College football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin, effortlessly rushes into today’s #TBT sports blog.
A former standout for the Ohio State University Buckeyes, Archie Griffin led the Big Ten in rushing for three consecutive seasons.
The 1974 and 1975 Heisman Trophy recipient is the only player in Big Ten history to win four Big Ten football titles and start in four Rose Bowl games.
Legendary Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes called Archie Griffin the best football player he had ever seen. Few people, even Michigan Wolverine diehards, would disagree.
Despite his short 5’9” stature, Griffin utilized incredible speed and power to consistently break multiple tackles every time he carried the football. It’s no surprise that today’s #TBT sports blog features Griffin’s many college football exploits.
Griffin’s Ohio State Debut Was Forgettable
Ironically, Griffin did not begin his storied college career as one might expect. In his first game as a freshman running back in 1972, the Buckeye fumbled his only possession of the game and returned to the sidelines.
However, the Buckeyes running back bounced back quickly. In his second game as a freshman, Griffin ran for an amazing 239 yards. He proceeded to rush for 100 yards or more for 31 consecutive games, an NCAA record.
Archie Griffin’s incredible college career culminated in 1976 when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 24th pick in the 1st round. He played for the Bengals for seven seasons.
Soon after, Griffin returned to his home town of Columbus, OH where Ohio State is also located. The modest two-time Heisman winner was immediately welcomed into the school’s administration and eventually became President of the School’s Alumni Association.
Two-Time Heisman Winner Archie Griffin’s Famous Quote
Archie Griffin’s apparent toughness, speed and power are best remembered in a quote credited to this former Buckeye, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
College football history clearly shows that former Ohio State Buckeye and two-time Heisman Trophy Archie Griffin winner possessed a whole lot of bark and bite whenever he carried the football.
For Ohio State University fans, simply click on the Fanatics logo above to shop for authentic Buckeyes merchandise and collectibles.
Thanks if you opt to buy any Fanatics merchandise as we earn a small commission.
Today’s November 1st sports blog in remembers one of Major League Baseball’s most admired players ever – Derek Jeter.
In addition to his Captain Clutch nickname, the retired New York Yankee also came to be known as Mr. November.
Derek Jeter got the name through the unique circumstances surrounding the postponement of the 2001 World Series.
The former New York Yankee shortstop not only earned his own separate month on the calendar in Major League Baseball lore.
But, Jeter also will be remembered as one of the greatest players and most trustworthy athletes of his generation.
It’s only fitting, and maybe even a little coincidental, that we honor Mr. November at the beginning of the month of November – the morning after an exciting World Series Game 7 was decided the previous night, November 1st, when the Houston Astros captured their first world championship.
2001 World Series & Derek Jeter
Due to the shocking September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the Fall Classic between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks was delayed. Games were pushed back until late October.
The Yankees won Game 4 of the series when Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. This extra-inning game took place for the first time during the month of November. The Yankee Stadium scoreboard recognized Jeter’s historic moment and immediately called him Mr. November.
Derek Jeter Excelled in the Post Season
Historically, Derek Jeter excelled in the post-season where he won five World Series championships and batted an impressive .351. The Yankee shortstop also played in a total of 152 post-season games. During that time, he made 679 plate appearances and collected 191 hits. No wonder why Derek Jeter was known for being clutch.
In addition to his remarkable post-season statistics, Jeter served as a terrific role model during his 20 years with the New York Yankees. The Yankee great is expected to be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
This 1996 American League Rookie of the Year and 2000 World Series Most Valuable Player made 14 All-Star appearances. Mr. November’s also collected five Silver Slugger Awards and won five Gold Gloves.
The Late Don Zimmer Called Derek Jeter the All-time Yankee
Legendary baseball coach Don Zimmer appropriately called Jeter “the all-time Yankee.” Upon retiring last year, Jeter ranked as the all-time New York Yankees leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats.
Over and above his baseball exploits, Derek Jeter’s leadership and ever present smile made him one of the most successful product spokesmen in sports.
