On September 16, 1962, Willie Stargell made his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stargell’s debut only afforded him one at bat, and he struck out. Clearly this was no indication of the success he would have in the coming years. His entire 21-year career was spent in Pirates black and gold; during which he batted .282 with 475 home runs and 1540 RBIs. From 1962-1982, the Pirates won six National League East division titles, two National League pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979).
While “Pops” was beloved in Pittsburgh for his likeable manner and style of play, Willie was really known for hitting mammoth homeruns. Here are some of his incredible feats:
Forbes Field was home to the Pirates from 1909-1969. During that time, 16 homeruns were sent completely out of the stadium. Seven were hit by Stargell, in only eight seasons.
Stargell hit the very first home run at Shea Stadium during the arena’s inaugural game in 1964. Only four homeruns have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium; two were by Stargell. In fact, the first of two still holds the record for the longest homerun at (or outside of) Dodger Stadium, measuring 506 feet.
The former home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Veterans’ Stadium, had a commemorative gold star with “S” inside marked the longest homerun within that park.
In 1978, Stargell became the only player to send a long shot into the upper deck at Olympic Stadium against the Montreal Expos. This shot measured just over 550 feet.
Again, these are just a few of the most memorable shots that came off of Stargell's bat. Words cannot describe the power he put behind each swing. Intimidation was a key factor in his success; Stargell was said to "not just hit pitchers, but to take their dignity." He even warmed up in the on-deck circle with a sledgehammer! Click the screenshot below for a short video paying homage to Pops... and don't forget to check out mitchellandness.com for our Stargell collection!
On September 15, 1996, the Texas Rangers retired Nolan Ryan's # 34. This marked the first, and to this date only former Ranger player to have his number retired.
Ryan played for the Rangers for the final five years of his career, from 1989 through 1993. During his time in Texas he became the first pitcher to record 5,000 strikeouts when he fanned Rickey Henderson on August 22, 1989. He threw two no hitters as a Ranger, one in June of 1990 against Oakland and one in May of 1991 against the Blue Jays.
Here's what Nolan had to say to the fans about his years as a Ranger:
The five years I spent here were five of the most enjoyable years of my career. And a lot of that had to do with how the fans received me here and how they supported me here. I appreciate that and you'll always be special to me."
Ryan is the only player, besides Jackie Robinson of course, to have his number retired by three teams (Texas, Houston and California.) We've been racking our brains to come up with another player who would warrant having his number retired by three different clubs. We haven't come up with anyone. Can you?
Happy 70th Birthday to NBA Head Coach Larry Brown. Considered one of the greatest teachers in the history of the game, Coach Brown ranks 6th on the NBA’s all time career wins list. Coach Brown has been coaching since the early 70’s and has been the Head Coach for 9 different NBA teams. In addition to coaching in the NBA, he has also coached two Division 1 basketball teams (UCLA from ’79 to ’81 and Kansas from ’83 to ’88) and two ABA teams.
Coach Brown wasn’t always Coach Brown. He was actually a very good player in his heyday. After his days as the starting point guard for the University of North Carolina, Brown played professional basketball in the ABA for five different teams in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He would lead the ABA in assists for three straight seasons from ’67 to ’69 and still holds the ABA record for most assists in a single game (23). Brown also won a Gold Medal as a point guard with the U.S. Olympic team in 1974.
As a Head Coach, Brown has won an NBA World Championship (‘04 with the Pistons), an NBA Coach of the Year award and 1,089 career regular season games. He is also the only coach to win a NCAA Division I Championship and an NBA World Championship. Coach Brown is still doing his thing as the Head Coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. In two seasons as Head Coach of the Bobcats, Coach Brown turned around a 32-50 team in '07-'08 into the #1 team in points per game allowed in ’09-’10 and coached them into their first playoff appearance in team history. Happy Birthday Coach Brown!
The NFL season has started and our Philadelphia Eagles played their first game in kelly green! Check out the new arrivals of our Fall 2010 NFL Collection www.mitchellandness.com! We figured we would start off this Monday morning with some Eagles trivia. Are you really a die-hard fan? Let's see if you know these answers....
What year was the team founded?
- 1933. The Eagles formed in 1933 when a group headed by Bert Bell and Lud Wray purchased the former Frankford team, the Yellow Jackets. The purchase price was $2,500.00.
What was the final score of the Eagles first game?
- 56-0. The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New York Giants on October 15, 1933.
Due to the war effort during the 1940s, Philadelphia and the Steelers found that they could not field a full team, so they merged. What was the name of this team?
- The Steagles. In 1943, these two teams merged for just one season. Greasy Neale and Walt Kiesling shared coaching duties.
What were the colors of the first Eagles uniforms?
- During their first year in the NFL, the uniforms were yellow and blue.
Which player competed in the 1992 Olympics?
- Running back Herschel Walker competed in Bobsledding during the 1992 Winter Olympics. He finished seventh.
Who missed the kick in the 1978 playoffs against Atlanta that would have advanced the Eagles in the playoffs?
Who was the Eagles first round draft choice in the 1979 draft?
Who was the first Philadelphia Eagle to enter the Hall of Fame?
- Bert Bell, founder and former owner of the Eagles, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963. The first Eagles player to be inducted was running back and safety, Steve Van Buren, in 1965.
Which NFL coach played tight end for the Eagles?
- Although he is primarily known for playing and coaching the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, Mike Ditka also played tight end for a short time with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1967.