Sunday, April 24, 2011

When baseball was the summer pastime!

Before I was even a teenager in the 1960's, baseball was most kids favorite sport to watch and follow. The New York Yankees were the best team most of those years; at least to the middle 60's. I was a Yankee fan. They had pretty much the same players every year or at least it seemed like it. There was Elston Howard and Yogi Berra catching. Whitey Ford, Steve Hamilton, and Mel Stottlemyre were the pitchers I remember the most. Al Downing is also memorable. Joe Pepitone and Moose Skowron were the first basement. Tony Kubek was at shortstop and Bobby Richardson played second. Clete Boyer was the third baseman. The awesome outfield was Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Tom Tresh.

I remember 1961 when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's record and hit 61 home runs. What a year!! A lot of the year it looked like Mantle would break the record and then he got hurt. Years later I found out that people didn't like Roger Maris because he broke the "Babes" record and many thought that Mantle should have broke it if anybody did.

I am presently reading "The Last Boy Mickey Mantle". It is a great book but it led to to view Mickey Mantle a little differently than when I was a kid.

Mickey Mantle was probably even better than I imagined when I was younger. He hit mammoth home runs. Now he was my hero as a kid but he was a better hitter, according to his peers than I even viewed him as at that time.

But Mickey Mantle would not have survived with today's press. The press used to protect their sports heroes. I know the Nebraska Cornhuskers used to do a lot of things wrong but never received space in the newspapers or on TV. It was ok then.

The same happened with Mickey Mantle. He drank in excess even when he was playing baseball. Some of his best games came after a hard all night drunk. He is reported to have spent a lot of time with other women even though he was married. By the way his wife stayed with him until the end even though he knew a lot of these things were going on. Mantle later died of alcohol.

I didn't realize when I was following the Yankees as a kid the injuries that Mantle suffered. He had so many that we never really saw him reach his REAL potential. Mantle's knee had so many scars from operations that he never wanted to wear shorts when in public.

The Yankees were dominated by white players. Al Downing and Elston Howard were a couple of players who weren't. This may have attributed to their downfall in the late 60's. The National League had embraced non-white players and they went past the Yankees and the American League during this time.

The late 50's and during the 60's major league baseball was everything. You found a way to watch the game of the week. I can remember Pee Wee Reese and Dizzy Dean did a lot of the games I used to watch. It was a very special time and unlike today when you could watch every game on TV if you want to pay for it.

I looked at every newspaper during the baseball season to see how my Mickey Mantle had done the day before. I followed Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, and Sandy Koufax. I liked the Minnesota Twins and I followed Harmon Killebrew. I remember actually listening to the Houston Astros, of all teams,on the radio. Joe Morgan, Nolan Ryan, and Rusty Staub are some of the players I remember following. Those were the days.

I would be curious to know if others have memories from this time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finally the fullback runs the ball!

Tyler Legate ran for two touchdowns in the Red-White game on Saturday. This fall we should get some fullback traps in a real game. This writer has been talking about this for seven years now and finally...........Use ALL our weapons.

Taylor Martinez is still hobbled by his injury and until he gets that taken care of, he should stay off the field. Hopefully he can get healed by the first game but right now he doesn't look much different than the Big 12 game and the Bowl game.

Let's try Cody Green at tight end. Get him on the field but not as a quarterback. He seems to be a leader for the football team.

Burkhead is our offensive MVP.

We have not had a game changer for quite a few years but Jamal Turner can be that person. He may be the best since Johnny Rodgers. He will be great barring injuries.

Brion Carnes and Ron Kellogg can play. I hope if the others don't get better we let them play. Brion Carnes is good enough to play Big 10 football.

Our defense across the board is very good. From the defensive line back to the safeties, we should be as good as ever. Lots of speed.

Not completely comfortable that the offensive line is where we want it. There is hope but we still have a long ways to go.

How about Alex Gordon and those Kansas City Royals. WOW!!

Jimmie Johnson wins the Nascar race today. The restrictor plate races are now down to pairing up with somebody to draft with. It does provide some pretty good racing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Former Huskers try out for Omaha Nighthawks!

The Omaha Nighthawks, under former Husker consultant Joe Moglia, have invited some former Huskers to try out. This is great marketing. Nebraskans love to watch former Huskers play football. Eric Crouch and Zac Lee have both tried out at quarterback. Marlon Lucky is trying to make the team at running back. Add Menelik Holt, Jon Briekemeier, and Will Henry and you have the Husker eye.

The Omaha Nighthawks have some financial concerns as does the entire league. If Crouch would make starting quarterback that definitely would help ticket sales. The Nighthawks want a championship team so hopefully the former Huskers can be part of this.

How about Alex Gordon? He is batting .380 and is helping the Kansas City Royals win some games. Billy Butler and Gordon are the offensive leaders. Great job Alex.

Nebraska to the Big 10 is becoming a reality. It has taken time for reality to hit but here we go. The Iowa rivalry may be unlike any we have had in the past. This may be the first hate-hate rivalry we have had. In the past we hated Texas but they didn't have the same feeling towards us.

Sounds like our offensive line and defensive line will be better. That right there will make us a much improved team. Can't wait until our fullback runs the ball for the first time. Can't wait.

The Masters is one of the best sporting events to watch on TV. Can't wait for the the 1pm telecast on CBS today.

Logan Ehlers starts for the Huskers today. It will be very interesting to see how he performs. The Huskers need him to pitch well to take the series from Kansas. He will be an important piece for the Huskers for the rest of the season. This game is on the radio today and it starts at 1pm also.

On the high school front, Scott Boehler's Gretna golf team looks like they could take a run for the Class B title this year. Also watch for the Holdrege girl's soccer team to take a run for the championship.