Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Clayton Kershaw should not be MVP

by Tony Medley

How can anyone seriously consider Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw as MVP? He is apparently incapable of pitching a complete game and his own manager, Don Mattingly, doesn’t trust him to pitch the ninth inning in close games (or in any game, for that matter). Once he’s thrown 100 pitches, he’s out of there.

In the old days, pitchers pitched complete games. Baseball guru Branch Rickey, who developed baseball's farm system in the 1930s with the St. Louis Cardinals, spoke the sentence that should define how the game is managed. "Pitching," said Rickey, "is 80% of the game." It would have been unthinkable to pull Warren Spahn or Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson or Lefty Grove or Bob Feller or any pitcher of the era before around 1970 like this. In fact, had anyone tried to pull Gibson from a close game because he had thrown 100 pitches, that foolish person would have risked having Gibson tear his head off in front of 50,000 fans.

Agent Scott Boras uses the argument that pitching more than 100 pitches a game shortens a pitcher's life.  Well, if that's true, how could people like Christy Mathewson (435 Complete Games out of 552 starts, 78% in 16 years) and Grover Cleveland Alexander (437/559, 78% in 20 years) and Lefty Grove (298/457, 65% in 17 years) and Bob Feller (279/484, 58% in 18 years,( but he missed what would have been his four prime years because of WWII: Feller enlisted in the Navy 2 days after Pearl Harbor) and, well I could go on and on and on (all the greats from the past completed more than half the games they started), pitch complete game after complete game and still last 15-20 years in the big leagues? In an era where everyone is apparently getting bigger and stronger, have pitchers, alone among athletes, become 90-lb. weaklings?

Compare those percentages with Kershaw’s: in 7 years he has started 207 games and completed only 17, for a percentage of 8.2%! This is an MVP?

What's sad is that this ridiculous handling of pitchers has gone on for so long that nobody questions it. There is nary a mention of it in the media. Even Kershaw never complains. So it continues.

Rickey's dictum is incontestably true, but the people who manage today just don't recognize that. They all fall prey to the group think that nobody can pitch longer than seven innings or throw much more than 100 pitches today. They also apparently think that pitchers are fungible, that there’s no difference between a Clayton Kershaw and someone sitting in the bullpen. It is absurd and it's why I find it almost impossible to watch baseball today. I don't care who is in the bullpen, you don't pull a starting pitcher who is in total control of a game for a relief pitcher who isn't close to the quality of your starting pitcher.

When Kershaw proves he can pitch a complete game and when his manager trusts him to pitch the ninth inning in a close game, then maybe he can be considered as MVP. Until then, Young and Feller and Mathewson and all the others would laugh him and all the other 100-pitch wusses masquerading as starting pitchers out of the dugout.