Column as I see ‘em...
Game programs don’t make for particularly riveting reading, but over the years, the mundane material nurtures into a history lesson. Rosters, photos, statistics, player profiles and advertisements reappear in a fascinating time capsule.
It happens every spring: I’m rearranging a closet and open a dusty box containing a program from, say, a 1972 college football game. There goes the day. The spring cleaning can wait.
Marc Blau, president of the the Shanaman Sports Museum of Tacoma-Pierce County, knows the feeling. It’s why he’s established the Old School Programs Flipboard Project, enabling visitors to the museum’s web site access to every page of more than 1,000 programs.
From auto racing to wrestling, it’s a blast from the past that can be checked out at bit.ly/shanaman.
Blau suspects the Tacoma area is rich with these hidden treasures.
“We need to find the programs that are in a box, garage, attic, basement or even in a high-school yearbook,” he says. “We want to save those programs from the dumpster heap and let the public enjoy the content.”
The museum’s current collection includes a program from the 1953 “Muscle Bowl” at Lincoln High, where a football team called the Seattle Ramblers challenged a squad of pro wrestlers that boasted the likes of Frank Stojack, Pepper Gomez, The Masked Marvel and Bronko Nagurski.
If you’ve got an old game program of any sort — high school, college, pros — Blau wants to hear from you. He can be reached at 253-677-2872, or at email@example.com.
▪ Washington State committed seven turnovers during its Friday-night horror show at California, but the play that had the most impact was not an interception thrown by former Heisman Trophy candidate Luke Falk.
Facing a fourth-down and-2 at the WSU 44-yard line, trailing 10-3 in the final minute of the first half, Cougars coach Mike Leach decided to punt.
The booming boot traveled all the way to WSU 45-yard line, a gift-basket gaffe Cal didn’t waste. With four seconds remaining before halftime, Bears coach Justin Wilcox took the kind of gamble Leach declined, eschewing an almost certain field goal for a play-action pass attempt.
The touchdown completion gave the Bears both a 17-3 halftime lead and the sense they had plenty of momentum to upset their eighth-ranked opponent.
▪ Two icons died within 48 hours of each other last week: Basketball Hall of Fame forward Connie Hawkins and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle.
Hawkins’ career was the stuff of a movie script. He borrowed $200 from a New York City attorney implicated in a point-shaving scandal, leading to his expulsion from the University of Iowa. The NBA declared him off limits as well, so he toured with the Harlem Globetrotters for four years before the American Basketball Association extended him a lifeline.
Hawkins sued the NBA for its blacklisting tactics and was awarded a $1.3-million settlement, paving the way for the resumption of his career with the Phoenix Suns.
Compromised by knee injuries, Hawkins’ time as an NBA superstar was brief but magnificent. The Suns retired his No. 42 jersey.
Tittle was similarly recognized by the New York Giants. Although the LSU product enjoyed early success with the 49ers in San Francisco — he originated the “alley-oop pass” with wide receiver R.C. Owens — Tittle is remembered as the bald, slightly gimpy quarterback who led the Giants to three NFL championship games.
Trivia item: He was the first pro football player seen on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
▪ Baseball’s replay-review system remains a mess. Installed to correct egregiously wrong safe-or-out calls, the replay review has grown up into the monster from Jurassic Park.
Case in point: With two on and two out Thursday night, in the eighth inning of an N.L. Division Series finale that lasted longer than Cher’s career, the Cubs challenged a too-close-to-call-with-certainty play that found catcher Willson Contreros picking off the Nationals’ Jose Lobaton at first base.
Safe? Out? After an excruciating delay, Lobaton was determined to have taken his foot off the base for a tenth of a second.
This was the difference in a loser-goes-home game, and while the review “got it right,” there was something wrong about relying on an enhanced slow motion replay to make the call.
▪ While perusing through a Huskies game program from the early 1950s, courtesy of the Shanaman Sports Museum, I noticed there were more players on the UW roster from Port Angeles than Los Angeles.