Monthly Archives: June 2012
Peter “Pistol Pete” Press Maravich (June 22, 1947 – January 5, 1988) was an American professional basketball player. Born and raised in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and played for three NBA teams until injuries induced him to retire in 1980. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game. Maravich died suddenly at age 40 during a pick-up game of a previously undetected congenital heart defect. One of the youngest players ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Maravich was cited by the Hall as “perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history”. In an April 2010 interview, Hall of Fame player John Havlicek said “the best ball-handler of all time was Maravich.”
More than 35 years later, many of his NCAA and LSU records still stand. Maravich was a three-time All-American. Though he never appeared in the NCAA tournament, Maravich played a key role in turning around a lackluster program that had posted a 3–20 record in the season prior to his arrival.During his ten-year career in the NBA, Maravich played in 658 games, averaging 24.2 points and 5.4 assists per contest. In 1985, the Jazz honored his contributions to the franchise by retiring his jersey #7. Two years later, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Phillip Winston Hennigan (Born: April 10, 1946 in Jasper, Texas) is a right-handed former Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1969 to 1973 with the Cleveland Indians and New York Mets. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fourth round of the 1966 draft, Hennigan began his professional career that same year. Pitching for the Reno Silver Sox, Hennigan went 3-8 with a 4.03 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 96 innings of work. He missed all of 1967 due to military service. In 1968, he pitched for Reno again, going 5-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 80 innings. He struck out 76 batters and walked 32. In 1969, he mostly pitched for the Waterbury Indians although he saw a few games in the majors. With the Waterbury Indians, he went 10-10 with a 3.39 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 154 innings of work. He made his big league debut on September 2 of that year, pitching a third of an inning against the Minnesota Twins. The single batter he faced in that game (and the first batter he ever faced in the majors) was Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Carew flew out to center. Overall, he went 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in nine relief appearances in his rookie season. Following the 1972 season, he was traded to the Mets for pitchers Bob Rauch and Brent Strom. He appeared in 30 games with the Mets in 1973, going 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA. He played his final big league game on July 7, 1973.
Lerrin Harris LaGrow (born July 8, 1948) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played 10 seasons in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1970, 1972–1975), St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies. In 1972, LaGrow had a 1.32 earned run average in 16 games. He also pitched 1 scoreless inning in Game 2 of the 1972 American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics. LaGrow’s single inning led to one of the most memorable moments of the 1972 ALCS. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Bert Campaneris came to bat, having had 3 hits, 2 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases in his first 3 at bats in the game. LaGrow’s first pitch hit Campaneris in the ankle. Campaneris staggered for a moment, glared at LaGrow and then flung his bat toward LaGrow. The bat spiraled at LaGrow five feet off the ground, but LaGrow ducked, and the bat narrowly missed LaGrow, landing a few feet behind the mound. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, and Tigers manager Billy Martin had to be restrained by umpires and teammates to prevent him from going after Campaneris. Both LaGrow and Campaneries were suspended for the rest of the ALCS.
In 10 seasons he had a 34–55 Win-Loss record in 309 games, with 19 complete games, 2 shutouts, 140 games finished, 54 saves, 779 innings pitched, 814 hits allowed, 74 home runs allowed, 312 walks allowed, 375 strikeouts, a 4.11 ERA and a 1.445 WHIP.
Jonathan Trumpbour Matlack (born January 19, 1950 in West Chester, Pennsylvania) is an American former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He was selected with fourth overall by the New York Mets in the 1967 Major League Baseball Draft. Matlack compiled 1,023 strikeouts and a 3.03 earned run average as one of the “Big Three” pitchers the New York Mets were built around in the 1970s, along with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. Unfortunately, the Mets were also a light hitting team at the time, and his 82-81 record is not nearly indicative of how well he pitched for the club.
Matlack’s record dipped to 14-16 in 1973, he was 5-1 from August 18 on, helping the Mets capture the National League East. Perhaps his most memorable moment with the Mets occurred on October 7, 1973 when he held the “Big Red Machine” to just two hits in game two of the 1973 National League Championship Series. He was equally impressive in the 1973 World Series, giving up just three hits in six innings in game one of the World Series, however, the Oakland A’s scored two runs on a Felix Millan error in the third, and held on for the 2-1 victory. He won game four, giving up just one run in eight innings. He lost the seventh and decisive game of the series 5-2; in the third inning of that game, he gave up two-run home runs to both Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson. The only two home runs Oakland would hit the entire Series.
Matlack retired following the 1983 season. After four years away from the game, he was hired as pitching coach for the San Diego Padres’ Arizona League affiliate. He also coached in the Chicago White Sox organization before he was hired as the Detroit Tigers’ major league pitching coach in 1996. He is currently the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Houston Astros.
