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Great Sports Moments From the 4th of July 0

Posted on July 04, 2021 by Dean Hybl

It probably comes as no surprise that the 4th of July has seen a few more “special” sports moments than most other days on the calendar. As a national holiday occurring during the height of the season for baseball, there have been a significant number of special baseball moments on this date.

Lou Gehrig became the first MLB player to have his number retired during Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day on July 4, 1939.

Even though July 4th is a day that our friends in England are maybe not as enthusiastic in celebrating, July 4th does have quite a history in that country as many Wimbledon titles have been claimed on that special date.

Over the years the date has also seen special moments in boxing history and women’s golf.

Below is a chronological look at a few of those special July 4th sports moments:

1910 – In what was dubbed the “Fight of the Century”, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson retains his title with a 15th round TKO against James J. Jeffries.

1911 – Ty Cobb’s pursuit of Willie Keeler’s record hitting streak of 45 consecutive games ends at 40 games when Cobb is held hitless in four attempts by Ed Walsh of the Chicago White Sox. Cobb’s streak remains the sixth longest streak in MLB history.

1914 – Dorothea Chambers claims her seventh, and final, Wimbledon Women’s Singles title, beating Ethel Larcombe 7-5, 6-4.

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Al Bumbry: From Bronze Star to AL Rookie of the Year 0

Posted on May 31, 2021 by Dean Hybl

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month won a Bronze Star in Vietnam before going on to win American League Rookie of the Year honors and playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues.

Though only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Al Bumbry was a four-year basketball player at Virginia State College (now University). The school restarted its baseball program during his career and Bumbry hit .578 during his senior season to earn notice from the Baltimore Orioles, who picked him in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

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History of the Sports Apparel Industry 0

Posted on May 18, 2021 by Martin Banks

What’s game day without your favorite jersey? Have you ever wondered why and how the industry got to where it is today?

People have clad themselves in their favorite team’s colors since time immemorial. What was once a symbol of your loyalty remains today — but you have more colorful choices. Here is a brief history of the sports apparel industry so that you can wow your friends on trivia night at the pub.

The Popularity of Sports Apparel Today

Walk down nearly any city street, and you’ll spy at least one person decked out in a football jersey or ready to hit the basketball court. Sports apparel offers multiple advantages, not the least of which is comfort. While such garb comes in a wide range of fabrics, all of them allow you to move your body freely like an athlete. 

Athletic apparel also works for every member of the family. The popularity means you can find gear for your favorite team regardless of your age or where you fit on the gender continuum. You can even deck out your infant in hopes they will grow up a Phillies fanatic or cheesehead. 

Sports apparel isn’t without controversy. Perhaps you are one of many who wondered, for example, if you can get away with leggings or your favorite team’s T-shirt at the office. In general, career experts advise you to stay away from printed shirts, lest you accidentally offend someone. However, few folks outside of diehard Red Sox fans will take umbrage at your Yankees jersey on casual Friday. 

How the Sports Apparel Industry Evolved Through Time 

Even though the concept behind athletic apparel probably existed since human beings first figured out that banding together accomplished more than going solo, the industry as you know it has a brief history. However, you must recall that people didn’t start playing sports for fun until the late 19th century or so. 

Before that, people played countless games, but they often had a secondary purpose — like training for war. The ancient Greeks may have invented the Olympics, but they played the games nude. Perhaps it was better for preparing for hand-to-hand combat?

Early athletes wore a version of street clothes to compete. Males might make do with a T-shirt and a pair of slacks. Women often wore a smaller version of their daily attire, too, which made things downright cumbersome. It wasn’t until brave pioneers like Gertrude Eberle and Alice Marble, respectively, made strides with modern bathing suits and tennis shorts that women could move freely. 

During the 1940s and 50s, synthetic fabrics started evolving athletic gear from cotton jerseys to wear adapted for specific sports. Weather-resistant clothing with concealed pockets and hoods delighted everyone from runners to golfers. 

