Celebrating Maryland's Athletic Excellence on the Field

> Sports Beat cyber column

> Sports Beat 2007 archives

> Sports Beat 2006 archives

> Sports Beat 2005 archives

> Baseball Roadtrips

> Suds from the Soap Box

> Contact McCaffreysWorld

> Return 2 Sports Beat

> İ 2008


Sports Beat

    July 18, 2008

Sports Beat by Bill McCaffrey

Summers in the 1940's were fun times even though in the first half of the decade the USA was in the midst of World War II.   In 1943 the Washington Senators were second in the American League with what looked like a team with a bright future and in 1945 they were second and in 1946 they were fourth.   In 1943 the Senators had Mickey Vernon, Stan Spence, George Case, Early Wynn, Dutch Leonard, Mickey Haefner, Rae Searborough, Gerry Priddy, and "Indian" Bob Johnson, not a bad basis for a wartime club.

In 1945 when they were second they had a nice club with Roger Wolff winning 20, Leonard with 17, Haefner with 16, and Marino "Chick" Pieretti with 14.   Wolff, Leonard, Haefner, and Johnny Niggeling were all knuckleballers.   Pieretti lived in an apartment near Bladensburg Road (near a friend of mine Bob Harris later a DC police detective) and Pieretti would come out and talk with us kids.

My two favorites were Hall of Famer Rick Ferrell-catcher and Harland Clift-3B.   I used to call Clift and talk to him when I had a radio show on WMJS.   He lived in Yakima , Washington .   Before coming to the Senators he had been a decent hitter with the St. Louis Browns (1937, 29 HR, .306 BA, 1938, 34 HR, .290 BA).   He spent 1943 thru1945 with Washington .   He rente d Early Wynn's house in College Park during the season.   He was the Nats homerun leader in 1945 with 8, all hit on the road.   Clift was a great guy to talk to and he had many baseball stories to tell.   I did some great interviews with Early Wynn, Bob Feller and Roger Wolff on baseball.   Also some of my favorites who I got to meet were Jeff Heath, Sid Hudson, Freddie Valentine, Chuck Hinton, and Bobo Newsom.

It was a great time in DC during my time.   Bob's Frozen Custard, the best I ever had, Little Taverns with the death balls, and the Toddle House great chocolate pie.   I will tell you that Bobıs frozen custard had some great fans like Tom Vaden, June Coates, Slick Spasoff and many others who lived in Anacostia and Congress Heights.

Josh Hamiton is the man, both on and off the field and at bat.   Getting back to baseball I wonder if the Baltimore Orioles are going to come out of their funk (7 losses in 8 games before the All-Star break) or continue a second half swoon like last season.   The Orioles PR/media department is still terrible.   If George Sherrill for real or is he just a 1/2 season wonder?   I think the Washington Nationals will have a decent second half.

Whose going and who's coming in Birdland?   Now Tim Tilghman gives us a look at the Aberdeen Iron Birds and it's a good one.   Tim is covering minor and major league baseball for us due to my incapacity.

By Timothy Tilghman

IronBirds baseball is serious business. Individual tickets to attend ballgames are hard to come by. Right from the beginning on Opening Day when the IronBirds launched during the 2002 season in Aberdeen , Maryland, the entire available seating has been sold out from Day #1. 6,000 seats every baseball game for seven consecutive seasons is quite a record.

The immediate impression of Ripken Stadium is its majestic edifice. This exceptional sports facility is home to the Aberdeen IronBirds, owned by hometown native Cal Ripken, Jr., former Baltimore Oriole #8. The devotion of these Minor League season ticket holders to their IronBirds is unwavering. Not many other teams can boast about the level of loyalty demonstrated by these sports enthusiasts.

Along with younger brother Bill Ripken, the two have pursued their passion in cultivating grassroots baseball camps by building enrollment in the Ripken Youth Baseball Academy located on the complex grounds. Little League teams from all over the globe travel to compete in the Cal Ripken World Series each August.

The view beyond the venue is populated by a sea of green tree tops. The vehicular traffic bustling by on I-95 is neither visible nor audible. Parking and exiting the facility grounds is a relatively quick affair. Cars continue to park free of charge, but the municipal council has suggested charging a fee in order to raise additional revenue.

