My Sports List

Big Ten Icons - 21 to 30

In 2010, the Big Ten Network debuted a show entitled Big Ten Icons, highlighting the conference's 50 most outstanding athletes of all-time. The selection committee only considered the athletes' accomplishments as collegians and did not take into account their feats after they left campus. The series was narrated by college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson. Here are Nos. 21-to-30 on BTN's list.

30. ALAN AMECHE, Wisconsin, Football ... the Badgers' "Iron Horse" won the Heisman Trophy during his senior season in 1954.

29. CAZZIE RUSSELL, Michigan, Basketball ... he led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten Conference titles (1964–66) and to Final Four appearances in 1964 and 1965.

28. QUINN BUCKNER, Indiana, Basketball ... IU's three-time captain paced the Hoosiers to three Big Ten titles, 37 straight conference wins, and the 1976 NCAA championship.

27. GLEN RICE, Michigan, Basketball ... he became U-M's all-time leading scorer with 2,442 points, leading Michigan to the 1989 NCAA title, while scoring an NCAA-record 184 points in tournament play.

26. BUBBA SMITH, Michigan State, Football ... a two-time All-America defensive end, his jersey number 95 is one of only six that's been retired in Spartan history.

25. ELROY "CRAZY LEGS" HIRSCH, Wisconsin, Football ... the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer played for both the Badgers and the Michigan Wolverines.

24. ANTHONY CARTER, Michigan, Football ... he was named Big Ten Conference MVP his senior season, and finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

23. BOB GRIESE, Purdue, Football ... the QB for Purdue's first Rose Bowl team was the runner-up to Steve Spurrier for the 1966 Heisman Trophy.

22. JACK HAM, Penn State, Football ... the College and Pro Hall of Fame selection was ranked number 47 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players (1999).

21. BRONKO NAGURSKI, Minnesota, Football ... a standout playing both tackle on defense and fullback on offense at Minnesota from 1927 to 1929, he was a charter class member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. (pictured left)
We express our appreciation to the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Icons features continue to air on BTN. Find BTN on your TV system at

Big Ten Icons - 31 to 40

In 2010, the Big Ten Network debuted a show entitled Big Ten Icons, highlighting the conference's 50 most outstanding athletes of all-time. The selection committee only considered the athletes' accomplishments as collegians and did not take into account their feats after they left campus. The series was narrated by college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson. Here are Nos. 31-to-40 on BTN's list.

40. BOBBY BELL, Minnesota, Football ... a College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, he won the 1962 Outland Trophy as the nation's outstanding interior lineman.

39. HOWARD "HOPALONG" CASSADY, Ohio State, Football ... he won the Heisman Trophy in 1955 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. (pictured left)

38. CALBERT CHEANEY, Indiana, Basketball ... the silky-smooth left-hander from Evansville became the all-time leading scorer for both Indiana and the Big Ten.

37. LEROY KEYES, Purdue, Football ... an All-American in 1967 and 1968, Keyes finished second on the 1968 Heisman Trophy voting to Southern Cal's O.J. Simpson.

36. JIM ABBOTT, Michigan, Baseball ... despite having been born without a right hand, he won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, becoming the first baseball player to win the award.

35. GLENN ROBINSON, Purdue, Basketball ... the "Big Dog" led the nation in scoring and became the Big Ten's all-time single season points leader with 1,030 points, Robinson was unanimously selected as the Conference's Player of the Year.

34. DESMOND HOWARD, Michigan, Football ... he set or tied five NCAA and 12 Michigan records, and was the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner.

33. ALEX KARRAS, Iowa, Football ... Karras won the 1957 Outland Trophy and was the runner-up in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, won by Texas A&M's John David Crow.

32. SCOTT MAY, Indiana, Basketball ... in his last two seasons with the school, 1974–75 and 1975–76, May and the Hoosiers were undefeated in the regular season and won 37-consecutive Big Ten games.

31. NEAL BROTEN, Minnesota, Hockey ... a member of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal at Lake Placid, Broten went on to play 17 seasons in the NHL.
We express our appreciation to the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Icons features continue to air on BTN. Find BTN on your TV system at

Memorable Baseball Jerseys - 20-to-29

"My Sports List" presents the baseball jerseys countdown at 20, continuing in this installment through the number 29.

Number ... Player

20 ... Frank Robinson: His number 20 has been retired by three different Major League teams - the Cincinnati Reds, the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians.

21 ... Roberto Clemente: Following his untimely death on New Years Eve 1972 while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, the Pittsburgh Pirates star was a 1973 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.

22 ... Jim Palmer: The lifetime Baltimore Orioles right-hander won 186 games in the 1970s, the most wins in that decade by any big league pitcher.

23 ... Ryne Sandberg: A perennial all-star and Gold Glove honoree, "Ryno's" .989 fielding percentage was a record among second basemen when he retired in 1997.

24 ... Wille Mays: The "Say Hey Kid" won two National League MVP awards and hit 660 career home runs, third at the time of his retirement to only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. (pictured left)

25 ... Barry Bonds: Because his career was clouded by steroid controversy, Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader may never be honored as a Hall of Famer.

26 ... Billy Williams: A 1987 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, the Chicago Cubs legend was twice a runner-up for the National League Most Valuable Player award.

27 ... Juan Marichal: His high leg kick and pin-point accuracy helped the Giants star win more games than any other pitcher during the 1960s.

28 ... Bert Blyleven: Pitching primarily for the Minnesota Twins, the right-hander was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2011 on his 14th attempt.

29 ... Rod Carew: The Twins' and Angels' standout had 3,053 big league hits, averaged .328, and was an 18-time All-Star.
Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano authored the book NUMBELIEVABLE! The Dramatic Stories Behind the Most Memorable Numbers in Sports History in 2007. Order the book through Amazon at

Big Ten Icons - 41 to 50

In 2010, the Big Ten Network debuted a show entitled Big Ten Icons, highlighting the conference's 50 most outstanding athletes of all-time. The selection committee only considered the athletes' accomplishments as collegians and did not take into account their feats after they left campus. The series was narrated by college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson. Beginning with No. 50, here are the first 10 athletes on BTN's list.

50.  TOM BRANDS, Iowa, wrestling ... a three-time NCAA champion, he won a golf medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics for Team USA.

49.  MEGAN HODGE, Penn State, Volleyball ... a four-time First Team All-American, she was named the NCAA National Championship Most Outstanding Player in 2007 and 2008.

48.  DREW BREES, Purdue, Football ... he ended his career as the Big Ten leader in passing attempts (1,678), passing completions (1,026), passing yards (11,792), passing touchdowns (90) and total offense (12,692).

47.  CHRIS SPIELMAN, Ohio State, Football ... the two-time Buckeye All-American won the Lombardi Award in 1987 as the best college football lineman or linebacker.

46.  LaVAR ARRINGTON, Penn State, Football ... he won the Butkus, Bednarik and Lambert awards in 1999 as a Nittany Lion junior.

45.  ROD WOODSON, Purdue, Football/Track & Field ... an All-America defensive back in 1985 and 1986 for the Boilermaker football squad, he also was an all-star hurdler on the track.

44.  GEORGE HALAS, Illinois, Football/Basketball/Baseball ... a civil engineering major at Illinois, he won letters in three different sports for the Fighting Illini.

43.  CHUCK LONG, Iowa, Football ... Coach Hayden Fry's greatest quarterback was the runner-up for the 1985 Heisman Trophy to Auburn's Bo Jackson.

42.  CURT WARNER, Penn State, Football ... a two-time All-America tailback, he led Penn State to its first national title in 1982.

