Saturday, November 5, 2016

RU Bad, EB Worse

The Rutgers football team lost today, blowing a lead at home to Indiana, 33-27. They are now 2-7.

Their next game is next Saturday at noon, away to Michigan State. They also fell to 2-7 today, losing away to Illinois. Somebody's got to win that game, right?

The East Brunswick football team lost last night, to New Brunswick, 35-21. It was our 1st loss to New Brunswick since 1965, the early days of the program.

That sounds very bad for New Brunswick, however, there are "only" 11 losses over those 51 years, as we stopped playing them in 1974 due to our enrollment soaring and theirs crashing. We have played them a couple of times since, including on Halloween Night in 2008.

They are now coached by Don Sofilkanich, a former EB lineman who was a year behind me at the school. He previously revived the fortunes of Shore Conference school Asbury Park. Maybe, instead of "Sof" (pronounced "soaf"), we should call him The Boss.

EB has 2 games remaining. The 1st is our "consolation game," a game the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) added a few years back for teams that don't qualify for the State Playoffs, against an opponent yet to be determined, but, for the sake of fairness,with an enrollment similar to ours and with a record similar to our 1-7, probably next Friday night, site to be determined (but if it's a school without lights, it will almost certainly be at our place).

The 2nd is our annual Thanksgiving beatdown from Old Bridge, the Purple Bastards. And it's at their shit pit at the intersection of Routes 9 & 516. Oy.


I will continue doing these through November 8, the latest date on which America's Election Day can fall.

November 5, 1605: Guy Fawkes, a Catholic fanatic, is arrested beneath the House of Lords at Britain's Parliament, for plotting to blow it up, taking with it the Protestant King James I, his wife Queen Anne, and his sons Prince Henry and Prince Charles. The idea was to place James' daughter, Princess Elizabeth, on the throne. She was just 9 years old, and would, under their order, be raised as, and be married to, a Catholic.

In hindsight, the plot was doomed to failure. The gunpowder was too damp: Lighting it would have had little effect, and aside from whoever lit it, nobody would have died. And if it had worked? Instead of the people of England rising up in celebration, the reaction would have been like America's after Pearl Harbor and 9/11, or after Britain's after the Brighton bombing of 1985 failed to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: A moment of fear, followed by righteous rage. The conspirators would not have lived to see Christmas, no matter what they did.

Although all the conspirators were caught and hanged, Fawkes is generally the only one remembered. Today, Britain chooses to "Remember, remember, the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot," and it's known as Guy Fawkes Night, commemorated with fireworks and bonfires -- leading to its other name, Bonfire Night.

There are those, of course, who commemorate the plot, rather than its failure, but these are less Fawkes' fellow Catholic fanatics, and more people who don't like the government: Fawkes is often called "the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions."

The 1982 graphic novel V for Vendetta features an antihero wearing a mask designed to look like Fawkes, and his attempt to take down a tyrannical government in a dystopian future (1997 in the book, 2038 in the film). The film based on it (with some considerable differences) It was supposed to be released on November 5, 2005, the 400th Anniversary, but after the London bombings of July 7 of that year, it was considered to be too soon, and it was pushed back to March 17, 2006 -- St. Patrick's Day.

Except, in both book and film, "V" got one big thing very wrong: The government Fawkes was trying to bring down was actually more tolerant toward his faith than the one that came before (under Queen Elizabeth I), while the one he wanted to impose would have been a faith-based dictatorship that would have brooked no dissent -- much like the one "V" was trying to bring down. Not the only inconsistency in the character.

What does Guy Fawkes or his Night have to do with sports? Not much, I just like the story, and the story that uses it.


November 5, 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings complete their 1st season as the 1st openly professional baseball team, going 65-0, and playing from coast (Boston) to coast (San Francisco), doing as much to spread the growth of the game than any other team had ever done.

