Wednesday, February 19, 2020

"Relax, Mike"

Today, barring a massive bureaucratic screwup -- or, God forbid, a "mass casualty event" in or near New Brunswick, New Jersey that requires all available doctors to abandon their current schedules -- I will undergo hip replacement surgery, correcting a birth defect that has caused me more pain than I would wish on anybody, with the possible exception of dictators, like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

Within a few weeks, I should be able to walk unaided, and with far less pain than I have now.

There is, of course, the possibility that something could go horribly wrong. But I'm told that this is one of the safest surgeries there is.

I'm reminded of the words of basketball legend Bill Walton, who knows all too well: "Minor surgery is what they do to somebody else."

Naturally, the reaction is to say, "Relax, Mike."

Saying that is the easiest way to make me unrelaxed. Because I've heard it so many times before:

* Relax, Mike, this won't hurt a bit.

* Relax, Mike, I know what I'm doing.

* Relax, Mike, I've done this a million times.

* Relax, Mike, I know this guy, we can trust him.

* Relax, Mike, it's a sure thing.

* Relax, Mike, this won't cost you a dime.

* Relax, Mike, it's perfectly legal.

* Relax, Mike, I know a shortcut.

* Relax, Mike, nobody else knows about this.

* Relax, Mike, they're not gonna run out before we get there.

* Relax, Mike, (some celebrity) uses it, so it's gotta be a good (product).

* Relax, Mike, all the reviews say this movie is great.

* Relax, Mike, it's not that spicy.

* Relax, Mike, the Yankees have this game in the bag.

* Relax, Mike, she's got a great personality.

* Relax, Mike, Bush (later Trump) can't possibly be that bad.

How relaxed are you?

So, I should be okay. Based on what I've been told, I might actually be more okay than I've ever been. But if this turns out to be my last post ever, you'll know why.

I'm 99 percent sure I'll be back. Probably not tomorrow, maybe not the next day. But if I go, say, a week without posting anything, that's when you should stop relaxing.

*

Days until Arsenal play again: 1, tomorrow, at 3:00 PM New York time, in UEFA Europa League action, away to Olympiacos in Athens, Greece.

Days until the next Primary or Caucus: 3, the Saturday, the Nevada Caucus. Next up, the following Saturday, the South Carolina Primary.

Days until the New York Red Bulls play again: 11, on Sunday, March 1, at 1:00 PM, home to FC Cincinnati. Under 4 weeks.

Days until the New Jersey Devils next play a local rival: 17, on Saturday night, March 7, against the New York Rangers, a.k.a. The Scum, at Madison Square Garden. The next game against the New York Islanders will be on Saturday night, March 21, at the Prudential Center. The next game against the Philadelphia Flyers will be on Saturday afternoon, March 28, at the Prudential Center.

Days until the Yankees' 2020 Opening Day: 36, at 1:00 on Thursday, March 26, away to the Baltimore Orioles. A little over 5 weeks. And now, it feels as though we can look forward to it.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 36, at 3:45 PM New York time on March 26, 2020, against the Netherlands, at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, home of PSV Eindhoven.

Days until the Yankees' 2020 home opener: 43, on Thursday, April 2, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 59, on Saturday, April 18, at 1:00 PM, against the New England Revolution, at Red Bull Arena. On Sunday, April 26, at 3:00 PM, they will play D.C. United, at Audi Field in Washington. On Sunday, May 31, at 3:00 PM, they will play New York City FC, at Yankee Stadium II. And on Saturday, June 6, at 6:00 PM, they will play the Philadelphia Union, at Red Bull Arena.

Days until the next North London Derby: 66, on Saturday, April 25, Arsenal's 1st visit to the new Tottenham Stadium, adjacent to the site of the previous White Hart Lane. A little over 9 weeks. It is currently scheduled to be on the 16th Anniversary of the 2nd time that Arsenal won the League at White Hart Lane -- but also the last time Arsenal won the League anywhere. Of course, for TV reasons, the game could be moved to another date, probably the next day.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 79, on May 8, 2020, at Yankee Stadium II. A little over 11 weeks.


Days until Euro 2020 begins, a tournament being held all over Europe instead of in a single host nation: 114, on Friday, June 12, 2020. Under 4 months.

Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 156, on July 24, 2020. A little over 5 months.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 198, on Friday night, September 4, against arch-rival Old Bridge, at the purple shit pit on Route 9. Under 7 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge football game: See the previous answer.

Days until Rutgers University plays football again: 199, on Saturday, September 5, at noon, home to Monmouth University, a Football Championship Subdivision School in West Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey. In other words, if they don't win this game overwhelmingly, especially now that Greg Schiano is back as head coach, it will look very, very bad.

Days until the next Presidential election, when we can dump the Trump-Pence regime and elect a real Administration: 258on November 3, 2020. Under 9 months.

Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State football game: 283, on Saturday, November 28, at home. A little over 9 months.

Days until a fully-Democratic-controlled Congress can convene, and the Republicans can do nothing about it: 319, on January 3, 2021. Under 11 months.

Days until Liberation Day: 336at noon on January 20, 2021. A little over 11 months. Note that this is liberation from the Republican Party, not just from Donald Trump. Having Mike Pence as President wouldn't be better, just differently bad, mixing theocracy with plutocracy, rather than mixing kleptocracy with plutocracy.

Days until Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame: 692, on January 11, 2022. Under 2 years, or under 22 months. We will then find out if it's okay for a Red Sox steroid cheat to be in the Hall, but not for a Yankee steroid cheat.

Days until the next Winter Olympics begins in Beijing, China: 716, on February 4, 2022. Under 2 years, or under 24 months.

Days until the next World Cup is scheduled to kick off in Qatar: 1,006, on November 21, 2022, in Qatar. Under 3 years, or a little over 33 months.

Days until the next Women's World Cup is scheduled to kick off: As yet unknown, but space on the international women's soccer calendar has been cleared for July 10 to August 20, 2023. So if July 10 is the tournament's starting date, that would be 1,237 days, a little under 3 1/2 years, or under 41 months. A host nation is expected to be chosen on March 20. Bids have been put in by Brazil (South America has never hosted), Colombia (ditto), Japan (Asia last hosted in 2007), and a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand (Oceania has never hosted).

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

How to Be a Devils Fan In Detroit -- 2020 Edition

Next Tuesday night, the New Jersey Devils will play the Detroit Red Wings. Since 1995, the Wings have won 4 Stanley Cups, the Devils 3. The Chicago Blackhawks also have 4. The Pittsburgh Penguins have 3. The Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings each have 2. All the other teams have 1 or none -- including the big squadoosh carried since 1994 by the New York Rangers.

Detroit calls itself "Hockeytown." Maybe in America -- and, being right across the river from Canada, they do get a lot of Canadians coming through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and over the Ambassador Bridge -- but Montreal and Toronto probably think of the term as a joke.

By American standards, no other city comes close. Not New York. Not Boston. Not Chicago. Not the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Before You Go. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press (or "Freep") websites should be consulted before you decide whether to go. While the game will be indoors, you will be spending some time outdoors.

A January 30, 2019 article in Thrillist said that Michigan was 2nd only to Minnesota in how bad Winter was -- noting that people in Alaska, which came in 3rd, were "different" and could handle what is obviously worse in terms of statistics: "Winter in Michigan begins well before Thanksgiving and stretches far past Easter, which makes for four-to-six wearisome months of always-gray, always-cold, always-drizzly, but-rarely-snowy-in-a-good-way misery.

On Tuesday afternoon, it's forecast to be in the low 40s, while at night, it should be in the low 20s. They're not predicting rain or snow, but you should still bundle up. They're also predicting rain all day. Most likely, you'll be staying overnight if you go, so let me add that Wednesday is predicted to be even colder.

I should also note that Detroit is a border city. The Detroit River, connecting Lakes Huron and Erie, is one of the few places where you can cross from north to south and go from America to Canada. Windsor, Ontario -- the closest thing to a "South Detroit," making that line in the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'" problematic -- is considerably safer, and, like Detroit itself, has a gambling casino.

If you want to visit, you'll need to bring your passport. You can use either the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge. And the exchange rate, for the moment, is as follows: US$1.00 = C$1.32 and C$1.00 = US 76 cents.

Tickets. In spite of Detroit's reputation for crime and poverty, and the team's current reputation for ineptitude, the Red Wings routinely sold the Joe Louis Arena out. The novelty of the new arena has maintained that: They're averaging 18,854 fans per game this season, about 97 percent of capacity. Getting tickets will be difficult, and you may have to go to a ticket exchange.

The Wings can afford to have tickets that are not nearly as expensive as some other big clubs charge. Seats in the lower level, the 100 sections, are $155 between the goals and $129 behind them. In the upper level, the 200 sections, seats go for $89 between the goals and $69 behind them.

Getting There. Detroit is 616 land miles from New York, and it's 604 miles from the Prudential Center in Newark to the Little Caesars Arena. Knowing this, your first reaction is going to be to fly out there.

Except... Wayne County Metropolitan Airport is 22 miles southwest of downtown. A taxi to downtown will set you back a bundle. There is a bus, SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) bus Number 125, that goes directly from the airport to downtown, but it will take an hour and 20 minutes.

