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Peter Jackel: My Mount Rushmores of Wisconsin sports

Since 1941, the majestic sculpture of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt in the Black Hills of Keystone, S.D., have represented one of the most iconic and enduring images of the United States.

I am thus inspired to present my “Mount Rushmore” of sports in Wisconsin, both at the local and state levels. For better or worse, here’s what I offer for your consumption:

PACKERS: Bart Starr, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Don Hutson

Comment: The first three are obvious. The fourth was a real challenge considering Reggie White, James Lofton and Forrest Gregg are among the other greats who played for the Packers. The choice falls to Hutson, a receiver who revolutionized his position during his Packers career from 1935-45.

BREWERS: Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Prince Fielder, Rollie Fingers

Comment: As great as Yount was, Molitor is my choice for the greatest Brewer. He is 10th all-time in major league history with 3,319 hits. Had he not missed most of the 1984 season with an injury, Molitor easily could be in the top five.

BRAVES: Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette

Comment: What’s remarkable to me is Aaron won only one National League MVP award during his 23-year-career. No player has ever intrigued me more than Spahn, who didn’t win his first major league game until the age of 25 and finished with 363 victories. At the age of 44 in 1965, he finished his career with the Giants by compiling a 3.39 earned run average in 71⅔ innings. And then he was released. How many millions would such a performance be worth these days?

BUCKS: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Sidney Moncrief, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Comment: The Bucks have abused the ridiculous practice of retiring numbers as much as any sports organization, with eight numbers hanging in the rafters to show for their one NBA championship. But Abdul-Jabbar is one of the five greatest players of all time. Robertson is still in the top 20 in NBA history. And it’s remarkable to think Antetokounmpo is still only 22.

UW FOOTBALL: Russell Wilson, Ron Dayne, J.J. Watt, Joe Thomas

Comment: I was so tempted to put Brent Moss on this list and it doesn’t have anything to do with being a homer. Let us not forget that the former Park High School All-State running back was the focal point on the first Badgers team to win a Rose Bowl in January 1994. And that team laid the foundation for the football excellence that has been on display in Madison ever since. And I do realize Alan Ameche won the Heisman Trophy in 1954, but I just cannot omit any of the four names listed above.

RACINE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tony Romo, Burlington; Brent Moss, Park; Kevin Barry, Park; Johnny Clay, Park

Comment: It hurts not to include Chris Maragos, the only player from Racine County to earn a Super Bowl championship ring and who might end up with the longest NFL career of any Racine County player. But Barry and Clay are the only two county Players to ever be named the AP Player of the Year in Wisconsin. Moss was the Rose Bowl and Big Ten MVP during the 1993 season. And the recently retired Romo is, statistically, one of the five greatest passers in NFL history.

RACINE COUNTY BOYS BASKETBALL: Jim Chones, St. Catherine’s; Robert Berryhill, Horlick; Caron Butler, Park; Jim McIlvaine, St. Catherine’s

Comment: I will always remember Berryhill as the Michael Jordan of county basketball during his time at Horlick from 1983-86. He was really someone to see. As for McIlvaine, let’s not forget that he was the AP Player of the Year in Wisconsin as a senior at St. Catherine’s in 1990 and was a legitimate defensive game-changer who was given a seven-year $33.6 million contract by the Seattle SuperSonics in 1996.

RACINE COUNTY GIRLS BASKETBALL: Sonja Henning, Horlick; LaTonya Sims, Park; Samantha Logic, Case; Keisha Anderson, Park

Comment: A strong argument could be made that Henning is the greatest athlete to come out of the county. She was the AP Player of the Year in basketball in Wisconsin as a senior at Horlick in 1987, is the all-time leading scorer among boys or girls in county history and was a first-team All-America for Stanford in 1991 (a year after she started on its national championship team).

STATE COACHES: Vince Lombardi, Al McGuire, Dick Bennett, Bo Ryan

Comment: The legend of Lombardi burns as brightly as ever going on 50 years after he coached his last game for the Packers. Ryan never won a national championship, but he might have done more with less – relatively speaking – than any coach in college basketball history. He wasn’t getting elite one-and-done players. He made a career of masterfully molding role players into dominating teams that exponentially raised the profile of UW basketball.

Story by Peter Jackel, Courtesy of The Journal Times.

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Vince Lombardi-Bart Starr: Greatest Head Coach-Quarterback Tandem in NFL History

Photo: Tony Tomsic/Getty Images

Photo: Tony Tomsic/Getty Images

From 1920-1932, the NFL championship was not decided in a playoff format. Who ever had the best winning percentage at the end of the season was awarded the NFL championship. (Every team did not play the same number of games, and ties didn’t count in the standings).

That changed in 1933. In that season, the National Football League split into two divisions (later called conferences), with the division winners playing in the NFL Championship Game. Ever since then, there has been an ever-evolving postseason, which now ends on Super Bowl Sunday.

Since 1933, only five combinations of head coach/quarterback have won at least three championships together. In 1940, ’41 and ’46 (with time lost due to World War II) Sid Luckman and George Halas won three NFL Championships. In 1974-75 and 1978-79 Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw took home four Super Bowls with the Steelers. In 1981, ’84, and ’88 Bill Walsh and Joe Montana won three Super Bowls in San Francisco. And Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have five Lombardi Trophies and counting with New England.

However, there is one more coach/quarterback tandem in this group. This tandem won the 1961, 1962 and 1965 NFL Championship games as well as Super Bowls I & II. Of course, it is Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.

Vince Lombardi-Bart Starr: Greatest Head Coach-Quarterback Tandem in NFL History

In nine seasons together they were 96-34-6 in the regular season, won six Western Conference titles and the aforementioned five championships. During that run, they were 9-1 in the playoffs. Their three consecutive world championships (1965 NFL Championship and Super Bowls I & II) are, to date, the only occurrence of three titles in a row since the inception of the NFL Championship Game in 1933. Subsequently, the Packers are the only franchise to win three straight championships from the pre-Championship Game Era as well.

In addition to this, the Packers would compete against two Hall of Fame quarterbacks. They faced Y.A. Tittle in the NFL Championship Game, and in Super Bowl I, they would face the Hall of Fame head coach/quarterback tandem of Hank Stram and Len Dawson. Their record in those game was 3-0.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s Place in NFL History

Winning five Super Bowls is impressive, but the five championship wins are hardly unprecedented. Brady was the second quarterback (after Starr) to win five championships. Belichick is the third coach to win five championships after Lombardi and Halas. Halas won two NFL Championship Games prior to the arrival of Luckman. Additionally, he won the 1921 American Professional Football Association (the league name before NFL) championship.

While Belichick is the first head coach to win five Super Bowls, Brady isn’t the first NFL player to accomplish that feat even though he is the first quarterback. With the Dallas Cowboys win in Super Bowl XXX, Charles Haley became the first player to win five Super Bowls. Additionally, the Patriots are the fourth franchise to win five Super Bowls, with the others being the Steelers, Cowboys and 49ers. Additionally, they are the eighth NFL franchise with five or more world championships.

To date the opponents of the Patriots have featured only four Hall of Fame players. That’s a far cry from the 13 that were on the opponents of the Packers in the 60s.

There’s no doubt that together, Brady and Belichick are great. In the Super Bowl Era, they’re the best. However, when you look at the entire history of the NFL, overlooking the era before the Super Bowl is an injustice to those that played and coached.

As of right now, the two rank as the second-best quarterback/head coach tandem in NFL history. The greatest tandem is Starr and Lombardi. However, another Super Bowl victory will change that narrative.

Story by Michael Pallas, Courtesy of LastWordOnProFootball.com

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A Tale of Four Arenas: Milwaukee’s NBA Venues are All Still Standing, and Very Near to Each Other

A picture of the progress being made on Milwaukee’s under-construction basketball arena (with the nearby Bradley Center and Milwaukee Panther Arena) has recently made the social media rounds, claiming it to be the very rare instance of three NBA facilities (past, present, and future homes of the Milwaukee Bucks) all next door to each other.

It’s an interesting image, one that both illustrates the progression of the Milwaukee Bucks’ home courts and a developing part of downtown Milwaukee. The new arena fills the long-dead area left vacant by the mistake that was the Park East Freeway. The Bradley Center marks the 1980s desire to erase Downtown’s seedy image of dirty bookstores and street walkers. The Panther Arena, better known historically as the MECCA, was a harbinger of Milwaukee’s post-war drive for Big League City status.

