Friday Flashbacks: Fame Is For Winners

Friday Flashbacks: Fame Is For Winners


Friday Flashbacks: Fame Is For Winners

For this Friday Flashbacks, in this week when we’ve had some discussion of STATS!, I’ll start with the Reverend Mother of all RINGGGGGGS! articles. In the 1957 Sports Illustrated Special Baseball Issue, James Murray unloaded a doozy entitled “Fame is for Winners.” He attacked Ty Cobb because he never won a World Series, then set his sights on Ted Williams.

Were lack of titles blamed on the rest of the not-good players on those teams? No, it was potentially because of something “insidious about becoming a supreme virtuoso in baseball, that one’s first individual championship chips away at the general team effort.”

Babe Ruth was able to overcome this despite the impediment of his individual numbers because of his “lovable, clownish, uncomplicated juvenile” personality, because of the amateur psychology expertise of his manager, and because of ultimate team player Lou Gehrig. Winning a championship reflected character, and failure to do so showed moral failings. “What it takes apparently is a special quality of caring . . .” Truer words have never been spoken. The Yankees win because the players care more, their OBC+ (league-adjusted on-base + caring percentage) is through the roof. Murray closes with this masterpiece:

“To make the Hall of Fame, a player should have demonstrated in himself the resources of victory at least once in a while and, if he has not, it should at least be admitted that he was in some ways not quite the extraordinary baseball player—whether for reasons of temperament, selfishness or indifference—that election to the Hall of Fame proclaims he is.”

Umpires threaten to walk out when Ted Turner shows replays of close calls on his new big screen (1977) . . . Boston Red Sox fan who interfered with Gary Sheffield had tickets revoked (2005) . . . Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis will be first to show hits and errors (1938) . . . Luis Gonzalez’ game-used gum wad garners $10,000 bid (2002) . . . Weaver was weaving–Earl arrested for drunk driving and malicious destruction of property (1973) . . . Converted outfielder Rudy May almost becomes first pitcher since 1892 to throw a no-hitter in first major league appearance (1965) . . . Jim Palmer: sex symbol (1980) . . .

Fuzzy Zoeller: Fried Chicken and Collard Greens (1997) . . . Roberto De Vicenzo signs an incorrect scorecard, costing himself a chance in a playoff for the Masters (1968) . . . “Cade McNown is the runt of the litter” (1999) . . . Jets’ Super Bowl hero George Sauer retires at age 27, blasts football on way out (1971) . . . Steve Young, 40 million dollar man, thinks the NFL will take in 4-5 USFL teams (1984) . . . A great article about the young Woodrow Hayes taking over at Ohio State (1951) . . . Brook Berringer dies in plane crash (1996) . . . Donald Igwebuike acquitted of smuggling heroin (1991) . . .

Falkland Islands conflict with Argentina won’t stop British teams from competing at World Cup (1982) . . . Juwan Howard announces he is going pro; Jalen Rose expected to follow (1994) . . . Chicago Bulls fan Don Calhoun hits million dollar half court shot (1993) . . . Pat LaFontaine’s goal in the fourth overtime of game 7 moves Islanders past the Capitals (1987) . . . Referee files lawsuit against Muhammad Ali based on comments made during fight (1975) . . . Photo titled “Women Wrestlers” wins Sports award (pan upper left) (1961) . . . Tulane disbands basketball program due to point shaving and drug scandal (1985) . . . 93 Liverpool supporters are crushed and suffocated in a match at Sheffield (1989).

[photo via Getty]

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