Also, do you remember the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza had a girlfriend, played by a pre-Will & Grace Megan Mullaly (using her real voice, you'd never recognize her as W&G's Karen), and he had to accompany her to a funeral in her hometown of Detroit? "It's kind of an expensive flight," George said.

This was not just George being his usual cheap self: At the time, almost 30 years ago (wow, it's been that long), it was expensive, more expensive from New York to Detroit than it was to the further-away Chicago. Well, this weekend, it's very expensive. You'll be lucky to get a round-trip nonstop flight for under $1,000.

But if you're afraid to fly, then the news gets bad: There is no good way to get to Detroit, and that's got nothing to do with the city's reputation. Forget the train. The only Amtrak route in and out of Detroit is to and from Chicago, which in the opposite direction.

To make matters worse, you'll have to go to New York's Penn Station instead of Newark's. The most direct route is the Lake Shore Limited, formerly known as the Twentieth Century Limited when the old New York Central Railroad ran it from Grand Central Terminal to Chicago's LaSalle Street Station. It leaves New York's Penn Station at 3:40 every afternoon, and arrives at Union Terminal in Toledo at 5:55 every morning. From there, you have to wait until 6:30 to get on a bus to Detroit's Amtrak station, arriving at 7:35.

The station is at 11 W. Baltimore Avenue, at Woodward Avenue, 2 1/2 miles north of Comerica, so walking there is not a good option; the number 16 or 53 bus would take you down Woodward.

In reverse, the bus leaves Detroit at 9:30 PM, arrives in Toledo at 10:35, and then you have to hang around there until the Lake Shore Limited comes back at 3:15 AM, arriving back in New York at 6:23 PM. Total cost: $206. A lot cheaper than flying, but a tremendous inflammation in the posterior.

How about Greyhound? Yeah, ride a bus for 14 hours to Detroit, there's a great idea. (Rolleyes.) Actually, having done it, I can tell you that it's not that bad. Two Greyhound buses leave Port Authority every day with connections to Detroit. One is at 5:15 PM, and arrives at 7:20 AM, with a 1 hour and 35 minute stopover in Cleveland in the middle of the night (but you won't have to change buses, in case you want to stay on the bus and sleep). The other leaves Port Authority at 10:15 PM, and you will have to change buses in Cleveland, arriving 6:50 AM and leaving 7:50, arriving at 11:25 AM. Despite having to change buses, this one is actually faster, taking 13 hours and 10 minutes, as opposed to the single through bus ride, taking 14 hours and 5 minutes.

Compared to most of Detroit, the bus terminal, at 1001 Howard Street, is relatively new and quite clean. It was just about within walking distance of Tiger Stadium, which really helped me in 1999. It's also not a long walk to Ford Field, but I wouldn't recommend this. Better to take a cab, especially if you're getting a hotel. Round-trip fare: $127 if you make an advanced purchase, $206 if you're buying at Port Authority. So Greyhound is also far cheaper than flying, possibly cheaper (and definitely not much more expensive) than Amtrak, and less of a pain than Amtrak.

If you decide to drive, the directions are rather simple, down to (literally) the last mile. You'll need to get into New Jersey, and take Interstate 80 West. You'll be on I-80 for the vast majority of the trip, through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In Ohio, in the western suburbs of Cleveland, I-80 will merge with Interstate 90. I point this out merely to help you avoid confusion, not because I-90 will become important -- though it is for "How to Be a Yankee Fan in Chicago" and some other cities.

In Ohio, you'll take I-80's Exit 64, and get onto Interstate 75 North, known as the Fisher Freeway in Detroit. This will take you into Michigan. Take Exit 50 onto Fisher Service Drive, turn left on Cass Avenue, and then turn right on Sproat Street. The Arena will be on your right.

If you do it right, you should spend about an hour in New Jersey, 5 hours and 15 minutes in Pennsylvania, 3 hours in Ohio and an hour in Michigan. That's 10 hours and 15 minutes. Counting rest stops, preferably halfway through Pennsylvania and in the Cleveland suburbs, and accounting for traffic in both New York and Detroit, it should be about 12 hours.

I strongly recommend finding a hotel with a good, secure parking garage, even if you're only staying for 1 game.

Once In the City. The city, and its river, were founded in 1701 as Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit du Lac Erie (Day-TWAH, strait of Lake Erie), by Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, for whom the downtown Cadillac Square and the brand of car was named.

Detroit's centerpoint, in culture and in terms of address numbers, is the Woodward Fountain, where Woodward, Michigan and Gratiot Avenues come together, with Cadillac Square just off to the east. Woodward is the East-West divider.

Since the July 1967 race riot, Detroit has become known as a city of poverty, crime, decay, and poor city services, the kind of place where even Batman would fear to tread. The legendary comedian Red Skelton once said, "In Detroit, you can go 10 miles and never leave the scene of the crime." It's no wonder the RoboCop film series was set there.

There was a Nike commercial a few years back, in which young basketball players were seated, yoga-style, in front of a TV screen, on which their "master," a fat black man with a turban and sunglasses who looked nothing like an athlete, was dispensing wisdom. At the end, after the Swoosh logo was shown, the camera went back to one of the students, who asked, "But, Master, what if we behave badly?" And the Master lowered his shades, looked over them, and said, "You go to Detroit."

This was in the early 1990s, when the Pistons had begun to fall from their 1989-90 "Bad Boys" championship teams, and going to Detroit was not a good option in any sport -- indeed, the only Detroit team doing well at the time was, strangely, the Lions, who were then a perennial Playoff team thanks largely to Barry Sanders.

I once saw a T-shirt that read, "I'm so bad, I vacation in Detroit." I have. I'm not saying I'm "bad," or a "hard man," just that I went. I wanted to see a game at Tiger Stadium before it closed, and I did. Newark had a race riot 2 weeks before Detroit's. In May 1999, I saw Detroit, and I realized just how far back Newark had come, by seeing how far Detroit had not.

In the 1950 Census, Detroit was the 4th-largest city in America, after New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, with over 2 million people just within the city limits. "White flight" after the '67 riot has led to the Detroit metropolitan area having roughly the same number of people it had then, about 5.6 million, but within the city limits the number has dropped from over 2 million to just 672,000. The suburbs are beautiful, but the city itself is a hole, and good men (and a few bad ones) have busted their humps trying to get it back on its feet.

One of the good men who tried was Mike Ilitch, probably the most famous American of Macedonian descent, who ran Little Caesar's Pizza, and ownedthe Tigers and Red Wings. He rebuilt the city's historic Fox Theater, put Little Caesar's headquarters in the building above it, and had Comerica Park built across the street. He died earlier this year, before the new arena could be completed.

Many others, including Pistons Hall-of-Famer turned major area businessman Dave Bing, who served a term as Mayor, are trying, they really are. But Governor Rick Snyder, a Tea Party Republican, has ordered a State takeover of Detroit's finances. Apparently, he didn't learn the lesson of Hugh Carey, New York's Governor in 1975, who found another way to get New York City's finances back on their feet. In Detroit's case, as in every other place in which it's tried, austerity hasn't worked.

As for you, the potential visitor, the fear of crime should not keep you away. As with Yankee Stadium during the depth of New York's crime wave from the late 1970s to the early '90s, the arena is probably the safest, best-protected place in town.

As recently as 1950, the city was 83 percent white, 16 percent black. By the time of the 1967 riot, it was about half and half. Now, it's 82 percent black, 8 percent white, 7 percent Hispanic, 1 percent Asian.

Wayne County, which includes, but is not limited to, the City of Detroit? 52 percent white, 40 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian. Oakland County? 77 percent white, 13 percent black, 6 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic. If there's another city in America that's that segregated, I'm not aware of it.

Detroit is a weird city in some ways. It often seems like a cross between a past that was once glorious but now impossible to reach, and a future that never quite happened. (That observation was once made about the remaining structures from New York's 1964-65 World's Fair and the Astrodome in Houston.) Art Deco structures of the 1920s and '30s, such as the Penobscot Building (the tallest building outside New York and Chicago when it opened in 1928, the tallest in Michigan until 1977) stand alongside abandoned, boarded-up or chained-up stores.

But alongside or across from them, there are glassy, modern structures such as the Renaissance Center, shown in the photo above: A 5-tower complex that includes, at its center, the 750-foot tallest building in Michigan (the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere), and, in one of its 4 outer towers, the headquarters of General Motors (although the RenCen was originally financed by Ford).

Downtown also has the Detroit People Mover, a monorail system that is part of the suggestion of Detroit trying to get from 1928 to 2028 while jumping over the difficult years in between. Like the Washington and Montreal Metro (subway) systems, the company running it prides itself on the artwork in its stations. It has a stop called Times Square, but it won't look anything like the one in New York. It has a stop called Bricktown, but it won't look anything like Brick Township, the sprawling Jersey Shore suburb off Exits 88 to 91 on the Garden State Parkway. The Grand Circus Park and Broadway Street stations are both 3 blocks from Comerica Park.
It's cheap, only 75 cents, and it still uses tokens, although it also accepts cash. Be advised, though, that it stops running at midnight, except on Fridays and Saturdays, when it runs until 2:00 AM. Bus fare is $1.50.

ZIP Codes in the Detroit area start with the digits 480, 481, 482 and 483, and the Area Code is 313, with 248 (overlaid by 947), 586 and 734 serving the suburbs. Detroit has no "beltway." The sales tax in the State of Michigan is 6 percent, and does not go up in either the County of Wayne or the City of Detroit. As with New York, Chicago and a few other cities, the electricity in Detroit is run by a company with the name of the inventor of the electricity industry (if not the light bulb): Detroit Edison Company.