But mostly hidden in the image is what makes it, among American sporting venues, a singularly unique snapshot of four former, present and future arenas in the same area. Just to the left of the Bradley Center’s peak is the roof of the Miller High Life Theater (previously known as the Milwaukee Theater and originally known as the Milwaukee Auditorium). Back in 1951, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks of the fledgling National Basketball Association relocated to Milwaukee and became the Hawks. The Hawks played their home games at what is now the Panther Arena, but, due to scheduling conflicts that arose from their last-minute relocation, were forced to play six home games at the Auditorium. The Hawks played their home games full-time at the Arena over the next three seasons before leaving the city for St. Louis.

The Arena was used regularly after the Hawks’ departure as a concert and event venue, and once again become home to NBA basketball in 1968 when the expansion Bucks moved in. The Bucks were a powerhouse at the Arena, which was renamed the Milwaukee Exposition, Convention Center and Arena or MECCA in 1974, making 16 playoff appearances in 20 seasons, including 12 division titles and an NBA title.

But even with regularly filling the MECCA to capacity, the venue’s limited size meant the team continually lingered near the bottom of the league attendance rankings. In late 1986, ground was broken on the Bradley Center, a gift to the city from Lloyd Pettit and Jane Bradley Pettit intended to attract an expansion NHL team to Milwaukee. Named for Bradley Pettit’s father, Harry Lynde Bradley, the arena never managed to draw an NHL team, but did provide the Bucks with one of the finest facilities in the NBA. The team set a franchise attendance record in their first season in the new arena, besting their previous per-game high by over 50 percent. Unfortunately, the Bucks also fell into their first period of extended futility at the Bradley Center, missing the postseason for seven straight seasons between 1991 and 1998 (previously the team had only missed the postseason four times in their history).

By 2013, the Bradley Center had become one of the oldest venues in the NBA. League commissioner Adam Silver gave the franchise an ultimatum to either relocate or build a new facility. The following year, Senator Herb Kohl, who had purchased the team in 1985 to prevent them from leaving the city, sold the Bucks to a pair of New York billionaires with a provision that both Kohl and new ownership group each put up $100 million towards the building a new arena. With a healthy contribution of taxpayer money from the city and state, ground was broken on the facility in June 2016.

The new arena, which is currently known as the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, but will soon have an official corporate-branded identity, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018. 

Story by Matthew J. Prigge, Courtesy of Shepard Express.

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As progress rounds off Marquette's edges, celebrating a unique program's unlikely success

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

We should begin with the tale of the Bumblebees. This has nothing to do with entomology, chunk light tuna, or Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, in case you were wondering, but you probably weren’t. The Bumblebees were a set of basketball uniforms—dark blue edging toward black, with horizontal yellow stripes and the number in white—and there is not a single Marquette alumnus/a who wouldn’t sell a kidney to get their hands on an authentic one.

They were worn just long enough for the Warriors—and we’ll get to the nickname business in a minute—to win the 1970 NIT and then to run off a perfect regular season in 1970–71, only to be upset in the NCAA tournament by Ohio State in the game that the late Al McGuire once referred to as “the only time I ever got screwed without getting kissed.” Then, the NCAA stepped in with its seven-league boots of stupid. But, first, let Joe Thomas, Marquette ’71, tell how the Bumblebees came to be.

“Al was an executive with Sand Knit,” Thomas said. “So, one day, he shows up with these uniforms, and we said, ‘We are not wearing these uniforms,’ and Al told us that this wasn’t a democracy.”

A brief aside: Marquette basketball in those days was indeed a dictatorship. Often, it was a smoothly running one, like Rome under the Caesars. However, more than occasionally, it was more like Freedonia as presided over by Rufus T. Firefly. This was one of the latter episodes, as Thomas explained.

“The uniforms had these ugly yellow socks,” he said. “So we told Al, ‘O.K., we’ll wear the uniforms if we don’t have to wear the socks.’”

It was an effective compromise until the guys in the blazers stepped in. They claimed the design of the uniforms confused the officials. “They told us that when we jumped, the guys on the other team got hypnotized or something,” said Jim Chones, the center on that undefeated team that lost to Ohio State.

“The refs said we looked like kaleidoscopes,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t read the numbers.”

The NCAA banned the uniforms, and they disappeared into boxes wherever it is that 100 years of eccentric, excellent basketball was stored on the snowblind campus along Wisconsin Avenue.

I have been back twice this year, once for the 100th anniversary of the student publications, and then last Saturday for a gala celebrating 100 years of Marquette basketball. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt a certain karmic symmetry to the dual centenaries. A century of basketball, and a century of people to document the wildness of it all.

The gala was held in the BMO Harris Bradley Center, an arena not quite 30 years old that has housed the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette and a perfectly good building soon to be sacrificed on behalf of greed masquerading as progress. It was built to house an NHL team that never arrived.

To the immediate south is the old Milwaukee Arena, which always reminded me of a rolltop desk. The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers play there now.

To the immediate north rises the iron work of what will be a new $524 million pleasure dome to replace the Bradley Center, which really doesn’t need to be replaced, unless you require a building in which you can charge 300 large for a luxury suite, which the new one will. Once the new building is finished, the Bradley Center must be demolished within a time frame specified in the deal. I have no sentimental feelings about that place at all. So there will be this spanking new monument to corporate over-compensation, and there will be the old, rounded arena, where most of the magic took place back in my day, back in the era that made all the other eras that folks gathered to celebrate. The Arena abides. Old cheers echo there. And, next door, in the doomed Bradley Center on Saturday, the ghosts came out to play.

*****

The first person I saw at the reception was Greg (Pope) Johnson, who lived next door to me on the 11th floor of McCormick Hall, the beercan-shaped men’s dorm in which I lived for two years. (McCormick went coed years ago, and it’s coming down soon, too.) His roommate was the late Maurice Lucas, who went on to glory with the Portland Trailblazers at the end of the 1970s. They were good neighbors, generally; the music through the cheesecloth walls was always jazz and very solid. (Living next door to Luke and the Pope gave me a real jones for Weather Report and the Jazz Messengers.) Pope came to the business-casual gala in a lovely Hawaiian shirt of which I was very jealous.

There are so many of them gone now: Luke, lost to cancer at 58; Dean (The Dream) Meminger, still the most iconic and charismatic player in the program’s history, dead of a cocaine overdose in 2013; and the entire coaching staff of the 1977 national championship team, Al, Hank Raymonds and Rick Majerus.

Bo Ellis and Butch Lee were there to represent that particular bunch of Warriors who gifted McGuire with a national championship in his last game as a coach. They appeared on a panel representing the 1960s and 1970s, and master-of-ceremonies Jay Bilas made the mistake of introducing Bo as the only Marquette player to play in two Final Fours.

“I am,” Bo corrected him, “the only Marquette player to play in two national championship games.” And, it was only after the laughter died out that you noticed that Bo was not wearing socks. It was business-casual, after all.

So many of them came back, young and old. Bo and Butch Lee and Earl Tatum. Travis Diener, Steve Novak and Rob Jackson from the surprise 2003 Final Four team. (Dwyane Wade was in France, but he sent along a video tribute.) The event was the brainchild of Steve Wojciechowski, who was dragooned into the role of piñata by practically everyone on the dais and who is currently entering into his fourth season as the coach of the Golden Eagles (Yeah, we’ll get to that, I promise).

The coaches that did attend—Tom Crean, Mike Deane, and Kevin O’Neill—all talked about coping with the history of the program, and McGuire’s giant shadow. It was too much for some people; the late Bob Dukiet came and was so overwhelmed by it that he tried to sever the program from its history to the point where former players staged a kind of palace coup. O’Neill brought the program back, and Deane followed him as Marquette lodged itself temporarily in several pre-fab conferences—The Great Midwest? Conference USA?—before landing in the Big East.

It was Crean, however, who most firmly and permanently reattached the present and the future to the past. It was while Crean was coaching that McGuire died of leukemia in 2001 and, all through McGuire’s final illness, the two men stayed in touch.

“He always told me not to worry about what he had done,” said Crean, who admitted that he’d “been booed in this building” in the years after the Final Four run. “He told me to do things the way I wanted to do them.” Which is how, I guess, the Warriors became the Golden Eagles, although there was some serious blowback on the whole nickname thing throughout the festivities.