David Albert DeBusschere (October 16, 1940 – May 14, 2003) was an American NBA and major league baseball player and coach in the NBA. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. DeBusschere was drafted by the Detroit Pistons out of the University of Detroit in 1962 as a territorial draft selection. During his rookie season he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and was later named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. However, DeBusschere was injured during his second season and only played in 15 games, resulting in the Pistons finishing with a record of 23-59. In the 1964-1965 season, at the age of 24, he was given the position of player-coach for the Pistons, and became the youngest-ever coach in league history. This stint as coach was not successful and he became a full-time player. During the 1968-1969 season, DeBusschere was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives. DeBusschere spent his best years in New York. He became one of the most talented and feared players in the league. He played a physical game on both ends of the floor, often ending the season as one of the league’s best rebounders. DeBusschere retired in 1974. His #22 jersey was retired by the Knicks, though not until many years after his retirement; it is thought the delay was due to DeBusschere’s taking a front-office job with the rival New York Nets (now New Jersey Nets) of the then-American Basketball Association upon his retirement. In 1962 DeBusschere was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent. He was pitcher for the Chicago White Sox from 1962-63. He pitched a shutout on August 13, 1963, against the Cleveland Indians, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out three. In May 2003, Dave DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 62 years of age. DeBusschere is interred at Saint Joseph’s Church Cemetery in Garden City, Nassau County, New York.
Isaac (Ike) Brown (April 13, 1942 – May 17, 2001) was an infielder/outfielder in the Negro leagues and a utilityman in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Tigers from 1969 through 1974. He batted and threw right-handed. In a six-season major league career, Brown posted a .256 batting average with 20 home runs and 65 RBI in 280 games played. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Brown was obtained by Detroit from the Negro league Kansas City Monarchs in 1961. He had originally signed with the Cardinals for $800. Brown spent eight years in the minor leagues, making it to the majors in 1969 after hitting .356 of that season for Triple-A Toledo and hitting two home runs against the Tigers during an exhibition game. His first major league hit was a home run at Yankee Stadium.
Career highlights include:
2 home runs and 4 RBIs against George Brunet and the Washington Senators (May 23, 1970)
six 3-hit games…the most impressive being two singles and a home run, good for 4 RBIs, vs. the California Angels (May 12, 1971)
hit a combined .400 (20-for-50), with 7 home runs, against All-Stars Jim Kaat, Gary Peters, and Wilbur Wood
At the time of his retirement from the Tigers in 1974, Brown was one of the last alumni of the Negro leagues (along with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays) still active in Major League Baseball. Brown died from cancer in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 59.
Graig Nettles (born August 20, 1944), is an American former Major League Baseball third baseman. During a 22-year baseball career, he played for the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. Nettles was one of the best defensive third basemen of all time, and despite his relatively low career batting average, he was an excellent offensive contributor, setting an American League record for career home runs by a third baseman. As a part of four pennant-winning Yankee teams, Nettles enjoyed his best season in 1977 when he won the Gold Glove Award and had career-highs in home runs (37) and runs batted in (107) in leading the Yankees to the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As of 2010, Nettles holds the single-season Major League record for assists by a third baseman, and is tied with Brooks Robinson for second-most all-time. His 412 assists in 1971 broke the record of 405 shared by Harlond Clift in 1937 and Robinson in 1967. In 1973, his first year as a New York Yankee, he recorded 410 assists, breaking Clete Boyer’s franchise record of 396 in 1962; Robinson would tie this mark in 1974. To date, Nettles and Robinson have four of the six 400-assist seasons by a third baseman in Major League history. Nettles is mentioned in the video for Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 hit Glory Days. At the end of the video, Springsteen’s character, a pitcher, tells a teen that he lost an imaginary game playing against the San Diego Padres because “Nettles got me, bottom of the ninth.”
Félix Bernardo Millán Martínez (born August 21, 1943) is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball. Born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Felix made his major league debut on June 2, 1966 with the Atlanta Braves, and played for Atlanta until 1973. Millan was primarily a second baseman. He played in two All-Star Games, the first in 1969 and the second in 1971; in 1970 he was named an All-Star, but was unable to participate due to injuries. In 1973, he was traded to the New York Mets, which he played until 1977. He played for a total of 12 years. His first game was June 2, 1966 for the Atlanta Braves and his final game was August 12, 1977 for the New York Mets. He was forced to retire after sustaining a shoulder injury during an on-field brawl in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ed Ott slid hard into Millán trying to break up a double play, Millán shouted at Ott and hit him with a baseball in his hand, and Ott answered by slamming him hard to the turf at Three Rivers Stadium, severely injuring his shoulder. Millán also played for three seasons in the Japanese Central League after leaving the majors. He joined the Taiyo Whales in 1978, after the Whales bought his contract from the Mets, and played alongside Skip James. He won the batting title in his second year in Japan (1979) with a .346 batting average, and was given the Best Nine Award. He won the title with only 126 hits, barely having enough at-bats to qualify for the title. He did not play well the next year, and was released by the Whales after the 1980 season. In his three years in Japan, he had only 52 strikeouts in 1139 at-bats.