Going In. The official address of the new Little Caesars Arena is 2645 Woodward Avenue, at Henry Street, across Interstate 75 from Comerica Park and Ford Field, and about a mile north of downtown. The arena, originally known as the Detroit Events Center, was, surprising no one, renamed for Mike Ilitch's pizza company.
"Pizza, pizza."

Take Bus 053. If you drive in, parking is $24. This is more than for a Devils home game, but it's a lot better than parking at Tiger Stadium, which usually had people boxed in, resulting in tremendous traffic jams both before and after the game (and, every bit as much as the crime and the condition of the stadium, was why the Lions wanted to get out and built the Silverdome). It also involved local kids being willing to "Watch your car, Mister?" for a small fee. Translation: "If you pay me $5.00, I'll make sure nobody damages your car. If you don't pay me, I'll make sure somebody, namely myself, does."
Seating 19,515 for hockey and 20,491 for basketball -- slightly less than Joe Louis Arena -- it is 1 of 11 arenas currently hosting an NHL team and an NBA team. The Pistons' arrival means that not only are all 4 Detroit-area teams be playing in the city for the 1st time since 1974, but that both of the teams that moved out to the suburbs have moved back: The Lions after 27 seasons, 1975 to 2001; and the Pistons after 39 seasons, 1978 to 2017. So "Dee-troit bas-ket-ball" is again being played in
Detroit, not just sort-of near it.

The rink is laid out east-to-west. The Wings attack twice toward the east goal. "The Baddest Bowl" is also, even more so that Boston's TD Garden with its Beanpot Tournament, the capital of American college hockey. Like its predecessors the Olympia from 1965 to 1978, and the Joe Louis Arena from 1979 to 2016, in the week between Christmas and New Year's, it hosts the Great Lakes Invitational, with the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Upper Peninsula-based Michigan Tech participating every season.

The 4-team selection has been rounded out by nearby schools such as Western Michigan, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State; Midwestern powers like Wisconsin and North Dakota (but never, as yet, Minnesota); and even New Jersey's Princeton. Michigan, the defending champion, has won it 17 times, Michigan State 12, and Michigan Tech 10. Last year's was won by 4th invitee Bowling Green State of Ohio.

Little Caesars Arena also alternates hosting the Big Ten hockey tournament with the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, home of the Minnesota Wild, and hosted 2018 NCAA Tournament basketball games.

The 1st event was on September 12, 2017, a concert, by a Detroit area native. Unfortunately, it was by millionaire kid turned Trumpian U.S. Senate candidate Robert Ritchie, a.k.a. slob rocker Kid Rock. Paul McCartney, The Eagles (without the late Michigan native Glenn Frey), Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, New Jersey native Halsey, Katy Perry, Shakira, Pink, Demi Lovato, Shania Twain, former One Direction singer Harry Styles, Radiohead, Drake, Bruno Mars and Elton John have given concerts there.

Food. When I visited Tiger Stadium in its final season, 1999, it had great food, including the very best ballpark hot dog I've ever had. Since they were owned by Little Caesars mogul Ilitch, and before that were owned by Domino's Pizza boss Tom Monaghan, food was, and remains, taken very seriously by the club. This is, after all, Big Ten Country, where college football tailgate parties are practically a sacrament. One would hope that the same would be true of the Red Wings.

They are. As you would expect, there are Little Caesars stands, but there's also Mike's Pizza Bar, named for Ilitch. There's also Bell's Brewery, the Dearborn Sasuage Haus, the Via Sports Bar, and the 313 Grill Co. (named for Detroit's Area Code).

What is "Detroit style pizza"? It's rectangular, with toppings such as pepperoni and mushrooms, and is differentiated from the styles of New York and Chicago with a thick, crispy bottom crust. There's also "Coneys," Detroit's variation on hot dogs, topped with chili, cheese and onions. These are also popular in Cincinnati, but not at Coney Island.

Team History Displays. The Red Wings display more banners than any other NHL team. Their Stanley Cup banners are at the Arena's east end, the other championship banners in the middle, and the retired number banners at the west end.

While the Montreal Canadiens (24) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (13) only display their Stanley Cup banners, the Wings also display Conference and Divisional Championships and President's Trophy wins:

Stanley Cup, 11: 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

Campbell/Western Conference, 6: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008 and 2009. (Their Finals appearances prior to the Cup's semifinal round being renamed the Conference Finals in 1982 aren't counted as such, and they have not yet won their Conference since being moved to the Eastern.)

Division, 19 (either finishing 1st overall in the NHL regular season or 1st in the Divisional Play era), 19: 1934, 1936, 1937, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

President's Trophy (for best record in the NHL regular season), 6: 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.
The Cup banners are white with red lettering, while the others are red with white lettering.

Officially, the Wings have retired 7 uniform numbers. From their 1950s Cups, they retired the Number 1 of goaltender Terry Sawchuk, the Number 4 of defenseman Red Kelly, and the numbers of all 3 members of "The Production Line": Right wing Gordie Howe, 9 (who, as I said, has a statue outside the west entrance); left wing Ted Lindsay, 7; and center Sid Abel, 12. When Abel retired in 1952, their main center became Alex Delvecchio, and this new member of the Production Line eventually had his Number 10 retired.

From their 1990s-2000s Cups, they've retired the Number 19 of center Steve Yzerman and the Number 5 of defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. These banners are red with white lettering. Yzerman's Number 19 banner has a Captain's C on it.
Not officially retired is the Number 6 of 1930s right wing Larry Aurie, which was said to have been retired when he hung up his skates in 1939. The current argument is that it's because he's not in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Well, then explain why Number 2, worn by 1940s defenseman Jack Stewart and 1990s defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov, hasn't been retired. Or Number 3, worn by 1950s defenseman Marcel Pronovost (a former Devils scout). Or Number 8, worn by 1930s center Syd Howe (no relation to Gordie). Or Number 14, for our old pal Brendan Shanahan.

Also not officially retired is the Number 16 of Vladimir Konstantinov, who was paralyzed in a car crash in the aftermath of the 1997 Stanley Cup win. Neither 6 (with 1 exception, for Aurie's cousin Cumming "Cummy" Burton) or 16 has ever been given out to another Wings player.

As I said, the west entrance is named for Gordie Howe, and has a statue of him inside. A new cable-stay bridge over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit and Windsor, is under construction, probably opening in 2024. It has been named the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Red Wings in the Hockey Hall of Fame include:

* From the team's early days: George Hay and Reg Noble. Frank Foyston, Frank Frederickson, Hap Holmes, Duke Keats and Jack Walker, stars in the defunct Pacific Coast Hockey Association, were original Detroit Cougars from 1926 to 1928. Early goaltending star Alex Connell played 1 season in Detroit.

* From the 1936 and 1937 Stanley Cup winners: Owners James E. and James D. Norris, head coach and general manager Jack Adams, Herbie Lewis, Ebbie Goodfellow, Syd Howe and Marty Barry. Sort-of retired number honoree Larry Aurie has not been elected. Future Boston Bruin star Cooney Weiland was with the Wings for the 2 seasons right before this. Carl Voss, also a star in Canadian football, played for the Wings at that time. Former Maple Leaf Charlie Conacher was on the Wings in 1938-39. So was former Bruin goalie Clarence "Tiny" Thompson.

* From the 1943 Stanley Cup winners: Both James Norrises, Adams, Goodfellow, Syd Howe, Jack Stewart, Sid Abel, Harry Watson and Bill Quackenbush. Former Ranger and Blackhawk star Earl Seibert was with the Wings in 1945 and 1946. Charlie's brother Roy Conacher, also a Hall-of-Famer, was on the 1946-47 Wings. Bud Poile, later elected to the Hall as a Builder, was on the Wings' 1949 Cup Finalists.

* From the 1950 Stanley Cup winners: Both James Norrises, Adams (now just GM), head coach Tommy Ivan, Stewart, Abel, Harry Lumley, Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe, Red Kelly and Terry Sawchuk.

* From the 1952, 1954 and 1955 Stanley Cup winners: Both James Norrises, Adams, Ivan, Abel, Lindsay, Howe, Kelly, Sawchuk, Delvecchio, Glenn Hall and Marcel Pronovost. Jimmy Skinner, who coached the '55 win, is not in the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame Islanders coach Al Arbour played on the '54 win, but not '55, then returned for another couple of years. Future Bruin Cup-winning Captain was with the Wings on their '56 Finalists, but not earlier. Brian Kilrea, in the Hall for his work at the junior hockey level, played 1 game for the Wings in 1958.

* From the 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1966 Stanley Cup Finalists: James D. and Bruce Norris, Adams, Abel as head coach and as GM after Adams retired in '62, Howe, Sawchuk (through '64), Delvecchio, Pronovost, Norm Ullman and Bill Gadsby. Former Ranger star Andy Bathgate and former Bruin star Leo Boivin were on the '66 Finalists. The great Canadiens defenseman Doug Harvey played 2 games for the Wings in 1967. Team executive John Ziegler was elected, but mainly due to his subsequent tenure as NHL President. Maple Leafs legend Frank Mahovlich was a Wing from 1968 to 1971.

