Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Red, White & Blue of Sports

Today is the 4th of July, also known as the Poulan Weedeater Independence Day. Whether it’s fireworks, picnics, or Joey Chestnut gorging himself with 66 hot dogs, Americans are finding fun ways to celebrate the USA’s 231st birthday. The sports realm has a particular fondness for the red, white, and blue, even if the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Blues aren’t faring so well these days.

With the spirit of the day in mind, here’s a look at some Red, White, and Blue sports figures. Certainly, there are far more Reds and Whites to choose from in comparison to Blues. However, I’m giving equal representation to each color. Before proceeding, please rise, remove your hat and imagine that someone near your computer is playing the Star-Spangled Banner. If you’d also like to take a moment and wonder why you never hear the word “spangled” outside of a flag context, feel free.


Red Auerbach:
The Celtics mastermind ruled the NBA for decades, but things got tougher in the 90s. Worst of all, after Cigar won the 1995 Breeders Cup Classic, Auerbach tried to light the horse on fire.

Red Grange: The Illinois and Bears star was known as The Galloping Ghost, because he enjoyed making pottery with Demi Moore.

Red Holzman: He coached the Knicks to the 1970 and 1973 NBA titles and passed away in 1998. Holzman briefly came back to life at the funeral, inspired by the arrival of a limping Willis Reed.

Red Klotz: As the leader of the New York Nationals (formerly the Washington Generals), Klotz is in charge of a team that’s destined to lose every time. The same is true of Matt Millen.

Michael Redd: The Bucks’ sharpshooter will represent Team USA later this summer in the FIBA Americas Championship. He’s preparing for the experience by playing bad defense against guys from Argentina.

Red Schoendienst: Teammate Stan Musial claimed that the Cardinal second baseman had “the greatest pair of hands I’ve ever seen.” Clearly he never saw George Costanza before the tragic iron mishap.


Byron White:
Known as “Whizzer,” he was a Supreme Court justice and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. That dual feat was later duplicated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Charles White: As far as USC running backs go, he gets the edge over LenDale White. Charles won his own Heisman, while LenDale watched everyone around him get one.

Frank White: Frank gets the nod over Devon White because his 1980 Royals were kind enough to lose the World Series to my Phillies, unlike Devon’s greedy ‘93 Blue Jays.

Randy White: He was the Co-MVP of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl XII triumph. Don’t worry Randy - you don’t have to share this entry with Harvey Martin.

Reggie White: As we celebrate our freedom, it’s appropriate to mention one of history’s greatest Eagles. Another Philly icon, Ben Franklin, wanted the turkey to be the national symbol. So say it with me, in honor of Ben: “T-U-R-K-E-Y-S! TURKEYS!!!”

Shaun White: He’ll have particular relevance at 4th of July BBQs today, as food fights everywhere will begin with a Flying Tomato.


Forest Blue:
You’ve probably never heard of him, but he made four straight Pro Bowls in the early 1970s as an offensive lineman for San Francisco. Most importantly, his name sounds like a Crayola color.

Vida Blue: He won the American League Cy Young Award in 1971 – a year after Jim Perry and a year before Gaylord Perry. Blue narrowly edged Matthew and Luke Perry.

Blue Edwards: He had the first triple-double in Vancouver Grizzlies history. No, I don’t care, either.

Blue Moon Odom: An Oakland teammate of Vida Blue’s, Odom had a 1.07 ERA in 42 postseason innings. As is common with Blue Moon pitchers, bartenders served him with a slice of orange.

Blue, Don Cherry’s bull terrier: Sure, the hockey commentator and his dog are much more famous in Canada. But Sunday was Canada Day, so why not share some holiday love with our neighbors?

Blue from Old School: He sacrificed his life in the midst of athletic competition. So for Frank the Tank and sports fans everywhere, he’s our boy.