Goodbye to All That
One year from today a lot will be missing from the world of
The new year was barely two days old when Georgia State's Lefty
Driesell, a fixture on the college basketball scene for 41 years,
announced he had coached his last game (page 64). It was another
reminder that while the rhythms of sport delight and endure, the
landscape is always changing. The Expos? Iffy. The Ottawa
Senators, who failed to distribute paychecks last week, look as
if they're going the way of the Hartford Whalers. And the WNBA,
which recently lost franchises in Miami and Orlando and Portland,
has become the Incredible Shrinking Women's League. Herewith, the
people and things that will be, might be and, if there is a God
in heaven, should be gone by January 2004.
WILL BE GONE
"After this season," he says, "there will be no more want."
One mo' time, for $10.1 million and then, with more than 300 wins, that's it.
ESPN's Around the Horn with Max Kellerman
Babbling panelists, an overcaffeinated host: enough already.
Art Howe's hair
What was already in full retreat (right) can't survive a year of managing the drama-a-day Mets.
NFL at Veterans Stadium
How will Eagles fans cope with the clean, new confines of Lincoln Financial Field?
Now on his farewell tour he says, "When you make a decision and you
know it's right, you have a peace come over you."
Dusty's three-year-old son (left) is 13 years short of the new
minimum age for batboys.
Augusta's policy barring women members
Hootie's too rigid not to crack.
Tennis stars of the '90s
Pete Sampras, Monica Seles (right) and Michael Chang will play a few more sets and then bow out.
MIGHT BE GONE
He is old (41) and fading (just 12 goals) but still a proud and
resolute leader who could return for a last attempt to skate in the playoffs in 2004.
After one more bout--versus a Klitschko or a Tyson--he'll be 38 and
have no one left to fight.
ESPN's Around the Horn with Max Kellerman
Oh, no! The network plans to retool and try again.
Ken Griffey Jr. from Cincinnati
The Reds may prefer to invest in Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn.
Vince Carter from Toronto
His dancing on stage at a Nelly show while out with a quadriceps
injury raised an outcry.
Pete Rose (left) in the Hall of Fame debate
When will Bud Selig forgive him? The over-under is five months.
Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling as twin aces
The Diamondbacks will have a hard time affording both of them, especially if the Yankees want to go with a 10-man rotation.
Louisiana Tech's NCAA-record 54-game win streak in women's hoops
UConn is three wins shy.
Emmitt Smith (right) as a Cowboy
Read between the lines of Parcells' obfuscations.
SHOULD BE GONE
ESPN's Around the Horn with Max Kellerman
How about a PTI rerun instead? How about a bass-fishing rerun?
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
And the Seattle Bowl, Mazda Tangerine Bowl, Sega Sports Las Vegas
Bowl, Silicon Valley Classic, GMAC Bowl, ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl, Insight Bowl, Continental Tire Bowl, Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl, Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl....
Hank Williams Jr.
Bocephus (right) is an institution, but are we ready for another
Monday Night Football theme song or what? After 14 years it's time
to change that tune.
Evander Holyfield (left)
The 1984 Olympic bronze medalist has heart, but he's slow and sad and has won just two of his last seven fights.
Monochrome unis in the NFL
A popular choice, for some reason, with green-clad teams. The getups made the Eagles, Jets and Seahawks sometimes look like sticks of
And take those ThunderStix with you.
8:30 starting times for World Series Games
Only benefit is that kids on the East Coast miss the Rally Monkeys.
Consider the Closer
Baseball's most dominant relief specialists rate inclusion at
In traditionally closing the door to the relievers who specialize
in closing the door, the Baseball Hall of Fame is no different
from the Football Hall of Fame or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Most specialists get in only with a ticket.
So it is that Phil Niekro is in Baseball's Hall, but Bruce Sutter
is not; that Jim Otto is in the Football Hall, but Ray Guy is
not; and that Bruce Springsteen is in the Rock Hall, but Clarence
Clemons is not. To the leading man, not the Big Man, goes the
That was the historical bias confronting Lee Smith, the career
saves leader, upon his first appearance on the Baseball Hall of
Fame ballot this year. (Results were announced Tuesday, after SI
went to press.) Two relief pitchers had already made it into the
Hall: Hoyt Wilhelm, an all-purpose reliever who might pitch for
one inning or six, and Rollie Fingers, the fireman-type, who
pitched in times of trouble. But no closer--that is, one who only
pitches late and with a lead--had ever been enshrined in
The closer evolved in 1979 with Sutter, and since then he, Goose
Gossage, Jeff Reardon, Tom Henke and the rest of the genus have
received tepid Hall support. Considering the heavier lifting done
by starting pitchers and position players, that's only right.