Hail the Champions:

* Pitcher, Asa Brainard, from whose name we supposedly get the word "ace," a native of Albany, New York, 1841-1888.
* Center fielder and manager, Harry Wright, born in Sheffield, England, and grew up in New York, 1835-1895.
* 3rd baseman, Fred Waterman, Manhattan, 1845-1899.
* Left fielder, Andy Leonard, born in Ireland and grew up in Newark, 1846-1903
* 2nd baseman, Charlie Sweasy, Newark, 1847-1908
* Catcher, Doug Allison, Philadelphia, 1846-1916.
* Substitute, but mainly an outfielder, Dick Hurley, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, born in 1847, and history has lost track of him, the last record of him being in 1916.
* 1st baseman, Charlie Gould, the only one actually from Cincinnati, 1847-1917.
* Right fielder, Cal McVey, born in Montrose, Iowa and grew up in Indianapolis, 1849-1926,
* Shortstop, George Wright, Yonkers, brother of Harry, the last survivor, 1847-1937.

So it was a pair of Wright Brothers in southern Ohio who, essentially, invented professional baseball, just as another such air invented the airplane. Harry and George are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1 of only 2 pairs of brothers both in. The other is Paul and Lloyd Waner.

November 5, 1872: President Ulysses S. Grant is re-elected, defeating Horace Greeley, with 55 percent of the vote to 43, and 286 Electoral Votes.

This was a weird election. The Republican Party was split over the corruption in the Grant Administration (though Grant himself has never been accused of wrongdoing). A group of "Liberal Republicans" nominated Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune, formerly one of the nation's leading voices against slavery, briefly a Congressman in 1848-49, and one of the Party's founders in 1854.

Greeley favored Western expansionism, popularizing the slogan, "Go west, young man, and grow up with the country!" But he didn't come up with the words himself: John Babsone Lane Soule first used it in the Terre Haute Express in Indiana in 1851.

Greeley had long lambasted the Democratic Party as the party of slavery, but, not wanting to divide the opposition to the Republicans, they swallowed their pride, and also nominated Greeley. As a result, pretty much every attack that Greeley had hurled at the Democrats for a quarter of a century was hurled back at him, including that he supported racist policies, even the nascent Ku Klux Klan. In addition, his wife Mary got sick, and on October 12, he effectively stopped campaigning to be by her side. She died 5 days before the election, and he won only 6 States, all formerly slaveholding States: Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri and Texas.

All this took a terrible toll on his own health, and he died at age 61 on November 29, before the Electoral Votes could be cast -- thus becoming the only person ever entitled to receive Electoral Votes for President, but unable to receive them.

Did I say the election was weird? Susan B. Anthony and Victoria Woodhull voted -- Anthony for Grant, Woodhull for herself, the 1st woman known to have run for President. Even if the million-to-one shot came in, and she won, she couldn't have served at first, anyway: She didn't reach the minimum age of 35 until September 23, 1873, over 6 months into the term.

Both were arrested on Election Day: Anthony for voting, and Woodhull for obscenity, for printing, in a magazine she and her sister Tennessee Claflin ran (the 1st women in America to do so -- and they were also the 1st to run a Wall Street brokerage firm), the story of the infidelity of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, yet another former abolitionist and yet another founder of the Republican Party. Ironically, Beecher had supported women's right to vote, but, though apparently a practitioner of free love, he denounced it in general, and Woodhull in particular, from his pulpit. That's why Woodhull was charged with obscenity (the story was sexual in nature), not with liberal (the story was true), and Beecher's reputation did not improve.

Woodhull was held in jail for a month, and released. She ran again in 1884 and 1892, with almost no notice. She moved to England with her 3rd husband, and died there in 1927, and was buried there. Beecher died in 1887. He and Greeley are both buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, along with several early baseball stars.


November 5, 1873: Edwin Harold Flack is born in London, and grows up in Berwick, Victoria, Australia. He was Australia's 1st Olympian: The only person from the country selected for the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece. He became the 1st Gold Medalist in the 800 meters, and the 1st in the 1,500 meters. He was also a renowned tennis player, and lived until 1935.

November 5, 1891, 125 years ago: Alfred Earle Neale is born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. An outfielder, he played 8 seasons, batting .259, and won the World Series with the 1919 Cincinnati Reds, but it is football for which "Greasy" Neale is remembered.