“We were proud to be Warriors,” said Tom Flynn, one of McGuire’s earliest recruits. “Many of us wondered what happened when they stopped being Warriors.”

The transition was legendarily clumsy. The Warriors were traditionally represented by a Gilbert-and-Sullivan Indian named, grotesquely, Willie Wampum. This became increasingly embarrassing and controversial as the years went by. So the school started trolling for a new team monicker. They settled on Golden Eagles, which did not sit well with former Warriors, who wondered why they couldn’t be represented by, say, a Viking, or an Ostrogoth, or a member of the Fianna from the Kingdom of Ulster.

So the school tried again, and for one brief (and completely idiotic) moment in 2005, the team was known as the Marquette Gold. Wes Matthews, now with the Dallas Mavericks, remembers how that went over. “They said, ‘Marquette Gold,’ and I thought, man, I don’t know if I can do that,” Matthews said. The new nickname lasted a week before it was ridiculed into blessed oblivion.

(I campaigned hard for a return to what they used to call the football team back in the 1920s and 1930s, The Golden Avalanche. Some young weisenheimer from the Marquette Tribune suggested The Shameless Capitulators. I never was more proud of my degree than when that happened.)

There was more to Saturday night than the celebration of a successful basketball program. It was a celebration of identity, forged in the most unlikely of places by some of the most unlikely people ever to walk the campus of a Jesuit institution. The team won a lot of games, but it also had a coach who once responded to someone who insulted his center by saying the player “couldn’t throw the ball in Lake Michigan” by bringing the player down to the beach and having him do that very thing. It won an NCAA championship, but it also once had a player take down the nets at Madison Square Garden with a switchblade. Nothing like that can happen in college basketball any more. The corporate partners would stroke out.

Progress is as progress does. The edges of the program are rounded off now; the whole operation is a little smoother and professional, in every conventional sense. The Bumblebees are still packed away, and they’re still against the rules, as far as anyone knows. Very soon, the games will be played in a brand-new and ridiculously expensive arena as progress marches north along Fourth Street in downtown Milwaukee. But the old arena will remain because the ghosts always need a homecourt on which they can play forever.

Story by Charles Pierce, Courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

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Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson ranked among NFL's best linebackers

Ray Nitschke and Dave Robinson anchored a Packers defense that dominated the NFL.

Ray Nitschke and Dave Robinson were a dynamic duo for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. And Gil Brandt of NFL.com just made the call as to where they rank with the all-time greats.

Brandt recently released his list of the 45 best linebackers in NFL history and both Robinson and Nitschke were ranked in the top 15. Robinson came in at No. 15 and Nitschke came in at No. 4.

Robinson was named to the 1960s All-Decade Team after leading the Packers to three NFL championships (two Super Bowls) and being named to the Pro Bowl three times. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Nitschke is considered one of the all-time greats as helped the Packers win five NFL championships (two Super Bowls). He was named to he All-Pro team seven times and he was also named to the 1960s All-Decade Team as well as the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

There was another Packer to make the list and that was Ted Hendricks who was ranked No. 5. He played for the Packers for one season (1974), but he had one of his best seasons as he recorded 75 tackles, five interceptions and seven blocked kicks.

As for the three players who were ranked ahead of Nitschke, they were Dick Butkus (No. 3), Derrick Thomas (No. 2), Lawrence Taylor (No. 1).

Story by Brian Jones, Courtesy of http://gnb.247sports.com

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Bud Selig sees Hall of Fame from new perspective

Photo: Tom Haudricourt

Photo: Tom Haudricourt

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Bud Selig isn’t sure how many times he has visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He’s guessing somewhere around 25 times, including once in each of his 22 years as Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

But Selig never had been on the receiving end of a trip to Cooperstown. On Thursday, he was given his orientation as an upcoming inductee into the Hall of Fame. All new members get the royal treatment, but none has had the same perspective as Selig beforehand.

“I didn’t think anything could overwhelm me but this is overwhelming,” Selig conceded before the day’s full schedule of events even began. “I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. Everywhere I go, people remind me about it.”

Selig, voted in by a 15-1 margin by the Today’s Era Committee in December, was the last of the five 2017 inductees to make an initiation visit, following former players Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez, and executive John Schuerholz. It proved to be a day he’ll never forget, leading to the July 30 induction ceremony on his 83rd birthday.

Here’s how the busy yet buoyant day went:

8:46 a.m. CDT: Selig boards a private plane at Mitchell International Airport for the 1-hour, 15-minute flight to Griffiss International Airport, a former military base in Rome, N.Y. The departure is several minutes behind schedule due to poor weather in Milwaukee and a longer-than-expected drive in heavy traffic from his home in Bayside.

Selig settles in with his usual thick stack of newspapers, which he scours for as much baseball news as possible while also chatting with two invited reporters about his road to Cooperstown.

“I’ve been thinking about Hall of Famers,” he said. “Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Branch Rickey, who was my boyhood idol, Joe DiMaggio, who became my favorite player, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays. Think of the names. And now I get to join them.”

Selig talks about the early preparation for his acceptance speech, the accomplishments that will be chronicled on his bronze plaque and the artifacts from his years as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and commissioner to be donated to the induction exhibit.

On the topic of his speech, Selig later says, “It’ll get changed about 8,000 times between now and July 30. That’s the one thing I’m most sure of.”

11:15 am. EDT: Selig’s plane lands in Rome, N.Y., where two vans from the Hall of Fame await to take his delegation to Cooperstown, about an hour’s ride away through scenic upstate New York. Selig is taken directly to The Otesaga Resort Hotel on scenic Otsego Lake for lunch with Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark, president Jeff Idelson and several senior staff members.

1:15 p.m.: Selig and the Hall of Fame staff gather for a planning meeting for induction weekend. As baseball commissioner, Selig helped hand plaques to recipients on the stage. Now, he learns about the schedule, media opportunities, his speech and many other details that go into being inducted. He signs two dozen baseballs that go into the Hall’s archives, following the tradition of every member before him.

“I used a Hall of Fame pen,” he said. “I asked if I could keep it and they said, ‘Sure.’ ”

2:30 p.m.: Selig is brought to the Plaque Gallery, the most sacred location in the Hall of Fame, where bronze plaques hang of all Hall of Famers. He is shown the plaques of Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and others of interest before moving to the center of the rotunda to inspect the five-man inaugural class of 1936: Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, Ruth, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson.

He then is taken to the specific location in the gallery where his plaque will hang forevermore. And, in a new touch this year, he is asked to autograph the granite backing over which the plaque will hang.

Selig then meets with local and national media to discuss his upcoming induction as well as other baseball topics. Some of the questions are tough. He is asked if he has any regrets from his years as the commissioner or if he fears hearing any boos at his induction.

“If you’re worried when you become commissioner about being booed … you’re going to do things that are not always popular or easy,” he said. “But you do what’s in the best interests of the game. You understand that whatever you do, somebody might not agree with. I’m proud of what we did.”

3:15 p.m.: Selig is taken to a place only special visitors are allowed to go – the basement archives of the museum. There, thousands upon thousands of artifacts are stored in boxes and other containers for safe keeping. Hall of Fame vice president of exhibits and collections Erik Strohl reveals the museum has more than 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts on site, only 12% to 15% of which are exhibited at any given time.

Several items considered of interest to Selig are displayed on a table for him to examine, wearing white gloves to protect their integrity. He is shown fielding gloves from as far back as the 1870s, a glove worn by Gehrig and another by Derek Jeter. There is a gold leaf-coated baseball from an all-star game in 1858 between teams from Manhattan and Brooklyn, considered to be the first game for which admission was charged.

Selig is shown a Seattle Pilots baseball cap, worn just one season before they became the Brewers. There is a Kenosha uniform from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a jersey worn by Steve Barber from the first Brewers club in 1970, a Warren Spahn cap and the bat Eddie Mathews used to hit his 506th career home run.

“Look at all of this,” Selig said in wonderment. “Have you ever seen anything like it? This is unbelievable. It really is. I could stay down here all day.”

The coup de grace was a Babe Ruth-used bat, which Selig was allowed to hold, examine and use to take a few practice swings. For a devout follower and fan of baseball history, it was like being a kid in the candy store.