* Marcel Dionne played for the Wings from 1971 to 1975, and is in the Hall of Fame, but didn't win anything there. Eddie Giacomin, the beloved Ranger goalie, was infamously traded to the Wings in 1975. Vaclav Nedomansky, the 1st hockey player from Eastern Europe to defect to North America, played for the Wings from 1977 to 1982, and was elected to the Hall in 2019. Also elected in 2019 was Jim Rutherford, a goalie for the Wings from 1974 to 1980, but was elected for his role as a Pittsburgh executive.

Los Angeles Kings goalie Rogie Vachon played with the Wings toward the end of his career, from 1978 to 1980. Former Ranger and Bruin defenseman Brad Park and former Maple Leaf star Darryl Sittler both closed their careers with the Wings in 1985. Future Boston and Washington star Adam Oates played his 1st 4 seasons with the Wings. St. Louis Blues Hall-of-Famer Bernie Federko and Maple Leafs Hall-of-Famer Borje Salming both closed their careers with the Wings in 1990.

* From the 1995 Stanley Cup Finalists, but not the later Cup wins: Mark Howe, Dino Ciccarelli and Paul Coffey.

* From the 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cups: Owner Mike Ilitch, GM Jim Devellano, head coach Scotty Bowman, Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Igor Larionov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Brendan Shanahan and (on the '98 win only) Larry Murphy.

* From the 2002 Stanley Cup: Ilitch, Devellano, Bowman, Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Larionov, Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Ilitch, Devellano, Lidstrom, Chelios and Hasek were also on the 2008 Stanley Cup winners. GM Ken Holland and 2008 head coach Mike Babcock have not yet been elected to the Hall. Dallas Stars legend Mike Modano closed his career with the Wings in 2011.

In 1998, The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Players included Howe, Abel, Lindsay, Sawchuk, Kelly, Delvecchio, Stewart, Yzerman, Bill Gadsby, Ullman, and 3 players running out the string by helping the Wings win the 2002 Cup: Brett Hull, Hasek and Chelios, a Detroit native and, aside from Howe, the oldest player in NHL history.

Abel, Lindsay, Gordie Howe (but not Syd Howe), Kelly, Sawchuk, Delvecchio, Dionne, Coffey, Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Shanahan, Chelios, Hull and Hasek were named to the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players in 2017.

Aurie and left wing Lewis were chosen for an All-Star Team to oppose the host Toronto Maple Leafs in the Ace Bailey Benefit Game in 1934. Goalie Normie Smith, defenseman Goodfellow, and center Barry were chosen for the team that opposed a combined Canadiens-Maroons team at the Montreal Forum in the Howie Morenz Memorial Game in 1937.

Goodfellow and Syd Howe were chosen for the team that opposed the Canadiens at the Forum in the Babe Siebert Memorial Game in 1939. Lindsay, and defensemen Stewart and Quackenbush were chosen for the 1st official NHL All-Star Game in 1947, as the rest of the NHL took on the defending Champion Leafs in Toronto.

Defenseman Gary Bergman, left wing Red Berenson and right wing Mickey Redmond were chosen for Team Canada against the Soviet Union in the 1972 "Summit Series." So was former Red Wing Paul Henderson, by then with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As such, they were named to Canada's Walk of Fame. For their overall contributions to the sport, so were Gordie Howe and Bowman.

From the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, Mike Ramsey and Dave Silk went on to play for the Wings. Henderson, Yzerman, Fetisov, Fedorov, Larionov, Lidstrom and Hasek have been elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame.

The Lester Patrick Trophy, for contributions to hockey in America, has been awarded to many figures in Wings history: Players Gordie Howe, Lindsay, Sawchuk, Delvecchio, Yzerman, Dionne, Mark Howe, Red Berenson and Reed Larson; head coaches Adams, Ivan and Bowman; general managers Adams and Devellano; and owners James E. Norris, Bruce Norris and Mike Ilitch. (It should be noted that Berenson, Dionne, Larson were honored for contributions elsewhere.)

The following Wings are members of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, located at Cobo Hall next to The Joe: James E. Norris (but not James D. or Bruce), Adams, Goodfellow, Stewart, Abel, Gordie and Mark Howe (but not Syd), Kelly, Lindsay, Sawchuck, Delvecchio, Pronovost, Gadsby, Ullman, Mike and Marian Ilitch, Bowman, Devellano, Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Shanahan, Lynch, Martyn, and 1990s goaltender Chris Osgood. Detroit area native Mike Modano has also been elected, but only played his last season, 2010-11, with the Wings.

The statues of Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio and Joe Louis that had been dedicated at the Joe Louis Arena were moved to the Little Caesars Arena. As yet, the Arena has no statues honoring Pistons greats.
The late Mr. Hockey and his statue

The Red Wings and their geographic rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, both entered the NHL in 1926, and they've beaten trying to beat each other's brains out for 94 years. Counting the Playoffs, the Wings have won 406 games, the Hawks 329, and there were 84 ties.

The Wings have beaten the Hawks in the Stanley Cup Semifinals in 1941, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1995 and 2009; and in the round of 16 in 1987 -- but never in the Stanley Cup Finals, which, with realignment, is now the only way they can face each other in the Playoffs. The Hawks have won in the Finals in 1934 and 1961; the Semifinals in 1944 and 1965; the Quarterfinals in 1970, 1992 and 2013; and the round of 16 in 1985 and 1989.

The series between the Wings and the Colorado Avalanche, inflamed by a Claude Lemieux hit on Kris Draper in the 1996 Western Conference Finals, was, however nasty, only briefly a rivalry. It was the hockey equivalent of Steelers-Raiders in the 1970s, or Mets-Braves in the 1990s, and should now be treated as just another matchup.

Stuff. The Little Caesars Arena has a Team Store is on the south side, with an address of 76 Henry Street. There's also a store named Hockeytown Authentics, owned by Olympia Entertainment. 1845 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy, next to the Troy Sports Center, 19 miles north of downtown. Car only.

One item sold at the arena that may be of interest is a funny hat: The Wingnut, a foam red wingnut, with its "tails" marked "left wing" and "right wing." Not as cute as the Green Bay Packers' Cheeseheads, but every bit as manly as those Giants and Jets hard hats.

DVD collections for the 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008 Cup wins are available, as is Detroit Red Wings: A Celebration of Champions -- NHL Original Six Series. As yet, though, no "Greatest Games" series for them.

Dr. John Finley and Wings legend Gordie Howe wrote Hockeytown Doc: A Half-Century of Red Wings Stories from Howe to Yzerman. Specifically about their 1950s team that won 4 Cups in 6 seasons, New York's own "Hockey Maven," Stan Fischler, wrote Motor City Muscle: Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuk and the Championship Detroit Red Wings -- published in 1995, after the Devils beat the Wings in the Finals, leaving Wings fans with what one of them called "The 40-Year Itch." About the 1995-2009 Wings Dynasty, Darren McCarty published My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star.

Charles C. Avison wrote Detroit: City of Champions, telling of how the city produced champion after champion in the Great Depression and World War II: The Tigers winning Pennants in 1934, '35, '40 and '45; the Lions debuting in 1934 and winning the NFL Championship in 1935; the Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup in 1936, '37 and '43; and Joe Louis winning the Heavyweight Championship of the World in 1937 and keeping it until his first retirement in 1948. Back then, Detroit was a city where anything was possible.

The 1930s was also the era when Detroit radio station WXYZ debuted 3 legendary fictional characters: The Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet (said to be related), and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Now WXYT, SportsRadio 1270, it celebrated its 90th Anniversary this past October.

During the Game. The Red Wings have nasty rivalries with the Blackhawks and the Avalanche, but you do not have to worry about wearing Devils gear in Little Caesars Arena. Wings fans may have long memories, but they're over 1995, having won 4 Cups since.

Tuesday's game will not feature a promotion. Karen Newman sings the National Anthem, and has since at least the 1995 Finals matchup between the teams. The Wings' goal song is "Hey Hey Hockey Town" by Kid Rock. Yeah, him.
In 25 years, Karen Newman has aged very little.

When the visiting team's players are announced, Wings fans will shout, "Who cares?" When I first heard this on TV before Game 1 of the 1995 Finals, I thought they were, instead of booing and/or hissing, shouting, "Boo, hiss!" I chuckled. My respect for them went way down when I found out it was the far less witty, "Who cares?" Still, though, it beats following a player's name with, " ...sucks!"

During Playoff games only, hanging from the roof is a big purple balloon shaped like an octopus, named Al the Octopus, after Al Sobotka, the arena's building operations manager, who drives the Zamboni, and whose job it is to pick up any octopi that fans throw onto the ice, a reflection of a tradition that began in 1952, since there were then only 2 Playoff rounds, 8 wins to win the Cup, 8 legs on an octopus. Since it now takes 16 wins, there are 2 Als hanging from the rafters.
This one, obviously, is not hanging from the rafters.

Although, officially, you can be thrown out of the arena for doing it, if the Wings are winning late, Sobotka will pick the octopus up off the ice by hand, and swing it around by the legs over his head, driving the crowd wild. In other words, if the Wings beat the Devils, you'll still walk away having seen a piece of tradition.
After the Game. With Detroit's rough reputation, I would recommend not hanging around downtown after a night game. If you want a postgame drink or meal, you're better off sticking to your hotel.