Global brands like Nike, Gillette, Ford, VISA and Gatorade paid Mr. November handsomely to endorse their products – no matter what month of the year.For Major League Baseball fans interested in authentic Derek Jeter sports memorabilia, simply click on the image above and visit MLB Shop.
Please note that if you purchase any Derek Jeter memorabilia, we earn a small commission. So, thank you.
Today’s #TBT sports blog focuses on FIFA star Franck Ribery.
The former French National Team striker earned his nickname Scarface from the noticeable facial scars he suffered in a car accident as a child.
For years, Ribery has displayed frightening speed, chilling patience and a punishing style to scare his opposition on the soccer pitch.
The current Bayern Munich star’s facial scars have caused many to compare him to actor Al Pacino’s frightening character Tony Montana from the Scarface movie.
At 5’7”and 158 lbs. this Frenchman may look like a back yard brawler. But, his overall game is beautiful on the soccer field.
Franck Ribery Once Called “Jewel of French Football”
Legendary French midfielder Zinedine Zidane once called Ribery, “the jewel of French football.”
Ribery made his start on the European football scene in 2004 in France’s Ligue 1 with FC Metz. Then, he quickly emerged as a star for Marseille. This fast, tricky and fearless left wing twice became France’s Player of the Year in 2007 and then again in 2008.
Named to the French National Team in 2006, Scarface represented his country in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He has earned 60 caps and scored 10 goals for France.
One of European football’s top overall players, Ribery signed with Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich in 2008.
While with the German club, Ribery’s outstanding play has been key in Bayern Munich’s success. The club advanced to the UEFA Champions League game in both 2010 and 2012 where Bayern finished as runner-up on both occasions.
However, in 2013 Ribery’s resilient Bayern-Munich club defeated its Bundeliga rival Borussia Dortmund to win the Frenchman’s first UEFA Champions League title.
Scarface’s Bayern Munich career has been slowed by nagging ankle and knee injuries. In spite of these problems, as of this writing Ribery has appeared in 223 games. He’s found the back of the net 73 times and earned the German Footballer of the Year Award in 2008.
Many football fans focus on the scars lining Franck Ribery’s face.
But, soccer Scarface’s energy, incredible pace and overall beautiful skill on the pitch have made him a sort of movie star like Al Pacino’s chilling character.
Not on the big screen, but in international football.
For international football fans interested in authentic soccer apparel and merchandise, click on the Sports Memorabilia ad above.
Note that we earn a small commission on each purchase. So, thank you.
Today’s #TBT Sports Blog features Red Grange – one of NCAA football’s greatest players of all time.
My post recalls Grange – an incomparable college football player with the unforgettable nickname – The Galloping Ghost.
In 2008, ESPN.com called Red Grange, an electrifying running back and kick returner, the greatest college football player ever.
However, 90 years earlier it was Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown who attributed The Galloping Ghost name to Harold Edward “Red” Grange.
Grange earned the Galloping Ghost moniker because of his race horse speed and quick, ghostlike movements that avoided tacklers in the open field.
Tackling Grange was like trying to lasso a fast moving cloud driven by a strong wind in a large open field. Few defenders ever succeeded.
A three-time All American at the University of Illinois, the 5’11″ and 175 lb. Grange led the Illini to an undefeated season and college football’s national championship in 1923.
The Galloping Ghost’s Best College Game
The Galloping Ghost’s best college game was against Michigan on October 18, 1924. Most college football fans called it the greatest individual performance in the history of college football.
Against the Illini’s fiercest rival, Grange spooked the Wolverine defense by racing the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He scored three more times on runs of 67, 56 and 44 yards – all within the first 12 minutes of the game.
There was no television or internet back in The Galloping Ghost’s era. Instead, TIME Magazine highlighted Grange’s amazing college career by including The Galloping Ghost on the cover of its October 1925 issue. It was a huge national honor.
An original member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, Grange signed with the Chicago Bears immediately after college. Grange is also a history maker for the professional sport of football.
Back in the 1920s, professional football was only beginning to form nationally, and Grange became instrumental in its initial success.
Grange participated in a 67 day, 19 game cross-country series of exhibition games. For his efforts, The Galloping Ghost pocketed an incredible $100,000 for his role. The other players were paid only $100 per game.
