Historic moments: The good and the memorable, from John Madden to Wilt, Pete Rose and Buddy Ryan
This Week in Sports History 11/21 – 11/25
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is opportunistic to bring the family together, enjoy some some football and be thankful for life. Sports are always an avenue of escape, more importantly, they unite communities to overcome adversity. They stimulate the highest of highs, be it in the ballpark, on the hardwood or on the ice. With the holiday season just about here, let’s look back at some of the sports world’s most historic moments over the years.
Monday November 21
1973: Pete Rose Named NL MVP
Pete Rose is often regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time even though his name is not in the record books. He was awarded his only MVP trophy of his career in the 1973 season, where he recorded a .338 batting average and 230 hits. Rose went on to log the most career-hits in MLB history with 4,256 in his name. His reputation in the baseball world was tarnished since his playing days, due to previous gambling habits on Reds’ games while manager of the club. Whether he is in the hall of fame or not, the legend of Pete Rose will live on, for his greatest season as a player being honored 49 years ago today. Charlie Jones and Wes Parker were the broadcast team for the Reds during his historic 1973 MVP season. For so many years earlier the ace pitcher Waite Hoyt presided, 1942-1965. The two prominent voices since were Al Michaels and for decades Marty Brennaman.
Tuesday November 22
2016: Vegas Golden Knights Announced as NHL Expansion Team
The NHL’s westward expansion was beefed up when the Las Vegas Golden Knights hit the ice. They joined the league in the 2017-18 season and amazingly went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Washington Capitals. Just afterward, the Seattle Kraken settled in the Pacific Northwest. It was there, in Seattle that Everett Fitzhugh was hired as the first black man named a team’s play-by-player. In Vegas, Dave Goucher sticks to TV and radio is Dan D’Uva.
Wednesday November 23
1989: Thanksgiving Bounty Bowl between Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys
In what is a Thanksgiving tradition, American and Dallas battle. Already acknowledged as one of the biggest and most bitter rivalries in the NFL, the Eagles dominated the Cowboys in a 27-0 blowout. Legendary Cowboys’ head coach Jimmie Johnson accused Eagles’ head coach Buddy Ryan of placing bounties on Cowboys’ players where his players would receive extra pay for injuring their opponents. The iconic broadcasting duo Pat Summerall and John Madden called this game on CBS, noting how the Cowboys had no time to generate any offense against a pestering Philadelphia defense. Brad Sham of the Cowboys and Eagles’ Merrill Reese were the voices. They’re both still there and loving it.
Thursday November 24
1960: Wilt Chamberlain Grabs Record 55 Rebounds in a Game
Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain grabbed an NBA record 55 rebounds in a single game where the Philadelphia Warriors lost to the Boston Celtics 132-129. In a contentious battle between the league’s two best centers between Chamberlain and Bill Russell, Wilt won the stat sheet, yet Russell, quite characteristically, got the team win. Just a season later on March 2, 1962, Wilt scored a record 100 points in a single and historical game against the Knicks in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Chamberlain would end in the hall of fame as a two-time NBA champion, four-time MVP and win the scoring title seven times. The voice of the Warriors at this time was Bill Campbell, who worked with the team from 1948 to 1966 and later in the 1970s. He was the only one on radio that sacred one hundred-point night. The Knicks weren’t even on the radio then. It wasn’t until 1987-88 that every Knicks game was available on radio. Marv Albert would be installed as the Knicks overall voice.
Friday November 25
1979: Pat Summerall and John Madden Broadcast Their First Game Together
In what is regarded as the greatest broadcasting pair in football history, Pat Summerall and John Madden’s illustrious 22-year run began, with a contest between the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two would become the lead pair for CBS in 1981, where the broadcasters’ infectious chemistry entertained millions around the country. Whether it be Madden’s sense of humor, paired with his football expertise, or Pat’s minimalist play-by-play, this duo’s success and influence truly made their impact on the sports broadcasting landscape. Together, the duo called eight Super Bowls, going full. In all, Summerall worked as a sideline reporter and analyst for his first Super Bowl and others that followed as a play-by-player.
If I remember correctly, at the time of the bounties, the Giants kicker said they’d better not mess with him. At a press conference, a reporter asked Bill Parcells about it and he replied that there were 45 players on the Eagles, and the only one who couldn’t beat up his kicker was the other kicker.