But when you come out of the arena, at the northeast corner, at Woodward and Sproat, there's District Market, which calls itself "restaurants within a restaurant." There's Sugar and Brew (a Midwestern mini-Starbucks), Mex n Co, and Moroccan Lamb & Fig.

Left over from Joe Louis Arena are some recommendations from local fan websites. The Anchor Bar at 450 W. Fort Street (not to be confused with the Buffalo bar of the same name, which invented Buffalo wings 50 years ago this week), Cobo Joe's at 422 W. Congress Street, and Post Bar at 408 W. Congress Street. Post Bar is described as the best post-game Red Wings bar, and a place where the players sometimes drink. Cobo Joe's is said to be the local home of expatriate Jet fans.

Giants gather at the Town Pump Tavern, 100 W. Montcalm Street at Park Avenue, 2 blocks from Comerica Park. Harry's Detroit Bar is also said to be a Giants' fan haven. It's right over the Fisher Freeway overpass from Comerica and the Town Pump, at 2482 Clifford Street, near the famous Cass Tech High School. Be warned, though, that over the freeway is not an area to traverse at night. Cheli's Chili Bar is owned by Chelios, at 47 E. Adams Avenue, across Witherell from Comerica and thus a short walk from Ford Field.

If your visit to Detroit is during the European soccer season, which is now in full gear, most of the better choices to watch games are in the suburbs. Thomas Magee's Sporting House Whiskey Bar is the home pub of the Detroit branch of the U.S. national team fan group, the American Outlaws. 1408 East Fisher Service Drive, in the Lafayette Park neighborhood, about a mile east of the Arena. SMART Bus 34 to Gratiot and Russell.

Another possibility is the Red Fox English Pub. Definitely not to be confused with the now-defunct Machus Red Fox restaurant, where Jimmy Hoffa was last publicly seen. This one is at 100 S. Main Street in Royal Oak, about 14 miles northwest of downtown. Bus 498 to Woodward & 11 Mile.

Sidelights. On November 30, 2018, Thrillist published a list of "America's 25 Most Fun Cities," and Detroit, for all its problems, came in 20th. For all its problems, Detroit is a great city, not just a great baseball city or even a great sports city. Check out the following – but do it in daylight:

* Cobo Hall and Joe Louis Arena. From 1979 to 2017, the Red Wings played at the riverfront arena named for the Alabama-born, Detroit-raised-and-trained Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1937 to 1949. While there, they reached 6 Stanley Cup Finals, winning 4, and became what the Boston Bruins used to be, and what the New York Rangers only dream they are: The signature team of American hockey.
It hosted the NCAA Frozen Four in 1985, 1987 and 1990. The Joe was home to the Detroit Drive of Arena Football from 1988 to 1993. They won as many league championships in 5 seasons as the Lions have won in over 80: 4, in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992. In fact, they made the ArenaBowl every season of their existence. The Joe also hosted the ArenaBowl in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1993. So what happened? Mike Ilitch, who also owned the Red Wings, sold the Drive so that he could buy the Tigers. The Drive were moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, played 1 more season, and folded.
The Joe also hosted the 1980 Republican Convention, which nominated Ronald Reagan for President. Think about it: An arena named for a black heavyweight champion who knocked out a symbol (however unwillingly) of fascism, in a mostly-black city, with heavy union presence in the metropolitan area (it was, after all the hometown of the United Auto Workers and Jimmy Hoffa), hosting the Republican Convention.

Many people complained that the stairs at the entrances were very steep, and at certain areas on the outside of the arena, were breaking apart. To make matters worse, the arena was the same model as the Meadowlands Arena and the Nassau Coliseum: One level of concourse for two levels of seats. There also wasn't enough bathrooms, resulting in very long lines, and a drop in atmosphere at the starts of the 2nd and 3rd periods, as many fans didn't make it back in time. So the Wings decided to build a new arena.

The Devils were the opponents for the Wings' last game at The Joe, on April 9, 2017, and the Wings won 4-1. The arena was demolished last year.

The Joe was built next-door to Cobo Center, which was named for Albert E. Cobo, Mayor from 1950 to 1957. Its centerpiece, a building originally known as Cobo Hall, has been Detroit's major convention center since its opening in 1960, and, following the rejection of a plan to demolish it and put a new Pistons-Red Wings arena on the site, it recently underwent a renovation and expansion.
It includes a 12,000-seat arena that was home to the Pistons from 1961 to 1978, the Michigan Stags of the World Hockey Association in the 1974-75 season, and a convention complex that includes the city's famed annual auto show. It is known for some legendary rock concerts, including the KISS album Alive! and area native Bob Seger's Live Bullet. Unfortunately, it may be best known for the January 6, 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan during a practice session for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Cobo Hall hosted a fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World on November 18, 1970, with Joe Frazier remaining Champion by knocking out Light Heavyweight Champion Bob Foster. As you might guess, Joe Louis Arena also hosted one, on June 12, 1981, just 2 months after Louis died: Larry Holmes remained Champion by knocking out former Champion Leon Spinks.

The address of the Cobo Center is 600 Civic Center Drive, at Jefferson Avenue; and of Joe Louis Arena, 19 Steve Yzerman Drive. Each arena has its own station on the Detroit People Mover.

* Comerica Park and Ford Field. Home to the Tigers since 2000, the team has seen the good (Pennants in 2006 and '12), the bad (a nosedive that cost them the American League Central Division title in 2008), and the ugly (losing an AL record 119 games in 2003) at Comerica Park. The official address is 2100 Woodward Avenue, but Woodward does not border the park; Witherell, Montcalm and Brush Streets, and Adams Avenue, do. The Lions have mostly been terrible at Ford Field, whose address is 2000 Brush Street.

The area around Comerica Park (named for a Midwest-based bank) and Ford Field (named for the automaker), at the northern edge of downtown Detroit, is called Foxtown, after the Fox Theater, which, as I said, Tigers/Wings/Little Caesars owner Mike Ilitch had restored.

Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL in 2006, won by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final game of Detroit native Jerome Bettis; the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four; and the 2009 NCAA Final Four, the only one ever held in the State of Michigan, won by North Carolina, overcoming a "home-court advantage" for Michigan State in the Final. Appropriately, for a city on the U.S.-Canadian border, it hosted a match between the U.S. and Canada soccer teams on June 7, 2011. The U.S. won.

* Site of Tiger Stadium. The first ballpark on the site was called Bennett Park, after Charlie Bennett, a catcher for the NL's Detroit Wolverines, who didn't play there. Bennett Park opened in 1896, for the Detroit team in the Western League, which became the American League in 1901. However, the team we know as the Tigers (so named because the orange stripes on their socks evoked not just tigers but the teams at New Jersey's Princeton University, also called the Tigers) are officially dated from 1901.

After the 1911 season, the wooden Bennett Park was demolished, and replaced with a concrete and steel structure, opening on April 20, 1912 (the same day as Fenway Park in Boston) and named Navin Field, after Tiger owner Frank Navin. He died in 1935, and his co-owner, Walter Briggs, expanded the place to its more familiar configuration in 1938, renaming it Briggs Stadium. In 1961, new owner John Fetzer renamed it Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers played there from 1912 to 1999, and the NFL's Lions did so from 1938 to 1974. The Tigers won the World Series while playing there in 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984; the Lions won the NFL Championship while playing there in 1952, 1953 and 1957. (The '52 Championship Game was played in Cleveland against the Browns; the '53 and '57 editions, also against the Browns, at Tiger Stadum.)

In addition, early NFL teams the Detroit Heralds played there in 1920 and '21, and the Detroit Panthers in 1926. Detroit's own Joe Louis defended the Heavyweight Championship of the World at Tiger (then Briggs) Stadium on September 20, 1939, knocking Bob Pastor out.

A youth baseball field is on the site now. Northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street, 1 mile west of Cadillac Square down Michigan Avenue (U.S. Route 12). Number 29 bus from downtown.

* Site of Olympia Stadium. From the outside, it looked more like a big brick movie theater, complete with the Art Deco marquee out front. But "The Old Red Barn" was home to the Red Wings from 1927 to 1979, during which time they won the Stanley Cup in 1936, '37, '43, '50, '52, '54 and '55.
In 1950, they hosted Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and Pete Babando's overtime winner defeated the Rangers. In '54, they had another overtime Game 7 winner, as "Tough Tony" Leswick hit a shot that deflected off Doug Harvey, the great defenseman of the Montreal Canadiens. (In hockey, the shooter is still credited; in soccer, this would have been officially listed as an "own goal" on Harvey.)
A rare color photo of a Wings game at the Olympia

The Olympia was also home to the Pistons from 1957 to 1961; the Falcons in the NBA's inaugural season of 1946-47; the NCAA Frozen Four in 1977 and 1979; and the site of some great prizefights, including Jake LaMotta's 1942 win over Sugar Ray Robinson – the only fight Robinson would lose in his career until 1952, and the only one of the 6 fights he had with LaMotta that LaMotta won.

Despite Detroit being his adopted hometown, Joe Louis only had 1 fight at the Olympia. On March 21, 1941, he knocked Abe Simon out. It had just 1 other fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, on March 7, 1951, the 2nd of 4 fights between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott, with Charles retaining the title by a unanimous decision.