41.  PAT FITZGERALD, Northwestern, Football ... he twice won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football. (pictured left)
We express our appreciation to the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Icons features continue to air on BTN. Find BTN on your TV system at

Largest College Football Venues

Led by "The Big House" in Ann Arbor, these are the largest crowds at the largest venues in college football (since 1948):

115,109     Michigan Stadium, Michigan: vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 7, 2013

110,753     Beaver Stadium, Penn State: vs. Nebraska, Sept. 14, 2002

110,633     Kyle Field, Texas A&M: vs. Ole Miss, Oct. 11, 2014

110,045     Ohio Stadium, Ohio State: vs. Michigan State, Nov. 26, 2016

109,061     Neyland Stadium, Tennessee: vs. Florida, Sept. 18, 2004

106,869     Rose Bowl: USC vs. Ohio State, Jan. 1, 1973

102,321     Tiger Stadium, LSU: Several times (most recently vs. Florida, Oct. 17, 2015)

102,315     Darryl K. Royal Memorial Stadium, Texas: vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 4, 2016

101, 821     Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama: Several times (most recently vs. LSU, Nov. 7, 2015)
An article by Creg Stephenson of was referenced to prepare this feature (

Memorable Baseball Jerseys - 10-to-19

"My Sports List" continues the baseball jerseys countdown at 10, continuing in this installment through the number 19.

Number ... Player

10 ... Andre Dawson: This 1987 Hall of Fame inductee slammed 438 home runs, won an MVP Award (1987), and was presented seven Gold Glove awards.

11 ... Luis Aparicio: A 13-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner, "Little Luis's" jersey number 11 was retired by the Chicago White Sox in 1984 after he became a Baseball Hall of Famer.

12 ... Roberto Alomar: There were no obvious competitors for jersey number 12, Alomar's 2011 Hall of Fame induction and .300 career average were duly impressive accomplishments.

13 ... Alex Rodriguez: Though it's uncertain whether or not the controversial Mariners and Yankees star will eventually become a Hall of Famer, his 696 career home runs are undeniable.

14 ... Ernie Banks: "Mr. Cub" was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 and was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

15 ... Thurman Munson: The only Yankee to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards, his career was tragically cut shot by his death in an airplane crash.

16 ... Whitey Ford: The greatest living Yankee, voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, pitched for six World Series championship teams (1950, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961 & 1962).

17 ... Dizzy Dean: The 1953 Hall of Fame inductee is the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in a season. St. Louis retired jersey number 17 in his honor in 1974.

18 ... Ted Kluszewski: Who to honor came down to "Big Klu" and Mel Harder, but the former Reds standout was chosen because of his .298 career batting average and 279 home runs.

19 ... Bob Feller: During his 18-year career, interrupted by four years of Naval service, "Rapid Robert" led MLB pitchers in strikeouts six times and hurled three no-hitters (pictured left).
Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano authored the book NUMBELIEVABLE! The Dramatic Stories Behind the Most Memorable Numbers in Sports History in 2007. Order the book through Amazon at

Bert Lehman’s Top 10 Baseball cards

Baseball card collectors are a unique bunch. Everyone has their favorite teams and favorite players. Here are the favorites of a superstar in the memorabilia collecting world.

1. 1981 TOPPS PAUL MOLITOR – Molitor was my favorite player when I was a kid and this is my favorite card featuring him. The All Star notation at the top of the card just adds to the allure.
2. 1975 TOPPS ROBIN YOUNT – With the Milwaukee Brewers being my favorite major league team, how could a Yount card not be on my list? There is no better Yount card than his rookie card.
3. 1956 TOPPS HARVEY KUENN – With Harvey Kuenn being the only manager to guide the Milwaukee Brewers to the World Series and the fact I enjoy this card design, it was a no-brainer to add this card to my collection.
4. 1974 TOPPS GORMAN THOMAS – Thomas was my favorite Brewers player before being traded in 1983. That being said, his rookie card was a must have.
5. 1978 TOPPS PAUL MOLITOR – Having the rookie card of your favorite player is a must, but because Molitor’s rookie card has him sharing the card with three players, it lands mid-pack on my list.
6. 1973 TOPPS ROBERTO CLEMENTE – When I was a kid I read a book about Clemente’s life. It was only a short time later that I bought this card.
7. 1971 TOPPS THURMAN MUNSON – Just like with Clemente, once I heard the story of Munson’s death, it was only a short time later that this card was in my collection. It’s a great action shot for a player gone too soon.
8. 1968 TOPPS MICKEY MANTLE – When I was in high school I wanted a Mantle card, but obviously my funds for such a purchase were limited. I wound up purchasing this card for $10 back in the 1980s.
9. 1989 FLEER BILLY RIPKEN – This card is famous for what is written on the knob of Ripken’s bat in the photo, and there are several versions of it.
10. 1940 PLAY BALL SHOELESS JOE JACKSON – I don’t have this card, or any other original Shoeless Joe cards, but my fascination with the 1919 Black Sox Scandal puts this card at the end of my top 10 list. 
Bert Lehman is the editor of Sports Collectors Digest, which has become known as "The voice of the hobby." He has collected sports trading cards and sports memorabilia since he was a kid. He worked for SCD as an associate editor from 1999 to 2007. He returned to SCD in 2016 to become the editor of the magazine. For more information about Sports Collectors Digest, visit:

Memorable Baseball Jerseys - 0-to-9

In 1929, the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees became the first teams to wear numbers on the back of their jerseys. By the end of 1932, every big league club wore numbered uniforms, though the Philadelphia Athletics would not wear numbers at home until 1937. "My Sports List" begins the baseball jerseys countdown at 0, continuing in this installment through the number 9.

Number ... Player

0 ... Al Oliver:  Oliver was the first person in the MLB to wear the single 0. He finished his career with a batting average of .303.

1/8 ... Eddie Gaedel:  Ever the showman, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck inserted the 3-foot-7-inch Gaedel as a pinch-hitter on August 19, 1951. Not surprisingly, little No. 1/8 drew a four-pitch walk in his only Major League at bat. (pictured left)

1 ... Ozzie Smith:  "The Wizard" was a 15-time all-star, beginning his career in San Diego and ending it in St. Louis. The Cardinals retired Smith's No. 1 in 1996.

2 ... Derek Jeter:  "The Captain" was a poster boy for how the game of baseball should be played. His No. 2 was retired by the Yankees in 2014.

3 ... Babe Ruth:  The man who hit 714 home runs also twice won 20 games as a pitcher. No. 3 was retired in 1948, the year the "Bambino" died.

4 ... Lou Gehrig:  The "Iron Horse", a participant in 2,130 consecutive games, became the game's first player to have his number retired (1939).

5 ... Johnny Bench:  Arguably the greatest catcher of all time, he led the Cincinnati Reds to a pair of World Series titles. His No. 5 was retired in 1984.

6 ... Stan Musial:  He appeared in a total of 24 All-Star Games, thanks to a career that featured 475 home runs and 3,630 hits. Musial's No. 6 was retired following "The Man's" final season in 1963.

7 ... Mickey Mantle:  One of baseball's most revered players, the three-time American League MVP hit a World Series record 18 home runs. No. 7 was retired by the Yankees in 1969.

8 ... Cal Ripken, Jr.:  The greatest Baltimore Oriole appeared in a big league record 2,632 straight games. Ripken Jr.'s number 8 was retired by the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.

9 ... Ted Williams:  Despite losing five seasons to service in the armed forces, "Teddy Ballgame" was the last player to hit.400 in a season. His number 9 was retired by the Red Sox in 1984.

Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano authored the book NUMBELIEVABLE! The Dramatic Stories Behind the Most Memorable Numbers in Sports History in 2007. Order the book through Amazon at

My Big Ten All-Opponent Team

Lou Henson served as head coach of the University of Illinois basketball team from 1975-96. In his final season, he chose his all-opponent team. These are the 12 Big Ten players he selected.

G - Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Michigan State
G - Isiah Thomas, Indiana
C - Mychal Thompson, Minnesota
F - Glen Rice, Michigan
F - Glenn Robinson, Purdue

Juwan Howard, Michigan
Jimmy Jackson, Ohio State
Ronnie Lester, Iowa
Shawn Respert, Michigan State
Jalen Rose, Michigan
Steve Smith, Michigan State
Chris Webber, Michigan

A 2015 inductee into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Lou Henson's career spanned 41 years at three programs: Hardin-Simmons, New Mexico State and Illinois. He led the Fighting Illini to 12 NCAA tournament berths. His most famous team, "The Flying Illini", made it to the 1989 Final Four. Henson compiled a 423-224 record over 21 years in Champaign, earning a Big Ten title in 1984 and advancing to the Elite Eight the same season.

College Football's 1970s All-Decade Team

In its 2008 book entitled The College Football Book, Sports Illustrated chose the sport's All-Decade Team for the 1970s:

TE - Ken MacAfree, Notre Dame
OL - Brad Budde, Southern California
OL - John Hannah, Alabama
OL - Jerry Sizemore, Texas
OL - John Hicks, Ohio State (pictured left)
C - Jim Ritcher, North Carolina State
WR - Lynn Swann, Southern California
QB - Jim Plunkett, Stanford
RB - Billy Sims, Oklahoma
RB - Archie Griffin, Ohio State
RB - Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska

DL - Hugh Green, Pittsburgh
DL - Ross Browner, Notre Dame
DL - Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma
DL - Rich Glover, Nebraska
LB - Jack Ham, Penn State
LB - Randy Gradishar, Ohio State
LB - Jerry Robinson, UCLA
DB - Kenny Easley, UCLA
DB - Michael Haynes, Arizona State
DB - Tommy Casanova, LSU
DB - Jack Tatum, Ohio State

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated's The College Football Book

University of Michigan Players
in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game

A total of eight former University of Michigan baseball players have been selected to play in Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.

• Dick Wakefield (1943), Detroit Tigers

• Bill Freehan (1964-73 and 1975), Detroit Tigers (pictured left)
• Larry Sorensen (1978), Milwaukee Brewers
• Steve Howe (1982), Los Angeles Dodgers

Chris Sabo (1988 and 1990-91), Cincinnati Reds

• Barry Larkin (1988-91, 1993-97, 1999-2000 and 2004), Cincinnati Reds

• Steve Ontiveros (1995), Oakland Athletics
• J.J. Putz (2007), Seattle Mariners

Courtesy of The 2017 University of Michigan Baseball Record Book

Indiana University's Big Ten Basketball MVPs

At the end of each season, the Chicago Tribune awards the Silver Basketball Award to the most valuable player of the Big Ten Conference. Fourteen members of Indiana University's men's basketball team (on 16 occasions) have won that honor.

• Don Schlundt (1953) - the first sophomore in conference history to win the award. 

• Archie Dees (1957 & '58) - the first two-time Big Ten MVP.
• Steve Downing (1973) - averaged 19.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per conference contest.
• Scott May (1975 & '76, pictured left) - the NCAA Player of the Year led the Hoosiers to the '76 NCAA title a perfect 36-0 record in conference play his last two seasons. 

• Kent Benson (1977) - first team All-American both on the court and in the classroom.

• Mike Woodson (1980) - recovered from back surgery in late December to earn MVP honors in the Big Ten.

• Ray Tolbert (1981) - helped lead the Hoosiers to their fourth national championship.
• Randy Wittman (1983) - he played in more Hoosier games (133) than any other IU player.

• Steve Alford (1987) - in all four of his years at Indiana, he led the Indiana Hoosiers in scoring. 

• Calbert Cheaney (1993) - his school-record 785 points in one season puts him high atop the leaderboard for career points in the Big Ten (2,613). 

• Brian Evans (1996) - became the first Indiana player to win the Big Ten scoring title under the tutelage of Bob Knight.

• A.J. Guyton (2000) - finished his Indiana career as the fourth-highest scorer in school history with 2,100 points. 

• Jared Jeffries (2002) - ranked among the league’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks, offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. 

• D.J. White (2008) - he was the first Hoosier player since Alan Henderson in 1994 to average a double-double for a season. 

Courtesy of The The Glory of Old IU: 100 Years of Indiana Athletics, by Bob Hammel and Kit Klingelhoffer.

My Most Interesting Yankees

As a New York Yankees employee from 1968-1977 and as their television producer in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Marty Appel had the opportunity to rub shoulders with an abundance of "Pinstripes" heroes. These are the 10 most interesting Yankees he encountered.

• Jim Bouton - one of the few 'fans' who ever became a player, and one of the few Democrats to inhabit a baseball clubhouse. 

• Steve Hamilton - very wise, professorial-like. Team and league player representative; he could have brought about labor peace between players and 
management had he remained in the majors, I believe. 
• Catfish Hunter - youngest of 9 children, showed a maturity and a leadership that made one wonder how he accomplished such a feat in that household. 
• Yogi Berra - had an inherent wisdom once you got past the humor of the Yogisms. A man of great principle, great character. Instinctively did things right. 

Bobby Murcer - as a kid, told he was the successor to DiMaggio and Mantle. A lot to ask of him, but he accepted his skills as they were, became an 
all-star without succumbing to the hype. 

• Mickey Mantle - all eyes towards him in the clubhouse - he inspired awe even among teammates. He was The Mick. But humble, kind. Walked across clubhouse to welcome rookies, with a simple, "hi, I'm Mick" (as though they didn't know). Gave me all of his interview gift certificates. 

• Dock Ellis - he had traits of Muhammad Ali personality, very engaging. If there was a new concept brewing - like women reporters in the clubhouse, he 
was the first to embrace it. Would walk into the hallway to invite them in. 
• Billy Martin - You never knew if you had bad Billy or good Billy in front of you. You always had to measure what you said because of that uncertainty. He was flawed, but he was always interesting. Knew his Civil War history. 

• Bobby Bonds - maybe the best athlete in the game in his time. Had a gentle side, very sensitive. We had an adventure when he lost his sunglasses in spring training and I bought him a new pair at local drug store ($5), and he couldn't have been more appreciative. 

• Sparky Lyle - serious about his work, lighthearted about life. If you needed to feel better, go see Sparky. One interesting private moment: "Please don't play Pomp & Circumstance entrance music anymore - I don't need the extra pressure." I hadn't known he'd even heard it. 

