daughter of our good friends Dan and Susan, finished first in the Women's Division of the Pittsburgh Marathon's Half Marathon event.

Stephanie breaks the tape!!

Way to go, Stephanie!!!!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

To Absent Friends - Gino Marchetti

Gino Marchetti

First, the facts about Pro Football Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti, who died earlier this week at the age of 93.

Marchetti played pro football for fourteen seasons from 1952 through 1966, all with the Baltimore Colts franchise.  He virtually redefined to position of defensive end in the game.  He played in eleven pro bowls, on two NFL championship teams,  was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972, and was selected to both the NFL's 50th and 75th Anniversary teams.  "He revolutionized the way you play that position in the NFL", said his one time coach, Don Shula.

He made a key play late in the game in the 1958 title game that allowed the Colts to get the ball back from the Giants and drive the field to tie the game and send it into overtime, the first time that had ever happened. The Colts won that game in overtime.  That game has been called the "greatest game ever played", and it is universally accepted that that game served as the springboard that allowed the NFL and pro football to leap past all other sports to become the behemoth among all American sports leagues that it has become.

Shortly after that 1958 title game, Marchetti secured a loan from Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom that allowed him to open a small hamburger restaurant in the Baltimore area.  Gino's became highly successful, eventually having franchised restaurants in over 400 locations, and ended up being sold to the Marriott Corporation in 1982 for $48 million.

And on top of all of that, Marchetti was a very handsome guy to boot.  Look at that photo at the top of this post.

So, all in all, a highly successful life and one worth celebrating and remembering, but I probably wasn't going to write this post until I heard Tony Kornheiser discussing Marchetti on his podcast earlier in the week.  He said that the  producer of PTI asked if they wanted to mention Marchetti's passing on the show, and they decided not to for the simple reason that it would be an incredibly small portion of the PTI audience who would have any idea at all as to just who Gino Marchetti was.  Now I suppose you could say that that is precisely why you SHOULD have mentioned it, but the point is still well taken.  When you live a long life, as Marchetti did, you end up surviving everyone who might remember you.  

Me, I'll turn 68 later this year, and I certainly remember the name Gino Marchetti, and probably saw him play on television back in the day, but I can't honestly say "yeah, I remember seeing Marchetti play for the Colts."  The Baltimore Colts, that is, and an even sadder irony is that there is no doubt an entire generation or two of football fans who have no recollection of the Baltimore Colts,  much less any memory of one of their greatest players ever.

I'm not sure what point that I am trying to make here, but it brings to mind this quote my pal Dan Bonk throws at me from time to time from that famous football scout from the Old Roman League....

RIP Gino Marchetti.

Marchetti zeros in on Bart Starr