Chicago Bears’ Owner Calls Red Grange Best RB Ever
Chicago Bears Hall of Fame owner George Halas called Grange the greatest running back he had ever seen. Unfortunately, The Galloping Ghost suffered a terrible knee injury in 1927 that inevitably shortened his professionally career.
The highlight of #77′s NFL career came in 1933. Grange made a heroic game saving play on defense in the closing seconds of the NFL’s first ever Championship Game held at Wrigley Field.
The spirit of this Galloping Ghost will always live on. And, today’s#TBT Sports Blog rekindles the fiery spirit of this amazing college football player.
Red Grange passed away in 1991, but today let’s remember the elusive, fast gridiron great whom ESPN.com recognized as the best college football player of all time.
For NCAA college football fans interested in authentic apparel, simply click on the Fanatics logo above.
If you opt to buy a Fanatics product, then thanks because we earn a small commission on the sale.
Today’s #TBT Sports Blog tells the history of Death Valley – both of them.
One of college football’s most daunting places for visiting teams to play, Death Valley rests peacefully in one of my favorite sports comic books – Deadly Sports Stuff. Check out the excerpt below.
Two prominent universities lay claim to the mortal title. And both schools routinely spar over who owns the genuine birthright to their individual stadium’s deathly name.
Clemson University’s Death Valley
Aptly named Death Valley, the first is Clemson University’s football stadium. It’s ironically situated between a cemetery on a hill and a plain with a valley beyond.
Clemson claims its stadium is the genuine Death Valley of college football because it can clearly identify the genesis of its deadly sounding name.
In 1948, former Presbyterian College coach Lonnie McMillian bemoaned the fact that his teams rarely scored and never won when playing in Clemson’s Death Valley.
McMillian’s comments hold true for most other NCAA FBS teams as well. Clemson’s Death Valley boasts a remarkable home field advantage.
It’s here that the Clemson Tigers have won an impressive 71% of their home games. It’s also where their boisterous 81,500 seat stadium reaches a deafening decibel level of 133db.
Death Valley is famous for Howard’s Rock. Named after legendary Clemson coach Frank Howard, this actual rock originated from Death Valley Park in California. It serves as a landmark in the stadium.
Since 1967, Clemson players and coaches have traditionally touched the rock before each game amid fireworks and a raucous crowd.
Opposing teams have often become intimidated while witnessing this amazing spectacle, acknowledged as one of the richest in college sports. The lore and legend of Death Valley causes these would-be rivals to succumb to the Tigers on their notoriously scary home field.
LSU’s Death Valley
About 1,000 miles southwest of Clemson, SC stands the football home of the LSU Tigers. Coincidentally, Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA is also known as Death Valley.
However, the birth of LSU’s Death Valley stadium remains a mystery to most fans. There exists no clear cut agreement on when and where LSU’s Death Valley moniker was originally coined.
Some fans attribute LSU’s Death Valley name to the local Baton Rouge dialect’s pronunciation of Deaf Valley, which, ironically, is a gas station situated next to the actual football stadium where LSU played.
Fans near the gas station not only remember that it was impossible to hear when games were played in the monstrous stadium located next to the Deaf Valley gas station, but they also recall few visiting teams ever won at LSU.
When Louisianans described this experience to others outside the state, they sounded as if they said Death Valley instead of Deaf Valley.
Their unique dialect transformed the “f” into a “th” sound as they did when saying breath as “breaf”.
Tiger Stadium, or LSU’s Death Valley, is just as tough a place to play as Memorial Stadium in Clemson, SC.
LSU’s 95,542 seat stadium was named the scariest place to play in college football by ESPN in 2007, and the NCAA called it the loudest in FBS stadium in 2013.
Whether you believe LSU’s theory about the origination of its Death Valley or hold true to the media facts supported by Clemson’s claim, let’s agree on this one unwavering detail.
Both college stadiums are not only incredibly loud.
But, based on both schools’ impressive home winning records, they’re also metaphoric graveyards for opposing teams who reluctantly come to visit either Death Valley.
