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Archive for the ‘MIKE on Sports’


Celebrating Jesse Owens on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 3

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 136 Jesse OwensTo celebrate Martin Luther King Day, allow me to acknowledge one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

This extraordinary man helped initiate racial dialogue in America way back then in 1936 and will unwittingly do so now 80+ years later when a major motion picture about his life entitled Race releases next month.

Before MLB’s Jackie Robinson, the NFL’s Jim Brown, the NBA’s Wilt Chamberlain or boxing’s Joe Louis, track star Jesse Owens was regarded as the USA’s first ever African American sports icon.

On our country’s national holiday, let’s remember this great American who flew past his competitors on the track and soared above the hate and discrimination that he faced away from it.

The son of an Alabama sharecropper, James Cleveland Jesse Owens battled pneumonia as a sickly child before his family moved north to Cleveland, Ohio.

Years later, a much stronger and healthier 5’10” and 165 lb. Owens blossomed as an outstanding track and field athlete at Ohio State University. Read the rest of this entry →

Bo Jackson: The Best Dual Sports Athlete Ever 3

Posted on January 04, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 132 Bo JacksonNow, he’s the most entertaining star of television’s Heisman House football commercials.

But, back then, this fabulous football and baseball player was all the rage. Many sports fans regard him as the greatest dual sport athlete ever.

A 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, Bo Jackson not only dominated on the football field for the Auburn University Tigers. He also excelled at two other sports – baseball and track.

Voted #8 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 NCAA football players ever, Jackson dazzled as a fast and powerful running back while at Auburn. The 6’1” and 230 lb. Jackson rushed for an amazing 6.6 yards per carry. He amassed a staggering 4,575 career yards and scored 45 total touchdowns (43 rushing and 2 receiving).

This Heisman Trophy winner became the number one overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, because the Bucs inappropriately contacted Jackson outside of NCAA rules and regulations, the running back became ineligible for baseball during his senior season in 1986. As a result, Jackson chose not to sign with Tampa Bay and agreed to play professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals organization instead.

While at Auburn, Bo Jackson starred in two other sports. The football star qualified for the United States Summer Olympic Trials twice in the 100 yard dash. Jackson’s incredible speed became extremely evident during the spring of 1985 when he recorded the fastest 40-yard dash time ever at 4.12 seconds at the NFL Combine.

In addition to track, the former Auburn Tiger excelled on the baseball diamond. In 1985 he batted .401 with 17 home runs and 43 runs batted in while starring defensively in the outfield as well.

After graduating from Auburn, Jackson played eight years in Major League Baseball with the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox and the California Angels. He also left his mark in the NFL while playing four seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

This phenomenal athlete is still the only athlete ever to be voted an all-star in two different professional sports – Major League Baseball and National Football League – and NOT be voted into either sport’s Hall of Fame.

Sadly, Bo Jackson’s brief but memorable dual-sport career ended prematurely.

Without his hip injury, he undoubtedly could have been a Hall of Famer in two professional sports…..

…..a fact, thanks to the 2012 ESPN Films 30 for 30 “You Don’t Know Bo” documentary, that every sports fan now knows. And not just Bo!

MIKE – on sports!

 

FREE MIKE Sports Comic Book: Worst About Sports 2

Posted on December 21, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Yellow Cover FREE Worst About Sports

A best selling book on my top 25 picks on what’s best about sports wouldn’t be complete without a complementary book on my top 25 choices on what’s worst about sports.

As I penned in my previous book – Best About Sports – the subject of sports always triggers debate.

Pick a player, celebrate a team or remember a championship moment, regardless of the sport, and I guarantee that a lively discussion will quickly follow.

In a relative’s living room, at a neighborhood bar or around the office water cooler, the mere mention of a certain player or team will instantaneously ignite colorful conversation and more than likely ruffle some one’s feathers.

Sports fans not only articulate what they like about an athlete, a team or a game, but they also love to pontificate about what they dis-like about them.

We can all agree that it’s our constitutional right, privilege and duty to vent over what we dis-like in the arena of sports just as much as we celebrate what we do like about sports.

I, for one, feel it’s my obligation to speak up and share about those players, teams, mascots, sounds or situations in sports that stoke my personal embers of distaste. I’ve accumulated my own list of the top 25 things that agitate me the most.

In Worst About Sports, you’ll probably agree with some universally irritating dis-likes that figure prominently on my list. They include spitting in baseball, grunting in tennis, stoppage time in soccer, non-sport sports like NASCAR, pool and curling and the once mega-rich, but now retired, broke athletes.

However, some entries that squeezed into my top 25 Worst About Sports may surprise you, but they disturb me nonetheless and have warranted a chapter in my book. They include Twitter, steroids, tattoos, adjusting the fellas, whining in the NBA, spitting in baseball and the University of Notre Dame’s leprechaun mascot.

