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Sports Then and Now


Past and Present of Go Skateboarding Day

Posted on June 19, 2014 by Derek Melchin
June 21st is Go Skateboarding Day.

June 21st is Go Skateboarding Day.

June 21st is a day like no other, a day to look forward to, and day to remember. It’s this day, and this day only that skateboard culture is unleashed upon the world. Not many people recognize the special date but skaters from all major cities from around the globe gather to celebrate the official holiday of skateboarding. The initial celebration, in 2004, which started the revolution has dramatically changed the holiday after a full decade of development. Be prepared, this Saturday will be the mark of the eleventh anniversary and the establishment of another decade to come.

How it All Began

Created by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC), the holiday of Go Skateboarding Day allows passionate riders as well as those who are just entering the sport, the opportunity to get on a skateboard and just have fun. The holiday was established in 2004 to influence skaters to make riding their first priority for an entire day. Blowing off all your other obligations: school, business meetings, court dates. It didn’t matter. Just drop everything and ride – “DEAR” – to show your true passion for the sport.

It all began with a few small skate sessions and a BBQ held in the Skateboarding capital, Southern California. It wasn’t intended to grow much larger than that. But surprisingly, it spread like wildfire and soon enough the holiday was being celebrated by millions of skaters from around the globe. Such a powerful acknowledgement lead to GSD receiving Special Congressional Recognition from the US Congress for promoting the sport of skateboarding.

In the years since that first celebration in 2004, the holiday is continuously growing to new lengths, bigger and bigger each year, but the objective has always remained the same: Have fun and go skateboarding! Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Tony Gwynn, the Greatest Hitter of His Generation

Posted on June 16, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Tony Gwynn spent his entire 20 year career with the San Diego Padres and led them to their only two World Series appearances.

Tony Gwynn spent his entire 20 year career with the San Diego Padres and led them to their only two World Series appearances.

The baseball world lost another all-time great with the death Monday of former San Diego Padres star Tony Gwynn at the age of 54 as a result of his long-time bout with cancer. The popular player known as “Mr. Padre” will best be remembered for his sweet swing and his infectious smile and love for the game.

There are many statistics to describe just how great a hitter Gwynn was during his 20 year Major League career, but I think there is one that illustrates it best and properly cements his place in baseball history.

Since the retirement of Lou Gehrig 75 years ago, of all the players who have played in the majors only Ted Williams (.344) has hit for a higher career batting average than the .338 average posted by Gwynn.

What is even more impressive is that of players who retired since Williams left the game in 1960, the next best average behind Gwynn is Stan Musial at .331. Of players whose careers actually overlapped with Gwynn, the next closest averages are more than 10 points below him belonging to Wade Boggs (.3279) and Rod Carew (.3278).

A California native who played both basketball and baseball at San Diego State, Gwynn was drafted by the Padres in the third round of the 1981 amateur draft and made his major league debut just a year later. Read the rest of this entry →

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20 Years Ago: A Sports Day Like No Other

Posted on June 15, 2014 by Dean Hybl
The O.J. Simpson White Bronco chase on June 17, 1994 captivated a nation though it didn't break any speed records.

The O.J. Simpson White Bronco chase on June 17, 1994 captivated a nation though it didn’t break any speed records.

This past Thursday sports broadcasters spent a great deal of time discussing what a great sports day it was with the start of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, World Cup Soccer Championships and the fourth game of the NBA Finals. Certainly an exciting day for sports fans and broadcasters alike, but nothing like a day whose twentieth anniversary we celebrate this week.

The primary sports elements on June 17, 1994 were basically the same as twenty years later, but the story lines in some cases were a bit more compelling. Then, of course, what makes that particular day unlike any other sports day was an un-scripted and un-expected event that transcended sports and captured the attention of the entire country.

Even though the United States wasn’t playing until the next day, June 17th was the most important day to that point in U.S. Soccer history with the opening ceremonies of the first World Cup ever held in the United States. President Bill Clinton, Diana Ross, Opera Winfrey and Daryl Hall were among those who participated in the festivities at Soldier Field in Chicago.

While many hoped the World Cup would usher a new era of interest for soccer in America, half a country away in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, the second round of the U.S. Golf Open included the end of an era for an American sports treasure.