An “accidental Yankee fan” (“I was born in Brooklyn!”), Marty Appel has been cited by the New York Times as one of the nation’s premier authorities on Yankee history, and is generally acknowledged as one of baseball’s most informed historians. He never missed an opportunity to get to know the elders of Yankee lore – be they Lefty Gomez, Bill Dickey, Red Ruffing, Bob Shawkey, or Waite Hoyt from long ago – or his boyhood heroes like Whitey Ford, Bobby Richardson, and Elston Howard to his contemporaries like Catfish Hunter, Graig Nettles, Thurman Munson, Lou Piniella and Willie Randolph. And of course, there were the ones everyone wants to know more about – Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Casey Stengel, and yes, the Voice of the Yankees, Mel Allen. An award-winning author, Appel's book, Now Pitching for the Yankees, an autobiographical tale of his Yankee adventures, was named the best New York baseball book of 2001 by ESPN. His book, MUNSON: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain was a 2009 New York Times best-seller, and PINSTRIPE EMPIRE: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss is considered the definitive history of the franchise. Released on March 28, 2017, his latest book, Casey Stengel: Baseball's Greatest Character, is a product of Doubleday Publishing. Visit Marty's website at

My All-Time College Football Team

In his 1954 autobiography, The Tumult and the Shouting, legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice chose his all-time college football team. Rice began his sportswriting career in 1901 with the Nashville Daily News, but he became famous for his nationally syndicated column called "The Sportlight." He died on July 13, 1954 at the age 73. 

Center - Germany Schultz, Michigan 1906
Guard - Pudge Heffelfinger, Yale, 1892
Guard - Herman Hickman, Tennessee, 1932
Tackle Joe Stydahar, West Virginia, 1935
Tackle - Bill Henry, Washington and Jefferson, 1920
End - Don Hutson, Alabama, 1935
End - Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan, 1928
Quarterback - Sammy Baugh, TCU, 1937
Halfback - Jim Thorpe, Carlisle, 1915
Halfback - Red Grange, Illinois, 1925
Fullback - Bronko Nagurski, Minnesota, 1930

Honorable Mention:
Sid Luckman, Columbia, 1938
Otto Graham, Northwestern, 1943
Walter Eckersall, Chicago, 1906
Elmer Oliphant, Purdue & Army, 1917
Eddie Mahan, Harvard, 1915
Cliff Battles, West Virginia Wesleyan, 1931
Clyde "Bull Dog" Turner, Hardin-Simmons, 1939
Bill Dudley, Virginia, 1941
Bill Hewitt, Michigan, 1931
Danny Fortman, Colgate, 1935
George McAfee, Duke, 1939
Bob Waterfield, UCLA, 1944

Courtesy of The Tumult and the Shouting: My Life in Sport (A.S. Barnes and Company)

College Football's Greatest Receivers & Tight Ends

In its 2000 book entitled College Football's All-Time All-American Team, ABC-TV chose the sport's greatest players. Here are ABC's all-star wide receivers and tight ends:

Anthony Carter, Michigan
Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska
Tim Brown, Notre Dame
Lynn Swann, Southern California
Randy Moss, Marshall
Peter Warrick, Florida State
Honorable Mention
Desmond Howard, Michigan
Keyshawn Johnson, Southern California

Keith Jackson, Oklahoma
Kellen Winslow, Missouri
Dave Casper, Notre Dame


My Favorite Fantasy Hoosier Teammates

Former Hoosier basketball star Kirk Haston, author of the great new book Days of Knight, chose 10 Indiana University standouts of the past with whom he would loved to have shared the court at Assembly Hall. 

Isiah Thomas: I'm cheating a little bit on this selection because I did once have the opportunity to be on the court with him in a scrimmage at Assembly Hall. He was around 40 and was still unbelievable player. I enjoyed that day immensely, but would love to of known what it was like playing with him when he was in his prime. 

Quinn Buckner: I just watched the Perfect in '76 documentary and seeing how Buckner competed and played's a no-brainer for a post player to want to pick a guard like him to want to play with. 

Calbert Cheaney: I would have liked to have been able to play with him just so I could have maybe learned some of the moves he used to dominate the Big Ten. 

Alan Henderson: I just would have liked to been on the court with Henderson just so I could have a front row seat to all of the highlight plays he frequently was the author of. 

Bobby Wilkerson: An incredible competitor...and for the rest of my reasons please see #2.
Scott May: I know if I was playing on the same team as May, I'd probably be watching him from the bench and not playing with him because I'd at best be his backup. But maybe we'd play a team with a big lineup and I could get on the court with him at the same time!

George McGinnis: The rare player who dominated the game in the '70's and if he was dropped into today's game of basketball...he'd STILL dominate.

Kent Benson: A) It'd been a lot of fun to play alongside such a talented big man. B) I wouldn't of had to guard anymore of the other teams 7'0" centers. 

Victor Oladipo: I liked getting on SportsCenter as much as the next guy...if I was playing with Oladipo there would have been a good chance I could have gotten in a few highlights by throwing him some lobs...or maybe by just being the first guy to high five him after he dunked on some poor, unsuspecting Purdue Boilermaker!

Yogi Ferrell: Yogi just looks like he's always having fun on the basketball court and that kind of attitude is always a pleasure to play with. 

Before he left Tennessee to begin his basketball odyssey in Bloomington, Indiana, 18-year-old Kirk Haston got some great advice from his mom, Patti Kirk Haston. A high school English teacher, Patti handed her son a blank journal and said, "You'll be glad someday that you wrote some things down about playing for Coach (Bob) Knight." Little did Kirk know that his first three seasons at Indiana University would be the last three seasons that Knight would coach the Hoosiers. Haston had a spectacular career at Indiana. During the 2000-01 season, he led the Big Ten in scoring and was a Third Team All-America selection. In 2016, he authored Days of Knight: How the General Changed My Life, published by Indiana University Press. To order the book, go to

Greatest Athletes of the 1930s

In its 1999 book entitled Sports Century, ESPN selected the world's greatest athletes of the 1930s. Here are ESPN's top 11:

Joe Louis, boxing
Babe Didrikson, track & field, golf & more
Jesse Owens, track & field
Sammy Baugh, football
Josh Gibson, baseball
Don Hutson, football
Don Budge, tennis
Satchel Paige, baseball
Henry Armstrong, boxing
Sam Snead, golf
Bobby Jones, golf

Courtesy of ESPN's 1999 book Sports Century

My Favorite White Sox Players of the '70s & '80s

As a kid growing up in mid-North Indiana, in the shadow of Purdue, my family was the rarest commodity: We were White Sox fans. Honest. It's true. I swear. Sox fans do exist. Dropped amid a sea of sappy Cubs fans and Reds snobs, I often felt like a pariah. When told of my allegiance, kids often got quizzical looks on their faces. Really? The White Sox? Blame my father and his father. They had made the two-hour drive from their West Lafayette home to Comiskey Park long before I was around. I heard stories about the 1959 Go-Go Sox, Minnie Minoso, Jungle Jim Rivera and Luis Aparicio. As a child, we always watched the Sox games on Channel 44 with Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall. And we made the drive up I-65 at least once a year to see an actual game. That's where my idols of the 1970s and 1980s came to life. Here are my 10 favorite Pale Hose:

Hal Baines: Sweet-swinging and soft-spoken lefty was the foundation of some very good Sox teams in the 1980s. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 draft and had his number 3 retired after playing 14 years along 35th and Shields.