Elvis Presley did 2 shows there early in his career, an afternoon and an evening show on March 31, 1957. (If you think that's a lot for one day, he did 3 shows at the Fox Theater on May 25, 1956.) He returned to the Olympia on September 11, 1970; April 6, 1972; September 29 and October 4, 1974; and April 22, 1977.

The Beatles played there on September 6, 1964 and August 13, 1966. (However, it was in the Detroit area -- specifically, on the University of Michigan's radio station in Ann Arbor -- that a disc jockey started the 1969 rumor that Paul McCartney was dead. In a 1989 interview, Paul said, "'Paul is dead'? I didn't believe that one for a minute.")

It was the neighborhood, not the building, that was falling apart: Lincoln Cavalieri, its general manager in its last years, once said, "If an atom bomb landed, I'd want to be in Olympia." It was not a nuclear attack, but an ordinary demolition crew, that took it down in 1987. The Olympia Armory, home of the Michigan National Guard, is now on the site. 5920 Grand River Avenue, corner of McGraw Street, on the Northwest Side. Number 21 bus. If you're a hockey fan, by all means, visit – but do it in daylight.

* University of Detroit Stadium. Also known as Titan Stadium, this was the Lions' first home, from 1934 to 1937, until what became Tiger Stadium was double-decked. The Lions played and won the 1935 NFL Championship Game there, beating the Giants.

The previous NFL team in the city, the Detroit Wolverines, play there in their lone season, 1928. Built in 1922 and seating 25,000, the University's suspension of its football program in 1964 doomed it, and it was demolished in 1971. The school, now known as the University of Detroit Mercy (it's a Catholic school), has since put a new, multipurpose, artificial turf field on the site. 3801 McNichols Road at Birchcrest Drive. 016 Bus.

* Silverdome. Originally Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium, this stadium was home to the Lions from 1975 to 2001 (after which they moved back downtown to Ford Field), and very nearly became home to the Tigers as well, before owner John Fetzer decided to commit himself to Tiger Stadium. Heisman-winning running backs Billy Sims and Barry Sanders ran wild for the Lions here, but the closest they got to a Super Bowl was reaching the NFC Championship Game in January 1992 – unless you count hosting Super Bowl XVI, 10 years earlier, the beginning of the San Francisco 49er dynasty led by Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.

The Pistons, playing here from 1978 to 1988, had a little more luck, reaching the NBA Finals in their last year there. It seated 80,000 for football, set an NBA attendance record (since broken) of 61,983 between the Pistons and Boston Celtics in 1988, and 93,682 for a Mass by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

In 1994, it hosted 4 World Cup matches, including 1 by the U.S. and 1 by eventual winner Brazil. It hosted 2 games by the U.S. national soccer team, in 1992 win over Russia and the 1994 World Cup draw against Switzerland. Elvis had his biggest crowd ever at the Silverdome, 60,500, on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1975.

It hosted a Don King-promoted boxing card in January 2011, and in August 2010 hosted a friendly between Italian soccer giant A.C. Milan and leading Greek club Panathinaikos – appropriate, considering the area's ethnic makeup.

In 2013, the roof was deflated as an energy-saving measure, with the idea that, if a new tenant was found, a new roof would be put in as part of renovations. But in October 2015, it was announced that the Silverdome would be demolished, and the area would be part of a Oakland County, Michigan
mixed-use development. after the explosives failed the previous day, the Silverdome was imploded on December 4, 2017.

1200 Featherstone Road, Pontiac. Getting there by public transportation is a pain: The Number 465 bus takes an hour and 25 minutes, and then you gotta walk a mile down Featherstone from Oakland Community College. So if you didn't drive in (or rent a car at the airport), unless you have to see everything on this list, or if you're a Lions fan living in New York who has to see it one more time, or if you're a soccer nut on a pilgrimage to all World Cup sites, I'd suggest skipping it.

* The Palace. Home to the Pistons from 1988 to 2017, they won the 1989, 1990 and 2004 NBA Championships here, and almost won another in 2005. The Detroit Shock won 3 WNBA Championships here, and, as a result, every time a title was won, the address changed: Currently, it's "Six Championship Drive, Auburn Hills, MI 48326." However, the Shock moved to Tulsa in 2010, so unless the arena stays open and becomes the home of a new WNBA team, the address will never change to "Seven Championship Drive."

Unfortunately, the 22,000-seat building's best-known event isn't a Pistons title, a Shock title or a rock concert, but the November 19, 2004 fight between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers that spilled into the stands, becoming known as "the Malice at the Palace." Even the WNBA had a rare brawl there, between the Shock and the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008.

The Shock moved to Tulsa in 2010, and the Pistons moved to Little Caesars Arena in 2017, so the address never became "Seven Championship Drive." The Palace outlived Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome, the Olympia and Joe Louis Arena. But it has been purchased and scheduled for demolition in the coming weeks, and an office park will be built on the site.

Lapeer Road and Harmon Road, Auburn Hills, off I-75. Don't even think about trying to reach it by public transportation: You'd need 2 buses and then a half-hour walk. So unless you've got a car, or you're a big sucker for NBA history, I'd suggest skipping it.

* Mack Park. The Negro Leagues' Detroit Stars played here from 1920 to 1929, featuring center fielder Norman "Turkey" Stearnes and pitcher Andy Cooper, who would both be posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A senior citizens' complex, the Fairview Apartments, is on the site now. 3568 Fairview Street at Mack Avenue, about 5 miles east of downtown. Bus 7 will get you within a 15-minute walk.

* Hamtramck Stadium. After Mack Park burned down in 1929, they moved into this nearby facility for the 1930 season. Pronounced "Ham-TRAM-ick," this city is actually completely surrounded by Detroit. But between the Mack Park fire and the start of the Great Depression at the end of the year, the Stars' fate was sealed.

New teams with the name would occasionally be revived. At its peak, Hamtramck Stadium seated over 8,000 people. However, the decline of the Negro Leagues and the "industrial leagues" in the 1950s doomed it to high school use, it hasn't been used at all since 2012, and its sideline wings have been removed, reducing its capacity to 1,500. Nevertheless, it is 1 of 12 Negro League ballparks still standing. 3201 Dan Street.

When the Dodge Brothers (who later sold the car company bearing their name to Chrysler) opened an auto plant in Hamtramck in 1914, it became a hub for Polish immigration. However, the Polish population of the city has dropped from 90 percent in 1970 to 22 percent today. And Arabs and South Asians have moved in, making it Michigan's most internationally diverse city.

Nevertheless, if you want the best kielbasa, kapusta, golumpkis and paczkis this side of the Oder, this is the place to go. Hamtramck Town Shopping Center, Joseph Campau Street and Hewitt Street.

Detroit City FC plays in the 3rd tier of American soccer, the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, a 7,000-seat high school football stadium that opened in 1936, 5 1/2 miles north of downtown. All of these Hamtramck locations can be reached via the Number 10 bus.

Detroit is the largest metropolitan area in North America without a Major League Soccer team, although there is a drive to get an expansion team. The closest MLS team to Detroit is the Columbus Crew, 204 miles away. However, the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry may complicate that.

* Holy Redeemer High School. In the 1946-47 basketball season, the Detroit Gems played in the National Basketball League at this school. They may not have been redeemable, going 4-40. The next season, they moved, and became the Minneapolis Lakers. And so, this is where the Los Angeles Lakers franchise began. 5679 Vernor Highway, about 3 miles west of downtown. Bus 1.

* Site of Cadillac Athletic Club. Housed in the Masonic Temple from 1895 to 1935, this auditorium hosted a fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World on April 6, 1900. Jim Jeffries retained the title by decision over John Finnegan. A bank building is now on the site. 411 W. Lafayette Blvd. Fort/Cass station on the People Mover.

Only one site in Michigan, outside Detroit and its immediate suburbs, has ever hosted a Heavyweight title fight: The Floyd Fitzsimmons Arena hosted Jack Dempsey's defense against Billy Miske on September 6, 1920. Southeast corner of Fair Avenue & Britain Avenue, about 3 miles east of downtown in Benton Harbor. The resort town is all the way across the State, on the shore of Lake Michigan, 186 miles west of Detroit, and 99 miles by road "east" of Chicago (but considerably closer as the crow flies). Amtrak goes to Benton Harbor.

* Motown Historical Museum. As always, I'm going to include some non-sports items. Detroit is generally known for 3 good things: Sports, music and cars. The Motown Historical Museum is the former Motown Records studio, which company founder Berry Gordy Jr. labeled "Hitsville, U.S.A." His sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, now runs it, and it features records and costumes of performers such as the Supremes, the Temptations and the Four Tops. 2648 W. Grand Blvd., on the North Side. Number 16 bus.

* Henry Ford Museum. The centerpiece of the nation's foremost automotive-themed museum is a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Henry Ford himself established the museum: "I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used... When we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived, and that, I think, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition."

It contains the fascinating, including early cars and bicycles, Henry Ford's 1st car (his 1896 "Quadricycle"), Igor Sikorsky's prototype for the helicopter, the bus Rosa Parks was riding in when she refused to give up her seat to start the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott (she later moved to Detroit, and its bus terminal is named for her), and a Buckminster Fuller "Dymaxion house."

It also contains the macabre, with the chair Abraham Lincoln was supposedly sitting in when he was assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington (the theater owner was no relation to Henry); and the chair, and the rest of the car as well, that John F. Kennedy was definitely sitting in when he was assassinated, the back seat of in the 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible limousine he was riding in through downtown Dallas.