“Well, we know at least two people who have held this bat,” Selig says with a smile.

3:45 p.m.: Selig is taken on a personal tour of the museum by Strohl, stopping to see exhibits of personal interest. The first stop is an extensive collection of artifacts honoring Aaron, a longtime friend of Selig’s.

“He has been more generous to us than any other living Hall of Famer,” Strohl tells Selig.

Selig makes stops at other exhibits paying tribute to Jackie Robinson, Gehrig and Ruth, and also is shown an exhibit containing the bronze nameplate with the inscription “Commissioner Selig” from his former office in downtown Milwaukee.

4:30 p.m.: As a relaxing end to his big day, Selig attends a staff reception with cake and punch served. He says a few words of thanks before departing.

“This is a great day in my life,” he said. “It was eye-opening in a lot of ways, I can tell you that. This takes your breath away.

“Everybody here was so nice. They really go out of their way to help you.”

5 p.m.: Selig’s visit comes to an end. As he exits the Hall of Fame, he tells staff members, “I guess I’ll see you in July.”

Story by Tom Haudricourt, Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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ILYA to honor sailing families at Inlands

The Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) will celebrate the sailing achievements and contributions to the sport of 23 families at its annual championship on August 16–20, 2017. The championship will be held at Lake Geneva Yacht Club and the Buddy Melges Sailing Center in Fontana, Wisconsin, and the families will be honored at a dinner at the Yacht Club on August 18.

The 2017 theme for this major annual sailing event is “Sail It On” designed to recognize the generations of ILYA families whose excellence on the race course and dedication to the sport have inspired sailors throughout the country and helped establish the rich traditions upon which ILYA activities are based. The August 18 celebration will feature stories, videos, and speakers on each family’s accomplishments within the ILYA.

Established in 1898 to encourage and promote yachting and interlake racing, the ILYA now includes 51 yacht and sailing clubs in ten states and the District of Columbia. Its annual championship attracts World, National, Olympic, Club, and Intercollegiate champions.

The ILYA Championship is America’s #1 inland lake yacht racing competition and features some of the fastest monohull sailboats in the world. This year’s Inlands, as it is referred, is expected to attract more than 200 boats and 500 competitors to determine the top sailors in the A-Scow (38 feet, 6-7 crew), E-Scow (28 feet, 3-4 crew), C-Scow (20 feet, 2-3 crew), and the MC-Scow (16 feet, 1–2 crew).

Selected for recognition is the Melges family from Lake Geneva Yacht Club, with ILYA championship titles won by Harry C. Melges Sr. (in Class A), Olympic medalist and America’s Cup helmsman Harry C. “Buddy” Melges Jr. (Classes A, E, C), Melges 24 World Champion Harry Melges III (Classes E, C, M, X), Hans Melges (Class X), and Harry Melges IV (Class X, Melges 17).

Also, from Lake Geneva is the Porter family, with ILYA championships won by John Porter (Classes A and E), Melges 24 World Champion and 2013 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Brian Porter (Class E), Vincent Porter (Classes A, E, X, Laser), Davis Porter (Class X), and R. J. Porter (Melges 17).

From the Minnetonka Yacht Club (Minneapolis) is the Allen family, with Ken Allen, Olympic gold medalist Bill Allen (Classes A, E, C), crew Richard Allen and Bob Allen, A-Boat skipper Harry Allen, and third generation sailors Robbie Allen (Class X), Lindsay Allen (Optimist) and Amanda Allen (E Scow).

Also, from Lake Minnetonka is the Bowers family, with Finn North American Champion and Olympic team coach Gordy Bowers (Classes A, E, C, MC), brothers Mark Bowers, Dan Bowers (Class E), Steve Bowers (Class E), Tom Bowers (Class C), and Mark’s son Erik Bowers (Class E), a 2016 and 2020 Olympic Laser contender.

Additional Lake Geneva/Delavan area families to be honored are the Davenport, Lund/Mattison/Navin, and Goes families. From Pewaukee Yacht Club, the Barkow/Friend, Gutenkunst/O’Malley/Sawyer, Meyer/Ruf/Koch/Schmidt/Spencer/Tornehl/Davis families.

Other families to be recognized are Burton, Strothman/Tews (Lake Minnetonka, MN), Driessen (Gull Lake, MN), Eckert (Cedar Lake, WI), Everist (Okoboji, IA), Keck (Lakes LaBelle, Nagawicka, Beulah), Prange (Okauchee, WI), Reese/Hirn (Long Lake, IL/Lake Geneva), Tesar/Quiram (Clear Lake, IA), and Wyman (Oshkosh, WI).

The five days of racing at the 2017 ILYA Championships will be followed by award ceremonies on Saturday August 19 and Sunday August 20. Including the 2017 event, Lake Geneva Yacht Club will have been host for the championship 18 times, most recently in 2015 and 2016.

Courtesy of Scuttlebutt Sailing News.

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A movie is being made about this Iowa 6-on-6 girls' basketball team

A movie about an Iowa high school state championship team, a tale of love and the impact of 6-on-6 girls' basketball in the state during the 1950s is being made.

Angel Pizzo, the screenwriter for sports film classics like "Hoosiers" and "Rudy," will write a screenplay about the Maynard High School girls' basketball team winning a state title in 1956, eastern Iowa TV station KWWL reports. The school is now called West Central of Maynard.

The movie will be based on the 2013 book "Maynard 8 Miles" by Brian J. Borland.

“I loved Brian’s book and thought immediately that here was an opportunity to write a sports story from the female vantage point, something I’ve never done,” Pizzo said in a news release. "Very few people know how special girls’ basketball was in Iowa during the ’50s."

The final state championship in six-player basketball was held in 1993, according to a previous Register story.

In this 1956 Register file photo, Carolyn Nicholson (far left) is reading a congratulatory telegram after the Maynard High School girls' basketball team won a state championship. A movie about Maynard's state title-winning season and Nicholson's life is being made. (Photo: Register file photo)

In this 1956 Register file photo, Carolyn Nicholson (far left) is reading a congratulatory telegram after the Maynard High School girls' basketball team won a state championship. A movie about Maynard's state title-winning season and Nicholson's life is being made. (Photo: Register file photo)

"Maynard 8 Miles" focuses on the basketball career and life of Maynard native Carolyn Nicholson, a leader on Maynard's 1956 state title-winning team. Maynard defeated Garrison 62-51 in the championship, with Nicholson — a senior — scoring 25 points.

Borland is Nicholson's son. Borland's father, Glenn, played basketball at Oelwein High School (eight miles from Maynard) and went on to become a starter and captain of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team.

"I always knew my dad played for the Badgers, but my mother was so modest that until I was in the 40s, I never knew she was a superstar and for awhile was the darling of an entire state," Borland said in the release. "When I learned about that, I started researching it, and what a story I uncovered.”

Nicholson was inducted into the Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union girls’ basketball hall of fame in 1971, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. She finished her Iowa prep basketball career with 3,079 points. 

Nicholson died in 2009. Borland's father passed away in 2016.

Bo Ryan, former head coach of Wisconsin, will co-produce the film with Borland. Ryan said he read the book in one sitting, KWWL reports.

"I couldn’t put it down," Ryan said in the release. "I can’t wait for the movie.”

The film is planned to be produced in 2018, with a premiere likely happening in Iowa.

More information about the book and movie can be found at maynard8miles.com.

Story by Aaron Young, Courtesy of The Des Moines Register.

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MACC Fund reaches $60 million milestone for cancer research

Supports research at Medical College, Children's Hospital and UW

The Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund recently contributed $1,387,500 to its three beneficiaries — the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center — bringing its total contributions to date to more than $60 million.

The MACC Fund has contributed a total of $60,633,311 to research since its founding in 1976.

The fund was founded by Milwaukee Bucks player Jon McGlocklin on the night of his retirement.

“I have been asked many times if I could see what the MACC Fund would accomplish over the years and did I realize the impact it would have on the lives of children and their families,” said McGlocklin, who is MACC Fund president. “I could only hope that someday we would have given $60 million in the fight against childhood cancer and blood disorders helping cure rates to steadily increase for our children. Now we must continue to fight until all the kids live.”

Former television and radio sportscaster Eddie Doucette co-founded the fund, following his son Brett’s battle with leukemia as a toddler, which he survived.

