#TBT Sports Blog: Former Baltimore Orioles Brooks “Hoover” Robinson

Brooks Robinson or HooverToday’s #TBT sports blog features Brooks “Hoover” Robinson – a Hall of Fame athlete with a household appliance for a nickname.

Brooks Robinson played the hot corner for the Baltimore Orioles better than anyone else in baseball history.

Instead of an oven or a stove top grill, this third baseman was known as Hoover, short for the old American standard in vacuum cleaners. He sucked up every baseball hit his way.

In the same way Hoover vacuums were the predominant household appliance of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Brooks Robinson was the undisputed best fielding third baseman who ever played the game.

Named to Major League Baseball’s All Century Team in 1999, Brooks Robinson played third base for the Baltimore Orioles for an incredible 23 years.

Brooks “Hoover” Robinson Won 16 Gold Gloves in His Career

Robinson’s skill at third base is legendary. With fast hands, quick feet, uncanny expectation and an accurate strong arm, Robinson won an astounding 16 consecutive American League Gold Gloves from 1960 through 1975. He was also named to 15 consecutive American League All-Star teams during the same time. In addition, he finished tops in fielding percentage among third basemen 11 seasons in a row and was voted American League Most Valuable Player in 1964.

Thanks in large part to Brooks Robinson’s consistent stellar play at third base and at the plate, the Baltimore Orioles boasted the best record in all of baseball during Hoover’s 23 years with the organization. Robinson ended his career with a very respectable lifetime batting average of .267 and 2,848 total hits, 268 home runs and 1,357 runs batted in.

Hoover participated in four World Series. He won two of them with the Birds, one in 1966 and again in 1970 in which he was named the Most Valuable Player.

The Orioles retired Brooks Robinson’s number five jersey in 1977. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1983 during his first year of eligibility.

This former Baltimore Oriole is also my #23 overall pick in one of my sports comic books Favorite Sports Nicknames.

Favorite Sports NicknamesNow an accomplished public speaker, Brooks Robinson may be the most popular player in the history of the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Comparing Robinson to baseball legend Babe Ruth, Gordon Beard, an Associated Press Baltimore-based sports reporter remarked about the player called The Hoover Vacuum Cleaner, “Brooks never had a candy bar named after him. But, in Baltimore, people named their children after him.”

Shop for Thousands of Authentic Autographed MLB Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor Major League Baseball interested in authentic Baltimore Orioles or MLB collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia image above.

Please note that if any purchase from Sports memorabilia is made, we will earn a small commission. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

baseball footer

#TBT Sports Blog: Boston Celtics Great & ESPY Winner Bill Russell

Today’s #TBT sports blog recalls Boston Celtics great Bill Russell – the most decorated championship player in NBA history, and now the 2019 winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

ESPN presented the octogenarian with its hallowed honor at last night’s annual ESPY Awards for not only Russell’s athletic dominance, but also for his empowering social activism away from the hardwood.

The former Celtics center collected an unprecedented 11 championship rings in 13 overall seasons, a feat that Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson never accomplished and LeBron James and Stephen Curry probably never will.

With pedestrian career numbers of 44% from the field and 56% from the free throw line, Bill Russell was never known for his offensive prowess.

Bill Russell: Greatest NBA Defensive Player

However, the 6’10” and 220 lb. athletic leftie is widely accepted as the greatest defensive player in NBA history and a stoic leader who epitomized winning.

As one of only seven players to ever win an NCAA, NBA and Olympic title, Bill Russell was voted one of the top 50 NBA players of all-time in 1996.

Russell won back-to-back titles with the University of San Francisco Dons in 1956 and 1957, a gold medal with the USA Olympic Team in Rome in 1956 and 11 rings as part of the incredible Boston Celtics dynasty.

Russell Involved in Most Successful Trade in Pro Sports History

In perhaps the most successful trade in professional sports history, the Celtics traded with the St. Louis Spirits to obtain Russell, Tom Heinsohn and K.C. Jones – three players who went on to be inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

While leading the NBA in rebounding four different times and serving as one of the leading shot blockers of his era, Russell dominated the defensive end of the court during his playing days. He sparred regularly with his Eastern Conference nemesis Wilt Chamberlain, one of the NBA’s leading scorers of all-time.

