"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 5/4/13
Congratulations to Valley Times sports editor Bill Pucci--who recently received a John Wentworth Good Sport Award from the CT Sports Writers' Alliance (CSWA). In addition to his various media endeavors, "Pooch" has also coached at various levels and has done tons of work on behalf of Derby High football. Given in memory of the longtime sports editor of the New Britain Herald, this award goes to deserving individuals/organizations who have devoted their time to sports in their communities. Bill was honored on April 29th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington at the 72nd annual Gold Key Dinner. Other "Good Sport" winners were Bob Fontaine of Bethlehem, Tom DiMaggio of Waterford, Alton Brooks of New Britain, Dan and Theresa Lee of Berlin, and "Sticks for Soldiers" (the Ludlowe High lacrosse team's charity tournament). "Pooch", I'm proud of you; thanks for being a terrific colleague and a cherished friend, as well..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2007 Chicago White Sox--who finished 72-90 under manager Ozzie Guillen--were led in stolen bases by an outfielder who played only four seasons in the majors. Can you name this former player? Answer to follow..........Ken Davis, a Coventry (CT) resident and former UConn beat writer for the Hartford Courant, will be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame on June 22nd in a ceremony at the DCU Center in Worcester. Davis spent 20 years covering UConn, the Big East, and national basketball for the Courant and is currently the national college basketball writer for FoxSportsNext.com; he's also finishing a second book written about Kansas basketball. Having had the opportunity to interview Ken on "Monday Night Sports Talk," I can vouch that few (if any) are versed in the game of college hoops like Mr. Davis. More important, he's become a terrific friend; great job, KD--and well-deserved..........*Other Gold Key Dinner notes: A highlight of the ENTIRE evening was the BRIGHT (or should I say BLINDING) yellow sports jacket worn by CSWA president George Albano. In fact, Gold Key recipient Mike Gminski--while giving his acceptance speech--even brought attention to it. He reminded dinner guests not to worry about the darkness in the parking lot while walking to their cars following the ceremony; he simply hinted that Albano's JACKET could illuminate the way. Also, longtime CT sports writer Bob Birge (a fellow Fordham grad) and yours truly were given the assignment of checking tickets at the VIP ROOM prior to the dinner--making sure only properly-ticketed people entered. Could it be that Birge and I were stationed there strictly because we appear to be the SCARIEST-LOOKING writers who are members of the CSWA?..........My good buddy, Pennsylvania radio host Keith Rice, chimes in with this gem: "Jets QB Mark Sanchez just threw a going-away party for Tim Tebow--and it got intercepted for a touchdown!"..........Great new book for baseball fans: Facing Ted Williams--edited by Dave Heller with a foreword by Wade Boggs/afterword by Bob Wolff. This great work provides tremendous insights from legends like Bob Feller in regard to competing against the "Splendid Splinter"; it also provides testimonials on how Williams was regarded among his peers. I loved the book after I read the very first sentence of the foreword by Boggs: "Ted Williams is who JOHN WAYNE wanted to be when he grew up." More info on the book can be obtained by visiting www.sportspubbooks.com..........Did you know that the 1991 Cleveland Indians hit a paltry total of just 79 home runs as a team? To stress how pitiful that number was, let me add this: The next lowest HR total in the AL that year was California with 115--36 MORE than Cleveland. Albert Belle led the squad that year with 28 homers while Carlos Baerga was second on the club with just 11..........Answer to trivia question: JERRY OWENS--who stole 32 bases (89% of his career total); he amassed just 36 stolen bases in the majors while playing for Chicago from 2006-2009..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Yale hockey coach Tim Taylor--who passed away recently here in Connecticut at the age of 71 after battling cancer. Taylor coached 28 seasons at Yale between 1976 and 2006--winning six Ivy League championships. He won 337 games while in New Haven and also took two leaves of absence to coach in the Olympics; he also coached four national teams in the world championships. Taylor passed away two weeks after Yale won its first NCAA hockey championship (vs. Quinnipiac); ironically, current coach Keith Allain played four seasons under Taylor as his first goaltender. My sincere condolences to his wife, Diana, and the rest of his family; rest in peace, "Coach."