Also, for fans interested in authentic college football merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Fanatics logo above.
Note that if you opt to purchase a Fanatics product, we earn a small commission from each sale. So, thank you.
It’s only fitting that Major League Baseball’s Mr. October Reggie Jackson leads off today’s #TBT sports blog.
This Baseball Hall of Fame slugger wore the colorful uniform of the Oakland A’s and the traditional pinstripes of the New York Yankees. He normally starred during the spring and summer months of the Major League Baseball season.
However, Reggie Jackson flourished on the baseball field during the fall.
That’s when he earned his nickname Mr. October.
Late Yankee Thurmon Munson Coined the Name Mr. October
Yankee teammate Thurmon Munson first used the title when questioned during the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Munson told a reporter to interview Jackson. He referred to the Yankee right fielder’s history of fantastic post-season games and said, “Go ask Mr. October.”
A 1999 Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductee, Reginald Martinez Jackson enjoyed a stellar 21-year Major League Baseball career. He retired in 1987. Jackson was a 14-time All-Star who hit 563 dingers, drove in 1,702 runs and batted .262 with 2,584 total hits.
The 1973 American League MVP also had his number 9 jersey retired in Oakland and his number 44 jersey retired in New York. Pretty great accomplishments, indeed!
Reggie Jackson: World Series MVP for Two Different Teams
A clutch hitting right fielder, Jackson had the ability to perform his best during post-season play. Mr. October ranks as the only baseball player ever to be named World Series Most Valuable Player for two different teams. Jackson first won the award in 1973 with the Oakland A’s. He won it again in 1977 in spectacular fashion with the New York Yankees.
Jackson’s World Series numbers are incredible. In 27 Fall Classic appearances, Mr. October belted 10 home runs, drove in 24 runs and batted an impressive .357. He won five world titles. In the deciding Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, Jackson hit three consecutive first pitch home runs off of three different Dodger hurlers.
Baseball fans will never forget this amazing Oakland A’s and New York Yankees’ right fielder and his Fall Classic heroics.
In a Boys of Summer sport, this Baseball Hall of Fame player rightfully earned his fitting autumn nickname – Mr. October.
For New York Yankees fans, click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above for authentic team collectibles. Note we earn a small commission if you opt to buy something.
Stepping up to the plate in the #8 spot in my FREE sports comic book Boston Sports Icons is Boston Red Sox “Big Papi” David Ortiz.
“Big Papi” is also the feature of today’s #TBT sports blog.
The nickname “Papi” translates in multiple ways within the Hispanic community. Several recognized G-rated definitions are: father, daddy, attractive man, affectionate pet name for a young boy, leading member of a gang and alpha male.
In Major League Baseball circles however, there exists only one instantly recognizable reference to “Papi.” The endearing name belongs to Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
Respectfully known as Big Papi, this extra-large Dominican embodies many of the positive and multi-faceted attributes of the “Papi” nickname. With a 6’5” and generous 275 lb. frame, Ortiz originally earned the “Papi” moniker for leading his “gang” of baseball teammates to three World Series championships in 2004, 2007 and 2013.
David Ortiz: 9-time MLB All-Star
The handsome nine-time Major League Baseball All-Star is more than just a “father figure” in the clubhouse, as the “papi” name suggests. Brash, confident and skilled as a hitter, David Ortiz is a highly successful “alpha male” on the playing field as his impressive hitting statistics have proven.
Ortiz’s career numbers at the plate are worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. Big Papi’s impressive career batting average enabled him to sign a whopping $13 million per year contract with the Red Sox. He also set a Red Sox team record by belting 54 home runs during the 2006 season.
Ortiz is also widely regarded as the most highly specialized performer in a highly specialized position. The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated both named him Designated Hitter of the Decade.
A seven time winner of the Edgar Martinez Award as the American League’s top DH, Ortiz remains the all-time leader among designated hitters in hits, home runs and runs batted in.
Big Papi has been so proficient at the plate in a Boston uniform that Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski surprisingly referred to #34 as the second best hitter in franchise history behind Ted Williams.