Smith, for instance, typically napped for the first half of games
and in 1994 had 33 saves in less than 39 innings of labor.
(Kickers are the closers of football, enjoying stretches of
tedium and disuse interrupted by the occasional emergency. No
surprise, then, that no pure punter and only one pure
placekicker, Jan Stenerud, can be found in Canton.)
Specialists should be held to a much higher standard than other
players when it comes to Hall membership, but some have met that
standard and deserve enshrinement. In that category is Dennis
Eckersley, who'll be on next year's ballot. In 1988 Eckersley
further refined the Sutter role, typically entering at the start
of the ninth with a slim lead. Over the next decade Eckersley's
ratio of innings-to-saves was 1.7:1, about half that of Sutter's
3.5 and not close to Fingers's 5.0. Yet no closer has ever been
so dominant. In 1990 Eckersley actually had more saves (48) than
base runners allowed (45). Eckersley was also effective over the
long haul--from '88 to '97 he averaged 37 saves per year. It's
true that with 149 career wins as a starter, he may bear more
resemblance to quarterback-kicker Hall of Famer George Blanda
than to Stenerud, but it's Eckersley's work as a specialist that
makes him, well, special enough for the Hall. --Tom Verducci
76 Sacks absorbed by Texans rookie quarterback David Carr, an NFL
6 Consecutive losses in bowl games for Notre Dame.
814,393 All-Star votes for Yao Ming, putting him on pace to
become the fifth rookie center (after Ray Felix, Wilt
Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy and Shaquille O'Neal) to start an
58 Living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
18-1 Nets record at the Continental Airlines Arena, the NBA's
best home record.
13,911 Nets' average home attendance, fourth-lowest in the NBA.
$248,552 Approximate cost to Pacers forward Ron Artest in a fine
($35,000), lost pay ($63,552 for a three-game ban) and
reimbursement to MSG network (about $150,000) for smashing a
camera after a 98--96 loss to the Knicks.
$300 Value of gifts Fiesta Bowl players took home, including a
watch, a video game and a personalized blanket.
16 Texas Sportswriter of the Year awards for The Dallas Morning
News's Blackie Sherrod, 83, who wrote his final column Thursday
after 60 years in journalism.
FOR THE RECORD
RETIRED By the Shanghai Sharks, the number 15 jersey worn by Yao
Ming during his five seasons with the club. The 7'5" Rockets
center, who averaged 23.4 points and 15.4 rebounds for the Sharks
from 1997 to 2002, is the first athlete in Chinese history to
have his number retired. "My father also wore the number 15 when
he played [for the Chinese national team]," said Yao, who wears
number 11 in Houston. "I guess the only thing I feel sorry about
is that my son might not be able to wear the number."
NAMED After NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin, one of the first sets
of twins born in the U.S. in 2003. At 12:21 a.m. on Jan. 1
Gwendetta Jamison of Roanoke, Va., gave birth to her first boy
Sterling; the second, Marlin, was born 29 minutes later.
Jamison's grandmother had suggested Kyle and Petty.
DIED Of a stroke, Joe Foss, 87, a World War II ace and the first
commissioner of the AFL, from 1960 to '66. He also hosted ABC's
The American Sportsman. Foss, who shot down 26 Japanese planes
and was awarded a Medal of Honor, served as the Republican
governor of South Dakota from 1955 to '59. He went on to become
president of the NRA from '88 to '90 and appeared on the Jan. 29,
1990, cover of TIME, holding a pistol. "All guns are good guns,"
he told TIME. "There are no bad guns."
In his sleep, Pleasant Colony, 24, winner of the 1981 Kentucky
Derby and Preakness. Going into the Derby, the rangy bay colt had
won only twice in eight starts, but he came from behind to win
convincingly in the first two legs of the Triple Crown before
finishing third in the Belmont. After being retired at the end of
'81 with $965,383 in earnings, he shone at stud, siring the
winners of more than $50 million.