“If someone would have suggested in 1976 that someday we would be able to contribute $60 million dollars specifically earmarked for research to eradicate pediatric cancers I would have thought it unfathomable,” Doucette said. “Back then the cure rate was 20 percent; today it’s over 80 percent. What a tremendous testimony this is to the way people in this region have supported the MACC Fund mission through the years. My sincere and heartfelt thank you goes to all who have made this milestone achievement possible.”

Scientific research supported by the MACC Fund is conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Interdisciplinary Medical Research Center at the University of Wisconsin. Translational, clinical-based research is conducted at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Story by Lauren Anderson, Courtesy of biztimes.com

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Arnie Herber: The Green Bay Packers First Hall of Fame Quarterback

The most common debate among Packers fans is whether Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers is the greatest Green Bay Packers quarterback. Sure, maybe there is some talk of Bart Starr. People have even talked about this trio as the three Hall of Fame quarterbacks. The mistake is thinking Rodgers is likely the third Packers Hall of Fame quarterback when the fact is that honor belongs to Favre. Arnie Herber was the first Packers quarterback to reach the Hall of Fame. Herber was elected to the fourth class in Pro Football Hall of Fame history.

Arnie Herber: The Green Bay Packers First Hall of Fame Quarterback

Arnie Herber’s Beginnings

Herber was a local Green Bay child. He actually grew up a Packers fan, selling programs at games so as to watch the team play. This must have started at an early age as Herber was just nine years old when the Packers took their current form. He was a high school star at Green Bay. After high school, he spent a freshman year on the University of Wisconsin team. He then spent his sophomore season playing for Regis University in Denver. When Regis dropped football the following year, Herber returned to Green Bay.

Herber’s professional career began with a tryout. While working as a handyman, Herber attracted Curly Lambeau‘s attention. Lambeau gave Herber his chance and Herber earned playing time. Herber played for the Packers from 1930 until 1940. He also played for the Giants from 1944 through 1946. He came out of retirement to play as many young men were serving in World War II.

By The Numbers

The numbers look small now. The changing nature of the NFL does not do justice to Herber’s career. In a nearly unthinkable fact, the NFL did not even keep official statistics during the first two years of his career. In 2016, Drew Brees led the NFL with 673 passing attempts. Also, 39 different quarterbacks completed 133 or more passes. That would include such players as Bryce Petty and Cody Kessler. Herber never attempted 133 passes in any season. It was a new era for football. It was only in 1906 that President Teddy Roosevelt moved to make the forward pass legal in football, in football’s first players’ safety crisis. People did not did the passing game the central role it has today.

In 11 seasons (where the NFL kept stats at least), Herber threw for over 100 passes seven times. In this time, he led the NFL in pass attempts and yards three times (1932, 1934 and 1936). Between 1932 and 1939, Herber finished top four in passing yards seven times. In his full 11-year career, he finished top ten in touchdown passes ten times and top five nine times. Arnie Herber’s 81 career touchdowns were third in NFL history at the time of his final game.

Father of the Game

Herber was there at the beginning. The Packers were instrumental in the development of the passing game of the NFL. He was not just a passer, he was the premier long ball threat of his day. The tandem of Arnie Herber and Don Hutson created one of the greatest passing threats ever. Herber walked onto a great Packers team and helped them finish the first three-peat in NFL history with titles in 1930 and 1931. Herber finished his career with four championships. He led the team through championship seasons in 1936 and 1939.

This puts the current ring count at Bart Starr with five, Arnie Herber with four and then Favre and Rodgers with one each. Titles are not the be all end all. Favre managed to lead the NFL in yards just twice, but did finish top five in 12 of his 16 seasons. Similarly, he had 12 seasons in the top five for touchdowns. Favre led the NFL four times. This means Herber led the league 27.2 percent of his seasons as Favre similarly led in 25 percent of his. Herber was a pioneer. His name should not be forgotten. He is a local fan, who took a tryout and turned it into a Hall of Fame career.

Story by Jonathan Barnett, Courtesy of LastWordOnProFootball.com

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Cleveland Indians announcer Matt Underwood produces Addie Joss documentary (video)

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Indians play-by-play announcer Matt Underwood has produced "Addie Joss: Revealed," a documentary on the first of only two Cleveland pitchers to throw a perfect game.

Joss is an overdue documentary subject, a tragic hero and beloved teammate. His entire career - 1902 to 1910 - was spent in a Cleveland uniform. One of the franchise's greatest pitchers ever, he took the mound in one of the most memorable pitching duels, on Oct. 2, 1908. Joss was perfect as he threw only 74 pitches in a pennant-contending game against Chicago. (For more on the game, here is a story and box score.)

Underwood - who also wrote and narrated the documentary - has crafted an excellent, efficient look at Joss. With period music, great scholarship, smart interviews and classic photographs, the documentary covers Joss' brief life, career and the posthumous efforts to get him into the Hall of Fame. Current Indians pitchers also read brief quotes in austere tones.

Local historians Morris Eckhouse, special-projects coordinator for the Baseball Heritage Museum at League Park, and author Scott Longert are among those interviewed. Longert wrote "Addie Joss: King of the Pitchers," the definitive biography on Joss published in 1998.

Story by Marc Bona, Courtesy of cleveland.com

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A Salute To Archie Hahn, One Of Wisconsin's First Sprinting Superstars

Photo: Missouri History Museum

Photo: Missouri History Museum

Vintage Wisconsin: Small But Speedy Runner Blazed To Olympic Glory

One of the world’s top sprinters in the early 20th century, the "Milwaukee Meteor" Archie Hahn, blazed to glory during the 100-meter dash at the 1906 Olympic Games* on April 27, 1906.

Hahn was born in Dodgeville on Sept. 14, 1880. He came to running late, at least compared to today’s sprinters. In high school, he took part in boxing, track, and football, but he didn’t seriously take up competitive running until he was 19 and a student at the University of Michigan.

Recruiters had lured him to Michigan after seeing him run at a county fair. He was small and thin for a runner, but had powerful legs and a quick start.

Hahn, who was said to train on frozen Wisconsin lakes, set his first record in 1903 for the 220-yard dash, which stood for 20 years. He racked up championships in the 100- and 200-yard dashes at competitions around the country. And at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Hahn, representing the Milwaukee Athletic Club, won three golds in the 60, 100, and 200 meter races. He repeated his 100-meter victory at the 1906 games in Athens, a feat not accomplished again until Carl Lewis did it in 1988. Asked about his experience at the 1906 Games, Hahn said, "We had a good time."

Hahn retired from active competition after the games. He received a law degree from the University of Michigan but never practiced law. He instead became a track coach (and sometimes boxing coach, too) at various colleges around the country. He also wrote a book called "How to Sprint" that became a running classic and one of the first books on sprinting.

*1906 was an off year for the games, and some purists insist that the 1906 Olympic Games don't count as a real Olympics because it was held outside of the four-year cycle to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the modern games.

Story by Erika Janik, Courtesy of Wisconsin Public Radio.

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The drawn-out battle over the name Lambeau Field

Public clamor overcame official stonewalling

Original photo taken by Orvelle Peterson, Green Bay Press-Gazette Staff

Original photo taken by Orvelle Peterson, Green Bay Press-Gazette Staff

The decision to change the name of Green Bay City Stadium to Lambeau Field couldn’t appear today to have been more prescient.

But like most ideas, it didn’t come about without a political tug-of-war.

Curly Lambeau died June 1, 1965. The stadium, originally dedicated in 1957, was officially renamed on Sept. 11, 1965. But the more than two-month debate over whether to do so was more protracted than one might think.

The proposal to name the Packers’ home field after Lambeau, the team’s co-founder and driving force behind its improbable survival, was nothing new.

 As early as 1937, Milwaukee Sentinel sports columnist Howard Purser wrote, “Green Bay fans have started a movement to change the name of the city stadium to ‘Lambeau field’ as a tribute to the Packer coach.”

Purser wrote that when the Packers were playing in old City Stadium, their home from 1925 to 1956.

There also were other efforts over the years to honor Lambeau, including a push when the new stadium opened to rename the old one after him. That discussion preceded the decision in October 1959 to rename old City Stadium, East High School Stadium.