Ortiz’s imposing physique and colorful personality combine to make him a Boston Sports Nation favorite. Kids mimic his well-known histrionics in the batter’s box. They also wear Big Papi inspired sunglasses and batting gloves. And, rabid adult fans replicate Ortiz’s pointing to heaven while crossing home plate after belting a home run. The heavenward gesture originated as a tribute to Big Papi’s late mother who died tragically in a 2002 car wreck.
Big Papi’s watershed moment in which he emerged as a true Boston Sports Icon arrived when he addressed a hurting Fenway crowd in April, 2013. It occurred shortly after the insidious and shocking Boston marathon bombings.
Despite Big Papi’s profanity punctuated pre-game speech, he encouraged a confused and reeling Boston community. Moreover, his powerful speech cemented the likeable large Ortiz’s lore in Bean Town sports history as a Boston sports hero who unquestionably embodies the city’s Boston Strong spirit.
That’s why the alpha male Big Papi boisterously barrels into the #8 pick in Boston Sports Icons.
Click on the purple cover above to safely download the FREE sports comic book Boston Sports Icons. Enjoy the read. Feel free to share it with others.
Yaz proved the best way to follow an icon on the same team while playing the same position is to become a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame legend, too.
That’s exactly what Carl Yastrzemski accomplished in 1961.
As a 20 year-old rookie left fielder for the Boston Red Sox, Yaz replaced the brilliant “Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams.
Yaz’s strong work ethic, marvelous athleticism and unparalleled commitment to the game equipped him to escape the looming shadow of the beloved Williams’ incredible career. He, too, would become one of Major League Baseball’s best players ever.
After 23 years in the same Red Sox organization, Boston’s iconic #8 etched the following impressive numbers in Major League Baseball history books upon retirement.
Yaz finished 1st in total games played with one team, 2nd in total games played in MLB history, 3rd in total at bats, 6th in bases on balls, 8th in hits, total bases and doubles and 13th in career RBI’s.
Yaz Voted into Cooperstown on First Ballot
It’s no wonder he became a first ballot Cooperstown inductee.
Carl Yastzremski was the son of Polish potato farmers living in Long Island, NY. Yaz never forgot the promise he made to his parents to graduate from college. Few fans know that Yaz originally attended the University of Notre Dame, playing for the Irish on a basketball scholarship. Additionally, he had once broken NFL Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown’s Long Island high school basketball scoring record.
However, like Jim Brown, Carl Yastrzemski chose another sport in which to excel. Yaz left college in order to join the Boston Red Sox franchise as a second baseman. The club quickly changed his position from infielder to outfielder, but fortunately failed to convince Yaz to change his unusual swing.
As soon as he got his start in the big leagues in 1961, Yastrzemski became known for his unorthodox batting stance. The young left-handed hitter held his bat high over his head. This odd approach led to a dramatic arced swing in which fans almost expected to hear an audible swoosh.
Immediately, baseball players of all ages copied Yaz’s batting stance, but none experienced the same success as the young Boston Red Sox left fielder.
Yaz dominated pitchers at the plate. He compiled a .285 career average, belted 452 dingers, collected 3,419 hits in 3,308 games and hit for the elusive Triple Crown as the American League MVP in 1967.
Yastrzemski also excelled in the daunting environs of Fenway Park. He won seven Gold Gloves for being the best at his craft in spite of dealing with the dastardly 37’ wall, the intimidating and unpredictable Green Monster, in Boston’s left field.
An 18 time MLB All-Star, Yaz may be best remembered for more than his athletic excellence. He was an amazingly committed and loyal guy who did more than just play his entire 23-year career with one organization.
Carl Yastrzemski kept the promise he made to his parents after skipping out on his basketball scholarship at Notre Dame. Yaz made his family proud in 1966 when he graduated from Merrimac College in North Andover, Massachusetts.
With a big bat and a bigger heart, it’s easy to understand why this son of Polish potato farmers swings in at #7 in Boston Sports Icons.Click on the purple cover above to safely download my FREE sports comic book titled Boston Sports Icons.
And, even while reading the book, you’ll almost hear the audible swoosh of Yaz’s swing!