Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Archive for the ‘Sports History’

5 Surprising Facts about the Most Famous Sports Stadiums 0

Posted on October 08, 2016 by Dixie Somers
Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used for Major League Baseball today.

Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used for Major League Baseball today.

Sports stadiums are the modern gladiator arenas. Rabid fans descend upon the booming bowl of seats to watch their favorite athletes perform out on the field. And modern stadiums have great influence over the way we experience the spectacle. Through innovative design, fan interaction concourses and a curated ballpark menu, stadiums have come to be a spectacle unto themselves. And you could learn all about these unique fan experiences with an online athletic administration master’s degree. Get a head start. Here are 5 facts about the most famous stadiums in the world.

1. Fenway Park

Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used in the major leagues. Built in 1912, the park is older than many West Coast states. But many people don’t know the Green Monster wasn’t designed that way. Leftfield used to have a large hill that tapered up to a smaller wall during the dead ball era. It was called Duffy’s cliff, named after the Red Sox leftfielder that roamed the area. When it was removed in 1933, the Green Monster emerged.

2. Roman Colosseum

There are many spectacular facts about planet Earth’s original massive stadium. The side of the Colosseum collapsed during an earthquake in 847, the West exit is known as the Gate of Death for the dead gladiators dragged through it, and the word Colosseum is always capitalized for the famous structure despite the fact that the word translates into “large arena for entertainment.” But the most amazing fact is that the wooden floor of the Colosseum would be removed and the open channels below would be filled with water for mock naval battles. Read the rest of this entry →

Arnold Palmer Took Professional Golf to New Heights 1

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Arnold Palmer won seven golf majors and finished second 10 times.

Arnold Palmer won seven golf majors and finished second 10 times.

While other golfers enjoyed more success on the links, it can easily be argued that no golfer did more to raise the profile of professional golf as a global sport than Arnold Palmer, who passed away Sunday at the age of 87.

Originally from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Palmer played golf at Wake Forest University and won the 1954 U.S. Amateur Championship.

He turned professional in 1955 and the 25-year-old rookie quickly displayed his ability by claiming the Canadian Open championship. In 1958 he earned his first major with a one-stroke victory at the Masters and went on to be the PGA Tour money leader for the year.

After again winning the Masters in 1960, he claimed his only U.S. Open title with an epic performance at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado.

At a time when the third and fourth (final) rounds were played on the same day, Palmer entered the final round trailing leader Mike Souchak by seven strokes. Also ahead of him were golfing legend Ben Hogan and amateur Jack Nicklaus, both three strokes off the lead.

Arnold’s Army began to grow during the afternoon as he peppered the course with great golf shots while his opponents started to struggle amidst his charge. Palmer registered a final round 65 (six under par) and ended the tournament two strokes ahead of Nicklaus and four ahead of Souchak and five others.

It would prove to be the only U.S. Open victory for Palmer as he lost three other times in a playoff.

Later in 1960, Palmer began growing his international legacy by traveling to Scotland to play in the British Open at a time when few Americans participated in the tournament. Though his hopes of winning the golf grand slam ended with a one-stroke loss to Kel Nagle, Palmer planted the seeds for future American success in the legendary tournament. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: There Will Never Be Another Vin Scully 1

Posted on September 25, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Vin Scully has been an icon since announcing his first major league game in 1950.

Vin Scully has been an icon since announcing his first major league game in 1950.

After more than six decades, legendary Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is saying goodbye to the broadcast booth. To say that we will never see another Vin Scully may be quite an understatement.

Since he debuted as the third announcer along with Red Barber and Connie Desmond for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950, Scully has been baseball’s great storyteller.

Listening to a Vin Scully broadcast is not just an afternoon enjoying live baseball. It is an afternoon remembering both legendary and relatively obscure players from baseball’s past while also likely having American culture and history woven into the conversation.

Scully is not just a walking baseball encyclopedia, he is a walking American history book.

Having grown up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, Scully spent two years in the U.S. Navy before attending Fordham University. During his college career, Scully played on the baseball team while writing for the school newspaper and broadcasting football and basketball games on the radio.

Following his graduation, Scully was a fill-in announcer for CBS Radio station WTOP in Washington, DC. It was during this time that Red Barber, the Sports Director for the CBS Radio Network, recruited him to broadcast college football games.

After joining the Dodgers broadcast team in 1950, Scully continued to learn his craft from the legendary Barber. In 1953, Barber got into a salary dispute with World Series broadcast sponsor Gillette, propelling the 25-year-old Scully into the broadcast booth for his first World Series. He still holds the record as the youngest broadcaster to announce a World Series game.

He eventually became the lead announcer for the Dodgers and stayed with the team when they moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.

Though he is originally a New Yorker, it was in California where Scully truly became a broadcasting legend. Announcing Dodger games during the era of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills, Scully became a fan favorite as many would bring transistor radios to the stadium just to hear Scully call the action. Read the rest of this entry →

Alex Rodriguez: Is This Really How It Ends? 1

Posted on August 08, 2016 by Dean Hybl
The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Rather than completing his career in a generally meaningless game on a Friday night in August, Alex Rodriguez was supposed to exit either with a dramatic World Series performance or after eclipsing the “bogus” home run record of a disgraced cheater.