He played professional football before there was an NFL, including as a player-coach, for some of the teams that would go on to found the League: The Canton Bulldogs in 1917, the Dayton Triangles in 1918, and the Massillon Tigers in 1919. He coached at the University of Virginia and West Virginia University, and in 1941 was named the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, leading them to 3 straight NFL Championship Games, winning in 1948 and 1949.

He retired after a disappointing 1950 season, and never coached at any level again. He died in 1973, having lived long enough to see himself elected to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.


November 5, 1904: Ralph Weiland (no middle name) is born in Seaforth, Ontario. In 1929, rookie center "Cooney" Weiland helped the Boston Bruins win their 1st Stanley Cup. He also helped them win the Cup in his last season, 1939, and coached them to another in 1941.

From 1950 to 1971, he was the head coach at nearby Harvard University. He was succeeded by Bill Cleary, who had played for him, and was 1 of 4 Harvard players on the U.S. team that won the Gold Medal at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. (As in 1980, they beat the Russians, but not in the Final.)

He died in 1980. His uniform number, 7, is retired by the Bruins, but not for him: For Phil Esposito.

November 5, 1909: Frank Moss (no middle name) is born in Leyland, Lancashire, England. He was the goalkeeper for the Arsenal teams that won the 1933, 1934 and 1935 Football League titles.

On November 14, 1934, he was 1 of 7 Arsenal players to play for England (who, in those days, did not compete in the World Cup) against World Cup winners Italy at the Arsenal Stadium, a.k.a. Highbury. In a driving rain, and in one of the dirtiest games ever played, known as the Battle of Highbury, England won 3-2.

On March 16, 1935, Moss dislocated his left shoulder. There were no substitutes allowed in English soccer until 1966, so he switched positions with left wing Wilf Copping, and scored Arsenal's opener in a 2-0 win over Everton. But he was unable to play in Arsenal's 1936 FA Cup-winning run, and retired in 1937. He briefly managed Edinburgh team Heart of Midlothian, a.k.a. Hearts, but World War II led him to enlist. He survived the war, but never worked in sports again. He died in 1970, only 60 years old.

November 5, 1912: Woodrow Wilson is elected the 28th President of the United States. The Governor of New Jersey and the former President of Princeton University, he remains the only New Jersey-based politician ever to become President, although he was born in Virginia and raised in Georgia and South Carolina.

He wins because the Republican Party is split between the conservative wing, led by incumbent President William Howard Taft, and the progressive wing, led by former President Theodore Roosevelt, who believes that Taft and his allies have betrayed what he tried to do from 1901 to 1909.

It's actually a 4-way race, also including the Socialist Party nominee, labor union leader Eugene V. Debs. In the popular vote, it's Wilson 6.3 million, Roosevelt 4.1 million, Taft 3.5 million, and Debs 900,000. (Debs would slightly top that total when he ran while in prison in 1920, but with a lower percentage of the vote.) In popular vote percentage, it's Wilson 41.8, Roosevelt 27.4, Taft 23.2, Debs 6.0 -- meaning that, combined, the 2 Republicans got 50.6 percent, a majority, making Wilson a plurality President.

But it's Electoral Votes that matter. Wilson won 435, Roosevelt 88 (winning Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, and 11 of the 13 then available in California), Taft 8 (winning only Utah and Vermont -- Debs won 2 Counties in Minnesota and 1 in North Dakota, but no States).

Wilson won 40 of the 48 States then in the Union -- New Mexico and Arizona having gained Statehood that very year, and voting for President for the 1st time. The Republican split probably threw enough States to Wilson, including big ones like New York and Illinois, to give him between 200 and 300 Electoral Votes that he wouldn't ordinarily have won. In other words, given his experience and stances, he probably should have lost, if not in a landslide. But Taft's conservatism and TR's ego split the GOP, and Wilson got in.

November 5, 1916, 100 years ago: James Reubin Tabor is born in New Hope, Alabama. A 3rd baseman for the Boston Red Sox, on July 4, 1939 (while the Yankees were holding Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium), he hit 4 home runs and drove in 11 runs in a doubleheader win over the Philadelphia Athletics -- both remain single-day American League records.

