Tag Archives: 1983

On This Day In 1983: The George Brett Pine Tar Incident

Exactly thirty-one years ago today one of the most infamous incidents of modern baseball history occurred.  The game involved the visiting Kansas City Royals taking on the New York Yankees.  The Yankees were leading the game 4-3 with 2 outs in the top half of the 9th inning.  George Brett was at bat and hit an incredible 2-run home run off of Yankees pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage.  The Royals were suddenly in the lead by one run.

That is until the Yankees manager Billy Martin left the dugout to speak with home plate umpire Tim McClelland.  Martin explained to McClelland that Brett’s bat had pine tar exceeding the normal length allowed on the bat.  This pine tar place on the upper part of the barrel of the bat would make the bat easier to hit the ball solidly off the bat.  McClelland then measured the bat’s pine tar (which was allowed to be more 18 inches up the bat) with the home plate.  The pine tar was over that length,  McClelland immediately over ruled the play and called brett’s at bat as an out.

George Brett protesting the pine tar call after his 2-run home run was ruled an out.  (Getty Images)

George Brett protesting the pine tar call after his 2-run home run was ruled an out. (Getty Images)

George Brett then stormed toward home plate to confront Tim McClelland.  Brett was restrained by his team mates and was brought back into the dugout.  Due to the umpires call the game was now over.  The Yankees were recorded as the winners of the game by a score of 4-3.  The call was later over ruled and a few weeks later the game was restarted after Brett’s at bat with his 2-run home run counting.  The Royals won that game 5-4.

This is a moment that will live forever in baseball history.  It is also George Brett’s most memorable moment in his Hall Of Fame career.

 

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The History Of The 1st Overall Pick In The NFL Draft

Getty Images

Getty Images

The tradition that is known as the NFL Draft came into existence in 1936.  The first player ever taken in the NFL Draft was Running Back Jay Berwanger.  The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Berwanger, unfortunately he would never play a pro football game due to salary disputes with multiple teams

Since then the NFL Draft has involved thousands of players, many of which have gone on to become all time greats.  Many more however went on to have careers that would earn them the dubious distinction of being called a “Draft Bust”.  The most coveted position for any team is the first overall pick.  The team that holds this position is usually in desperate need of a break out rookie that can turn their franchise around.  There is only one chance for first overall greatness every year.

There have been only 78 men who can call themselves the first overall pick in the NFL draft.  The positions picked the most may not surprise you but the positions that were picked the least  might shock you.

The quarterback position has the title of the most popular first overall pick in draft history.  Twenty seven QBs have been nabbed by teams with the most coveted draft spot.  Ten of those twenty seven became pro bowl players, names like Eli Manning (2004), Peyton Manning (1998), Drew Bledsoe (1993) and Vinny Testaverde (1987) just to name a few.  Only Troy Aikman (1989), John Elway (1983) and Terry Bradshaw (1970) had careers so great they were inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Twenty five Running Backs have been picked first overall.  Seven of them became Pro Bowlers including Bo Jackson (1986), Billy Sims (1980) and Tucker Frederickson (1965).  The Running Backs hold the record of most Hall Of Fame inductees with five.  Running Back Bill Dudley (1942) was the first player at any position drafted first overall to become a Hall Of Famer.  The most recent Running Back to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame is Earl Campbell (1978) who was drafted by the Houston Oilers.

Defensive End’s have also been a very popular choice with eleven picked first overall.  Defensive Ends Mario Williams (2006), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (1974), Dave Parks (1964) and Leon Hart (1950) were all voted to the Pro Bowl.  Bruce Smith (1985) and Lee Roy Selmon (1976) were the only Defensive End’s to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Positions that were drafted the least with the top pick are Defensive Tackle (4), Offensive Tackle (4), Line Backer (3), Center (2) and Wide Receiver (2).  Eight different positions have all seen the top choice.  Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle and Line Backer are the only positions to never have a first overall player reach the Hall Of Fame.

A few of the players drafted in the last decade will more than likely find a home in the Hall Of Fame.  As of now the first overall pick has only been a future Hall Of Famer twelve of the seventy seven times.  Who knows, we might see the next great NFL player drafted with the first pick tonight in the 2014 NFL Draft.