The first pitch sailed across home plate at 7:13 pm . The Aberdeen IronBirds took the lead in the third inning by scoring three runs. The Staten Island Yankees batted in three runs following in the fourth inning. A fourth run was secured by the Yankees in the seventh inning.

Ultimately, that singular extra run gave Staten Island the advantage and victory over Aberdeen . The IronBirds valiantly persevered at bat, but it was not to be. The Yankees were able to prevent the IronBirds from scoring another run in the ninth inning and the ballgame concluded at 10:59 pm.

Family, friends and fans relaxing in the stands, socializing together, and getting excited over the field action - what more could one ask for? Ripken field is flanked by the Crab Shack party pavilion that rests on the first baseline and an elevated party deck section positioned along the third baseline.

Situated directly behind home plate is a three-tiered open air Cafe offering spectators a bird's eye view on every play. For the minors in your party, there is a busy Kids Zone complete with an arcade. The little legs can occupy themselves with several choices of entertainment. The general admission bleachers almost appear out of place among all of the modern amenities available at Ripken Stadium.

Finding an affordable event or function to take the whole family is becoming more expensive each year. Minor League Baseball is just the right ticket! Gasoline prices continue to climb and spending an evening at the ballpark does not require spending a whole lot of money. The price is right so come and enjoy an evening of hotdogs & homeruns with the IronBirds.

Roadtrips cyber link


Bernie Walter has retired as a teacher and Athletic Director at Arundel High School but he may still coach baseball there.   Walter is a great person.   He is President of the Anne Arundel Sports Hall of Fame and a key member of the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame and probably should be president of that Hall too.   He is active in so many things and has done so much for Arundel sports it would take a month to put then all down.   Some of the other great high school baseball coaches I have known are Terry Terrill, Lew Jenkins, Mike Cavallini, Tommy Nolan, John Latzo, and Gabe Ferrazzi.

Bowie State University (BSU) Signs Top Basketball Recruit Willard Duke Crews

Bowie State University has signed Willard Duke Crews, a high profile, McDonald's All-American transfer from the University of Tennessee , to their basketball program.  Crews made an official announcement during the Allen Iverson Celebrity Summer Classic press conference at the ESPN Zone in Washington , D.C.

"We are very excited to have Willard Crews as part of the Bowie State University basketball program," says the university's Men's Head Basketball Coach Luke D'Alessio. "Willard is an excellent student-athlete that we have great faith in and he will be an excellent addition to our institution. We've had three All-Americans to play at BSU and we expect Willard to be the fourth." Crews will play the forward/center position on the University team.

During his stint at Tennessee , Crews played in 61 games over two seasons (2006-2007 and 2007-2008), starting 20 of those games.  The Hampton (VA) native was named to the Southeastern Conference ( SEC ) All-Freshman Team, started 18 games, led the Volunteers with 32 blocks and a 51.8 field goal percentage, ranked second on the team with 5.1 rebounds per game and was fifth in scoring (8.4 per game).

As a high school (Bethel) junior, Crews shot 70 percent from the field, averaging 19 points per game and led the Bruins to a 22-4 record and the 2005 Eastern Region quarterfinals.  During his senior campaign, Crews led Bethel to a 27-1 record and guided the team to a regional and district championship while averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds. rated Crews a five-star prospect and No. 26 player overall.  Some of his other accolades include being rated the No. 2 player at the 2005 Nike Camp in Indianapolis, No. 14 player in the country by, third team selection to the 50th annual Parade All-American high school boys basketbal l team and 2006 Associated Press All-State Group AAA first team selection.

In addition to Bowie State , the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Pittsburgh heavily recruited Crews.  His decision to attend BSU was influenced by the basketball legacy of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the university conference organization for 10 HBCUs.  He expressed being very comfortable with the players and the University.

"The CIAA welcomes Crews to the conference," says Commissioner Kerry.  "The CIAA is a legendary conference with pioneers like John McClendon, Big House Gaines and Earl Monroe.  This is a great opportunity for a young, talented player like Crews to be a part of that history.  We have great expectations for Crews and value that he offers to both BSU and the CIAA."