Dick Allen: Mercurial. Yes. Moody? Most definitely. Magnificent? Indeed. Allen was all of it … and then some. In Chicago, Allen was no longer “Richie.” He was Dick. And, boy, could he belt tape-measure homers all while wearing a hard hat in the field and smoking a cig in the dugout. Allen was so good in 1972 he won AL MVP with 37 homes and 137 RBIs.
LaMarr Hoyt: He was a shooting star who blazed with glory for a short time, winning the 1983 Cy Young for West Division champ by going 24-10. But just like that, he was gone, done in by drugs.
Wilbur Wood: He looked more like your high school shop teacher, but the rubber-armed knuckle-baller won 20 games three years in a row from 1971-73. And he actually won and lost 20 games (24-20) in the same season (1973). No one has done that since, or probably ever will.
Britt Burns: The big lefty from Alabama was the first key cog in a 1983 rotation that helped the Sox “Win Ugly” all the way to their first playoff appearance since 1959. 
Chet Lemon: No. 44 covered a lot of ground in center field on some bad White Sox team. He loved to crowd the plate and often got plunked. Lemon was an underrated combo of power and speed.
Ron Kittle: “Kitty” hailed from nearby Gary, Ind., where he toiled as a steelworker and learned how to crush softballs. He was an instant hit on the South Side, winning 1983 Rookie of the Year accolades as a 25-year old with 35 homers and 100 RBIs.
Greg Luzinski: Bespectacled and muscle-bound, “the Bull” arrived from the Phillies in 1981 and became a fan favorite on some good mid-1980s Sox teams. Luzinski ripped 32 homers with 95 RBIs in 1983 after notching 102 RBs in 1982.
Carlos May: He had part of a thumb blown off in Vietnam, but May still was a productive player in Chi-town. The younger brother of Orioles’ slugger Lee May, Carlos is the only player in MLB history to wear his birthday (month and day ; May 17) and his name (May) and birthday (day; 17) on the back of his jersey.

Bill Melton: Sox broadcaster Harry Caray once famously said “It’s so hot today, the third baseman is Melton.” With rugged good looks, Melton made the women swoon. He also had a big bat, leading the AL in homers in 1971 with 33. No Sox ever had done that.

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for, covering football and men’s basketball. He joined the network after serving as the senior national college football writer at! Sports since 2008. Prior to joining! Sports, Dienhart covered college football at The Sporting News for 18 years (1990-2008). His writing has won several awards from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), while his expertise has brought him appearances on ESPN, NFL Network, the Jim Rome Show, SiriusXM College Sports Nation, FOX Sports Radio, the Paul Finebaum Show, Yahoo! Sports Radio and The Mtn. As a member of the National Football Foundation and FWAA, Dienhart votes for numerous awards, including the Heisman, Butkus, Thorpe, Lombardi, Biletnikoff, Walker, O’Brien, Manning, Mackey, Guy, Groza and Hendricks trophies. He also has covered every major BCS bowl game, as well as multiple BCS championship games. In addition to his role with, Dienhart will contribute to the network’s on-air and social media platforms. Fans can follow him on Twitter at @BTNTomDienhart and at www.Facebook/BTNTomDienhart.

My Favorite NBA Arenas

1. Chicago Stadium - A true basketball mecca. The stadium was unique in that you could actually hear the roar of the crowd coming up through the floor. Seriously, no gym rocked harder when the crowd was raucous than Chicago Stadium. 
2. The Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio - Truly underrated when it comes to pro hoops arenas. Despite being spacious, this venue also could get loud when Bill Fitch and the Cavaliers experienced success in the late 1970's. One of the first to feature luxury boxes. 
3. The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan - This was the Rolls Royce of arenas when it first came online. The is the place future arenas modeled themselves after. 
4. Boston Garden - Working conditions were less than adequate, but the place wreaked of history. I still remember having to dodge a few rats when walking down the narrow halls. 
5. The Forum, Los Angeles - Unique in that the broadcast perch was mid-way up the arena. That was at the request of Lakers p-b-p great Chick Hern who fancied higher site lines for his calls of the Lakers. 
6. The Summit, Houston - This place represented a lavish new breed of sports facilities when it was built in the 1970's. Unique in that it featured Fair-Play scoreboards on each end of the arena. 
7. Market Square Arena, Indianapolis - No crowd supported a pro team better than Pacers faithful. I will always miss doing games from this venue. 
8. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon - This place had the feel of a gymnasium. The crowd was right on top of the players. Easy to see why visiting clubs had difficulty winning there. 
9. Madison Square Garden, New York City - Like the Garden in Boston, this place is historic. During Michael Jordan's rookie season, it was like The Beatles were in town. Crowds lined the streets to get a peek at the new phenom. 
10. Bradley Center, Milwaukee - One of the underrated venues in the league. Loved the staff and their attention to detail.

Bill Hazen is a Chicago-based sportscaster and currently the president of Bill Hazen Productions. He is the host of Stadiums USA on SB Nation Radio. Hazen was the television play-by-play voice of the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. He also called games for Marquette University basketball and Southern Methodist University football and has done various other sports including Major League Baseball and NFL football. Hazen is currently a broadcaster with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the National Basketball Association Development League. He is a graduate of Butler University and resides in Chicago, Illinois.

My Favorite Tigers of the 1960s

I packed a lunch and went to Tiger Stadium with my dad, who took along my buddies, and we had a blast. One of those buddies, Rick Lewis, sent me two Tiger Stadium seats in honor of me and my dad and those special times we had together.

The 1960s Detroit Tigers were our guys, and here are my Top 10 players from that decade:

1. Al Kaline: Watching No. 6 throw out Cleveland catcher Jose Azcue at first to take away a single from our seats in the right field bleachers was the essence of my favorite player in any sport from any time.

2. Norm Cash: He was Dad's favorite player. We saw him clear the roof at Tiger Stadium and win a batting title.

3. Willie Horton: He was Rick's favorite player, "Willie the Wonder." He threw out Lou Brock at the plate in Game 5, and hit 400-foot, line-drive homers to left.

4. Denny McLain: We sat in the upper deck bleachers the afternoon he won No. 30, and was the most dominant pitcher Detroit has ever had.

5. Mickey Lolich: He is high on the list of pitchers who should be enshrined in Cooperstown, but aren't. "Steeerike Three!"

6. Bill Freehan: He was the best catcher in baseball until Johnny Bench took the title, but he was the heart and soul of our team for years. 

7. Mickey Stanley: He made center field the place where doubles and triples went to die, and he also brought that same fire to the plate.

8. Dick McAuliffe: What kid from our era didn't imitate his batting stance, bat held high and foot in the bucket. He could turn two and clear the bases.

9. Gates Brown: Look up pinch-hitter in the dictionary and there's a photo of the beloved Gator. Little known fact: Played high school sports in Crestline, Ohio with Jack Harbaugh, father of Jim and John.

10. Jim Northrup: I caught a grand slam he hit to right on my 13th birthday, but only for a second. It nearly ripped my hand off. But you probably remember his RBI-triple in Game 7 a little bit more.

The Second 10: Jake Wood, John Hiller, Don Wert, Dick Tracewski, Ray Oyler, Dave Wickersham, Billy Bruton, Frank Lary, Earl Wilson and Rocco Dominico "Rocky" Colavito.

Veteran journalist and decades-long Detroit Tigers fan Steve Kornacki joined the University of Michigan Athletics team in the fall of 2014. While covering the University of Michigan for the Detroit Free Press and Ann Arbor News, he wrote about two Heisman Trophy winners (Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson) and two national champions (1989 basketball, 1997 football), and he covered current Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel during their playing careers. Kornacki has also worked for the Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Fox Sports Detroit, and he is the author of "Go Blue! Michigan's Greatest Football Stories," (Triumph Books) with a foreword by Lloyd Carr. Follow his work today at

Greatest Athletes of the 1940s

In its 1999 book entitled Sports Century, ESPN selected the world's greatest athletes of the 1940s. Here are ESPN's top 11:

Jackie Robinson, baseball
Ted Williams, baseball
Joe DiMaggio, baseball
Ben Hogan, golf
Otto Graham, football
Stan Musial, baseball
Sugar Ray Robinson, boxing
Maurice Richard, hockey
Eddie Arcaro, horse racing
Citation, horse racing
Bob Mathias, track and field

Courtesy of ESPN's 1999 book Sports Century

Gregory Kelser

My Favorite Books Authored by or About Sports Personalities

1. VEECK AS IN WRECK – Bill Veeck’s glorious memoir about all of his fascinating experiences running major league franchises.

2. THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES – Lawrence Ritter went to the homes of old time baseball players and captured their memories for baseball fans to enjoy.

3. THE BOYS OF SUMMER – Roger Kahn tracked down all of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s and wrote a beautiful book about these great stars.

4. PINSTRIPE EMPIRE – My friend, Marty Appel, is a great writer and was at his best with this history of the Yankees.

5. 24 SECONDS TO SHOOT – The late Leonard Koppett brought great insights to all his books. I loved this account of the early days of the NBA.

6. LOOSE BALLS and TALL TALES – Terry Pluto wrote two books about players and coaches from the ABA and the NBA. I laughed all the way through both of these delightful books.

7. RUN TO DAYLIGHT and INSTANT REPLAY – Vince Lombardi and Jerry Kramer wrote these two accounts of the great Packers teams of the 1960s. I did a lot of marking in both of them.

8. THE HUSTLER’S HANDBOOK – Bill Veeck wrote another terrific book and I took many ideas from it in how to run a ball club.

9. THE TEAMMATES – David Halberstam had access to three old Red Sox stars – Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky. He wrote a very moving account about their deep friendship.

10. SHAKE DOWN THE THUNDER – Wells Twombly wrote the biography of Frank Leahy, the great Notre Dame football coach, including his last year as he was dying of leukemia.

Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Also one of America’s top motivational and inspirational corporate speakers, Pat has addressed employees from many of the Fortune 500 companies. Pat is also the author of more than 100 books, his most recent title highlighting the secrets to peak performance in THE SUCCESS INTERSECTIONPat has been the general manager with NBA teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Orlando, including the 1983 World Champion 76ers. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history. In 2012, Pat received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Order his new book at and visit Pat's website at
Gregory Kelser

Greatest Athletes of the 1980s

In its 1999 book entitled Sports Century, ESPN selected the world's greatest athletes of the 1980s. Here are ESPN's top 15:

Wayne Gretzky, hockey
Joe Montana, football
Carl Lewis, track and field
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, basketball
Martina Navratilova, tennis
Eric Heiden, speed skating
Larry Bird, basketball
Walter Payton, football
Edwin Moses, track and field
Lawrence Taylor, football
Dan Marino, football
Chris Evert, tennis
Bo Jackson, baseball and football
Greg Louganis, diving
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, track and field

Courtesy of ESPN's 1999 book Sports Century
Gregory Kelser

College Football's Greatest Defensive Linemen

In its 2000 book entitled College Football's All-Time All-American Team, ABC-TV chose the sport's greatest players. Here are ABC's first, second and third-team defensive linemen:

Bubba Smith, Michigan State
Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma
Randy White, Maryland
Bruce Smith, Virginia Tech
Hugh Green, Pittsburgh

Reggie White, Tennessee
Steve Emtman, Washington
Ted Hendricks, Miami (FL)
Alan Page, Notre Dame
Joe Green, North Texas State (tie)
Mike Reid, Penn State (tie)

Warren Sapp, Miami (FL)
Rich Glover, Nebraska
Ross Browner, Notre Dame
Jim Stillwagon, Ohio State
Tony Casillas, Oklahoma

Gregory Kelser

Major League Baseball's Greatest Leftfielders

10.  Manny Ramirez (Indians, 1993-2000; Red Sox, 2001-08; three teams, 2008-11)
9.  Lou Brock (Cubs, 1961-64;  Cardinals, 1964-79)
8.  Willie Stargell (Pirates, 1962-82)
7.  Joe Jackson (A's, 1908-09; Indians, 1910-15; White Sox, 1915-20)
6.  Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox, 1961-83)
5.  Al Simmons (A's, 1924-32; six teams, 1940-41 & 1944)
4.  Barry Bonds (Pirates, 1986-92; Giants, 1993-2007)
3.  Rickey Henderson (A's, 1979-84, 1989-93, 1994-95, 1998; eight teams through 2003)
2.  Stan Musial (Cardinals, 1941-44 & 1946-63)
1.  Ted Williams (Red Sox, 1939-42, 1946-60)

Gregory Kelser

My College Basketball All-Star Team for 1972-79

David Thompson, North Carolina State, 26.8 points per game
Bill Walton, UCLA, 20.3 points per game
Larry Bird, Indiana State, 30.3 points per game
Scott May, Indiana, 17.7 points per game
Phil Ford, North Carolina, 18.6 points per game

Adrian Dantley, Notre Dame
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Michigan State
Butch Lee, Marquette
Marques Johnson, UCLA
Kent Benson, Indiana
Ernie DiGregorio, Providence
Mike Gminski, Duke
Keith Wilkes, UCLA

John Wooden, UCLA

The author of more than 40 books on sports history, including academic histories, coffee table pictorials, and biographies for young adult readers, Peter Bjarkman is the leading authority on post-revolution Cuban League baseball. He's also the first American to write regular columns and analysis on two "official" Cuban League baseball websites. Visit his website at This list came from his 1996 book entitled Hoopla: A Century of College Basketball.
Gregory Kelser

Ten Memorable Characters from Baseball Movies

1.   Tab Hunter as "Joe Hardy" (pictured left) in Damn Yankees: In the 1958 musical, Joe powers the lowly Washington Senators, but pays a price with the devil for his accomplishments.
2.   Robert Redford as "Roy Hobbs" in The Natural: This 1984 movie features a young man who was destined for stardom, but, because of a shooting, was denied his date with baseball destiny for 15 years. Good thing he had that magical bat.
3.   Kevin  Costner as "Crash Davis" in Bull Durham: A veteran catcher (Crash) is brought in to tutor a young pitching phenom (Tim Robbins as Nuke LaLoosh). They become involved in a love triangle with a baseball groupie (Susan Sarandon as Annie Savoy).
4.   Walter Matthau as "Morris Buttermaker" in Bad News Bears: An alcoholic ex-big leaguer is brought in to coach a group of athletically-challenged kids, including Tatum O'Neal as sharp-tongued pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer.
5.   James Earl Jones as "Terence Mann" in Field of Dreams:  Adapted from W. P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe, novice Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice that tells him to build a baseball field instead of raising crops. Mann's prophecy comes true when people come to watch baseball in the middle of corn country.
6. Lavar Burton as "Ron LeFlore" in One in a Million: This real-life story tells about LeFlore's rise from a prison inmate to an all-star player for the Detroit Tigers.
7. Anthony Perkins as "Jimmy Piersall" in Fear Strikes Out:  Another true-life story, this critically acclaimed 1957 movie portrayed Piersall's battle on the baseball field with mental illness.
8. Ronald Reagan as "Grover Cleveland Alexander" in The Winning Team:  Poor health and alcoholism force Grover Cleveland Alexander out of baseball, but through his wife's faithful efforts, he gets a chance for a comeback and redemption.
9. Paul Douglas as "Guffy McGovern" in Angels in the Outfield:  A loudmouth, umpire-hating manager receives a message from above and changes his ways, resulting in success for the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.
10. Michael Moriarty as "Henry Wiggen" in Bang the Drum Slowly:  Pitcher Henry Wiggen (Moriarty) is confronted with the secret news that his roommate and batterymate is dying, then helps his teammate fulfill his wish of playing one more season of baseball. 
Facts were gathered for this feature from The Sporting News' 1993 book entitled Baseball: A Doubleheader Collection of Facts, Feats & Firsts.
Gregory Kelser

My Favorite Chicago Cubs of the Late '70 (1975-79)