Two months later, George Banta Jr. of Menasha wrote a lengthy letter to the Green Bay Press-Gazette urging those in authority to rename the new stadium, Lambeau Stadium. Shortly thereafter, Green Bay alderman Thomas Atkinson urged his fellow City Council members to rename the stadium “in honor of the founder of the Green Bay Packers.”

Atkinson’s proposal resulted in the Green Bay Stadium Commission voting to erect a plaque at the new stadium in Lambeau’s honor instead. In the end, the plaque also included the names of the Packers’ first six presidents and was affixed in November 1960 to the outer wall of the ticket office, then on the west side of the stadium.

It wasn’t until Lambeau died that the suggestions to rename the stadium in his memory gained traction. Then the clamor built until officials had little choice but to stop stonewalling it.

Here is a timeline of events over the summer of 1965.

June 5 – Monsignor John Gehl of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral delivers the eulogy at Lambeau’s funeral and says, “I do think that our stadium or arena should be called by his name. This would be proper.” Team president Dominic Olejniczak and defensive coach Phil Bengtson represented the Packers at the funeral and former Packers coaches, Gene Ronzani and Lisle Blackbourn, were pallbearers. Vince Lombardi didn’t attend.

June 6 – Banta renews his request to rename City Stadium in Lambeau’s honor with another letter to the editor, the first of many on the subject that would appear in the Press-Gazette over the next two months. Banta noted that he thought the name City Stadium “lacked color and interest.”

June 8 – The Greater Green Bay Labor Council unanimously passes a resolution asking that the stadium be renamed “Lambeau Stadium” or “Lambeau Field.” The resolution stated that Lambeau “has contributed more to the recognition of Green Bay, both nationally and internationally, than any other native or adopted son.”

June 9 – The Wisconsin Senate passes a resolution paying tribute to Lambeau, but avoids the topic of renaming the stadium.

June 12 – The Mike & Pen Club of Green Bay, an association of local sportswriters and sportscasters, goes on record favoring a change to “Lambeau Stadium.” “Without the stamina of this man, building and coaching a football team, Green Bay would be just another location in the state of Wisconsin,” the group stated in a letter to the Stadium Commission.

June 14 – Mayor Donald Tilleman tells the Green Bay Rotary Club that he opposes changing the name of City Stadium. “City Stadium already is dedicated, by the vice president of the United States, to the people of Green Bay,” Tilleman said. “Some people are not aware of this and some have forgotten.” However, Tilleman said some form of recognition for Lambeau should be considered and suggested maybe renaming East Stadium in his honor.

June 15 – The City Council passes a resolution paying tribute to Lambeau and notes he had previously rejected the idea of naming the new stadium after him. “Boys, I am glad that you didn’t take any action on naming the new stadium after me,” the council claimed Lambeau had said before his death. “I never played there, had no part in building it, and it is my opinion that the new stadium belongs to the people who built it, the citizens of Green Bay.”

June 16 – The Press-Gazette prints an editorial favoring the name, “Curly Lambeau Field,” and notes its stance reflects the strong public sentiment in Green Bay and throughout Wisconsin to do so.

June 17 – The Press-Gazette’s Len Wagner writes in his sports column that he’s confounded by the wording of the resolution introduced by the mayor and passed by the City Council two days earlier. Wagner called it “a piece of paper with meaningless words.” He also said he conducted an informal poll of 34 Green Bay barber shops and the feedback he received overwhelming favored changing the name to honor Lambeau.

June 21 – Eric Karll, composer of the song, “Go, You Packers, Go,” says he has written a letter to Mayor Tilleman asking that City Stadium be renamed in Lambeau’s honor.

July 6 – The City Council creates a seven-member citizens council to study a Stadium Commission recommendation to build a museum-type memorial next to City Stadium to be dedicated in Lambeau’s honor. City attorney Clarence Nier said a fund drive to build the memorial would show how serious people actually were about honoring Lambeau.

July 8 – The Press-Gazette’s lead editorial again urges renaming the stadium, Lambeau Field. It noted building a memorial would be fine, but it was “not acceptable as a substitute for the proper enshrinement of the Lambeau name.” The same day, Wagner writes another column in the Press-Gazette criticizing the Stadium Commission for stating that changing the stadium’s name to Lambeau Field would be “trite” and “bush league.” Wagner asked the commission members, “Gentlemen, if honoring an individual by naming America’s most beautiful stadium after him is bush league, just what is considered to be major league?”

July 15 – Wagner writes that people calling him about renaming the stadium in Lambeau’s honor should be calling their aldermen instead.

July 20 – Twenty-one aldermen circulate a one-sentence statement before a City Council meeting recommending that City Stadium be renamed in honor of Lambeau. Mayor Tilleman ruled the motion out of order, but said the recommendation should be sent to the Stadium Commission for review.

July 23 – The Press-Gazette polls four members of the Packers’ board of directors asking where they stand on renaming City Stadium in honor of Lambeau. Charles Egan said he favored the idea. Fred Leicht and Carl Mraz refused comment. Hayden Evans said he hadn’t made up his mind.

July 25 – The 1965 Packer Yearbook has hit the newsstands, the Press-Gazette reports. The cover is a 1961 photo of Vince Lombardi shaking hands with Lambeau. Forty-two years later, Art Daley, publisher of the yearbook, told Jeff Ash of the Press-Gazette that Lombardi called and berated him after he was shown a copy. “What do you mean putting me on the cover with him?” Daley remembered Lombardi shouting into his ear. “That was the worst yearbook you ever put out!” Daley said Lombardi slammed the phone down on him and ignored him for months. Former Packers PR man Lee Remmel said Lombardi had worked behind the scenes to prevent the renaming of the stadium. “Twice within my hearing, he inveighed against naming it Lambeau Field,” Remmel told me in a 2003 interview. “(Lombardi) was diametrically opposed to it, no question about that.”

July 26 – The seven-member citizens council named by the City Council 20 days earlier unanimously recommends renaming the stadium in Lambeau’s honor.

July 30 – The Press-Gazette reports in an editorial that nearly 90 percent of the people it had contacted for its six Q&As about renaming the stadium favored the name, Lambeau Field.

Aug. 2 – The seven-man Packers executive committee recommends renaming City Stadium in Lambeau’s honor. That same day, the Stadium Commission recommends naming the stadium, Lambeau Field.

Aug. 3 – Green Bay City Stadium is renamed Lambeau Field by a unanimous vote of the City Council. One alderman, Francis Hessel, said he thought Lambeau Stadium would sound better.

Sept. 11 – In a brief pre-game ceremony before the Packers played the St. Louis Cardinals in a preseason game, Green Bay City Stadium is formally rededicated and renamed Lambeau Field. Mayor Tilleman performed the dedication. Don Lambeau, Curly’s son, spoke on behalf of the family. “It has often been said that my father was without sentiment, but those of you who knew him intimately, either as neighbor or friend or business associate, know that he, too, could not have stood here tonight without having been deeply touched,” Don Lambeau told the crowd of more than 50,000.

Story by Cliff Christl, Courtesy of Green Bay Packers.

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Brewers' 1982 AL Championship team to reunite July 14-16 in Milwaukee

Photo: Milwaukee Brewers

Photo: Milwaukee Brewers

Earlier this year, the Milwaukee Brewers announced plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the 1982 American League Championship team during the weekend of July 14-16, 2017. The main event of the weekend will be the reunion of the 1982 team in an on-field ceremony at Miller Park on Saturday, July 15, before the team's 6:10 contest against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The party will go on all weekend as the 2017 Brewers will wear the team's 1982 home uniforms during all three games. The Phillies will also wear powder blue throwback uniforms from that season.

On Friday, July 14, the first 20,000 fans in attendance for the Brewers 7:10 p.m. contest against the Philadelphia Phillies will receive a Free-Shirt Friday replica Paul Molitor Jersey. The jersey will resemble the 1982 powder blue uniforms sported by the Brew Crew.

On Saturday, coaches, players and staff from the 1982 team will reunite in an on-field pregame ceremony, led by Baseball Commissioner Emeritus and former Brewers Owner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. Jerry Augustine, Dwight Bernard, Mike Caldwell, Cecil Cooper, Jamie Easterly, Rollie Fingers, Jim Gantner, Larry Haney, Moose Haas, Larry Hisle, Audrey Kuenn (on behalf of husband Harvey Kuenn), Pete Ladd, Don Money, Charlie Moore, Ben Oglivie, Rob Picciolo, Ed Romero, Ted Simmons, Jim Slaton, Gorman Thomas, Pete Vuckovich, Harry Warner and Robin Yount are all confirmed to attend.

