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: Strikeout Kings 5 Jun 17

by Tony Medley

Strikeout Kings: I donít know where the Dodgers get all these guys who canít hit the ball. Worse, I canít understand why they all get awarded starting jobs. Yasiel Puig couldnít hit a low breaking curve when he first came up. Now he fans on belt high fastballs down the middle. Joc Pederson is almost hopeless. Every once in a while he gets a hit and sometimes itís a long home run. But mostly he strikes out. Presently on the Disabled List, this year to date his batting average is .200 and his strike out average is .333. Thatís right, he gets a hit one at bat out of five but strikes out once for every three at bats. Then thereís the new phenom, Cody Bellinger. Heís only batting .252, but he strikes out an enormous 36% of the time. Between Cody and Joc, they swing and miss so much that one wouldnít need a fan to keep cool if sitting near the batterís box. It remains to be seen whether or not Joc will still be starting when he returns. Is manager Dave Roberts really going to bench Chris Taylor, his best hitter the past month, to reinsert weak hitting Joc into the lineup?

When starting out, Bellinger at least got enough hits to justify his status, but his batting average has dropped precipitously since his debut. He needs a batting coach who could teach him to cut down his Ruthian swing and bat more like Stan Musial. Heís got enough power that if he just swung to hit the ball he would raise his average and still get the same number of home runs.

Even the other phenom, Taylor, strikes out far too much, 31% of the time, but at least his batting average, .318, is higher than his strike out average.

Finally, how can a player like Logan Forsythe be playing ahead of Taylor? A lifetime .265 hitter, he strikes out a whopping 36% of the time! Since returning from the Disabled List his batting average has plummeted to .219 but he continues to start ahead of better players.

The one exception to this rage of strikeouts is Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley who ďonlyĒ strikes out 17% of the time throughout his career.

But that is admirable only in todayís era. Babe Ruth (lifetime batting average .342) led the league in strikeouts four times, but only struck out 15% of the time. In those days a strikeout was ignominious and that explains why batting averages were much higher. Lou Gehrig (.340) and Ted Williams (.344) struck out 9.8% and 9.2% of the time respectively, Stan Musial (.331) 6.3%, and Joe DiMaggio (.325) 5.4%.

Todayís hitters canít compare with these guys, and itís not because of the pitching or the poor umpiring. Itís the way they swing at the ball. Bellinger is out of control every time he takes a swing, many times missing the ball by several inches by swinging from his heels. If they would just concentrate on making contact batting averages would rise and, in my opinion, the number of home runs would remain relatively constant.

When you swing and miss you donít have a chance. But when you hit the ball, you have many chances. Even if you donít hit it hard, it might be a Texas League Single or a ground ball with eyes or the fielder might make an error. None of those things are possible when you swing and miss.

The agony of watching NBA playoffs: What in the world is ABC thinking, putting Mark Jackson on their premier NBA telecast? Jacksonís comments are insultingly banal, like, ďThe best player on the floor is LeBron James. It really does not get any better.Ē And describing Steph Curry, ďYou gotta get up closer, and how about that reaction? Show off young man, Mother, there goes that man, but not to New York City with the Rockettes, thatís not good enough, Steph.Ē Meanwhile as Jackson is mouthing this nonsense, the brilliant, articulate Hubie Brown is sitting a few seats away describing whatís actually going on to a radio audience. Jackson was fired as coach by Golden State in 2014, replaced by Steve Kerr who took the team to an NBA championship his very first year. How Jackson keeps his high profile job as a commentator when he has nothing to say is a mystery.

 

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