His drinking short-circuited his career, to the point where the Sox hired private detectives to follwo him. He last played in the major leagues with the 1947 Philadelphia Phillies, and was part of the Southern abuse of Jackie Robinson when they played the Brooklyn Dodgers. He last played in the minor leagues in 1952, and died the next year, not yet 37 years old. 

November 5, 1936, 80 years ago: Uwe Seeler (no middle name) is born in Hamburg, Germany. The striker is the greatest player in the history of German soccer team Hamburger SV, having helped them win the national championship (pre-Bundesliga) in 1960 and the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) in 1963. He was the top scorer in the Bundesliga's 1st season, 1963-64, and later served as a club executive.

He played for West German in 4 World Cups, captaining them in the Final in 1966, losing to England in extra time. He is still alive. His daughter married a Turkish immigrant, and their son, Levin Öztunalı, is a 20-year-old midfielder for German club Mainz.

November 5, 1938: Rutgers Stadium opens in Piscataway, New Jersey, across the Raritan River from the Rutgers College (now Rutgers University) campus in New Brunswick. For the 1st time since they played the 1st college football game against each other in 1869 -- 69 years minus 1 day earlier -- Rutgers beats Princeton, 20-18.

Also on this day, César Luis Menotti is born in Rosario, Argentina. A forward, he started for hometown soccer team Rosario Central, but is better known as a manager. He led Huracán to the 1973 league title, and took Argentina to victory in the 1978 World Cup on home soil. There was controversy, but he has never been personally implicated in it. He also managed his country in the 1982 World Cup, and last managed in Mexico in 2007.

Argentina had a vicious fascist government when he won them the World Cup. In a 1982 interview, he explained that this was against his own views:

There's a right-wing football and a left-wing football. Right-wing football wants to suggest that life is struggle. It demands sacrifices. We have to become of steel and win by any method... obey and function, that's what those with power want from the players. That's how they create retards, useful idiots that go with the system.

November 5, 1940: President Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected to an unprecedented 3rd term as President. The Democrat defeats the Republican nominee, Wall Street lawyer Wendell L. Willkie, 449 Electoral Votes to 82, with 55 percent of the popular vote to 45.

Willkie wins only 10 States: His home State of Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 2 States that FDR ended up never winning in his 4 runs, Maine and Vermont.

Gee, maybe running a conservative businessman as their nominee for President isn't a good idea for the Republican Party. After all, they did it before with Herbert Hoover. Alas, they would do it again with both George Bushes, and Mitt Romney. Well, at least they haven't nominated another conservative businessman with no political experience whatsoever, and who was once a registered Democrat, but is actually a womanizer whose stances are all over the map. Wait a minute... Okay, unlike Donald Trump, Wendell Willkie was sane, and loved his country more than he loves himself.

And yet, someone determined that if Roosevelt's percentage was dropped by a little more than 3 percent in a few key States, he still would have won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral Vote by the slimmest of margins. He essentially won because he won what were then the 16 most populous Counties in America, in the biggest of cities, including all 5 Boroughs of New York.

This split convinced liberals that they were the real America; but also convinced conservatives that the liberals only won because they got the votes of immigrants, Catholics, Jews, black people -- people who, in their minds, weren't wholly American; and, thus, they could also claim to be "the party of the real America."

To be completely honest, if it wasn't for the war raging in Europe and the threat of Adolf Hitler, FDR would not have run for a 3rd term. And, if he had, and had run only on his domestic record, the New Deal, which had eased the Great Depression tremendously but had still not produced prosperity after 7 1/2 years, he would have lost. And, had he retired after 2 terms, any other Democratic nominee, no matter what his experience, would not have had FDR's domestic or foreign record, and would have lost, even to an opponent as inexperienced as Willkie.

Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame Franklin Roosevelt for Running for a 3rd Term in 1940

5. He Was Allowed. There was no law to stop him. The Republicans put forward the 22nd Amendment, limiting Presidents to 2 terms, after he was dead.

4. He Loved the Job. He frequently said, "I love it!" Why should he give up a job he loved, presuming the human resources department (the voters) would let him keep it?