370 Points : The Tale Of The Highest Scoring NBA Game Ever

On December 13, 1983 an NBA game took place in Denver, Colorado at the McNichols Arena in front of a crowd of less than 10,000.  The game pitted the visiting Detroit Pistons against the Denver Nuggets.  It did not appear that it would be unlike most NBA games during the 82 game regular season, most of which are played and then forgotten.  Something spectacular was about to happen that night.

When the game started both teams were furiously running up and down the court scoring on just about every possession.  Defense was taking a back seat to the explosive offense of both squads.  The 1st quarter ended with the Pistons leading by a score of 38-34.  The score going into halftime was all tied up at 74-74. The Nuggets would take the lead in the 3rd quarter by a score of 113-108.  At this point in the game with only one quarter remaining in regulation both teams had scores resembling a complete game.  This game was however far from finished.

The Pistons played hard and stayed in the game throughout the final quarter of regulation time.  The Nuggets had a 145-142 lead with just seconds remaining in the game when the Pistons received an opportunity they would take advantage of.  The Pistons Bill Laimbeer was fouled and was at the free throw line.  Laimbeer made his first free throw and intentionally missed his second shot, when he did Isaiah Thomas tipped the ball in before the clock ran out and the game was tied at the end of regulation. The game was now going into overtime.

The first overtime came and went and everything was still tied but the score was now 159-159.  At this point it seemed very possible that this game could end up being the highest scoring game ever.  The combined score was 318, the record holder at the time was 337 from a game played just a season before on March 6th, 1982, between the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks.

The record was broken in the 2nd overtime when each team scored 12 points apiece.  The combined score was now 342 with each team having scored 171 points each.  In the 3rd overtime the game was decided when the Pistons scored 15 points to the Nuggets 13 points.  The final score was 186-184 with the Pistons being the winner in this historic game.

The box score of the highest scoring NBA game ever.

The box score of the highest scoring NBA game ever.

This is a record that has stood for over three decades and it does not appear it will be broken any time soon.  The most recent high scoring game that came close was in November of 1990.  Ironically that game was played between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets, at the exact same Arena as the record holding game. The Nuggets lost that game 162-158 with the combined score of 320 points.  We have never seen a game that close to the record since and we may never will.

The Pursuit Of Baseball In Tampa

The State of Florida has been the home of Spring Training since the early part of the 1900s. Up until 1993 Florida never had a professional baseball team to call their own.  The Florida Marlins who were based in the Miami area were the first.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were soon to follow in 1998.  But Florida has a deep history of pursuing Major League Baseball before they received their teams in the 1990s.
It started in 1983 in the Tampa Bay area when local city officials considered building a baseball stadium to house a pro team.  Construction began in 1986 on what is now known as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  It was completed in 1990.  At the time there were no expansion franchises being granted for any city.  So they sought a team the best way they could, trying to lure a team from their current city.
Tropicana Filed,  The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

Tropicana Filed, The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

The Chicago White Sox were the first team that Tampa pursued.  In 1989 The White Sox were not happy in the old Comiskey Park and wanted a new stadium.  They flirted with Tampa for a while before ultimately getting their new stadium and staying in Chicago.
The next team that was rumored was the Seattle Mariners.  The talks did not go very far and the Mariners remained in Washington.
Tampa had their hearts broken in 1991 when they were denied an expansion franchise.  The Miami area won out instead of Tampa and the Florida Marlins came into existence.  The Marlins played the first ever regular season game in Florida in April of 1993.
The closest that Tampa ever came to stealing a team away from a city was in 1993.  The San Francisco Giants owners were looking to sell and a group of investors from Tampa were looking to buy them.   The deal was almost done.  The local baseball fans were already celebrating and then the bad news came.  The sale was vetoed by the National League Owners.  The Giants remained in San Francisco and Tampa was still without a team.
That was until in 1995 when they were granted an expansion franchise.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first regular season game in 1998.
The past does make one wonder how different things would be if the White Sox, Mariners or Giants would have relocated to Tampa.  If the White Sox or Mariners would have moved would there have been a team in Miami in 1993?  Probably not, there more than likely would have been years later though.  The Giants move would have been interesting.  The city of San Francisco would probably have a different team right now.  There is no way that City would be without a team for too long, not with their tradition and history.