Instead, following a hastened Sunday morning press conference, Rodriguez will serve on the active roster for the Yankees only through August 12th before being released. While there is still a chance that he will be picked up by another team, the fact that he is still owed more than $25 million dollars over the next year means he will likely instead move to an advisor role with the Yankees.

It seems like forever ago, but it has actually only been eight years (2008) since Rodriguez was seen by most in baseball as the savior who would free the game from the purgatory of having Barry Bonds and his chemically supported body at the top of the prestigious career home run list.

Of course, we all know about his dramatic fall from grace. It started with a Sports Illustrated article and a somewhat confusing explanation in 2009 where Rodriguez admitted to taking PEDs given to him by a relative while with the Texas Rangers, but insisted it was a short-term thing and hadn’t significantly enhanced his performance.

While his explanation was hard for some to accept, for the most part people (most particularly Yankee fans) took it hook line and sinker. Especially when he overcame past playoff failures and helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009.

Interestingly, while Rodriguez still showed above average power for the next couple seasons, he never again hit .300 for a season (something he had done nine times between 1995 and 2008). He also started regularly missing time with injuries starting in 2009.

After reaching 30 home runs and 100+ RBI in 2009 and 2010, from 2011-2013 Rodriguez played in only 265 games (out of 486) and totaled only 41 home runs and 138 RBI in three years.

During this time, his insistence that using PEDs was not a regular part of his career also came into question as he was prominently mentioned in the investigation of the Biogenesis lab in Miami. It was his inclusion and supposed attempt to cover up his involvement that resulted in Major League Baseball coming down with a historic suspension that ultimately saw Rodriguez miss the entire 2014 season.

Despite some wondering whether the Yankees would want him back, the fact that they owed him $65 million guaranteed that he would return.

Playing almost exclusively as the designated hitter, Rodriguez actually had a solid season at the age of 39 in 2015. He appeared in 151 games, his most since 2007, and hit 33 home runs with 86 RBI. However, he struggled over the final two months of the season and went hitless as the Yankees lost the Wild Card Playoff Game. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: Happy Birthday Barry Sanders 5

Posted on July 16, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Happy 48th Birthday Barry Sanders!

Happy 48th Birthday Barry Sanders!

It is hard to believe that Barry Sanders turns 48 years old today and that it has been 18 years since he ran wild through the NFL.

Seems like just yesterday that Sanders was winning the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma State and then dazzling the NFL with his elusiveness.

After serving as the under-study to Thurman Thomas for two years at Oklahoma State, Sanders exploded onto the scene in 1988 with a mind-blowing 2,628 yards rushing in just 11 games. He also scored 37 rushing touchdowns and also scored returning both a punt and kickoff.

Part of the star-studded 1989 draft in which four of the top five picks eventually earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Sanders was chosen third by the Detroit Lions. He finished second in the NFL in rushing as a rookie and won the first of his four rushing titles the next year.

By 1991, Sanders had the Lions in the playoffs as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their playoff opener before losing the NFC Championship Game to the Washington Redskins. Though the Lions would make four additional playoff appearances during his career, they were eliminated in their first playoff game each time.

Sanders reached his zenith in 1997 as he eclipsed the prestigious 2,000 yard mark with 2,053 yards. After gaining 1,491 yards as the Lions went 5-11 in 1998, Sanders surprised the sports world by retiring prior to the 1999 season. He was less than 1,500 yards from passing Walter Payton for what was at the time the top spot on the NFL all-time rushing list.

Because he had just turned 31 years old and had showed no signs of slowing down, his retirement was quite a surprise. In some ways, it mirrors the recent retirement of the best Detroit Lions player since Sanders as Calvin Johnson seems to also be done with the NFL at the age of 30.

In honor of Sanders amazing NFL career, here are some vintage clips of his once-in-a-lifetime moves.
Read the rest of this entry →

30 Years Ago: Shocking Death of Len Bias 5

Posted on June 19, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Len Bias was an All-American at Maryland.

Len Bias was an All-American at Maryland.

It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since that shocking day in June of 1986 when one of the brightest young basketball stars of the day was suddenly went from a sports icon to a national symbol for the drug epidemic that seemed to be plaguing the country at the time.

During his college basketball career as a member of the Maryland Terrapins, Len Bias was known as one of the most athletic and talented players in the game and was expected to be an impact player for the Boston Celtics, who chose him with the second pick in the 1986 NBA draft.

Instead, his shocking death on June 19, 1986 became the impact moment for America’s war on drugs and led to harsher laws that negatively impacted the lives of many low-level drug users, a disproportionate number of whom were young black men, who were suddenly faced with mandatory prison sentences.

Even though the Internet was still nearly a decade away, in the days following the death of Len Bias information, much of it proving to be inaccurate, was coming out fast and furious from a national media that was surprisingly captivated by the story.

Even today, it is not typical for a sports event other than the Super Bowl, Olympics or some other large event or a major tragedy to cross into the general national consciousness. However, because of the shocking and abrupt nature of Bias’ death and the fact that drugs were involved at a time when the national “war on drugs” campaign was at its apex, the death took on a larger than normal stature. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

  • Current Poll

    Who Will Win the 2016 World Series?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories

↑ Top