As fabrics changed, so has the fit of various apparel pieces. Early cotton-based jerseys hung loosely to allow for freedom of movement. However, by the 1970s,  top athletes gravitated toward elastane and polyester, which fit snugly, keeping them from getting tangled in their tops. 

Tips for Wearing Sports Apparel

Today, athletes wear uniforms of all fabrics to take the field, and armchair varieties stock their closets with replicas. Likewise, you can find gear designed to support any sport in which you participate. 

Modern trends allow wearing athletic apparel just about anywhere — you’ll even see it in church. If you take advantage of this trend, here are some tips to make it look appropriate for various settings.

  • Consider the occasion: If you merely need to run to the grocery store, there’s nothing wrong with pulling on a tee over a pair of leggings. However, if you are headed to the office, topping the look with a sleek button-down and a blazer elevates them to workplace-appropriate. 
  • Mind your silhouette: Pairing a baggy sweatshirt over an equally slouchy pair of comfy pants looks sloppy. Save your looser items for the top or mix and match oversized with fitted. 
  • Accessorize: Athletic gear can look too casual with a pair of worn sneakers. However, if you pair a neat tee with a crisp pair of trousers and loafers, you’ll look polished. 

The Fascinating History of the Sports Apparel Industry

People have long worn various colors to show affiliation — sports apparel elevated the practice to an art form. Now that you know the history, get ready to show your team spirit by rocking the right look. 

Happy 90th Birthday Willie Mays 1

Posted on May 06, 2021 by Dean Hybl
Shown celebrating his 41st birthday in 1972, the great Willie Mays turns 90 years old today!

The beauty of sports is that even though his birth certificate tells us that Willie Mays turns 90 years old today, our minds can still remember the “Say Hey Kid” as the young superstar with a smile and personality that could light up New York and who possessed enough talent to fill up a baseball stadium.

You can argue about who was the greatest baseball player of all-time, but there is little doubt that Mays is on the short list for any discussion.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs.

After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951, Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season while serving in the military.

When he returned in 1954, Mays began a streak of 19 straight years earning an All-Star spot as he won the first of his two National League MVP Awards.

During his career, Mays led the league in runs, hits, triples, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.  He was the first player in baseball history to steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs in the same season.

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Happy 85th Birthday John Madden 5

Posted on April 09, 2021 by Dean Hybl
John Madden led the Oakland Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI.

Whether from his days as a coach, broadcaster or simply as the name on a video game, John Madden is a football legend known by fans of all generations.

It seems hard to believe that Madden will celebrate his 85th birthday on April 10th. Almost as surprising is that it has been more than a dozen years since Madden retired from broadcasting after three decades as the preeminent color commentator on television. But, of course, his influence lives on in the leading football video game known as Madden NFL.

The journey for Madden from a 21st round NFL Draft pick to the most recognized person in the NFL is truly a remarkable one.

A talented multi-sport athlete, Madden was a boyhood friend of John Robinson, who would go on to a successful career as head coach at the University of Southern California and with the Los Angeles Rams.

Madden played college football at the College of San Mateo for a year, earning a scholarship to the University of Oregon. However, an injury forced him to redshirt and he ultimately finished his college career playing two seasons as a two-way player at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He was also a catcher on the Cal-Poly baseball team.

The Philadelphia Eagles selected Madden in the 21st round (244th overall pick) of the 1958 NFL Draft. However, a knee injury suffered in training camp ended his dream of playing in the NFL.

After completing his degree, Madden became an assistant coach at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. He was promoted to head coach in 1962.

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Luis “El Tiante” Tiant 1

Posted on April 06, 2021 by Dean Hybl
Luis Tiant

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the ace of the Boston Red Sox staff when they reached the 1975 World Series and is considered by many to be someone worthy of induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Luis Tiant, known as “El Tiante”, spent 19 years in the majors between 1964 and 1982.

Though he was 75-64 with a 2.84 ERA in six seasons with the Cleveland Indians and then helped the Minnesota Twins reach the playoffs in 1970, it appeared that Tiant’s career might be over following the 1970 season.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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