However, away from the hardwood Russell also soared. The NBA great displayed courage and aplomb 50+ years ago while seeking ways to heal our nation’s bitter racial divide. As the NBA’s first black coach, Russell served as a role model and inspiration for others of all races.

In addition to walking peacefully with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Russell spoke out eloquently against racism. His words are memorialized in a park near Government Center in Boston in several famous quotes etched in stone underneath his bronze statue. History recounts his contributions in working toward racial harmony in the same breath as football’s Jim brown and baseball’s Jackie Robinson.

Memorable Bill Russell Quotes

Russell’s unique quotes are very poignant. I am happy to include them in this post to fully appreciate the greatness of this 11 time NBA champion.

“Learning is a daily experience and a lifetime mission.”

“Never go out to see what happens. Rather, go out there and make something happen.”

“Imagination and creative thinking are the realization that there’s no particular virtue in doing things the way they’ve always been done.”

For a relatively subdued individual with non-glittery offensive statistics during his 13 year NBA career, Bill Russell will be forever remembered as a true champion both on and off the basketball court

Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comAlso, for fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Note that if you opt to purchase a Sports Memorabilia product, we earn a small commission from each sale. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Basketball footer

Sitting in Pigeon Heaven at a Major League Baseball Game

Seats in Pigeon HeavenToday’s Fourth of July blog cites a heavenly place to sit at a Major League Baseball game.

It may not be the best location in a baseball stadium. However, any seat in Pigeon Heaven is worth the price of admission to some fans.

Whether you look upon Pigeon Heaven as a heavenly blessing or a hellish curse, the 300 and above levels in baseball stadiums are still desirable seats.

Fans who really want to attend a game and can’t afford a pricey ticket closer to the field consider these seats manna from heaven.

Their butts may be located a half-mile from home plate.

And, their bodies may be fighting off high altitude sickness.

But, they understand the brighter side of these seats – not just because they’re closer to the sun. For a lot less money, fans can cheer on the same players and teams as higher-rollers occupying box seats below.

Download My FREE Comic Book for More on Pigeon Heaven & Other Baseball Observations

MIKE FREE Vol 2 Baseball ComicsRead more about Pigeon Heaven and many other unique baseball observations by safely downloading my FREE Baseball Comics book by clicking HERE.

Fans sitting way up there just need to remember to bring their binoculars.

Pigeons or not, being part of the action at a Major League Baseball game is still heaven to any true baseball fan.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

baseball footer

#TBT Sports Blog: Major League Baseball’s Shoeless Joe Jackson

MIKE Comic 70 Shoeless Joe JacksonToday’s #TBT sports blog features Shoeless Joe Jackson – one of the most enigmatic as well as talented Major League Baseball players ever.

Baseball fans have always been intrigued by the genesis of Jackson’s legendary Shoeless nickname. That’s because Jackson actually removed his new cleats because of a blister, then batted in his socks and ran the bases shoeless.

Yes, the lore was true. Witnesses indicated that way back in 1906, a heckling fan at an amateur baseball game in Anderson, SC coined the name Shoeless as Joe Jackson ran to third base wearing no cleats.

Joe Jackson Famous For More Than His Shoeless Nickname

Joe Jackson’s Shoeless nickname is not the only thing for which this 12-year major league star is immediately and infamously remembered.

Believed to be illiterate, Jackson could certainly read pitches. He currently retains the third highest batting average in Major League Baseball history. Purportedly, Babe Ruth emulated Jackson’s hitting stance after Shoeless Joe hit .408 as a rookie in 1911, a record that still stands today.

At #12 in my sports comic book Favorite Sports Nicknames, Shoeless Joe Jackson is not immediately recognized for his hitting prowess. Unfortunately, Jackson’s baseball legacy has been forever sullied.

Favorite Sports NicknamesShoeless Joe Jackson was implicated, but never indicted, in the legendary 1919 World Series scandal memorialized in the movie Eight Men Out. His name is also referenced in movies like The Natural starring Robert Redford, and Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.

Coincidentally, today – September 28th – marks the day that the US. Government actually indicted 8 players purportedly involved in the scheme.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven of his Chicago White Sox teammates were accused of fixing the 1919 Fall Classic in which they lost to the underdog Cincinnati Reds.

