By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after we opted out of hosting a 14-person Thanksgiving dinner. Now Nadine and I have enough food to feed the University of Dayton and Wright State University basketball teams combined.
—Anybody worthy of the price of a baseball knows that Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitter. But did you know that he also threw nine one-hitters? And his first one-hitter and last one-hitter came 20 years apart.
The Ryan Express was as indestructible as Superman, even if somebody stuck Kryptonite in his jock strap.
Cleveland’s Bob Feller threw three no-hitters and also pitched nine one-hitters. Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney threw two no-hitters and five one-hitters.
Believe or not, Steve Carlton never threw a no-hitter, but had five one-hitters.
Since 1965, Reds pitchers have thrown seven no-hitters — two by Jim Maloney, two by Homer Bailey, Tom Browning’s perfect game and the one no-hitter thrown in his career by Tom Seaver.
That’s six. Who pitched the other no-hitter, referred to in some quarters as ‘The Reds Forgotten No-Hitter?’ It was thrown on July 28, 1968, a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the second game of a doubleheader. . .by George Culver.
He woke up that day with an upset stomach and a painful ingrown toe-nail. He had to take a cortisone shot in the toe. And he was late getting to the ball park and threw less than 10 warm-up pitches. Then he threw a no-hitter.
Culver pitched only two years for the Reds and was 16-23. The Reds obtained him from Cleveland in 1967 for outfielder Tommy Harper.
Did you know that George Culver was the co-founder of the Culver’s Restaurant chain (fantastic milkshakes)? No, not the same George Culver.
—QUOTE: From George Culver on his no-hitter: “It was a gift from the Big Man upstairs. It was like He said, ‘This is your day, don’t screw things up.’ It was a wonderful thrill to me.” (And a shock to the Phillies.)
—Quarterback Johnny Manziel, one of the NFL’s biggest busts due to off-the-field issues and on-the-field awfulness, said in a ‘Bleacher Report’ interview that he lost all the respect from his Cleveland Browns teammates and that he wasted two years of Hall of Fame lineman Joe Thomas’ career.
“I absolutely 100 percent lost their respect. Why wouldn’t I? If I was one of them looking back at what I was doing, and at the decisions that I made off the field. . .I’d feel some type of way, a hundred percent. I would say we wasted a draft pick to go get this guy who doesn’t give a f—k,” said Manziel.
After flopping in the NFL, Manziel went to Canada and got himself banned for life by the Canadian Football League.
—QUOTE: From Johnny Manziel, who was called Johnny Football when he was at Oklahoma: “I don’t see myself as Johnny Football.” (That’s the most honest thing he ever said. As far as the NFL was concerned, he was no more than John Doe.)
—It is so great to have college basketball back, but don’t you just love these early-season mismatches.
The first game I sat down to watch began with Ohio State opening a 22-0 lead over Illinois State. So I made a quick check on Xavier-Oakland and ‘X’ was up 38-6.
Some of the nation’s top-ranked teams gobbled up some turkeys the day before Thanksgiving: Illinois 122, North Carolina A&T 60; Texas Tech 101, Northwestern State 58; Houston 89, Lamar 45; Virginia 89, Towson 54; Kentucky 81, Morehead State 45.
Illinois followed up it pre-Thanksgiving meal over North Carolina A&T by snacking on Chicago State, 97-38. And for what does Wright State have to be thankful? Chicago State was the fill-in opponent against Illinois when Wright State opted out.
QUOTE: From broadcaster Dick Vitale before a 1989 NCAA tournament game between Princeton and Georgetown that he thought was a mammoth mismatch: “I’m supposed to go home for the weekend and if Princeton can beat Georgetown, I am going to hitchhike to Providence (for the next round) and I’m gonna be their ball boy and then I’m gonna change into a Princeton cheerleading uniform and I’m gonna lead all the cheers.” (Princeton led at the half and lost by one point, so Vitale didn’t have to pay up. . .barely.)
—University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari was on a roll during his post-game press conference after the ‘Cats annihilated Morehead State, 81-45. Talking about his upcoming non-conference schedule, Calipari said fans should not be mad at his players for the results, but should be mad at him. for the upcoming non-conference schedule
“We have nine games and seven are ridiculous,” he said. “Don’t be mad at these kids, be mad at me. We are playing everybody and you will see the results. I’m not getting mad at these kids. I’m getting mad at Cal for playing this kind of schedule. What was I thinking?
“Instead of being tested for Corona, I should have been tested for drugs or something,” he added. The ‘Cats play Richmond, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, UCLA and Louisville.
—QUOTE: From Kentucky coach John Calipari: If I walk in a home and a kid disrespects a woman, his mother or grandmother, then I am out… I wont recruit them.” (And don’t say anything against Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.)
—The web-site 24/7Sports came up with what it called, “The Best College Football Coaches in 2020, ranked:
While few can argue with Alabama’s Nick Saban as No. 1 and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney as No. 2, some of the others are well, pretty rank.
How can Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell be way down at No. 42? How can Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh be No. 12 when he might be fired after the season? How can Penn State’s James Franklin be No. 10 with a winless team? How can Ohio State’s Ryan Day only be No. 6? How can Indiana’s Tom Allen be way down the list at No. 41?
Now there’s something that REALLY needs a recount.
—QUOTE: From former Minnesota coach Murray Warmath: “If lessons were learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” (Penn State must have a bunch of Rhodes Scholars this year.)
—They’re putting on a, um, ‘golf exhibition’ on TV Friday involving Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Charles Barkley, The Round Mound of Rebound.
Barkley has that eight-piece swing during which he hesitates his downswing about five times. Said Curry, “They’re gonna have to put that 24 second shot clock on Chuck for this thing. He’s gonna be burning daylight out there.”
—QUOTE: From Charles Barkley on today’s NBA game:” “Man, a bunch of high school kids with $70 million contracts. Damn! I hate my mother for having me too soon.”
—Sinclair College product Sean McNeil is fitting in snugly at West Virginia. In the Mountaineers first-round game at the Bad Boy Mower Crossover Classic McNeil scored 16 points, second most as WVU beat South Dakota State, 79-71.
“He has improved tremendously on defense,” said coach Bob Huggins. “He has shot really well in practice and didn’t shoot it as well today.” McNeil was 6 for 16 and only 2 for 9 with his specialty, the three-point shot.
—And may your stomachs survive the day and be thankful for whatever good came to us during this terrible, terrible year.