Next door to the museum is Greenfield Village, which Ford imagined as a kind of historical park, a more modern version of Colonial Williamsburg – that is, celebrating what was, in 1929 when it opened, considered modern American life, including a reconstruction of the Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory of his good friend Thomas Edison. Ford and Edison were both friends of rubber magnate Henry Firestone (whose tires certainly made Ford's cars easier to make), and Firestone's family farm is reconstructed on the site.

Please note that I am not excusing Henry Ford's control-freak attitude toward his employees' private lives, nor his despicable anti-Semitism, nor his failed union-busting in the 1930s. To be fair, he did give his black auto workers the same pay and benefits as his white ones. But I am recommending the museum. It's a tribute to the role of technology, including the automobile, in American life, not to the man himself. Oakwood Blvd. and Village Road. Number 200 bus to Michigan Avenue and Oakwood Blvd., then a short walk down Oakwood.

* Greektown Historic District. Although Detroit is famed for its Irish (Corktown, including the site of Tiger Stadium) and Italian communities, and has the largest Arab-American community of any major city, its best-known ethnic neighborhoods are Greektown and the Polish community of Hamtramck. New York's Astoria, Queens has nothing on Detroit's Greektown, which not only has some of the country's finest Greek restaurants, but also the Greektown Casino, which is at 555 E. Lafayette Street, at Beaubien Street. Greektown Station on the People Mover.

* Mariners' Church. On my 1999 visit to Detroit, I discovered this church by accident, walking past it without realizing it was there until I saw the historical marker. Every March, it holds a Blessing of the Fleet for every person and ship going to sea. Every November, it holds a Great Lakes Memorial Service for those who have lost their lives at sea within the past year.

The most famous of these ceremonies was for the 29 men lost on the iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. Built and homeported in Detroit, the Big Fitz was commemorated by Gordon Lightfoot, whose 1976 song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"
mistakenly, but poetically, called the church "The Maritime Sailors' Cathedral." (Edmund Fitzgerald himself was the president of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, which invested in the ship's construction, because it was heavily invested in the ore industry.)

170 E. Jefferson Avenue, at Randolph Street, across from the Renaissance Center. If you're going to visit the church, be careful, because Randolph Street empties into the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

* Spirit of Detroit. In front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, the city hall named for the 1974-93 Mayor, stands a marble monument with a bronze statue of a kneeling man, the seals of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, and a Biblical inscription, from 2nd Corinthians 3:17: "Now the Lord is that spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

In his left hand, the 26-foot-high kneeling figure holds a gilt bronze sphere emanating rays, to symbolize God. The people in the figure's right hand are a family group.

The statue was dedicated in 1958, 4 years after the Municipal Center opened. In recent years, a large jersey has been placed over it when the Tigers, Pistons or Wings have been in their sport's finals. (As yet, this has never been done for the Lions, who haven't been to an NFL Championship Game since 1957, 9 seasons before they started calling it the Super Bowl.) 2 Woodward Avenue at Jefferson Avenue.
The Spirit of Detroit, wearing a Red Wings jersey
in honor of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals

* Monument to Joe Louis. Erected in 1986, on a traffic island at the intersection of Woodward & Jefferson, it is a 24-foot-long arm with a fisted hand suspended by a 24-foot-high pyramidal framework. Since it is a monument to Louis, the great black heavyweight champion, the arm and fist are black bronze.
The Louis Monument, with the Spirit of Detroit behind it

* Colleges. The University of Michigan is 44 miles west of downtown Detroit, in Ann Arbor.  It is possible to reach it from Detroit by bus, but it will take 2 hours: You can take the 851 bus to the airport, and transfer there to the 787.

Gerald Ford (no relation to Henry) was President from August 9, 1974 to January 20, 1977, and was a graduate of (and an All-American football player at) Michigan in the 1930s. His Presidential Library, and a School of Public Policy named for him, are on the Ann Arbor campus, at 1000 Beal Avenue.

However, he is the only President whose Library and Museum are separated, and his Presidential Museum, where he and Betty are buried, is in his hometown of Grand Rapids, at 303 Pearl Street NW, 158 miles northwest of Detroit. You'll need Greyhound if you want to visit Grand Rapids.

Michigan Stadium is at 1201 S. Main Street at Stadium Blvd. "The Big House" has hosted UM football since 1927. Its peak attendance is 115,109 for Michigan's 2013 win over Notre Dame. This past year, it set new records for highest U.S. attendance for soccer (109,318 for Manchester United beating Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup), and for highest attendance anywhere on the planet for hockey (105,491 for the NHL Winter Classic, the Toronto Maple Leafs beating the Detroit Red Wings).

Adjacent is Crisler Arena, named for Herbert "Fritz" Crisler, the UM football coach from 1938 to 1947, who, in another connection between Princeton University sports and the State of Michigan, had previously coached Princeton's Tigers, and brought his "winged" helmet design with him, making Michigan's "maize and blue" helmets among the most famous in college football. Elvis sang at Crisler Arena on April 24, 1977. The other sports facilities, including Yost Arena (hockey) and Fisher Stadium (named for Ray Fisher, who pitched for the Yankees in the 1910s before they got good and then coached at Michigan, including Charlie Gehringer), are adjacent.

Michigan State University is 88 miles northwest of Detroit, in East Lansing, adjacent to Lansing, the State capital.  Greyhound runs 4 buses a day from Detroit to East Lansing, at 8:00 AM, 12:10 PM, 2:20 PM and 7:40 PM, and it takes about 2 hours. Two buses go back to Detroit, at 3:40 and 5:55 PM. $38 round-trip.

Spartan Stadium, formerly Macklin Field, is at 325 W. Shaw Lane at Red Cedar Road, which is named for the river that bisects the MSU campus. Jenison Field House (the old basketball arena, where Magic Johnson starred on their 1979 National Champions), Breslin Events Center (their new arena), and Munn Arena (hockey) are a short walk away, at Kalamazoo Street & Birch Road.

According to an October 3, 2014 article in The New York Times, UM has a decided, though not overwhelming, advantage in fans in the Detroit area. Only around the State capital of Lansing do you get an edge for MSU.

In addition to the preceding, Elvis sang in Michigan at Wings Stadium (a minor-league hockey arena, now named Wings Event Center) in Kalamazoo on October 21, 1976 and April 26, 1977; and the Saginaw County Event Center (now the Dow Event Center) in Saginaw on April 25 and May 3, 1977.

* Jimmy Hoffa. No, I don't know where Hoffa is buried. All I know for sure is that, when they demolished Giants Stadium in 2010, they found no human remains. Hoffa, who was born in Indiana but lived most of his life in and around Detroit, was last seen alive on July 30, 1975, sitting in his car in the parking lot of Machus' Red Fox.

A fine-dining establishment open from 1965 to 1996, the building is still there, occupied by an Italian restaurant named Andiamo's. 6676 Telegraph Road (U.S. Route 24) at Country Club Drive, Bloomfield, 22 miles northwest of Cadillac Square. As with most sites in Detroit's outer suburbs, getting there by public transportation is a hassle: In this case, you'd need 3 buses.

* Beaches. Michigan's State motto is, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you." It is surrounded on 3 sides by Great Lakes: Michigan to the west, Huron to the north and northeast, and Erie to the southeast. It has various protrusions into the water, and many islands, leading singer Gordon Lightfoot to say, "The islands and bays are for sportsmen."

Two areas of the State are renowned by beachgoers. South Haven, "the Catskills of the Midwest," is on the shore of Lake Michigan, 181 miles west of Cadillac Square. Mackinac Island (pronounced MACK-in-aw, not MACK-in-ack), over the Mackinac Bridge (the Mighty Mac), is closed to car traffic, and must be reached by ferry from Mackinac City. It is Michigan's Hamptons, its Cape May, its Martha's Vineyard. 289 miles northwest of Cadillac Square.

* Windsor. Across the Detroit River is Windsor, Ontario. Most Americans know it for Caesar's Windsor, one of 4 casinos in the area.  Like its namesakes in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, it has a Roman theme. It may be only 2 miles from downtown Detroit, but because it's in Canada, where they have things like sensible gun laws and national health care, it may feel like the other side of the world (if not Rome itself). And, because it's in Canada, you'll need a passport.

377 Riverside Drive East. There is bus service available -- less for Michiganders wanting to gamble, more for Windsorites wanting to go to Red Wings games and concerts -- and you can contact Transit Windsor at tw@city.windsor.on.ca.

The Wings' first home was actually in Windsor: They played their first season, 1926-27, at the Border Cities Arena, which still stands, and is now named Windsor Arena. Like a lot of old arenas (this one was built in 1924), it looks like a barn, and so is nicknamed The Barn. It seats only 4,400 people in its current configuration.

Its long-term tenants, the University of Windsor hockey team and the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, now play elsewhere. The City of Windsor has approved a plan to tear it down and build the new building for Catholic Central High School on the site. 334 Wyandotte Street East, at McDougall Street.
The University of Windsor Lancers haven't been very successful in sports. Their greatest achievement is their football team winning the Yates Cup, for the championship of Ontario University Athletics, in 1975. The Yates Cup was founded in 1898, and is the oldest football trophy in North America.