Since the White Sox supposedly soiled the game with their scheme, the alleged fix became forever known as the Black Sox Scandal.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Acquitted in 1921

Although acquitted in 1921 by a Chicago Grand Jury, the other White Sox players, along with Jackson, were banned from baseball by newly appointed commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Joe Jackson passed away in 1951. He spent nearly 30 years of his post baseball life proclaiming that he was not involved in the scheme.

Major League Baseball records and subsequent accounts point to his innocence. He hit an impressive .375 in the 1919 World Series with error less play in the outfield.

As we look back on this prolific player’s checkered past, it may not be so that he participated in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

What is certainly so, and should never be forgotten, is that Shoeless Joe Jackson was a fabulous baseball player.

He’s worthy to be acknowledged as #35 on The Sporting News’ list of the top 100 Major League Baseball players ever.

And, I’m happy to report on him in today’s #TBT sports blog.Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comAlso, for fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Note that if you opt to purchase a Sports Memorabilia product, we earn a small commission from each sale. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Footer Baseball

#TBT Sports Blog Remembers NBA Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer

Today’s #TBT sports blog remembers irritating Detroit Pistons Bad Boy center Bill Laimbeer.

Few basketball fans would disagree that if the NBA brought back its once popular “BIG” marketing campaign from the late 80s, this former all-star would easily have been nicknamed the Big Jerk!

That’s because uttering Laimbeer’s  name immediately sparked agitation and heated debate in basketball circles everywhere – except maybe in the state of Michigan.

One would think words like champion, all-star, terrific rebounder, rugged defender or great teammate would best describe this player.

However, complimentary references to Detroit Pistons’ Bill Laimbeer were, and still are, about as rare as the Cleveland Browns winning a Super Bowl.

Watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Bad Boys brought back to mind the boorish and, at times, brutal play of this gangster of the hardwood.

Bill Laimbeer: Known for Flopping and Downright Dirty Play

Known as much for flopping as he was for overly aggressive and downright dirty play, Laimbeer may be the most reviled NBA player of all-time. And, the ESPN 30 for 30 film left few to challenge it.

The mention of the name Bill Laimbeer always ignites heated basketball debates.

Fans and opposing players cringe upon hearing Laimbeer’s name and quickly vent their disdain toward him.

Former Piston Isiah Thomas Once Said

Even Laimbeer’s Detroit Pistons teammate and friend Isiah Thomas once said of the demonized center, “If I didn’t know Bill, I wouldn’t like him either.”

Few NBA fans liked the cold, callous and cocky Laimbeer who appeared to still carry a boulder sized chip on his shoulders.

Yes, the nickname His Heinous – meaning scary, evil, rotten, awful and beastly – expertly describes Bill Laimbeer for his nasty play on the basketball court.

A University of Notre Dame grad, His Heinous was that NBA player most fans loved to hate.

That’s why the burly Bill Laimbeer also elbows his way into #23 in one of my sports comic books Scary Sports Comics. Click on the purple cover below to safely download the sports comic book.

MIKE FREE Scary Sports Comic Books

In addition to His Heinous Bill Laimbeer, read about The Undertaker, The Executioner, The Embalmer and more in the book.

Their nicknames may seem intimidating, but their presence on the basketball court would not be nearly as scary as driving down the lane against former Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boy – Bill Laimbeer.

For Detroit Pistons fans interested in authentic merchandise and collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Note that if you purchase a Sports Memorabilia product, we earn a small commission. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Basketball footer

 

#TBT Sports Blog: Ozzie Smith or MLB’s Wizard of Oz

Former St. Louis Cardinals' Ozzie SmithToday’s #TBT sports blog features one of my favorite MLB players ever – former St. Louis Cardinals’ shortstop Ozzie Smith or The Wizard of Oz.

If Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow were baseball fans, they’d be off to find Major League Baseball’s wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Ozzie Smith played not to far from the Gateway Arch in the old Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, MO.

Ozzie Smith’s incredibly quick reflexes, unparalleled aptitude with his glove and accurate arm contributed to his magical, wizard like play at shortstop. Smith’s skills made him a most worthy recipient of his clever Wizard of Oz nickname.

