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: You Can Kiss Pitchers’ Duels Goodbye 27 Jul 15

by Tony Medley

Bye-Bye Pitchers Duels: On September 6, 1912, Walter Johnson (33-12, ERA 1.39, 34 Complete Games out of 37 starts for 92%) faced Smoky Joe Wood (34-5, ERA 1.92, 35 Complete Games out of 43 starts for 81.4%) in Fenway Park in Boston in a fabled pitchers’ battle. Both won a still record 16 in a row that year, and both pitched complete a game with Wood prevailing, 1-0. There have been many other memorable pitchers duels down through the decades, but such great games no longer exist due to the sabermetricians’ phony “pitch count” evaluation methodology.

On July 19 Zack Greinke faced off against Washington’s Max Scherzer, probably the two best pitchers in baseball this year, in a similar matchup. But neither manager allowed his pitcher to go all the way. Scherzer was pulled by Manager Matt Williams after six innings and 98 pitches, behind 1-0 (striking out the last man he faced). After the game he said, “I was good. I felt strong. I was ready to go as long as I could.” So why was a dominant pitcher pulled? There is no logical reason; the knee-jerk 98 pitches defies common sense but is obviously the reason. Williams apparently could care less how his pitcher feels. Not surprisingly, his relievers allowed 4 more runs and the Dodgers won 5-0. Mattingly didn’t let Greinke pitch the ninth inning, either, despite his obvious dominance.

Back in the day pitchers wanted to pitch complete games. Circa 1940-50s New York Yankee star pitcher Allie Reynolds (44%; two no-hitters in 1951) was constantly requesting to be traded because Casey Stengel kept pulling him for reliever Joe Page. Allie eventually got Casey to see the error of his ways, completing 72.7% of his games in 1951 & ’52. Back then starters wanted to complete the games they started. Today they all apparently buy into the fact that they are only good for 100 pitches.

Confirming this, in a dugout interview during the July 4 game against the Mets, Clayton Kershaw said “…for me, you try to stay with the 15 pitch per inning thing. That will at least get you through seven (7x15=105) and then try to fit a 10 or 12 pitch inning to get you through the 8th. That’s what we’re going with. So early (in this game) Zack (Greinke) was going deep in the counts. You’ve got to give the Mets credit. They were going deep in the count and fouling off pitches. And we did the same thing with (Mets pitcher Matt) Harvey. So Zack’s at 44 right now (middle of the top of the 3rd inning) and you typically like to be about 45 after the third (inning), so Zack’s got a little work to do.”

This is nuts. I’ve given complete game percentages of many pitchers from 1900 through around 1980 to prove that the 100 pitch limit is nonsense before, so I won’t repeat it, except to say that people like Warren Spahn and Bob Feller pitched for 20 years (both lost years to WWII) with complete game percentages of over 57% and had career ERAs of 3.09 and 3.25 respectively. Kershaw and Greinke have career complete game percentages of 7.5% and 4.5%, respectively. Replacing these two pitchers in late innings of close games for inferior pitchers defies common sense. The fact that today’s pitchers just accept this says a lot about their lack of pride. I’d pay good money to see someone like Don Mattingly try to pull former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson (53% complete game percentage with a career ERA of 2.91 over 17 years) from a game in which he was pitching a shutout.

More Psychobabble From Dodgers’ Announcers or Why Three People in the Dodgers’ Announcing Booth is Two Too Many: With the score 2-2 in the top of the 10th in Sunday’s game against the Mets, strikeout king Joc Pederson was at bat with the go ahead run on third with one out. With the count 2-2, one of the Dodgers’ commentators (both Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra sound alike to me) said, “Every foul ball, every take, Joc is gaining confidence that he can do the job. Immediately when the count went to 0-2 on the first two pitches, he was battling some demons, I’m sure. But now his mind is getting clearer and clearer with every pitch.” Pederson swung and missed at the next pitch that was so low in the dirt it bounced before the catcher caught it, Joc barely touching it for a foul tip, and then struck out on the next pitch missing the ball by two inches.

Another Talking Head Who Needs a Dumbbell English Course “Jimbo Fisher has already went out of his way to talk to the players…” Safid Deen, Sportswriter, Tallahassee Democrat on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”