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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Jessie Passes
2006-01-16 07:48
by Jon Weisman

First Jack Snow, now Ron Jessie.

With Harold Jackson, before baseball took center stage for me, these were the wide receivers I was weaned on. An era where the Rams had gold on the helmets, but my older brother's play helmet still had white.

When I had my T-shirt that said, "McCutcheon: Lawrence of Los Angeles," and a blue and gold letterman's style-jacket not much bigger than a dishtowel.

When the Rams played in Los Angeles, California and won division titles but no Super Bowls. A rise and fall, every year.

* * *

Shav Glick once told me he liked an article I wrote, which surprised and smiled me. (At first I remembered his words more than the subject of the piece, but now I recall it was about Willy T. Ribbs.) After more than 70 years of sportswriting, Glick is retiring today, and he went out on a high note.

It seems to be that as one grows older, it's easier to recall events of youth than of last week. Perhaps that's why what I consider the most significant event in my career occurred when I was only 17.

It happened March 13, 1938, on a baseball diamond in Brookside Park, near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The Chicago White Sox had their spring training there, and as a fundraiser for the city's baseball school, the American Leaguers played a group of Pasadena youngsters in an exhibition game.

At shortstop for the Pasadena Sox was a skinny black junior college player named Jack Robinson. There was no mention of its social implications then. Robinson had played with and against white athletes all his life. It was only years later that Robinson became the lightning rod for the civil rights movement and black athletes in particular when he became the first of his race in the modern age to play major league baseball.

As a 17-year-old, it was heady stuff to be the official scorer for the game.

The White Sox won, 3-2, in 11 innings, but it was the teenager Robinson who sparkled. He had two of Pasadena's six hits, stole second and handled seven chances without an error at shortstop.

His fielding was spectacular. When American League batting champion Luke Appling bounced a hard grounder labeled base hit toward left field, Robinson cut it off and made a perfect throw to second base to start a double play.

Jimmy Dykes, the crusty old White Sox manager and himself a legendary third baseman, nearly swallowed his cigar. Later, talking with reporters, he said, "If that boy was white, I'd sign him right now. No one in the American League could make plays like that."

After hearing Dykes, I wrote in the Pasadena Junior College school paper, "If a black player ever makes it to the major leagues, that player will probably be Jackie Robinson."

Comments (68)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-01-16 08:05:40
1.   D4P
Prior to:

When Joe Montana would throw 5-yard passes to Jerry Rice and John Taylor, with the Rams' defense allowing them to run the remaining 75 yards of the field for touchdowns. Time after time after time.

2006-01-16 08:39:10
2.   Marty
I think I've already told this story but...

When my mother died, I found a box of stuff she had stored away in the garage. In it was a 1940 PCC yearbook, where she went to school. Flipping through the pages I saw that the sports editor for the school paper was Shav Glick.

2006-01-16 09:08:18
3.   Bob Timmermann
Glick's byline used to have his fullname Shavenau Glick. He's named after a Ute chief I believe.
2006-01-16 09:32:23
4.   gvette
It seemed that the only certainty with the Rams was that they would find a way to lose in the playoffs to the Vikings/Cowboys in the most painful and humiliating way possible. Used to see Pat Haden at my law school following game days and the poor guy usually looked like he had been in a car wreck. No way he was over 5'9".

Still hard to understand how the NFL can allow a team with a fifty year legacy to be mismanaged into a position that it can be relocated to a lesser market.

2006-01-16 10:11:57
5.   Bob Timmermann
Interesting that during the L.A. Rams big run in the 1970s, they were eliminated in the playoffs every year by either Minnesota or Dallas with the exception of the year they went to the Super Bowl.
2006-01-16 11:02:57
6.   Marty
Man I hated the Vikings and Cowboys back then. I remember one particularly frustrating year, I think in the late 60's when the Roman Gabriel-led Rams had the best regular season record. They then went up to a frozen Minnesota and lost to the Vikings in the playoffs. As a kid back then, I refused to believe that the Vikings may have been the better team.
2006-01-16 11:03:06
7.   molokai
I can still remember listening to Dick Enberg doing the Ram game where Willie Ellison ran for over 200 yards and set the all time one game rushing record at the time. If the game wasn't on TV I would set up my radio and keep my own stats. At the end of the game I had all these marking on my Sunday newspaper. Man I loved my LA Rams. I could name every player on the 40 man roster. I couldn't even name 40 players in the NFL these days. The day Vince Ferragamo hit that speedy reciever over the middle and we finally knocked off the Cowboys was every bit a great a day for me as Kirk Gibson's home run. Even our Super Bowl was one of the great games.

My 1st Ram memory was listening to them lose in the playoffs to the Viking and Joe Kapp when we were leading at 1/2 time 17-7 and Kapp hurdled the strong safety for an incredible run. I had just returned to US and it was the 1st football I'd heard in 3 years.

2006-01-16 11:03:43
8.   molokai
Same game.
2006-01-16 11:10:26
9.   Marty
Watching Joe Kapp beat you was really aggravating. He looked like he belonged in a bowling league rather than the NFL.
2006-01-16 11:13:42
10.   Bob Timmermann

That receiver was Billy Waddy. He had great speed, but he fumbled a lot.

2006-01-16 11:23:56
11.   Daniel Zappala
Thanks Jon for pointing to that Shav Glick piece. Really fantastic.