The Wizard of Oz is Also Featured in Favorite Sports Nicknames on Amazon

The Wizard of Oz is also included in the #19 spot in my sports comic book titled Favorite Sports Nicknames available for only 99 cents on Amazon.

Osbourne Earl “Ozzie” Smith retired in 1996 as arguably the greatest shortstop in Major League Baseball history. A 1982 World Series champ with the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozzie Smith ended his stellar 19 year career as the all-time leader in career assists (8,375) and double plays by a shortstop (1,590). The “Wizard of Oz” also set a National League record of 2,511 consecutive starts at his position.

The 5’10” and 175 lb. magician with a glove captured the National League Gold Glove Award an unprecedented 13 years in a row. He was named National League all-star shortstop an incredible 15 times.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame Inductee: Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz’s defensive brilliance, coupled with an impressive 2,460 career hits and a lifetime .262 batting average, enabled him to whisk down baseball’s proverbial “yellow brick road” directly into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2002.

The St. Louis Cardinals retired Ozzie Smith’s #1 jersey in 1996. The Sporting News recognized his amazing defensive play and 2,000+ career hits by naming him #87 on its list of the top 100 greatest baseball players ever.

Baseball fans everywhere, even Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow would do back flips of excitement, just like the Cardinals’ Ozzie Smith, while watching this dazzling Wizard of Oz perform on the baseball field in St. Louis.

Remembering the Wizard of Oz in today’s #TBT sports blog is as easy as Ozzie Smith handling a ground ball from his shortstop position in a Cardinals’ uniform.

Shop for Thousands of Authentic Autographed MLB Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor baseball fans interested in authentic Wizard of Oz or MLB collectibles and merchandise, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Please note that we earn a small commission in the event you purchase a product from Sports Memorabilia.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

baseball footer

#TBT Sports Blog: Detroit Pistons Guard Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson

Former Detroit Pistons Vinnie JohnsonToday’s #TBT sports blog rewinds the clock to the 1989 and 1990 NBA seasons.

During those back-to-back Detroit Pistons championship years, starting guards Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars were voted Most Valuable Players in the NBA Finals respectively.

However, muscular back-up guard Vinnie Johnson emerged as the team’s unwitting celebrity as he became known as the team’s Most Valuable Appliance.

That’s because all NBA fans knew Johnson as the Microwave.

According to NBA.com writer John Maxwell, “The Microwave was one of the most colorful and appropriate nicknames in recent sports history.”

The Microwave Nickname

Johnson’s instant offense and rugged defense, coupled with an irrepressible nickname, also made him the #1 choice in my sports comic book titled NBA Favorites.

NBA FavoritesSome basketball fans may think other NBA players or teams are more worthy than Vinnie Johnson to be #1 in this book, but remember this is my book and I loved the Microwave!

Vinnie Johnson earned the Microwave nickname as an electrifying scorer off the bench for the Pistons. Johnson was the great sixth man for the Pistons that brought immediate scoring off the bench. When entering the game, he never needed time to defrost. His energy level, or power, was always set on a microwave high.

During the 1985 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the favored Boston Celtics, Johnson scored an incredible 22 points in the fourth quarter during the Pistons’ 102 – 99 comeback victory. Johnson’s scoring led Celtics star guard Danny Ainge to remark, “If that guy (William Perry) in Chicago is the Refrigerator, then Vinnie Johnson is the Microwave. He sure heated up in a hurry.”

Before his kitchen appliance fame, the Seattle Supersonics drafted the Microwave as their number one draft choice in the 1979 NBA Draft. Johnson’s draft status was high following his amazing senior season at Baylor. The 6’2” and 200 lbs. guard played two seasons in Seattle before being traded to the Pistons. In Detroit, he remained with the franchise for the next 10 years. The Pistons eventually honored Johnson by retiring his number 15 jersey in 1994.

Vinnie Johnson’s NBA Playoff Highlight

This solidly built NBA guard finished his career in 1992 with 11,825 total points. His greatest NBA moment occurred with 00.7 seconds remaining in Game 5 of the 1990 NBA Finals. Johnson’s 15 foot game winning shot helped the Pistons defeat the Portland Trailblazers 92 – 90 and capture their second consecutive NBA Championship. Johnson was never named to an NBA All-Star team.