#10: Ivan DeJesus
#9: Bruce Sutter
#8: Mike Vail
#7: Bill Madlock
#6: Jerry Morales
#5: Andre Thornton
#4: "Tarzan Joe" Wallis
#3: George Mitterwald
#2: Rick Reuschel
#1: Mick Kelleher
A broadcaster for WDAN Radio in Danville, Ill., Eric Loy recently won a Silver Dome Award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association for his show "WDAN's Newsmakers." He also took second for Best Sportscaster.
Gregory Kelser

My Top Ten Illini Football Games Behind the Mic

In chronological order:
1.  Sept. 7, 1985:  Southern California 20, Illinois 10 - My first game, Trudeau to Boso touchdown pass
2.  Oct. 5, 1985:  Illinois 31, Ohio State 28 - Chris White nails a last-minute field goal
3.  Nov. 2, 1985:  Illinois 3, Michigan 3 - White's late field goal try hits the upright
4.  Sept. 15, 1990:  Illinois 23, Colorado 22 - The eventual national champion's only loss that season
5.  Sept. 22, 1990:  Illinois 56, SIU 21 - Howard Griffith scores eight touchdowns
6.  Nov. 12, 1994:  Penn State 35, Illinois 31 - Illini led at halftime, 21-0
7.  Oct. 5, 1996:  Illinois 46, Indiana 43 - First overtime game in Big Ten history
8.  Sept. 4, 1999: Illinois 41, Arkansas State 3 -  Son, Brian Scott, played in his first Illini game
9.  Nov. 22, 2001:  Illinois 34, Northwestern 28 - Illini capture Big Ten title on Thanksgiving Day
10.  Nov. 17, 2007:  Illinois 41, Northwestern 22 - My last game after 23 seasons
Jim Sheppard took over as the University of Illinois’ football public address announcer in 1985, replacing Tom Trent. He was only the sixth man who has served in that capacity at Memorial Stadium.The Fisher native also was the P.A. voice at Fighting Illini basketball games for 22 years. He and his wife, Joan, reside in Urbana.
Gregory Kelser

My All-Time Baseball Interview List

I interviewed these guys between 1981 and 1986 - between the ages of 12 and 16 - 
primarily as co-editor of "The Redbird Chirps," the publication I launched with 
my friend Steven Jablon. We started out covering the St. Louis Cardinals 
exclusively and later expanded to all of Major League Baseball. We interviewed 
upwards of 100 players, managers and broadcasters, and all of them were 
extremely cordial to a couple of kids. The following guys stick out: 
RH- Starting Pitcher: Bob Forsch: Threw two no-hitters and a good hitter 
RH- Starting Pitcher: Mike Krukow: 20-game winner in 1986, now broadcaster 
LH- Starting Pitcher: Dave Dravecky: His comeback was nothing short of 
LH-Starting Pitcher: Jim Kaat: Durable, reliable, Gold Glove fielder 
Long Reliever: Lary Sorensen: 1978 A.L. All-Star, first player I ever 
interviewed, great friend 
Closer: Greg Minton: One of the funniest people I have ever met 
Closer: Kent Tekulve: First World Series I watched was in 1979 
C: Gary Carter: His enthusiasm was contagious 
1B: Willie Stargell: Gave me a Stargell Star … how cool is that 
2B: Joe Morgan: Team leader, eloquent orator 
SS: Ozzie Smith: The best to ever play the position 
3B: Darrell Evans: A star with three teams 
LF: Tim Raines: Should be in the Hall of Fame 
CF: Dale Murphy: Back-to-back MVP in 1982 and 1983; class personified 
RF: Andre Dawson: Could do it all, and did 
UT: Bob Brenly: Great player, manager, broadcaster 
MGR: Frank Robinson: Under-appreciated as manager of Giants in early 1980s 
The Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications at Purdue University, Tom Schott is one of college sports' premier publicity men. He was recipient of the Scoop Hudgins Outstanding SID Award from the All-American Football Foundation in 2007. As the Boilermakers' primary contact for football from 1998-2009, Schott was responsible for promoting such players as Drew Brees, Tim Stratton, Kyle Orton. The Ohio Wesleyan University graduate is a prolific book author, authoring "Purdue University Football Vault: The History of the Boilermakers". He's also co-authored "The Giants Encyclopedia," a history of the New York and San Francisco Giants franchise, "Tales from Boilermaker Country" and "Tales from the Purdue Boilermakers Locker Room".
Gregory Kelser

My Favorite Sportswriters

1. Jim Murray – The best ever.
2. Red Smith – I sat with him at the White Sox World Series.
3. Mitch Albom – Books, too.
4. Dan Jenkins – Made golf sound fun.
5. John Feinstein – Also a major book author.
6. Furman Bisher –Loved his style.
7. Woody Paige – TV, too.
8. Frand DeFord – A classic writer … educational.
9. Rick Reilly – So clever with words.
10. Paul Klee – Best of the ones writing now.
JIM TURPIN has been a talk-show host on Champaign (Illinois) radio station WDWS since 1955 when he was a GI Bill student at the University of Illinois. The pride of Olney, Ill. became the Voice of the Illini in November of 1980 and continued in that role through the early 2000s. Today, he continues to be the voice of WDWS’s “A Penny for Your Thoughts” morning show. In February of 2002, the Champaign City Council designated Windsor Road between Neil Street and Prospect Avenue as “Honorary Jim Turpin’s Penny Lane.” Also in 2002, he authored a book: Turpin Times: An Illini Sports Scrapbook. In 2014, the Illinois Broadcasters Association honored Turpin with its Broadcast Pioneer Award.
Gregory Kelser

My All-Financial Major League Baseball Team

I have compiled many teams of Major League baseball players whose names share a common theme. This team is one of my favorites. . . strong in the infield and outfield, still looking for the right catcher. And you can always use more pitching.

1. Norm Cash – first base
2. Chuck Schilling – second base
3. Ernie Banks – shortstop
4. Don Money – third base
5. Art Ruble – outfield
6. Bob Loane – outfield
7. Dave Nicholson – outfield
8. Bobby & Barry Bonds – outfield
9. Felipe Lira – pitcher
10. Brad Penny – pitcher
11. Herman Franks – manager

Editor’s note:  Herb, for an announcer, how about Jack Buck? visitors … help Herb find a catcher and more pitching candidates for his All-Financial Team.
A member of Chicago sports media’s royalty, Herb Gould retired from the Chicago Sun Times in 2013 after 29 years as the paper’s senior college football and basketball writer. He’s handled virtually every pro sports beat in the Windy City, including the Bulls’ run to the best NBA record, the Bears’ Super Bowl shuffle and a five-year stint on the Blackhawks beat. The venture that keeps Herb most visible nowadays is where he teams with Chris Dufresne and Mark Blaudschun.
Gregory Kelser

My Favorite Sports Movies

1. Million Dollar Baby – Final scene with my favorites Eastwood and Swank was chilling, swept me away. Only time I felt like crying in a sports movie.
2. A League of Their Own – Hanks was great as Jimmy Foxx, and the mix of females sold me. A shortstop from Sadorus was among them in reality.
3. Eight Men Out – Shoeless Joe and the Black Sox were huge in baseball history, and I thought they pulled it off.
4. Field of Dreams – I never got to play catch with my dad, though I threw rocks for him outside his sanatorium window, so that struck home.
5. The Hustler – Love Newman and Gleason, and shooting pool was a favorite pastime in the Combes billiard parlor and restaurant.
6. Tin Cup – I would have stayed all night to see Costner hit the ball over the water, and beat Don Johnson. He did the former, not the latter.
7. Seabisquit – I'm a sucker for horses and underdogs, and Seabiscuit was both.
8. Rocky – You have to give it to Stalone, and the triumphant music was a huge part of the total effect.
9. The Natural – They set a good mood in a past time, and Robert Redford was the perfect hero.
10. Hoosiers – Hackman and Hooper pull off their parts, and who doesn't like a mystical revival of Milan and Hebron.