3. The Republican Field. Thanks to landslide losses in the Congressional elections of 1922, 1926, 1930, 1932, 1934 and 1936, they had no one who was a credible 33rd President of the United States.

2. The Democratic Field. Thanks to a landslide loss in the Congressional election of 1938, and FDR's mistrust of Vice President Jack Garner and Postmaster General Jim Farley, the Democrats didn't exactly have an obvious successor to FDR, either.

1. Adolf Hitler. He had to be stopped. And no one else, in either party, had the experience and the judgment to handle him.

November 5, 1946, 70 years ago: The Boston Celtics play their 1st home game at the Boston Garden. Only 4,329 fans attend, and it's delayed for an hour, because a Celtic player damaged a wooden backboard with a dunk during warmups. A new backboard was brought in from the Boston Arena (now Matthews Arena). The Celtics lose 57-55 to the Chicago Stags.

The Stags, and the original NBA teams of Washington, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis would quickly fail. The Celtics might have as well, had their owner, Walter Brown, not also owned the Garden, the NHL's Bruins, and the Ice Capades. He was able to keep the team going long enough to hire Red Auerbach as head coach, and the rest is history.

Oh, the player who became the 1st NBA player to break a backboard? A 6-foot-5 Brooklynite out of New Jersey's Seton Hall University, who would play 1 game for the Dodgers in 1949, coming to bat once as a pinch-hitter, never playing the field for them. He then got traded to the Chicago Cubs, and played 66 games at 1st base for them in the 1951 season. The Cubs' top farm team at the time was the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. While playing in L.A., this athlete found off-season work as a stuntman, and, like John Wayne, moved from that to acting, mostly in Westerns. His name was Chuck Connors, famed for his portrayal of Lucas McCain, the lead character of The Rifleman.


November 5, 1952: William Theodore Walton III is born in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa, California. Bill Walton was a loner, Dottie. A rebel. Yet he wanted to play basketball for the best coach in the college game, John Wooden of UCLA. Wooden wanted him, too, and may have been the only coach who could make him fulfill his potential.

Together, they won the National Championship in 1972 and 1973, and forged an 88-game winning streak from 1971 to 1974 that remains the record for men's college basketball. (The University of Connecticut women's team broke the record with a 90-game streak, 2008-10.) He battled injuries during his pro career, but still won NBA Championships with the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers and the 1986 Boston Celtics.

He has since become an analyst on basketball broadcasts, and his son Luke Walton won 2 NBA Championships as a Los Angeles Lakers player, and is now their head coach, having assisted Steve Kerr on the Golden State Warriors' 2015 title.

Also on this day, Oleh Volodymyrovych Blokhin is born in Kyiv, Ukraine. His name usually written as Oleg Blokhin in English-language publications, the forward starred for Dynamo Kyiv, winning the Soviet Top League 8 times from 1971 to 1986, the Soviet Cup 5 times, and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1975. That year, he won the Ballon d'Or as World Player of the Year.

He played for the Soviet Union in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, and managed Ukraine in the 2006 World Cup and on home soil in Euro 2012.

November 5, 1963: Tatum Beatrice O'Neal is born in Los Angeles. The Oscar-winning actress and daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal, she has 2 connections to sports: Playing kid pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer in The Bad News Bears in 1976, and being married to tennis legend John McEnroe from 1986 to 1994. They had 3 kids, all now grown: Kevin, Sean and Emily.

Also on this day, Jean-Pierre Papin is born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. The forward helped Club Brugge win the Belgian Cup in 1986. With Olympique de Marseille, some of it as a teammate of the about-to-be-mentioned Abedi Pele, he won France's top division in 1989 (including the Coupe de France for a Double), 1990, 1991 and 1992. He was France's top scorer 5 straight seasons, from 1988 to 1992, and won the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) as World Player of the Year in 1991.

He then signed with Milan and won Serie A in 1993 and 1994. Ironically, he lost to Marseille in the 1993 Champions League Final, but Milan won it in 1994, beating Barcelona. He won the 1996 UEFA Cup with Bayern Munich. He helped France reach 3rd place in the 1986 World Cup, but arrived at the national team too late to win Euro 1984, and retired too soon to win the 1998 World Cup. He was named L'OM Player of the Century by the club's fans. He has since managed 4 French clubs, but is currently out of soccer.