Remember, this is my book chronicling my collection of the top 25 things I find worst about sports. It’s a reservoir of my personal angst.

The book overflows with my very own vituperative views on things I dis-like in sports. These are my opinions and personal picks.

If you disagree and want to share what and who irks you in the world of sports, then email me at mikeonsports@yahoo.com.

Otherwise, enjoy the book. And, it’s FREE! So, share it with friends. Just click HERE to safely download.

MIKE on sports!

FREE MIKE Sports Comic Book: Best About Sports 3

Posted on December 14, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Yellow Cover FREE Best About Sports

The subject of sports always triggers debate.

Pick a star player, celebrate a title winning team or remember a championship moment, regardless of the sport, and I guarantee that a passionate discussion will quickly follow.

Animated, verbal altercations about any accomplished athlete or team embroil sports fans everywhere. They foster lively conversations about what happened “way back then” as well as what is happening “now.” And, that’s what I believe is Best About Sports

Once again, I bring to life about what I know is best about sports in the updated second edition of my FREE sports comic book.

In a relative’s living room, at a neighborhood bar or around the office water cooler, the mere mention of a certain player or team will instantaneously ignite colorful conversation and more than likely ruffle some one’s feathers.

Reference the New York Yankees & impassioned Boston Red Sox fans will be eager to engage in an animated verbal altercation.

Criticize Kobe and Los Angeles Lakers lovers will immediately compare the Black Mamba to MJ as well as list Bryant along with Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and even Mikan in their long line of NBA titles.

Praise the Pack and surely Steelers, Saints and Patriots faithful will some how seek to metaphorically kick you right in your Cheesehead.

Wear a FC Barcelona jersey in public and you’ll quickly feel the glaring eyes of Manchester United hooligans lurking ominously nearby.

Sports chatter stirs the embers of conversations from yesterday’s big game as well as from championship games played decades ago. Read the rest of this entry →

The Zamboni: Baddest Maintenance Vehicle in Sports! 4

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Mike Raffone

The ZamboniMy guess is that the look and speed of the sports world’s most famous maintenance vehicle is the same now as it was back then, making it a perfect entry for today’s Sports Then and Now blog.

Driving this clunky ice resurfacing machine on wheels would satisfy nearly every hockey fan’s fantasy.

Who hasn’t yearned to climb behind the wheel of this giant tractor and take charge on the ice?

Perhaps the baddest maintenance vehicle in all of sports, whose top speed runs at just a mere 9 miles per hour, the Zamboni cruises in

The boxy Zamboni tractor scrapes, collects, washes, resurfaces and smooths the ice for hockey games and skating competitions.

In addition, the monster machine sprays and then squeegees 140 degree water and transforms once rutted and scarred ice into a shimmering surface that mirrors polished glass.

Founded by Frank J. Zamboni in Southern California in 1949, the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine has become the standard throughout arenas around the world. Approximately 200 custom made machines, at a price of $75,000 each, are manufactured each year.

The Zamboni’s iconic fame has extended beyond the boards of the hockey rinks it resurfaces. In the classic sitcom Cheers, Carla’s husband Eddie supposedly got run over by a Zamboni.

And, in a Peanuts comic strip, a fictional miniature Zamboni once cleaned the ice in a birdbath for Snoopi’s pal Woodstock

This heavy duty “bad to the boni” machine is dear to all who have watched it perfectly restore chunks and grooves in previously pock marked ice during intermissions at NHL, NCAA an biddy league games.

All the while these same hockey fans were dreaming they were ones behind the wheel of the Zamboni chugging down the ice at a speed most people walk…backward.

Now what fan could possibly argue that the Zamboni ranks as one of the best things about sports?

MIKE on sports!

Boston College’s Doug Flutie and His Hail Mary Pass 1

Posted on November 23, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Doug FlutieThe subject of today’s Sports Then and Now blog almost never got the chance to prove what he could do on the football field with a pig skin in his hand.

Boston College was the only Division I school to recruit the 5’9” and 175 lb. Doug Flutie and offer him an athletic scholarship.

Diminutive by big time college football quarterback standards, Doug Flutie didn’t have to wait long to prove to skeptics that he was a natural leader and an elite playmaker.

During an October 1981 game against Penn State, Flutie seized the opportunity as a fourth string freshman QB when unexpectedly called on in the fourth quarter during a blowout loss.

Flutie surprisingly passed for 135 yards in less than 15 minutes and showed uncommon cool and amazing athleticism for a freshman. Following the Penn State game, Flutie started every game as QB for Boston College for the rest of his career.

Along with Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, Flutie ranks as the most celebrated athlete in Boston College history. The 1984 Heisman Trophy winner finished his storied career in New England as Boston College’s all-time leading passer with 10,579 yards. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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