Never thought I'd leave out Cinderella Man and Chariots of Fire.
A columnist at the Champaign News-Gazette since 1966, LOREN TATE is as much a historian of University of Illinois athletics as anyone. He’s been officially retired for 19 years and, except for the months of May and June, has cranked out newspaper news and opinion since he returned from military service in 1955. Tate is a die-hard fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and George Jones.
Gregory Kelser

My Favorite All-Time Point Guards

1. Magic Johnson – My idol as a kid (I wore #32 at OSU because of this guy). Changed the game because of his size and the position he played. The game will never again see a true 6'-9" point guard like Magic. Whenever you talk about point guards, his name will always be at the top on conversation.
2. Oscar Robinson – Triple-double machine! Player that prided himself on being a do-all guy (Magic Johnson type). 
3. Isiah Thomas – Small in stature but, from point guards to centers, his heart could compete with anybody that played the game. Tough as nails! I had the opportunity to compete against this guy in the NBA and he was a true winner. 
4. Walt Frazier – Coolest player to ever play the game on and off the court. In the 70's Clyde was Mister NY! 
5. Pete Maravich – The best ball handler "ever". He was a magician with the ball and could score at will. 
6. John Stockton – Knew the definition of a point guard. Pass first, shoot second! Very good at delivering on time on target passes that led his teammates to easy baskets. 
7. Jerry West – Big time scorer with a long range jump shot. A player that committed to playing both ends of the floor. 
8. Stephen Curry – Not just a scorer but a PURE jump shooter. Most people need time and space to make shots, but this young man can and will make 50+ percent of his shots under pressure. Jump shooting has been a lost art in basketball but this guy is quickly turning that myth around. 
9. Steve Nash – Can't take anything away from an eight-time NBA All-Star. Came with the IQ needed to be efficient as a point guard from making plays to knocking down the perimeter jump shot. 
10. Jason Kidd – Not the greatest of shooters, but he did all in intangibles as a player on offense and defense. Played with great rugged and toughness.  
A 6-5 shooting guard from the Ohio State University, Dennis Hopson earned Big Ten Player of the Year and first-team All-America honors in 1987. He finished as the Buckeyes' career scoring and steals leader. Hopson was the third overall selection in the '87 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. After five seasons in the NBA, he took his talents overseas and played in Spain, France, Turkey, the Philippines and Israel. Hopson is a former Head Men's Basketball Coach at Bedford High School in Temperance, Mich.
Gregory Kelser

My Sports Heroes from the Past

1. Fuzzy Faust My dad and high school coach. Great dad and a great coach. He’s in the Ohio Hall of Fame.
2. Pete Rose – A good friend, we played basketball in Cincinnati. “Charlie Hustle” deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
3. Paul Brown – Coach Brown always looked out for us at Moeller when he was with the Bengals.
4. Woody Hayes – A close friend, Ralph Staub and I visited him at his house a couple of days before he died.
5. Ara Parseghian – A great friend and a great coach. Lots of our Moeller players played for Ara. He supported me when I was at Notre Dame.
6. John Majors – I competed against him at Tennessee when I played at the University of Dayton. His dad was also his high school coach. We were born on the exact same day and year. Ara Parseghian also was born on May 21 and every year we all wish each other “Happy Birthday.”
7. Fred Dugan – He played wide receiver at Dayton when I was the quarterback. He was a great pro and we are still friends to this day.
Following a highly successful run at Moeller High School in Cincinnati (178-23-2), Notre Dame shocked the world by naming him as its head football coach in 1981. His book, The Golden Dream, became a best-seller. He now lives in Akron, Ohio.
Gregory Kelser

My Toughest Big Ten Opponents

1. Mychal Thompson, Minnesota - Mychal was simply unstoppable. He was a great combination of ruggedness and finesse. Mychal had a very good post up game and could also knock down a 15-foot jumper. A consistent 20/10 double-double threat, he led the Big Ten rebounding in 1975-76. 
2. Mike Woodson, Indiana – A terrific scorer who could create offense for himself but was equally adept at moving without the ball and coming off screens. His jumper was lethal from 18 feet and in. Woody was also a solid defensive player in Bobby Knight’s Hoosier system. 
3. Ronnie Lester, Iowa – A solid competitor and extremely graceful. Ronnie could handle the ball as well as anyone in the country. He was a super passer and an underrated shooter. He could penetrate against the best defenses and finish at the basket. A devastating knee injury late in his college career perhaps robbed him of an All-Star NBA career. He was just that good and some.
4. Kent Benson, Indiana – Kent has to go on this list because, at 6 feet 10 250 pounds, we found him to be overpowering. Very strong with his back to the basket in the post and a solid shooter facing up from 15 feet away. He was a physical rebounder and who did a more than adequate job defensively for the Hoosiers.
5. Joe Barry Carroll, Purdue – extremely talented 7 foot 1 big man who was extremely defective around the basket. He possessed a nice hook shot but also a soft-touch on the turnaround from the post position. Joe could score on anyone. He sometimes got a bad rap because it did not appear as though he always played hard but we never short-changed or faulted him for making what seemed difficult look easy. 
6. Phil Hubbard, Michigan – At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Phil was as tough and tenacious as they come. In any given game, he was capable of scoring 20 points or pulling down 20 rebounds. Phil was good enough to make the 1976 United States Olympic team after his freshman year at Michigan. Despite a knee injury that would cost him his entire junior season, Phil was able to enjoy a stellar 10-year NBA career with the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers.
7. Kevin McHale, Minnesota – Kevin could be dominant against any opponent. He was 6 feet 10 and a scoring, rebounding, and defensive dynamo. He gets the distinction of being the only Big Ten player to ever block one of my dunks and yes, he did it without fouling. Kevin was an even better professional evidenced by his 3 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics and his designation as a Hall of Famer.
8 & 9. Kelvin Ransey & Herb Williams, Ohio State – I’m placing this this guard and center tandem from Ohio State together. At Michigan State, we found both of them to be very difficult to guard. Ransey was a strong combo-guard before the term was coined. He could score from the outside and also in traffic. Scoring 25 points in any given game was not uncommon to him. Williams was a 6 foot 11 postman who was steady and reliable. He lacked flamboyance and pizzazz but his ability to score consistently against defenses that were stack to stop him is what made him a standout. Both Buckeyes were first round draft picks and enjoyed nice NBA careers. In Herb’s case, he played nearly 18 years in the best league in the world.
10. Rickey Green, Michigan – I remember Ricky as being extremely fast from end-to-end. He scored a lot of layups because of his speed that made it possible to outrun defenses in the open court He was an All-American on a Michigan team that was ranked number 1 during the season in 1976-77. At just about 6 feet 2 inches tall come Ricky played with a certain confidence that bordered on cockiness but there was no denying that he was a major reason for Michigan’s success in 1976 which saw them reach the national championship game as well as their return to the regional finals in 1977.
Today’s sports fans are most familiar with Gregory Kelser as a broadcaster, but his credentials go well beyond basketball. The former Michigan State and NBA star is a popular motivational speaker and active in his community’s charities. “I believe that a champion lives inside of us all,” he says. For more information, visit
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