Denver Nuggets guard Allen Iverson announces the latest recipient of his scholarship program

In an announcement made on Friday, July 11 at his Celebrity Summer Classic Kickoff Reception at the ESPN Zone in Washington, DC. Denver Nuggets guard and Hampton Roads native, Allen Iverson announced that former Bethel High School standout Duke Crews would be the 2008 recipient of the Allen Iverson Student-Athlete Scholarship Program.    Crews, is transferring from the University of Tennessee and will be attending Bowie State University in Bowie, MD this coming fall se mester.  As a part of the program, Crews will receive mentoring through Moore Management, Inc. and Iverson himself throughout the remainder of his college career in addition to financial assistance to aid with his academic needs.   Crews is excited about this opportunity at a second chance and look forward to making the most of it.  Iverson noted, "It makes me proud to be able to help Duke get the second chance he needs to be successful."

On Sunday, July 13, 2008 , Allen hosted The Allen Iverson Flag Football Exhibition at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, MD. The event featured Allenıs teammate Carmelo Anthony, DeAngelo Hall (Oakland Raiders), Larry Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs), Nate Burleson (Seattle Seahawks), Marques Hagans (St. Louis Rams) Nelly, MoNique, Judge Glenda Hatchett and many others.   The Allen Iverson Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund is an initiative which benefits students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Thus far scholarships have been endowed at St. Augustine 's College, Johnson C. Smith University and Bowie State University.

Other Notable News Last month, with a gift of $100,000, Allen Iverson established at endowment with the Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia, Inc. to support local youth initiatives. In the spirit of the Youth Promise Act, legislation sponsored by Congressman Bobby Scott of Newport News , Iverson will focus future charitable gifts from his endowment toward supporting local programs which encourage youth to stay in school, and prevent gang and drug involvement. The endowment will support another Gun Buy Back program with the Newport News Police Department.


Dear Bill -  Thanks for the nice comments about Danny and family in your recent column - doing this story about Dan will be a real treasure for him - plus your interview with him on your TV show! - can't wait to see it! Thank you again for your interest and for taking time to make all this come together.  Best regards, Norma Coffren

Norma, Thank you.   I was very impressed by Danny Edwards, a great person and he is focused on life. Bill

Bill, Great column as always and thank you very much for writing about Dan and his Southern Maryland roots. J.

Bill, I thought you would be interested in this: After two years at Missouri , Newark native Keon Lawrence is coming home to play for Seton Hall . The 6'2 guard started for the Tigers down the stretch, and averaged better than 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game. He will sit next season and be eligible to play in 2009-10 with two years of eligibility. [Weequahic head coach Alif] Muhammad said Gonzalez was too strong and impressive in the recruiting pitch to turn him down.   "Bobby was unbelievable," he said. "He was unbelievable on the phone. He was honest with Keon. Providence was saying they'll give him the ball immediately. Marquette was saying all their guards are leaving next year. Bobby said, "I can't take the ball from Eugene , but your senior year (you'll start). You want to be here in Newark so the kids can see you in New Jersey." Despite the Plank's preference for high school players over transfers, Keon is a very good pickup for Seton Hall. He has proven the ability to compete at the high-major level and has the skill set necessary for Bobby Gonzalez's open offense. Plus, he's a gamer.   Last season he scored 18 points when Missouri upset Texas, 24 points at Texas Tech and 25 in a loss to Kansas. In Big 12 play, he shot better than 39% from 3-point range. The ability to elevate play against better competition - and conference rivals - is an intangible worth more than an asterisk. Welcome home, Keon.

Update: Here come the reactions. The Star-Ledger gives the transfer story well-deserved coverage , given it is a Jersey kid and a Jersey school. Lawrence said Seton Hall was competing with Rutgers , Villanova, Louisville , Georgetown and others. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star report gives Lawrence a cold shoulder on his departure, and Jerry Carino offers his analysis and a wrap-up of the decision to leave Mizzou.   This is information I pulled from a post by Paul V. Tyalria on July 7 th . Jerry

Jerry, Thanks for the information I think the "Hall" is going be tough this season. Bill

Bill, Thanks so much for the column as always, my hometown connection.  Think it may be time again to save the space you always so generously give to me in the "We Get Letters" section for some other readers and fans to share for awhile.   Thanks buddy and have a blessed day in every way, Drama Queen Dale in Daytona

P.S. did you get to see that amazing program on ABC last night about Johns Hopkins?  It was the 3rd of 6 segments; I missed the first two but can order the DVDs and will.  I thought it was excellent and if I had known it was going to be on, first I ever heard of it really, I would have sent a "heads up" around to the friends you may want to mention it in your column if so, it is called "Hopkins", and it is on Thursday night at 10pm on ABC and is a reality show/news program of what life is like for staff and patients at JH and has 3 more segments also a website which has everything about the program and also how you can order DVD of it.