Since 2008, the Spitfires have played at the WFCU Centre. No, that's not named for a radio station: Canadian radio stations' call letters always been with a C. The naming rights are held by the Windsor Family Credit Union. The Spitfires won the Memorial Cup, the championship of Canadian junior hockey, while playing there, in 2009, '10 and '17, and one of the streets bordering is named Memorial Cup Way.
The Lancers also play hockey and basketball there. The Windsor Express play in the National Basketball League of Canada there. 8787 McHugh Street, 8 miles from downtown Detroit and 7 miles east of downtown Windsor. Bus 2 from there.

Home Improvement.  The 1991-99 ABC sitcom is easily the best-known TV show to have been set in Detroit, with Tool Time's studio being in the city and the Taylors' house in the suburbs, possibly in Bloomfield Hills. But, as far as I know, there were no location shots, not even in the episode in which the Taylors got to see the Lions' annual Thanksgiving game from a Silverdome skybox. So if you're looking for the Taylors' house, you're not going to find it -- if there was ever a house, not just a studio set, it was likely in or around Los Angeles.

Other shows set in or around Detroit have included Martin, Freaks and Geeks, Sister, Sister, and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

Several films have been set, but not necessarily filmed, in Detroit. Axel Foley, Eddie Murphy's character in the Beverly Hills Cop films, was a Detroit police detective, but most of the film, including the Detroit scenes, was shot in Los Angeles. While RoboCop was set in Detroit, it was filmed in Dallas. (And you thought "Dallas sucks" was just a sports chant.)

Billy Crystal's movie about the 1961 home run record chase, 61*, used Tiger Stadium as a stand-in (with computer-generated help) for the original Yankee Stadium (since the 1973-76 renovation left it looking very little like it did in 1961). Other recent movies set in Detroit include Eminem's Roman à clef, 8 Mile; and Clint Eastwood's retired autoworker vs. gangs film Gran Torino.

*

A visit to Detroit does not have to be a scary experience. These people love hockey. And, while they don't necessarily like the Yankees, they don't have a problem with Devils fans. They love hockey more than most Americans do, and their city should be able to show you a good time.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Harry Gregg, 1932-2020

The world of sports has lost a hero. And if you're from the American side of the Atlantic Ocean, you might have never heard of him.

Harry Gregg (no middle name) was born on October 27, 1932 in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The author Sylvia Plath was born on the same day, but took her own life in 1963, before becoming world-famous.

Gregg signed with Belfast-based Linfield, Northern Ireland's most successful soccer team, as a junior goalkeeper, before being sent to Coleraine, in County Londonderry. In 1951, he went to England when Yorkshire team Doncaster Rovers purchased his contract. He remained with them until December 1957, when Manchester United spent what was then a record fee for a goalkeeper, £23,500.

Managed by Matt Busby, United were the top team in Britain at the time, having won the Football League in 1956 and 1957, and reached the 1957 FA Cup Final. Because of their youth, they were known as the Busby Babes. In the 1957-58 season, they reached the Quarterfinal of the European Cup, the tournament now known as the UEFA Champions League. The tournament had started in 1955-56, and United were the 1st team in Britain to have gotten that far.

On February 6, 1958, returning from their Quarterfinal advancement over Yugoslavia (now Serbia) club Red Star Belgrade, they refueled in Munich, West Germany, and tried to take off in the snowfall, and failed.

The plane crashed, and although 21 people survived, 23 others were killed, including United players Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Billy Whelan, and perhaps the brightest light of them all, 21-year-old midfielder Duncan Edwards, who survived 15 days before succumbing to his injuries.

Two others, Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower (brother of Tottenham Hotspur captain Danny) were injured so badly that they never played again. Busby was also badly hurt, and did not return to manage the team until the start of the next season. (His assistant manager, Jimmy Murphy, took over. He wasn't on the trip because he was away, managing the national team of Wales.)

Gregg and United right back Bill Foulkes were among those who escaped unharmed, but once they saw that the plane was not going to explode, they ran back to see if they could get anybody still alive out. They both managed to save some people. Gregg pulled teammates Busby, and teammates Blanchflower, Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet, from the wreckage, probably saving their lives.

Also among those saved by Gregg was Vera Lukić, the wife of a Yugoslav diplomat, and her young daughter. Years later, meeting her again, she told him that she had been pregnant at the time, and thus Gregg had also saved her son. (An urban legend said that this boy grew up to be John Lukic, goalkeeper of Arsenal's 1989 League Champions, but it wasn't: He wasn't born until 1960, and had no connection to that family.)

The team resumed their season, but the replacement players they found were not ready for top-flight football. United fell from 1st place, finishing 9th, and lost to AC Milan in the Semifinal of the European Cup, although they did win their home leg at Old Trafford. They also reached the Final of the FA Cup again, losing to Bolton Wanderers, another club from Greater Manchester. (This Final resulted in the great Bolton striker Nat Lofthouse winning his only major trophy.)

Gregg recovered in time to play for Northern Ireland in what remains their only World Cup, the 1958 edition in Sweden. Their qualification campaign included a 3-2 in over England at Wembley Stadium in London the previous November.

In the Group Stage, despite the unavailability of Jackie Blanchflower, they beat Czechoslovakia (no mean feat, because they reached the Final 4 years later), lost to Argentina, and took 1-0 and 2-1 leads over defending Champions West Germany before finishing with a 2-2 draw.
Left to right: Gregg, Foulkes, and injured teammate Ken Morgan

They played a Playoff against Czechoslovakia, and won 2-1 in extra time, with Peter McParland, who scored the winner of the 1957 FA Cup Final for Aston Villa, scoring both goals. This qualified them for the Quarterfinals, but 2 goals by Just Fontaine helped France win 4-0, ending the dream. Still, Gregg was voted the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

This was the only time that all 4 of Britain's "Home Nations" made the World Cup. Wales reached the Quarterfinals, but lost 1-0 to eventual winners Brazil. England, with the Busby Babes unavailable, drew all 3 Group Stage games, and were out. Scotland drew 1 and lost 2, and were out.

United made more changes in the aftermath of Munich, including moving Foulkes from right back to centreback -- under the system in place at the time, with uniform numbers given to specific positions rather than to individual players, moving from Number 2 to Number 5. Busby rebuilt the team.

In 1963, they nearly got relegated, but managed to win the FA Cup, beating Leicester City with a team that now included Munich survivor Bobby Charlton and Scottish star Denis Law as forwards, and future Leeds United star Johnny Giles on the right wing. However, Gregg had a shoulder injury, and so David Gaskell was United's Number 1 on the day.

With the addition of George Best, the hard-charging, hard-living winger from Northern Ireland, United won the League in 1965 and 1967, and in 1968 became the 1st English team to win the European Cup, beating the great Eusebio-led Lisbon, Portugal club Benfica at the original Wembley Stadium in London.

But Gregg continued to deal with injuries, and did not make enough appearances in the 1964-65 season to earn a League winner's medal. In 1966, he was sold to Staffordshire team Stoke City, made 2 appearances in the 1966-67 season, 1 of them a clean sheet (we would call it a "shutout") against Lancashire team Blackpool, and retired.

In 1968, he was appointed the manager of Shropshire team Shrewsbury town. In 1972, he moved on to Swansea City in Wales. In 1975, he became manager of Crewe Alexandra in Cheshire, lasting until 1978. Dave Sexton, then managing Manchester United, brought him back to Old Trafford as goalkeeping coach, and they reached the 1979 FA Cup Final, but he still couldn't win a trophy with them, as they lost a thriller to Norton London team Arsenal.

He and Sexton both left United in 1981. Another former United player, Lou Macari, took him on as an assistant at Wiltshire team Swindon Town. However, he and Macari did not get along, and both were fired in 1985. In 1986, Gregg became manager of Carlisle United in Cumbria, but they were relegated from the 3rd to the 4th division in 1987, and he never managed again.

Hhe married Mavis Markham in 1957, and they had 2 daughters, Linda and Karen before Mavis died of cancer in 1961. In 1965, he married Carolyn Maunders, and they had 4 children: Daughters Julie, Jane and Suzanne, and son John-Henry. Unfortunately, cancer can be hereditary, and Karen would died from it in 2009.

After the end of his managing career, he returned to Coleraine, and for a time owned the Windsor Hotel in nearby coastal Portstewart. In 1995, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

He was played by Ben Peel in United, a 2011 feature film about the team and the Munich Air Disaster. In 2012, a testimonial was held for him at Old Trafford, with the current United team playing an Irish League Select XI (representing Northern Ireland's league). United won, 4-1.
Gregg and Charlton, the last of the Busby Babes

Harry Gregg died yesterday, February 16, 2020, after an illness lasting a few weeks, at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine. He was 87.

Sir Bobby Charlton said, "Harry was a fantastic goalkeeper, but, more importantly, he was an incredible human being. I was proud to call him a teammate."

With Gregg's death, there are 5 people still alive who survived the Munich Air Disaster, 62 years ago last week: Charlton; stewardess Rosemary Cheverton; Eleanor Miklos, wife of a travel agent who was killed; and, all saved by Gregg, Vera, Vesna and Zoran Lukić.

And there are 5 players left who played in the 1958 FA Cup Final: From United, center forward Charlton and outside right Alex Dawson; and, from Bolton, left back Tommy Banks, outside right Brian Birch, and outside left Doug Holden.