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.


Sports Medley: All Time Dodgers teams 3 April 2017

by Tony Medley

In honor of the opening of the baseball season, here are my all-time Dodgers teams. Since there are two iterations of the Dodgers, there will be three teams, one limited to Brooklyn, one limited to Los Angeles, and an overall team.

Brooklyn:

Catcher: Roy Campanella

First Base: Gil Hodges

Second Base: Billy Herman

Third Base: Jackie Robinson

Shortstop: Pee Wee Reese

Left Field: Zack Wheat

Center Field: Duke Snider

Right Field: Pete Reiser/Carl Furillo

Pitchers: Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Dazzy Vance, Preacher Roe.

Manager: Leo Durocher

General Manager: Branch Rickey

This team looks a lot like the 1953 lineup. Many people think that was one of the greatest teams ever organized even though they lost a six game World Series to the Yankees. Although Robinson played more games at second base than any other position (regular from 1948-52; 1949 MVP), he also played first base, third base, and the outfield. After Jim Gilliam became the regular second baseman in 1953, Robinson played more games at third base than any other position through the end of his career in 1956. He is the second baseman on my all-time team (ahead of Rogers Hornsby). As to Reiser, he was en route to being one of the best players of all time until he ran into the center field fence in Sportsman Park in St. Louis in the summer of 1942 suffering a fractured skull and he was never the same as the man who burned the NL alive in 1941 leading the league with a .343 batting average at age 22. He was hitting .380 when he ran into the concrete wall in late July of 1942, with 19 hits in his last 21 at bats. Durocher said he’s the only player who might have been better than Willie Mays. So I split right field between him and Furillo who was a good hitter (1953 batting title at .344) with a rifle arm.

Los Angeles:

Catcher: Mike Piazza

First Base: Steve Garvey

Second Base: Davey Lopes

Shortstop: Maury Wills

Third Base: Adrian Beltre

Left Field: Tommy Davis

Center Field: Willie Davis

Right Field: Kirk Gibson

Pitchers: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Orel Hershiser, Clayton Kershaw.

Manager: Walter Alston

General Manager: Al Campanis

Clearly, Brooklyn has it over L.A. except for pitching. After the Dodgers fired Al Campanis, they were run by baseball imbeciles who let people like Piazza and Beltre get away in the prime of their careers, not to mention Pedro Martinez who wasn’t with them long enough to qualify to be one of their top pitchers. Beltre became a star in his last year with the Dodgers (batting .334), and then they let him get away to become the best third baseman in baseball and a Gold Glove winner; so he edges out Ron Cey. Gibson wasn’t with the team even as long as Beltre (1988-90), but his pinch hit, crippled World Series home run in 1988 is just a skosh behind Bobby Thomson’s 1951 “Home Run Heard ‘Round the World” as  the greatest moment in baseball history, which qualifies him in my mind for the all-time team. It was close between Jim Gilliam and Lopes for second base, but I pick Lopes due to his stolen base record.

Combined Brooklyn/L.A.:

Catcher: Roy Campanella, Brooklyn

First Base: Steve Garvey, L.A.

Second Base: Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, L. A.

Shortstop: Maury Wills L. A.

Left Field: Zack Wheat, Brooklyn

Center Field: Duke Snider, Brooklyn

Right Field: Pete Reiser/Carl Furillo, Brooklyn

Pitchers: Sandy Koufax, L. A., Don Newcombe and Dazzy Vance,  Brooklyn, Don Drysdale, Orel Hershiser, and Clayton Kershaw, all L. A.

Manager: Leo Durocher, Brooklyn

General Manager: Branch Rickey, Brooklyn

Both Garvey and Hodges were Gold Glove fielders and good hitters but Garvey was a better hitter. Even though Reese was the “Captain,” Wills changed the game unlike anyone since Babe Ruth to return the stolen base to the game, sparked the team to 4 NL titles and 3 World Series Championships, and should be in the Hall of Fame. While Piazza was one of the purest right handed hitters I’ve ever seen, Campanella, a 3-time MVP, was also formidable at the plate and far out-paced Piazza defensively.

 

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