DC's Tony "the Tiger" Thompson went till the 11 th round with WBO Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko before the champ put him to sleep in the 11 th.   It appeared the Champ took nine out of ten rounds before he went night, night in the 11 th .   The Tiger received his biggest purse of his career.   Look for him to be fighting at Michael's 8 th Avenue, maybe even hooking up in a fight with former champ "Has been" Rahman.   "Has Been" lost a controversial fight with James Toney, "HB" claimed he was head butted and he couldn't see because of the blood.   "HB" thought he should be the winner.   See you at Michael's "HB".   Mike Paschell will carry his 17-0-1 record into the ring on August 2 nd in Takoma , Washington against 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner Andro Direll (15-0) in a super-middleweight bout on the undercard of the IBF junior-bantam weight championship fight between Dimitri Kirilov vs. Vic Darchinyan.   These bouts will be on Showtime TV.

The Board of Directors and Members of the Maryland Fire-Rescue Services Memorial Foundation, Inc. sadly announces the passing of Chairman J. Donald Mooney on Thursday, July 10, 2008 .     The creation of the Memorial Park was a dream come true for Chairman Mooney.  His many years of dedication and devotion to the fire service has served as a motivating force to everyone associated with the completion of the Project.  He made us all proud to be a part of the Foundation and was a source of encouragement and support in the creation and completion of the Memorial Park. Chairman Mooney could not have been more pleased with any of his undertakings than on Dedication Day, June 11, 2006 .  There are many grateful hearts in the fire service family who are now afforded the opportunity to visit the Memorial Park ­ a symbol of respect and love from the fire service community. May he rest in peace.

Our deepest sympathy goes to the families of the following:
Evelyn Keyes (well known movie actress who played Scarlett O'Hara's sister in the great film "Gone with the Wind".   She also appeared in other films with great actors and actresses)
Bobby Mercer (great Yankees outfielder and Yankee broadcaster. He was suppose to be the next Mickey Mantle. He had a lifetime batting average of .277 with 252 homeruns and 1,043 RBIıs.   Besides the Yankees he also played with the Cubs and Giants and made the All-Star team in both leagues. Devo Stalker was a big fan of Murcer).
Helen Marie McCarthy (Eastern HS grad)
Frederick Andrew Slaugh ( High Point HS grad)
Clem Rogers McSpadden (former Oklahoma Congressman and well known rodeo announcer).
John W. Shearer (well known QB at Bladensburg HS, MJC-Takoma Park and Shepard College. NCIA All-American in football in 1955)

I wonder where they are now: Lou Cornelius, Charlie Joy, Bill Carter, Jean Thompson ( BCC ), Margie Jones, Joan Greene, Natalie Blackstone Barry, Richard Holmes, Bob Roberts, and Rick Peake.   Erie first baseman Ryan Roberson is the winner of the Bank of America Eastern League Player of the Week Award and Harrisburg right-hander Craig Stammen is the winner of the Bank of America Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Award.  

You know what I don't understand is when people get upset when the government raids to arrest illegal immigrants and deport them back to where they came from, what don't they understand about "Illegal"?   I think it means breaking the law, don't you?

You can color Rosecroft Raceway gone as a live harness raceway, when I was growing up it provided many jobs for the area but no more and because our "Leaders" say no slots for Rosecroft it's doomed to die.   No DC United players named to the MLS All-Stars for the first time since the league was formed in the 90's.   Oh, yes David Beckham of the L.A. Galaxy made it (surprise, surprise).

Streetcars are coming back to DC.   How many of you remember the #50, #52, and #54 lines?

Well, the Washington Redskins won their court case so they can still be the Redskins.


İ 2008