It’s really incredible how things turned out for Tampa.  They took a huge risk by building a stadium without having a team for it.  For many years they looked like failures.  Many in the city thought they would never have a team to call their own.  But Tampa proved to be very persistent and got what they wanted in the end.

Dan Marino: Did The Lack Of An Elite Running Back Really Cost Him Super Bowl Rings?

The day is January 20th, 1985 and the location is Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.  It was Super Bowl XIX and the Maimi Dolphins took on the San Fransisco 49ers.  It was a battle between two Hall Of Fame quarterbacks,  Dan Marino and Joe Montana.  It was a very one sided game with the 49ers coming out victorious.  The final score was 38-16 as seen on the scoreboard while Dan Marino jogged back to the locker room.  Marino had an incredible second season and even though the Dolphins lost the big one it appeared he would be back again.  As history would have it Marino and the Dolphins never made it back to the Super Bowl.

Dan Marino (Getty Images)

Dan Marino (Getty Images)

Dan Marino retired in 1999 after 17 seasons.  Holding almost all of the records at his position, Marino was considered one of the best to ever play the game.  There are many who consider Marino not to be one of the best because he never won a Super Bowl ring.  Over the years the perception has been that Marino was talented enough to win a championship but never did because he never had an elite level running back.

I decided to crunch the stats and draft history to prove or disprove this theory.  Here are the results I found while I plunged deep into the various statistical categories that would help me solve this mystery.

There is evidence that the Dolphins never made a play for a high level free agent running back.  The Dolphins also never made a trade for a play maker at that position either.  They were and are still to this day a team that is not willing to make trades of future draft picks to acquire top talent.  The draft is a place where organizations can gain players that can affect their future.  The Dolphins drafted Marino in 1983 when he retired in 1999 they missed numerous opportunities to achieve greatness at the running back position.

In 1983 the very draft where they acquired Dan Marino they missed out on on two pro bowl running backs.  One of those running back was Roger Craig who turned out to be one of the best running backs of the 1980s.  Craig was also on the 49ers team that defeated the Dolphins at Super Bowl XIX.  Their draft picks only get worse from there.

The Dolphins only drafted 23 running backs of the 174 picks during the Marino era.  A total of 9 of those 23 backs never played a down in the NFL.  The dolphins did not draft one running back in 1994, 1995 and 1997.  With the exception of the 1997 draft the Dolphins had not so great performances at the back position the previous season, Mark Higgs was the leading rusher in 1993 with just 693 yards and in 1994 Bernie Parmalee was the leader with 878 yards.  The biggest blunder they made in one single draft would have to be the 1988 Draft.  In that draft the Dolphins could have selected the Hall Of Fame running back Thurman Thomas but instead selected three players that would never play in the NFL. Thomas wound up as a Buffalo Bill and won 4 AFC Championships with the team from 1990-1994.  In total the team missed out on 2 Hall Of Fame and 44 Pro Bowl running backs from 1983-1999.

During Marino’s time with the team they had only one season with a 1,000 yard rusher, Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1996.  If you look at all of the teams that won the Super Bowl from 1983-1999 only 3 of the 16 teams that won did not have a 1,000 yard rusher.

The Dolphins made the playoffs 10 times during Marino’s Career.  They were 8-10 in all of those post season games.  Some blame many of the playoff losses to playing the Bills in the winter in freezing Buffalo, NY, which they did lose there many times.  The fact of the mater is if the Dolphins had at least a couple of the many running backs they passed up in the Draft history might have gone a little differently.

After looking at the stats, draft and history it leaves only one conclusion.  Dan Marino was one of the best,  unfortunately the Dolphins front office was not as skilled at what they did.  The blame must shift to the general managers and Don Shula especially.  Don Shula relied to much on Marino’s skill and talent and did not do enough to protect and enhance that talent.  Marino would have had more opportunities to win he was if the opposing defenses did not know he was going to pass most of the time.  They also would have been weary of a running attack if the Dolphins had one.  If Marino had a top level running back he not only would have made it to more Super Bowl’s he would have won at least one Super Bowl ring.