In addition, members of the front office staff will be on hand, while additional attendees may be added at a later date.

To cap off the weekend, all fans who are at Miller Park for the team's Sunday 1:10 p.m. contest will receive a 1982 American League Championship replica ring.

Courtesy of OnMilwaukee.com

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Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron honored in art exhibit at Louisville Slugger Museum

LOUISVILLE, (WDRB) -- There's no denying the fact that Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron are a dynamic duo that changed their respective sports.

Although towering giants in vastly different fields -- boxing and baseball -- Ali and Aaron both also played a pivotal role in the fight for civil rights. Now they are being celebrated together at the Louisville Slugger Museum. On Tuesday an original art installation called "Ali and Aaron: United in the Fight" was unveiled.

The interactive piece is 10-feet tall and 30-feet wide.

"What they did -- you can really tell they are phenomena in sports -- but it's what they did outside the ring that counts then and still counts," said artist Victor Sweatt.

Other figures included in the exhibit are victims of the 1963 Alabama church bombing, Louisville activist Anne Braden and U.S. Representative John Lewis.

Courtesy of WDRB News.

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How Dr. Eric Heiden earned place among America's greatest athletes

Photo: AP Photo/File

Photo: AP Photo/File

When entering Heiden Orthopedics in Park City, Utah, some patients are unaware of all that the facility's namesake has achieved, or even his most famous feat. Then again, it's been 37 years since the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, there are not many photos of him in the clinic, and Dr. Eric Heiden has never been the sort to brag.

"You would never know what Eric's accomplished unless someone tells you because he would never bring it up," four-time Olympic speedskater KC Boutiette said. "Then when most people find out, he's a little uncomfortable and just says, 'Yup, yeah, uh-huh, that was me, it was pretty cool.' But that's the kind of guy Heiden is."

Thus, if they are going to learn of his past, it often will be via friends or internet searches.

"I will have a patient I will see and take care of them and have a planned treatment and I will say, 'Come back after six weeks and we'll start with this,'" Heiden said. "And six weeks later they will be back and say, 'Hey! I looked you up!' Or, 'I told my friends I was seeing so and so, and they [told me about you]. I did not know you won five gold medals in the Olympics.'"

With the speedskating competition at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang starting one year from Friday, it's a good time to spread the word about Heiden's amazing legacy -- as an Olympian and beyond.

Heiden became arguably the greatest athlete in Winter Olympics history -- Michael Phelps on ice, if you will -- with his staggering performance in speedskating in Lake Placid. He remains the only Winter Olympian to have claimed five gold medals in a single Games, winning each of his sport's five events in Olympic-record times, including a world record in the 10,000 meters.

"It took me three Olympics to do what he did in one week," said American icon Bonnie Blair, who won five speedskating gold medals during the 1988, 1992 and 1994 Olympics. "He was a man before his time. He is, to me, still the greatest."

And not just in skating. As incredible as those five medals are, Heiden accomplished so much more that he should be considered among the greatest and most important athletes in American history.

After retiring from speedskating after the 1980 Olympics, Heiden briefly played hockey in Norway. Then he went into cycling, winning a U.S. road championship and competing in the Tour de France. And then he earned a medical degree at Stanford, becoming an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee and shoulder injuries. He was the team physician for the Sacramento Kings for years and works with the U.S. speedskating and cycling teams.

A five-time gold medalist. A hockey player. A Tour de France rider and United States Bicycling Hall of Famer. A doctor who has provided treatment for athletes ranging from Olympians to Chris Webber. Match that, Phelps. Or Usain Bolt. Or Carl Lewis. Or, well, just about anyone.

As Jim Ochowicz said: "There is a lot there with Eric Heiden."

Ochowicz, president of the BMC Racing cycling team and a former cyclist and speedskater himself, has known Heiden for decades, having managed him in both cycling and skating.

Photo: AP Photo/George Widman

Photo: AP Photo/George Widman

"He's a gifted athlete who could have chosen any number of sports and probably been equally successful as he was in speedskating and then in cycling," Ochowicz said. "He's got a very strong character along with that great talent and a great work ethic. I know he never missed a workout.

"Along with that strong will and great dedication, you really have to have to think of Eric as a fun guy to be around and with a sense of humor. And someone who really embraces the group he's with and brings them to a higher level."

So what does Heiden say of his many achievements when they are brought up to him in person?

"Yeah, I've had a good life. Can't complain," he said. "I've been lucky, and I think I appreciate it, too. When I look back, I keep pinching myself and saying, 'I've had some great opportunities, and I think I've made some wise decisions.'"


HEIDEN GREW UP in Madison, Wisconsin, which is infamous for its sub-zero winters, playing many sports, including soccer and tennis. But he was best on the ice, learning to skate and play hockey on the frozen lake by his grandparents' home. He actually started out as a figure skater, but he wasn't as interested in the sport's jumps and twists as in just skating around the rink. So he went into speedskating.

With his natural ability and the superb instruction of coach Dianne Holum, Heiden first made the U.S. Olympic team at just 17 years old in 1976. His best finish at the Innsbruck Games was seventh, but he quickly advanced to the top of his sport, winning the world all-around championship each of the next three years.

"I was physically gifted," Heiden said, "and I had the ability to mentally push myself to the limit. ... Because if you're racing the clock, it comes down to suffering. The guy who's going to win is the guy who suffers the most."

Suffering? As part of his intense training, Heiden would hold 300-pound weights and do 300 knee squats. After taking a 20-minute or so break he would do another 300 squats. His thighs were a massive 29 inches around, nearly matching his 32-inch waistline.

Heiden's best times fall well short of today's records, but that's due to changes in the sport. In his era, speedskating usually was on outside rinks in all kinds of weather, using fixed skates rather than today's more efficient clap skates. "I don't know if the skaters today quite understand the significance of what Eric did back in his day because most skaters don't or will not ever skate outside or deal with the elements of wind, snow or rain," Boutiette said.

So what Heiden accomplished at the 1980 Olympics at age 21 remains extraordinary. He won the 500. And the 1,000. And the 1,500. And the 5,000. And then the 10,000.

Add his younger sister Beth's speedskating bronze medal in the 3,000 meters, and the Heiden family accounted for half of America's 12 medals at the third Winter Games contested on U.S. soil. Eric was the only American to win individual gold at in Lake Placid, and if he had competed as his own country, the Republic of Heiden would have placed third among all nations in victories.

"I couldn't have skated much better," Heiden said, adding later with a laugh, "I kicked everybody's ass."

Nonetheless, what most people know best from those Games is the Miracle on Ice U.S. hockey team. Even Heiden says his fondest memories from Lake Placid are watching the Americans beat the Soviets and go on to win the gold medal. After all, hockey was his favorite sport and he had played with U.S. team members Mark Johnson and Bob Suter while growing up in Madison.

Heiden attended the game against the Russians and was so amped by the U.S. victory that it took a long time to get to sleep that night. That was a problem, because he had to skate the 10,000 the next morning. Heiden always made certain to be at the rink two hours before a race. That day he overslept and was awakened around 90 minutes before his race. He rushed out, ate some toast, arrived at the rink -- and broke the world record by 6.2 seconds.

"As a younger skater, I kind of thought it was pretty cool what he did at Lake Placid," Blair said. "But as I started training and did more, it became much more amazing. That's when I really got it. What he did will never be done again."

And probably not what he did afterward, either.


Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

HAVING ACCOMPLISHED virtually everything he could in speedskating, Heiden retired from the sport soon after Lake Placid and concentrated on his other goals. He went to Oslo to play part of the season with the Manglerud Star hockey team -- "I just wanted to get that out of my system" -- and then went into cycling.

Cycling had long been a part of Heiden's offseason cross-training program for skating. He also was very good at it. He was a key member of the 7-Eleven cycling team when it started in 1981, raced in the 1985 Giro d'Italia and won the 1985 U.S. road championship. Unfortunately, he suffered a terrible crash in the 1986 Tour de France on a Stage 18 descent when he shot through a 180-degree blind turn.

