Happy 51st Birthday to former NFL defensive end Howie Long. Long was born on January 6th, 1960 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. In high school, Long lettered 3 years in football. The surprising thing is that Long had never played football before the age of 15. He also lettered 3 years in basketball as a forward, and 3 years in track & field for the shotput and discus (in both events, Long set state records). Long passed on an offer to stay close to home for college to pursue degree at Villanova University.
At Villanova, Long was a four year starter and an immediate impact player for the Wildcats. He would eventually graduate with a degree in communications from Villanova. After his senior year, Long declared for the draft and was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 48th overall pick in the 1981 draft. This same draft produced defensive Hall of Famers such as Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Mike Singletary and Rickey Jackson. Long’s unique combination of size, strength and quickness made him an instant success with the Raiders.
Over the course of his 13 year career (all with the Raiders), Long was selected to 8 Pro Bowls, 3 First Team All-Pro awards, won a Super Bowl Championship in 1984 and he was named the AFC Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1984 and 1985. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2000. Currently, Howie Long is a broadcaster for Fox’s NFL Sunday show along with former players Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan and former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson. Look for a new Howie Long Mitchell & Ness jersey release later this year. Happy Birthday Howie!
Ferguson Arthur Jenkins, commonly referred to as Fergie, was born on December 13, 1942 in Chatham, Ontario. During his 19 year baseball career, Jenkins pitched for 4 different teams - the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Boston Red Sox. He spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Cubs from 1966-1973.
Jenkins had his best season in 1971, playing in the All-Star Game, finishing seventh in MVP voting and winning the National League Cy Young Award. Jenkins led the league in wins twice, fewest walks per 9 innings five times, complete games nine times, and home runs allowed seven times. His streak of six straight seasons with 20 or more wins (1967-1972) is the longest streak in the major leagues since Warren Spahn performed this feat between 1956-1961. Fergie was known for his incredible durability and control. He struck out more than 3,000 batters and is the only man to do so while also allowing 1,000 walks.
In 1974 Jenkins, then with the Texas Rangers, became the first baseball player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, an award given annually to Canada's top athlete. After Jenkins retired from Major League Baseball in 1983, he pitched for two seasons for the London Majors of the Intercounty Major Baseball League in London, Ontario. Jenkins was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1991, he became the first Canadian ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Happy Birthday to Dave “the Hammer” Shultz. Born in Waldheim, Saskatchewan, the Hammer is widely considered one of the most prolific enforcers in NHL history. What most people don’t realize, however, is that while he was going through Juniors, Schultz was considered a scoring prospect. It wasn’t until he began playing with the Salem Rebels in the Eastern Hockey League that Schultz began fighting and “the Hammer” earned his moniker.
Schultz was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1969, but wouldn’t break into the NHL until 1972. With Schultz enforcing the ice, the Flyers jumped 19 points in the standings from the previous season and made it to the playoffs after missing the previous season. With other teams fearing the Hammer, the Flyers young scorers were able to open up more of the ice and increase their overall scoring by more then 250 points from the previous season. His style of play spread throughout the locker room and lead to the team’s nickname, “The Broad Street Bullies.”
Across his 10 year career in the NHL, Schultz won 2 Stanley Cups with the Philadelphia Flyers (’73-’74 and ’74-’75), score 79 goals, notch 121 assists and rack up 2,294 penalty minutes. He also broke the record for most penalty minutes in a season by accumulating 472 penalty minutes during the ’74-’75 regular season. The record still stands today. Happy 71st Schultz!
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!
On September 10, 1934, Roger Maris was born in Hibbing, Minnesota. He was the son of Croatian immigrants and his birth name was Roger Eugene Maras, which he later changed to Maris. Maris played with four teams during his twelve year Major League career -- the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals. He appeared in seven World Series and won three World Series Championships in 1961, 1962, and 1967.
Maris was the New York Yankees right fielder from 1960-1966 and he helped lead the Yankees to five straight pennants. Maris is primarily remembered for breaking Babe Ruth's home run record. On the last day of the Yankees' 1961 season, Maris broke Babe Ruth's 60 single-season home run record (which had been in place for 34 years) by hitting his 61st against the Boston Red Sox. Maris hit the homer into right field stands in Yankee Stadium against Boston's Tracy Stallard in the fourth inning. In 1966, the Yankees sent Maris to St. Louis, where he played two seasons before retiring in 1968 and settled in Gainesville, Florida.
On July 21, 1984, the Yankees retired Maris' number 9 and dedicated a plaque in his honor to hang in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium.
"When he (Roger Maris) hit it (home run #61 in 1961), he came into the dugout and they were all applauding. I mean, this is something that's only happened once in baseball, right? And the people were all applauding. They wanted him to come back out. He wouldn't come out, so the players had to push him back out. They forced him to come out and take a bow. That's the kind of guy he was. He was great, and I really liked him." -- Mickey Mantle