Playing in the U.S. Open for the final time, Pennsylvania native Arnold Palmer said goodbye to the national stage on that Friday afternoon by shooting a final round 81 to finish 16 stokes over par. The 1960 U.S. Open Champion had played his first Open at Oakmont in 1953 and on that Friday afternoon 41 years later had an emotional conclusion to his magical career. Read the rest of this entry →

A Look Back at the Greatest Hitter of All Time

Posted on June 05, 2014 by Scott Huntington

On this week of sports history in 1959, the great Ted Williams got the 2,500th hit of his Hall of Fame career. And since it’s always an appropriate day to talk about the fantastic talent of Williams, this occasion is as good as any. Let’s take a look at what he did for the Boston Red Sox and how he earned the nickname, “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived”. Williams did just about everything a hitter can do, going from a young baseball player in San Diego to a first-year Hall of Famer and baseball legend.

ted

From Birth to Baseball

Williams, who was named after Teddy Roosevelt and his father, was born in San Diego as Teddy Samuel Williams in 1918. Before he could earn the nicknames “The Kid”, “The Splendid Splinter” and “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived”, Williams was first taught how to play ball by his uncle, Saul Venzor. Williams starred on his high school baseball team at Herbert Hoover High as a pitcher, garnering himself offers from the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. However, his mother thought he was too young to move far away, so Williams signed on to play for the minor league San Diego Padres.

It didn’t take long for Williams to be noticed after playing ball for San Diego by Red Sox general manager Eddie Collins. After signing with Boston and playing some minor-league ball, Williams got his chance in The Show. Williams played from 1939-1942, including his legendary 1941 season (which we will talk about later), before being drafted into the military. Williams would serve on both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy from 1942 -1945 and then again from 1952-1953. Williams’ unique major league career didn’t keep him from becoming at least one of the greatest. Fittingly, Williams homered on his final-ever at bat in 1960. Read the rest of this entry →

Maybe Some Records Aren’t Meant to be Broken

Posted on June 02, 2014 by Scott Huntington

We all know the saying, “records are meant to be broken.” However, that may not be the case for some of the greatest records set in the world of sports. No matter if it is in baseball, football, hockey, basketball or any other sport, some achievements propel individuals or teams into legends. And while time will continue and records are never safe, certain incredible records have a chance to never be broken. Here are some of the feats throughout the sports world that may stand as all the others continue to fall.

511 Wins- Cy Young

cy

It’s amazing to think about a pitcher winning over 500 baseball games as a pitcher, yet that’s exactly what Young was able to accomplish. It is certainly a different game now with pitchers taking more time off in between starts, making Young’s record seem untouchable. 300 wins may never be reached again by any pitcher, so Young’s 511 mark is surely one of the greatest records in sports. Read the rest of this entry →

The Top 5 Biggest Draft Busts in NFL History

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Scott Huntington

With the 2014 NFL draft now in the books, it makes sense to look at some of the worst mistakes made by teams at the draft. Of course, scouts, general managers and head coaches work hard in the months leading up to the draft, trying to acquire the best possible player at their draft position. Every season, however, there are players drafted in the first round who do not work out for whatever reason, and these picks set their franchises back for years to come.

The following are some of the worst selections in recent memory.

Tim Couch

Ravens v Browns

The 1999 NFL draft was supposed to have a very special quarterback class, and Tim Couch was the first one selected. The Cleveland Browns, who were returning to the NFL after their original franchise moved to Baltimore, took Couch first overall, ahead of players like Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, and Champ Bailey.

The result was disastrous, as Couch would only start 59 games over his five-year career. While Couch did have potential, the Browns put the fate of the franchise on his shoulders, and he failed to live up to the hype. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Rod Carew: Hitting Machine
      July 5, 2014 | 3:42 pm
      Rod Carew

      Rod Carew

      With the Major League All-Star Game being played this year in Minnesota, we recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the best hitters of the last half a century who was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, including in each of his 12 seasons with the Twins.

      Few have been as good at the craft of hitting a baseball as Rod Carew. During 19 major league seasons, Carew won seven batting titles and hit .330 or better ten times.

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