Yet, Vinnie Johnson’s Microwave label earned him top billing here in NBA Favorites. His clever moniker is sure to heat up and quickly decide any debate about whose nickname is tops in NBA history.

That’s because scores of NBA fans like me also loved the Microwave!

For Detroit Pistons fans interested in authentic merchandise and collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Note that if you purchase a Sports Memorabilia product, we earn a small commission. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Basketball footer

#TBT Sports Blog: 1970 NBA Finals Hero Willis Reed

MIKE sports comic - former New York Knicks Willis Reed

Today’s #TBT sports blog rewinds the game clock to the 1970 NBA Finals.

That’s when Willis Reed provided New York Knicks fans with perhaps the most memorable entrance in Big Apple sports history.

40+ years later, Knicks fans still vividly recall when an injured Willis Reed limped out of the dark tunnel from his locker room and onto Madison Square Garden’s brightly lit center court.

Fans can even recite Knicks radio announcer Marv Albert describing Reed’s entrance “Now here comes Willis… and the crowd is going wild!”

Despite a torn lower leg muscle, Reed’s courage to play on May 8, 1970 energized Knicks fans and inspired his teammates during Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Willis Reed Helps New York Knicks Capture 1st NBA Crown in Franchise History

The Garden erupted early in the game when the hobbled Knicks lefty center scored the game’s first two baskets. Though he did not play much during the remainder of the game, Willis Reed’s early game heroics helped the New York Knicks defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 113 – 97. That’s when the New York Knicks captured the franchise’s first ever NBA crown.

That NBA Finals victory capped an incredible year for the under-sized Reed. At 6’9” Reed battled against the league’s much taller opponents like 7-footers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.

During the 1969-70 season, Reed guided the Knicks to their best record in team history. In doing so, he became the first NBA player in league history to be named MVP of the NBA regular season, the NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Finals.

During his entire 11-year career, #19 played in the pivot for only the Knicks. Drafted as the #8 pick in the second round out of Grambling State University, Reed compiled a brilliant NBA resume. When he retired in 1975, his career numbers included 18.7 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per game in 650 total games.

The seven-time NBA all-star repeated as NBA champion in 1973. In that year the Knicks upgraded their roster by adding Jerry Lucas to an already formidable frontcourt and signing Earl “The Pearl” Monroe to pair with Walt “Clyde” Frazier as the NBA’s best back court.

Reed Voted One of Top 50 NBA Players Ever

Voted as one of the 50 greatest NBA players ever, Reed continued in the game after he officially stopped playing. He coached in both the college and professional ranks at Creighton University and St. John’s University as well as the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks.

Willis Reed enjoyed his greatest sidelines success when he was appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of the New Jersey Nets. The NBA Hall of Famer’s front office basketball knowledge was instrumental in helping the Nets advance to the NBA Finals in both 2002 and 2003.

Since Reed’s retirement in 1975, the Knicks’ franchise fortunes have never really flourished again at the same level.

However, the muscular lefty remains New York’s most beloved Knick, and the city’s never-to-be-forgotten 1970 NBA Finals hero.

Without a noticeable limp long gone, Willis Reed also makes his expected grand entrance into the #5 spot in New York Sports Icons.

New York Sports Stars and LandmarksClick on the purple cover above to safely download your FREE copy of my sports comic book New York Sports Icons.

Read about legendary New York Knicks Willis Reed and other iconic sports figures in New York City history.

Shop for Authentic Autographed Knicks Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor NBA fans interested in authentic New York Knicks collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Please note that we earn a small commission if you buy anything, so thanks.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Basketball footer

#TBT FREE Sports Comic Book: Clever Sports Comics

MIKE FREE Sports Comic Books

Today’s #TBT sports blog recalls my FREE MIKE sports comic book Clever Sports Comics .

Just combine sports and laughter, and, boom! You’ve got a home run, a slam dunk, a hat trick, a perfect 10, a Gatorade victory bath and a touch down celebration all in one.

Clever Sports Comics book does just that for sports fans.

It’s designed to make you laugh about the funny, crazy and sometimes ridiculous ways we describe the athletes, coaches, plays, events and other elements we love about sports.

The 25 comics in Clever Sports Comics creatively capture the hyperbole and absurdity that oftentimes comprise our sports vocabulary.