November 5, 1964: Abedi Ayew is born in Kibi, Ghana. Known professionally as Abedi Pele, after the legendary Brazilian soccer player, the midfielder is the greatest player his country has ever produced. He helped Olympique de Marseille, a.k.a. L'OM, win France's top division in 1991, 1992 and 1993, reach the European Cup Final in 1991 (losing to Red Star Belgrade), and, in the tournament's 1st season under the name of the UEFA Champions League, win it in 1993 (defeating AC Milan).

He led Ghana to win the African Cup of Nations in 1982, but because they never qualified for the World Cup during his career, he never played in one. He now runs Nania FC in Ghana's 2nd division.

His brothers Kwame Ayew and Sola Ayew were also professional players. His sons Ibrahim (known as Rahim Ayew, playing for Gibraltar club Europa) and  André (known as Dede Ayew, and playing for West Ham United) represented Ghana at the 2010 World Cup. André and Jordan (Aston Villa) played in the 2014 World Cup.

November 5, 1966, 50 years ago: Mohammed Alí Amar is born in Ceuta, Spain. A Spaniard of Turkish descent, known professionally as Nayim, he was part of the La Masia youth program at Barcelona, and won the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) with them in 1988. He went to North London club Tottenham Hotspur, and won the FA Cup with them in 1991, filling in for their star Paul Gascoigne after "Gazza" wrecked his knee on a stupid tackle, the injury that would ruin his career.

Nayim went back to Spain, to Real Zaragoza, and helped them win the 1994 Copa del Rey. This qualified them for the 1994-95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and they reached the Final in Paris, against the real North London club, Arsenal. With extra time winding down, and penalties looming, Nayim hit a 40-yard lob, and Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman could do nothing about it. Zaragoza won 2-1. He is now their assistant manager.

Tottenham fans still sing Nayim's name, to tease Arsenal fans. They don't seem to grasp that his goal to win that trophy had absolutely nothing to do with them. Indeed, since that 1991 FA Cup win (in which "Spurs" beat Arsenal to reach the Final), Arsenal have won 15 trophies, Tottenham just 2. If you don't count the League Cup, the count becomes Arsenal 14, Tottenham 0. Nobody ever went broke by betting on Tottenham fans being stupid.

November 5, 1968: Eight years after losing one of the closest Presidential elections, former Vice President Richard Nixon wins one that's nearly as close. The Republican nominee wins 301 Electoral Votes, with 43.4 percent of the popular vote. With the incumbent, President Lyndon Johnson, having dropped out of the race, the Democratic Party nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who won 191 Electoral Votes, with 42.7 percent of the vote. Former Governor George Wallace of Alabama ran a 3rd-party candidacy based on racism, crime and anti-Communism, and won 5 States (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, plus 1 Electoral Vote in Alabama) for 46 Electoral Votes, with 13.5 percent of the vote.

Nixon's popular vote advantage, not that it mattered, was just 512,000 votes. (He lost to John F. Kennedy by 118,000 votes in 1960.) Wallace did not win, but almost certainly threw to Nixon, the following States: Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. That's 197 Electoral Votes. If Humphrey had gotten even 40 percent of those, 79, he would have won.

Nixon won because liberals, sadded over the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, disillusioned by the candidacy of Senator Eugene McCarthy, and by Humphrey's refusal to oppose LBJ on the Vietnam War sooner than his September 30 speech in Salt Lake City, mainly stayed home. Nearly as much as 2000, the 1968 Presidential election is proof that every vote counts.


November 5, 1970: Javier López Torres is born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Known professionally as Javy López, the catcher was a 3-time All-Star for the Atlanta Braves. He reached the postseason with them 11 times, winning the National League Pennant in 1992, 1995 (also winning the World Series), 1996 (being named NL Championship Series Most Valuable Player) and 1999. He now works in the Braves' organization.