Of natural causes, Joel Buchsbaum, 48, the pale, frail kid from
Brooklyn who became one of football's most relied-upon talent
analysts. The term draftnik was coined in the 1970s by SI's Paul
Zimmerman to describe diehards like Buchsbaum, whose annual draft
preview is in every NFL general manager's office. Buchsbaum
worked for years out of his parents' home in Flatbush and was
known for his strong opinions. In 1998, when experts were
scratching their heads over quarterbacks Ryan Leaf and Peyton
Manning, Buchsbaum wrote of Leaf, "Self-confident to the point
where some people view him as arrogant and almost obnoxious ...
holds onto the ball too long ... does not find second and third
receivers as quickly as he has to." Said Titans' G.M. Floyd
Reese, "He'd have information on workouts as soon as they were
over. If you needed information, you knew who to call."
ARRESTED Within hours of each other last Friday night for
unrelated offenses in Tampa, former baseball All-Stars Dwight
Gooden and Darren Daulton. Gooden, 38, was charged with knowingly
driving with a suspended license. Daulton, 41, spent several
hours in Hillsborough County jail on charges of DUI and driving
with a suspended license.
Who's winning the battle, Hootie Johnson or Martha Burk? SI's
Hootometer tells all.
A Georgia sheriff declares "law officials will not even consider"
allowing protests on sidewalks around Augusta National during the
Masters in April. Advantage, Hootie. Burk tells The Washington
Post she's meeting with the National Council of Women's
Organizations to plot final strategy for persuading Augusta to
admit females before April. Advantage, Burk. Burk tells Post she
won't yet ask players to boycott Masters. Advantage, Hootie.
SID GILLMAN 1911-2003
He Went Deep
Died In his sleep, Hall of Fame football coach and master
innovator Sid Gillman, 91. Gillman created the West Coast offense
with the Rams and the Chargers in the AFL. He later coached the
NFL's Oilers and in 18 years as a pro coach went 123-104-7. SI's
Paul Zimmerman reflects.
It was a December night in 1966, and Sid Gillman's Chargers had
just beaten the Jets 42--27. Gillman was having dinner, as he
often did, in San Diego's leading sports restaurant, Pernicano's
Casa di Baffi, with the owner, George Pernicano. "I feel sorry
for those New York guys," Pernicano said, "getting the hell beat
out of them and then having that long flight home. I think I'll
drive out to the airport and take them some pepperoni and
cheese." Gillman looked at Pernicano as if he were nuts. "The
hell with 'em," he said.
That was the Gillman I knew. Tough, uncompromising. When I saw
him that year at a luncheon, he strode to the podium, frowning,
checking his watch, his muscular neck cramped beneath his bow
tie. "Some see football as a game," he said. "You know what it is
to me? It's blood!"
His offense was beautiful: the deep strike to Lance Alworth, the
swerving and swooping of his twin backs, Paul Lowe and Keith
Lincoln. Yet there were brutal elements too. The offense was
built on the vertical attack--Alworth on the deep post, a tight
end splitting the hash marks, Lowe or Lincoln pushing it down the
seams. The theory was to punish the defense, and in the '63 AFL
title game Gillman beat the Boston Patriots 51--10. His was the
true West Coast Offense (later adapted and modified by Don
Coryell, Joe Gibbs and Ernie Zampese), the antithesis of Bill
Walsh's horizontal approach.
A few years ago I spent a week watching film with Gillman at his
house, learning his theories. He was kind and gentle and very
patient. One day I told him, "You know, when I first met you, you
scared the hell out of me." His wife, Esther, laughed. "He scared
a lot of people," she said. "Until they got to know him. Then he
wasn't so bad."
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
SATURDAY 1/11 > ESPN 2 PM > East-West Shrine Game
The 78th annual college all-star game features a summit meeting
of quarterbacks including Miami's Ken Dorsey and Iowa's Brad
Banks for the East, and Washington State's Jason Gesser and Iowa
State's Seneca Wallace for the West.
SATURDAY 1/11 > CBS 4:30 PM, FOX 8 PM (SUNDAY FOX 1 PM, CBS 4:30
PM) > NFL Playoffs
Goliaths, beware. One underdog won and two others had huge
second-half leads on the first playoff weekend.
SUNDAY 1/12 > ESPN 7 PM > PGA Mercedes Championship, Final Round
Sergio Garcia looks to defend his title in the PGA Tour's season
SUNDAY 1/12 > ESPN2 11 PM > Australian Open
The first leg of the Serena Slam? Serena Williams says she's
looking for a 2003 sweep after missing the Australian Open with
an ankle injury last year.
