Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cleaning out the inbox:Passings

I told you the inbox was overflowing.
Overflowing to the point of not just a sports version and a non-sports version,but one just devoted to passings!

Editor's Note:I prepared this last night at work for release today.
In the interim,Adam West passed away-Had I known that then,that would have been the cover story-I plan on doing an Adam West post later tonight from the road office...

We start with one of the great racehorses that I saw during my time as a passionate horse racing fan as Holy Bull was euthanized at the age of 26.
The 1994 Horse of the Year won grade one stakes races from distances from six furlongs to a mile and a quarter and did it in the toughest manner possible-going to the front and staying there.
Holy Bull was the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby,but rebounded with wins against older horses in the Met Mile and his most brilliant performance-a dominant victory against his elders in the Woodward stakes,but his most remembered race was the Travers Stakes at Saratoga,where D.Wayne Lukas,trainer of Preakness/Belmont winner Tabasco Cat entered a "rabbit" to soften Holy Bull up for Tabasco Cat's run.
After a blazing mile,the rabbit (Commanche Trail) was far through,but so was a beaten Tabasco Cat,still the Bull had "Cause for Concern" as said by race caller Tom Durkin as Maryland bred closer Concern (who would win the Breeders Cup Classic later that year in a race absent of Holy Bull) appeared on the horizon and loomed as ready to storm by Holy Bull.
In as a courageous performance as you'll ever see,Holy Bull showed championship grit and held Concern at bay to win by a neck.
Holy Bull would sire a Kentucky Derby winner at stud in Giacomo.

Two Hall of Famers from different sports also passed recently as baseball's Jim Bunning and football's Cortez Kennedy each passed on.

Jim Bunning was elected to the Hall by their Veterans Committee in 1996 and it was long overdue as Bunning's credentials were certainly deserving.
Bunning won 224 games,two no-hitters,one of which was a perfect game in 1964 and was just the second pitcher ever to notch 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both the American and National leagues.
Bunning pitched for four teams,but will be remembered by most as a Philadelphia Phillie and for likely being on his way to the 1964 Cy Young award and the NL pennant before a ten game losing streak with Bunning and Chris Short being pitched every other day by manager Gene Mauch in the center of the collapse-a decision debated to this day.
Bunning also was elected to the U.S Senate for two terms from Kentucky from 1998-2010.
Bunning was 85.

Cortez Kennedy passed away at just 48 years old.
Kennedy,who spent his entire career with the Seattle Seahawks was the third overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and was a dominant defensive tackle after his college career at Miami,Florida.
The 2012 Hall inductee was a rare three down defensive tackle as Kennedy could both plug the running game and yet provide a seldom seen talent as an up the middle pass rush from defensive tackle.
I always thought Kennedy was an underrated player because he spent so many years on Seattle teams that ranged from average to bad in a market that tended to hide great players such as Kennedy and and 2017 HOF inductee Kenny Easley,
Kennedy was the 1992 defensive player of the year with 15 sacks on a 2-14 team that would pick second in the following years draft.
Honestly,I have always thought Kennedy was a better defensive tackle than the fellow Miami Hurricane Warren Sapp,who had a bigger reputation than Kennedy and a much bigger mouth as well...

Another baseball loss as Jimmy Piersall passed away at the age of 87.
Piersall,who won a Gold Glove in the outfield and was selected to two all-star teams with the Red Sox,was more famous for his emotional breakdown in 1952 and the resulting film based on that event "Fear Strikes Out" a 1957 drama starring Anthony Perkins of "Psycho" fame as Piersall.
Piersall was known for colorful behavior (running around in the outfield during at bats),fighting with other players (most famously a brawl with Billy Martin) and his days in the booth with the White Sox announcing games with Harry Caray,which saw him fired for being too critical of the hometown team.

Wrapping up with a thanks to Brad Adams for letting me know of the passing of "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers at the age of 65.
Somers was a undercard wrestler for most of his career for several territories before getting a big run with the AWA when they were a dying territory,yet had arguably their largest national exposure on ESPN with "Playboy" Buddy Rose as the company's tag team champions.
The team of Rose and Somers were the men responsible for making two young wrestlers stars on the national scene-the Rockers or Midnight Rockers as they were known as in the AWA-Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels in a series of really good matches that saw lots of blood (one match in particular on ESPN,brought heat from an unhappy network) and a terrific steel cage match that ended the feud with the Rockers winning the championship belts.

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