November 5, 1971: Robert Marc Jones is born in Wrexham, Wales. Wrexham? The right back practically killed 'em. He helped Liverpool win the 1992 FA Cup and the 1995 League Cup. He and his wife now run a chain of nursery schools, and works in their youth setup, where his son Declan is a trainee.

November 3, 1973: Johnny David Damon is born at Fort Riley, Kansas, where his father is stationed in the U.S. Army, and grows up in the suburbs of Orlando. He starred for 7 different teams, all in the American League. He led the AL in stolen bases in 2000, and was a 2-time All-Star. He appeared in the postseason with the Oakland Athletics in 2001, and with the Boston Red Sox in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

It was Damon who called the 2004 Sox "a bunch of idiots," giving them their tagline, and his grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 AL Championship Series buried the Yankees and the alleged Curse of the Bambino, on the way to winning the World Series.

But, as did Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and others before him, the Red Sox decided they no longer wanted him, and his contract was allowed to run out. The Yankees signed him, and he helped them reach the Playoffs in 2006 and 2007, and win the 2009 World Series. His double steal to foil the Philadelphia Phillies' shift led to the run that won Game 4, and was the defining play of that Series.

But the Yankees let him go, too, and he reached the postseason once more, with the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. He will be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018, with a batting average of .284, 2,769 hits, 235 home runs, 408 stolen bases, and 2 World Series rings -- but no Gold Gloves. I don't think he quite has the stats to get in.

Like another recent Yankee outfield hero, Paul O'Neill, he has campaigned for Donald Trump. I'll forgive them on Wednesday.

On the same day as Damon, Alexei Valeryevich Yashin is born in Sverdlovsk, Russia. The center starred for the Ottawa Senators in the 1990s and the New York Islanders in the 2000s. He is now general manager of Russia's national women's hockey team. Speaking of women and hockey, he is the longtime partner of Carol Alt, the former supermodel who was once married to Rangers defenseman Ron Greschner.

November 5, 1974: Jerry Darnell Stackhouse is born in Kinston, North Carolina. In 1995, the guard led the University of North Carolina to the Final Four, and was named National Player of the Year. Although he left the team for the NBA early, he stayed at UNC and got his degree.

He was a 2-time NBA All-Star with the Detroit Pistons, and finished his playing career with the Nets in their 1st season in Brooklyn, 2012-13. He is now the head coach of Raptors 905, the Toronto Raptors' top farm team, in the Toronto satellite city of Mississauga, Ontario (hence "905," the Area Code). This puts him on the short list to be a future NBA head coach, especially of the Raptors.

November 5, 1976, 40 years ago: Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley trades his manager, Chuck Tanner, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Manny Sanguillen and $100,000. He says, "I'll trade a manager for a player anytime," but who's kidding who? He wanted the money.

This was a big mistake: After managing the A's, already having been broken up by Finley for the sake of money, to a 2nd place finish in his 1st season with them (after 5 years running the Chicago White Sox, including a near-division title in 1972), Tanner goes on to win the 1979 World Series with the Pirates, including Sanguillen, whom Finley had traded back.

I don't know if Tanner could have avoided the competitive meltdown the A's had in the late 1970s, but the A's surely would have been better off with him as field boss instead of Jack McKeon, Bobby Winkles, McKeon again, and finally Jim Marshall, before Finley hired Billy Martin for 1980 and sold the team, allowing them to rebound.

November 5, 1977: Richard Ian Wright is born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. No relation to that other Ian Wright who played for Arsenal, his goalkeeping helped get hometown club Ipswich Town promoted to the Premier League in 2000. Afterward, Arsenal signed him as David Seaman's backup, and he won Premier League and FA Cup medals in 2002.

He continued to suit up until this past season, when, unable to get a single game for Manchester City ahead of Joe Hart for 4 years, he retired.


November 5, 1982: Bryan Allan LaHair is born outside Boston in Worcester, Massachusetts. A 1st baseman and right fielder, he played for the Seattle Mariners in 2008, and the Chicago Cubs in 2011 and 2012. He now plays in New Jersey, for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.