MONDAY 1/13 > ESPN 9 PM > Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Yes, they play more than football in the Sooner State. Oklahoma
(8--2 through Monday) and OSU (10--1) have battled 200 times in
hoops and have split the last 10 games.
WEDNESDAY 1/15 > ESPN 9 PM > Mavericks at Kings
With the Lakers looking more like the Washington Generals than
the NBA champs (page 54), the two best bets to dethrone them meet
at Arco Arena.
>> DON'T MISS
THURSDAY 1/16 > ESPN 9 PM
Red Wings at Avalanche
The NHL's best rivalry keeps getting better. The Avs, who have
gone 6--3 under new coach Tony Granato, want to avenge a 7--0
loss to Detroit in Game 7 of last May's Western Conference
finals--the largest margin of victory in an NHL Game 7.
Monday Night Woes
Let's hope the antiquated notion that a sports broadcaster--even
one as high-profile as John Madden--can influence ratings dies
with the 2002 numbers for Monday Night Football. Last February,
ABC Sports president Howard Katz predicted that the dream-team
coupling of Al Michaels and Madden would stem the seven-year
decline of MNF ratings. "I don't want to put too much pressure on
John," Katz said, "but, yeah, I expect ratings to go up." Instead
they went south. Again. MNF finished with an average rating of
11.4, down 1% from the Michaels--Dennis Miller--Dan Fouts trio of
'01. (A rating point equals about 1.05 million homes.) The nadir
came in the Dec. 30 finale between the 49ers and Rams, which drew
an 8.7, the lowest rating in the 33-year history of MNF.
No matter how strong an announcing team--and the current duo is
top-notch--all that matters in an ever-expanding 500-channel
universe is the quality of the games. A string of blowouts hurt
MNF's ratings this year (13 games were decided by 10 points or
more) as did NFL parity. (A-list teams such as Montana's Niners
were always a great draw.) If MNF is to reverse its slide in
2003, ABC execs need to start praying to the scheduling gods
Houston Comets forward Rebecca Lobo continues to build on the
promise she showed as an ESPN women's basketball analyst. Working
alongside Tim Brando on CBS's coverage of LSU's 80--63 win over
Penn State, Lobo picked her spots well, providing salient details
on LSU's tendency to overpass. Said Lobo, "In practice yesterday
[LSU] Coach [Sue] Gunter kicked the sideline and yelled at
Doneeka Hodges for overpassing, telling her, 'Doneeka, you should
have taken that shot!'" When Lobo retires, she'll make an easy
transition to the booth. --R.D.
Better Than Average
At 37, Penguins center Mario Lemieux is skating to another NHL
scoring title. (He's already won six.) In the second season of his
third comeback (twice from back injuries, once from non-Hodgkins lymphoma), Lemieux has 19 goals and 48 assists in his first 39 games. His alltime-best scoring average has slipped, however, from 1.97 to
1.96 points per game. Who has the next highest per-game average among active players (minimum of 500 points)?
a. Peter Forsberg c. Eric Lindros
b. Jaromir Jagr d. Joe Sakic
Lemieux has beaten more than 125 goalies in his career. Who's given up the most goals to him?
This Week's Matchup Lemieux is second to Marcel Dionne in career
points among players born in Quebec. Pair each of these other
prodigious point-getters with the Canadian province from which he
is the alltime leading scorer.
1. Wayne Gretzky a. Alberta
2. Gordie Howe b. British Columbia
3. Mark Messier c. Ontario
4. Steve Yzerman d. Saskatchewan
Call to Order Rank these former Penguins in order of their
highest single-season goal output while playing mainly with
a. Rob Brown c. Kevin Stevens
b. Petr Nedved d. Rick Tocchet
BETTER THAN AVERAGE: b. Former Lemieux teammate Jagr has averaged
1.30 points per game, second best among active players. Wayne
Gretzky is second alltime, with an average of 1.92 points per
WHIPLASHED: John Vanbiesbrouck, who retired last year after a
20-year career with six teams, gave up 32 goals to Lemieux.
THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP: 1. c; 2. d; 3. a; 4. b
CALL TO ORDER: Stevens (55 goals in 1992--93); Brown (49 in
'88--89); Tocchet (48 in '92--93); Nedved (45 in '95--96)
Cooperstown" --CONSIDER THE CLOSER, PAGE 20