These sports comics, along with brief corresponding stories, cover the entire gamut in sports. They bring to life commonly used sports clichés we often employ to describe a team, a play or a game.

Clever Sports Comics Features 25 of my Favorite Sports Comics

In this book, you’ll smile at a girl literally pitching a gem and the winning team carrying a metaphoric “W” on their shoulders as they run out the door of their opponent’s gym.

You’ll shake in your shoes if you’re intimidated, too, by rivals you think run like deer or those who wield lots of weapons.

You’ll sneer at the audacity of refs who swallow their whistles at key moments in a game. And, you’ll certainly mutter at the fickleness of supposed faithful fans as they head to the exits.

You’ll cheer on the successful soccer team as it turns the corner and the baseball manager who pleads his case before the presiding judge, or in this case, umpire.

You’ll chuckle at a pitcher getting shelled and wince at a skinny basketball player attempting to take the charge.

You’ll relish the ridiculousness of fans on their feet, an exasperated coach burning a time out and an errant golf ball that finds water.

You will probably grimace at the sophomoric humor of a smart foul, bad basketball bounces (duh!) and a girl with ice water in her veins.

Regardless of the sport, you’ll easily relate to coaches in the comics who remind players that in order to raise the bar, they’ll need to remember that there’s no “I” in team.

As a player, coach or fan you will immediately relate to most, if not all, of the illustrated sports clichés in this book.

Yes, we’ve all used these cliches whenever we’ve talked about sports.

The book is not a nail biter, so finishing it will be as easy as the make-able putt that shows up in the final chapter.

Clever Sports Comics is funny, and, better yet, it’s FREE. Enjoy.

Shop for Official Game Day Gear at Fanatics!For sports fans interested in authentic Fanatics merchandise, just click on the logo above. Please note that we earn a small commission if you opt to buy a Fanatics product. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Football footer

 

#TBT Sports Blog: The Fat Lady Sings Podcast

The sports world's fat lady.Today’s #TBT sports blog dusts off the clever podcast I recorded a few years ago about one of the most famous women in sports – The Fat Lady.

Definitely not an athlete and perennially out of shape, a popular chubby chick sings her way into my new sports podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

This likeable large gal is the famous Fat Lady of sports lore.

She’s the elusive woman who is talked about, but never seen, at American sporting events that take longer than expected to finish.

How did she make this list among favorite non-athletes?

MIKE on sports podcastClick on the yellow cover to listen to Fat Lady podcast

Few sports fans know the genesis of how a pleasantly plump German opera singer became part of American sports culture.

Way back in 1876, the darling diva now known as the Fat Lady debuted on the German stage. She starred as Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner’s Gotterdammerung opera. Brunnhilde’s momentous 10 minute solo marked the close of Wagner’s seemingly endless 14 hour, four-part opera.

The American sports scene resurrected this singing sensation during a tirelessly long 1978 NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and then Washington Bullets. The crowd was frustrated by delays in the long game. Comparing the extended play to the famed opera, American sportscaster Dan Cook remarked, “This game ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”

Cook’s innocent comment caught the attention of other announcers and fans. They quickly adopted this wonderful woman into America’s sports culture, employing her during lengthy games in all sports.

The Fat Lady Must Sing Before Fans Can Go Home

Despite the fact that nobody’s ever seen her, sports fans know this beloved beefy woman’s role. The Fat Lady must belt out a few bars before the game, match or meet can officially end.

Until this glorious gal exercises her vocal chords and marks the completion of endlessly long competitions, fans are obligated to remain in their seats.

Calling her the Fat Lady might sound insensitive. But, this super-sized soprano, who carries a spear and wears a metal breastplate with a horned Viking helmet, is actually very secure in her generous frame.

Thanks to Mr. Cook’s now legendary remark, knowledgeable sports fans understand that every overtime match, extra inning contest or ridiculously long game will only end – when the Fat Lady sings!

FREE MIKE sports comic bookOne more thing about this bountiful beauty, The Fat Lady, the subject of today’s #TBT sports blog.

She’s also #1 in my FREE sports comic book Favorite Non-Athletes in Sports!

Safely download a pdf of the book by clicking on the purple cover above.

MIKE – the ultimate talking head on sports!

Basketball footer