November 5, 1983: Juan Bautista Morillo is born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic. A member of the Colorado Rockies' Pennant winners of 2007, he hasn't thrown a professional pitch since 2013.

November 5, 1984: Nicholas Alexander Folk is born in Hollywood, California. The kicker was a Pro Bowler as a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. The Jets' kicker since 2010, he holds the career record for best extra-point percentage. He is also a New York Red Bulls' season-ticket holder, and a member of the fan group the Viking Army.

November 5, 1986, 30 years ago: Kasper Peter Schmeichel is born in Copenhagen, Denmark. The son of legendary Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, Kasper is the goalie for Leicester City, winning last season's improbable Premier League title. He played for Denmark in Euro 2012.

November 5, 1987: Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo is born in Huntington, West Virginia. The guard was a high school basketball sensation, and it seems that every major college coach wanted him. The stories of how O.J. Mayo and his family made coaches jump through hoops to get him have become legend.

He went to USC, and, like a famous football player at that school named O.J., wore Number 32. But he played only 1 season there, and turned pro. It didn't work out quite the way he hoped, as he spent 4 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, 1 with the Dallas Mavericks, and 3 with the Milwaukee Bucks.

This past July, he was banned from the NBA for life because of a drug violation -- not the first time he's had drug issues. He is eligible for reinstatement in 2 years -- meaning that, the next time he plays in the NBA, which would be late October 2018 at the earliest, he could be just short of turning 31, and probably very rusty. He may be done.

November 5, 1988: The expansion Miami Heat make their NBA debut, at the now-demolished Miami Arena. They probably thought that picking the Los Angeles Clippers as their 1st opponent would help.

Just as their arch-rivals, the Orlando Magic, will do a year later when they choose the Nets, the Heat chose wrong: The Clips win, 111-91. Dwayne "the Pearl" Washington comes off the bench to lead the Heat with 16 points, but the Clips get 22 from Ken Norman and 21 from Reggie Williams.


November 5, 1992: Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr. is born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Although he went to a private high school in New Orleans, the receiver returned to Baton Rouge to play at LSU. He is now in his 3rd season with the New York Giants. In each of his 1st 2, he was named an All-Pro.

Also on this day, Marco Verratti (no middle name) is born in Pescara, Italy. The midfielder led his hometown club Delfino Pescara to the title in Italy's Serie B (and thus promotion to Serie A) in 2012. That got the attention of Paris Saint-German. In his 1st 4 seasons with them, he has led them to win France's Ligue 1 all 4 times, and the Coupe de France (and thus a Double) in the last 2. He played for Italy in the 2014 World Cup, but missed Euro 2016 due to injury.

November 5, 1994: A 45-year-old overweight minister wins the Heavyweight Championship of the World. It doesn't sound possible. It is, when it's George Foreman.

Wearing the same trunks he wore 20 years minus a week earlier, when he lost the title to Muhammad Ali, Big George knocks Michael Moorer out in the 10th round at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. He thus breaks Jersey Joe Walcott's record as oldest Heavyweight Champion (38).

He doesn't hold the title for long, as organizational shenanigans beyond his control forced him to give it up. But he had made his point. Today, who remembers the guys who made George Foreman give up the title (except for Ali)? Ah, but everybody remembers George, and everybody likes George. Which was not the case the first time around: After retiring from boxing in 1977, he totally changed his life, and became a different and better person.

November 5, 1995: The expansion Vancouver Grizzlies make their NBA debut, at the new General Motors Place (now the Rogers Arena). They win their premiere, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-98. Christian Laettner scores 26 for the T-Wolves to lead all scorers, but the Grizz get 18 off the bench from ex-Laker star and future Net head coach Byron Scott, 17 from ex-Knick Greg Anthony, and 16 from James "Blue" Edwards.

The Grizzlies never make the Playoffs in Vancouver, and they move to Memphis in 2001. The NBA has shown no indication that they will give the city a 2nd team.

November 5, 1996, 20 years ago: President Bill Clinton is re-elected, winning 379 Electoral Votes to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole's 159. Clinton wins 49.2 percent of the popular vote, while Dole wins 40.7, and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot wins 8.4 percent but no Electoral Votes.

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