“He apparently had a concussion, but when we showed up in the car, he was already up and going and didn’t want to stop. We had to make him stop and spend the night in a hospital.”
— Max Testa, 7-Eleven cycling team doctor, describing Eric Heiden's reaction to a 1986 Tour de France crash

"I hit a guardrail going probably 40 mph. Ka-boom!" he said. "And I go off a 30-foot embankment and land at the bottom of it. Ka-bam!"

Heiden suffered a concussion but still got back on the bike and was determined to finish the race until Ochowicz and team doctor Max Testa stopped him.

"He apparently had a concussion, but when we showed up in the car, he was already up and going and didn't want to stop," Testa said. "We had to make him stop and spend the night in a hospital. But until the last minute, he didn't want to stop. He was zigzagging on the bike. He wanted to make it to Paris. It was really hard to stop him."

After Heiden crashed again in the Tour of Colorado, he left cycling and focused on his medical career. He went into orthopedics to follow the footsteps of his father and because of the athletic connection. "I realized that orthopedics was a good profession to get into because you can still stay involved in sports," he said.

Indeed. During summer breaks from medical school, Heiden worked with Testa at the Tour de France. Testa says Heiden helped him a lot during the Tour -- "He knew the riders and he could see things they couldn't see" -- and also afterward when they partnered together for a number of years. Said Testa: "He helped me be a better doctor."


WITH HIS GOOD HUMOR, friendly manner and surgical skills, Heiden is a bit like Dr. Aaron Conners, the Bill Hader character who treats LeBron James and Amar'e Stoudemire in the movie "Trainwreck." Except Dr. Conners never won a gold medal or rode in the Tour de France.

The Heiden Orthopedics website shows a photo of Eric wearing surgical garb while posed with a bicycle (but no skates). Now age 58, with graying hair and much thinner thighs, Heiden is still in great shape. He says he doesn't run anymore because of knee issues, but he still skates occasionally and bikes often. He enjoys cycling and knows pedaling is good for the joints.

After being based in Sacramento, where he worked with the Kings as well as UC Davis athletics, Heiden now works out of his clinic in Park City with several orthopedic doctors, including his wife, Karen.

"He's a very dedicated surgeon who works long hours and really cares about his patients," Testa said. "I still haven't found a weak side in him."

Heiden is so regarded for his background and sports medicine knowledge that he was the opening keynote speaker at the 2016 Sports Biometrics Conference in San Francisco.

"Eric has a special approach to the patients' needs," Testa said. "And I think that comes from his experience as an athlete. He really tries everything nonsurgical until it's proven that it's not working. That makes him really unique. I tell patients when they're facing two surgeons and one recommends surgery and one doesn't recommend surgery, I say, 'Go see Eric Heiden.'"

While he might not push patients recovering from ACL surgery to do 300 squats with a 300-pound weight, Heiden says that his sports career provides him with a broad picture when dealing with injured athletes.

"They appreciate the fact you've been around sports and I've been successful at it," he said. "So as a consequence, they have a lot of confidence in your abilities and how you're taking care of them."

Heiden says his approach to surgery has similarities to what it was in speedskating. As a skater, he would completely visualize a race from beginning to end, going over every step of a race and imagining almost every second in his mind, including taking off his bodysuit. He will do the same before a surgery, spending the previous night visualizing the procedure "from A to Z or step 1 to 100."

"Sport has taught me a lot," Heiden said. "It's taught me a lot about how to treat patients, really understanding the stresses of being an athlete and the issues they are dealing with."

Among those issues are ulnar collateral ligament injuries in the elbows of young pitchers that require Tommy John surgery. Baseball was not a sport he followed much while growing up, but he has gotten more into the game because his teenage son Connor is a promising ballplayer at the youth level who played in the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (he also snowboards).

Based on his father's record, Connor very well could become a big leaguer who wins five World Series rings, though each July he would face the difficult choice between playing in the All-Star Game or riding the Tour de France. But if he suffers an arm or knee injury, well, there definitely is someone he knows who can treat it.

Regardless, hopefully many more people will know who that person is and just how much Dr. Eric Heiden has accomplished.

Story by Jim Caple, courtesy of ESPN.com

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Two Rivers Lombardi Walk raises more than $12K for cancer care

TWO RIVERS - More than 100 walkers raised more than $12,500 for cancer care at the second annual Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer on Saturday at Neshotah Beach in Two Rivers.

All of the money raised will support survivorship care, integrative and holistic therapy options in the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora Cancer Care.

“Cancer has affected everyone in some way — our friends, neighbors and loved ones. It’s personal," said Rachel Rupnik, fundraising officer with Aurora Health Care Foundation. "That’s why we are so excited to partner with the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation and help enhance the programs that will be offered at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center right in our community.”

This year, Aurora Health Care and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation expanded their Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer to include 10 locations across eastern Wisconsin, including the July 22 Walk/Run at Festa Italiana in Milwaukee.

All Lombardi Walks support local Aurora Cancer Care programs, services and cancer research in the communities in which they were raised. Funds raised also will receive a 50 percent match by the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.

In addition to the walk, the event offered information about cancer prevention and included family-friendly activities.

Learn more at LombardiWalk.org or call 920-794-5284.

Courtesy of Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter.

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Andy North and friends have fun, raise $1 million for Carbone Cancer Center

Photo: John Maniaci

Photo: John Maniaci

Madison, Wis. – Professional golfer Andy North and his friends raised more than $1 million for the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center at a dinner and golf tournament this week.

The figure includes money raised at an event at Wisconsin Aviation Sunday night by auctioning off items such as a trip to golf as North’s amateur partner in the Smith-Cole Invitational at Cherry Hills, the golf course near Denver where North won his first U.S. Open in 1978.

Over the past nine years, North and friends have raised more than $9 million for the cancer center. Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North is an analyst for ESPN. He’s also a survivor of skin cancer and prostate cancer, and committed to supporting the work of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, where he received treatment.

Dr. Howard Bailey, director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, said the support from Andy North has been invaluable to move research from Carbone labs to the patients who need it.

“This event provides seed funding for cancer research projects that lead to much larger projects,’’ Bailey says. “When times are tough for federal funding, they often won’t even consider a project unless you show the likelihood of success through a pilot study. So a $100,000 gift here can lead to a $2 million federal grant, and more quickly move cancer discoveries to patients who are suffering with cancer, not just here, but around the state of Wisconsin.”

A direct example, Bailey said, is that money from the North event helped Carbone researchers Dr. Ryan Mattison and Dr. Robert Jeraj launch a national clinical trial to use imaging to test whether novel clinical imaging could replace painful bone marrow to check on the status of leukemia.

Golfers who participated at the ninth annual Andy North and Friends at Maple Bluff Country Club Monday included Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers; Charlotte Hornet Frank Kaminsky; Golf Channel announcer Terry Gannon; Golf Channel personality Billy Kratzert; LPGA golfers Judy Rankin and Sherri Steinhauer; Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen; and ESPN and ABC announcer Sean McDonough.

Photo: John Maniaci

Photo: John Maniaci

Other former Badger athletes included basketball players Greg Stiemsma, Joe Krabbenhoft, Kirk Penny and Ben Brust, and hockey players Blake Geoffrion, Mark Osiecki.

The Andy North and Friends event has helped support UW Carbone pilot research projects on topics ranging from a novel therapeutic for head and neck cancer, a prostate-cancer vaccine and a study of follow-up care for breast cancer patients, among others.

Story courtesy of UWHealth.org.

Photos by John Maniaci, full gallery available at http://news.wisc.edu/photo-gallery-andy-north-and-friends-have-fun-raise-1-million-for-carbone-cancer-center/.

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Wisconsin governor makes June 4 Jerry Kramer Day

Jerry Kramer continues to rack up accolades despite not being in Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Jerry Kramer is still waiting to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But in the meantime, Kramer continues to earn accolades for what he was able to accomplish with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s.

On Sunday, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker did something special for Kramer as he made June 4 "Jerry Kramer Day." Here's a look at the proclamation signed by Governor Walker.

Kramer, 81, went to the Pro Bowl three-times, was named to the All-Pro team six times and was named to the 1960s All-Decade Team. He is considered by many as the best player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only way Kramer can get into the Hall of Fame now is by the senior committee and they will decide their Hall of Fame finalists for the Class of 2018 in August.

Story by Brian Jones, courtesy of http://gnb.247sports.com.

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