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Sports Then and Now



Happy 80th Birthday Willie Mays 0

Posted on May 06, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Happy 80th birthday to the "Say Hey Kid".

The beauty of sports is that even though his birth certificate tells us that Willie Mays turns 80 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. Read the rest of this entry →

Willie Mays – The Say Hey Kid 0

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Willie Mays

We recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a player who is always on the short-list of greatest players in Major League Baseball history. Willie Mays is one of three players (along with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial) to earn 24 All-Star appearances.

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.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs. Read the rest of this entry →

Baseball All-Star Game Memories, Part 2, 1960-1989 4

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Great All-Stars Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron

Great All-Stars Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron

After becoming an American tradition following its inception in 1933, the Major League All-Star Game evolved into the “Midsummer Classic” through some memorable moments in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  

The exhibition eventually moved beyond being just a game to include a home run contest and many other activities that gave fans the opportunity to see their heroes in a completely different atmosphere than ever before.

From the very beginning, the All-Star Game was a highly competitive contest that even though technically an exhibition, lacked little in desire by the great players to win the game and claim bragging rights over the other league.

The game began to lose a little of the competitive edge following the inception of free agency in the 1970s. More players were switching from league to league and by the 1980s it started to be more important to give as many players as possible a chance to play, rather than keep your best players out there for the entire contest.

Of course, that strategy culminated with the 2002 game, which had to be called with the game tied in the 12th inning because both teams had run out of players. We will look more in-depth at that game in part three of this series.

In this second installment of the three part series, we will relive some of the legendary moments and games in All-Star history between 1960 and 1989.

Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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