4 I am equally amazed that the NFL allowed the Rams to move and LA to be left without a team.

2006-01-16 11:33:58
12.   Sam DC
One of my greatest sports memories was attending the 1980 Steelers Rams Superbowl at the Rose Bowl. My (older)cousin from Pittsburgh got the tix and we were in the out of town fan section -- a vast sea of terrible towels and 12 year old me screaming for Nolan Cromwell. So, I was obnoxiously proclaiming Rams greatness as they held on to a half time lead, but eventually, Bradshaw and Stallworth were just too much. At which point, a 300 pound steelworker hoisted me over his head and swung me around upside down. All in good fun, I suppose. After going down in flames, I then had to sit stuck in the car for something like 2 hours with my gloating cousin.

Lucky to have been able to go that game.

2006-01-16 12:14:55
13.   J Rebel
From the LA Times...

What does this do for clubhouse chemistry? Maybe Danys hasn't had training or counsel on how to bite his tongue or how to deal with the LA media just yet.

If Gagne's full strength this year let poor Danys get his holds then go sign in Pittsburgh!

Danys Baez soon will move across the country after getting traded from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the Dodgers. He also will move from the ninth inning to the eighth, and to him that is akin to relocating to the moon.

So Baez is resigned to serving as Gagne's setup man, pitching the eighth inning, sometimes going two innings and occasionally working the ninth when Gagne needs a breather.

That doesn't mean he has to like it.

"If you ask me what I want to do, I want to be a closer," Baez said Sunday. "Now I've got to see what kind of situation we have. I'm not too happy about that situation, to be a setup man again when I've been a closer the last couple years."

"I'll pitch one more year, then I'll be a free agent and everyone in both leagues will know I can be a closer," he said.

2006-01-16 12:27:32
14.   Suffering Bruin
That Shav Glick piece was terrific.

Man, that Rams team was fun to watch for me. It was so easy to identify the players, to form an attachment. I was at a Shakey's Pizzeria in Santa Monica for a Boy's Club function and I showed up late... but just in time to catch Klein, Bertlesen (spelling errors might be happening). I remember being stunned that I was taller than Harold Jackson (I was six feet tall at thirteen. I grew another inch and a quarter over the next thirty years).

I loved that team. I feel a little guilty that I didn't know about Jack Snow and I'm sorry to hear about Ron Jessie. If the measure of a life is the memories provided to others, they did well by me.

2006-01-16 12:28:50
15.   Suffering Bruin
13 just killed my sentimental mood.

Bradley, Baez... what is it with the letter "B" anyway?

2006-01-16 12:38:13
16.   gvette
It was always some new problem with the Rams;

1)For years they complained about bad weather and bad calls in Minnesota; they finally get a home playoff game against the Vikings and a typhoon hits resulting in a loss on a muddy Coliseum field;

2)They finally get a home playoff game against Staubach and the Cowboys, only to get humiliated 37-0;

3) They dump the young Jaworski in order to get the old Namath, Bert Jones, and Bartkowski;

4)They get the greatest RB of his time in Eric Dickerson, and waste it by having Dieter Brock at QB.

I want to thank Jon for allowing me to relive the frustration of my youth, and I hope Fran Tarkenton is miserable wherever he is.

2006-01-16 12:45:20
17.   D4P
It was always some new problem with the Rams

Some things never change.

2006-01-16 13:04:23
18.   Bob Timmermann
And the year the Rams lost to the Vikings at the Coliseum, Tarkenton was injured and Bob Lee was the quarterback.

Tarkenton did run afoul of the SEC in 1999 (and not the conference that Georgia is in), but I don't think he ended up in any serious trouble. He did seem to be a bitter guy when Marino passed him up in career passing yards.

2006-01-16 13:28:43
19.   Marty
Fran Tarkenton. He's on the list. The icing on his cake was that annoying That's Incredible show.

Don't get me started on Dieter Brock. Or phantom-sack Jim Everett either...

2006-01-16 13:30:43
20.   Bob Timmermann
Marty and I have a common name on our lists.
2006-01-16 13:31:55
21.   D4P
I get "That's Incredible" confused with "Real People."
2006-01-16 13:37:40
22.   Bob Timmermann
That's Incredible - Cathy Lee Crosby
Real People - Sarah Purcell
2006-01-16 13:39:05
23.   D4P
2006-01-16 13:39:56
24.   Marty
The only thing memorable to me about That's incredible was when a 3-day-old (or so it seemed) Tiger Woods was on hitting golf balls.
2006-01-16 13:40:31
25.   D4P
Thanks Bob. I think I used to get Sarah and Cathy Lee confused as well.
2006-01-16 14:31:58
26.   Robert Fiore
There was a joke going around in the years before they moved to Anaheim that the Rams were going to move to the Philippines and become the Manila Folders.

They could be a suffocating defensive team; they once held an opponent to -7 yards rushing.

2006-01-16 14:48:45
27.   D4P
There was a joke going around in the years before they moved to Anaheim that the Rams were going to move to the Philippines and become the Manila Folders.

Cute. I think they should now go with "The Los Angeles Rams of St. Louis."

2006-01-16 14:57:30
28.   Xeifrank
I was a huge sports fan (much as I am now) as a young tike back in the 1970s. My favorite football team was the Minnesota Vikings and I loved watching them beat up on the Rams in the snow in Bloomington. My favorite player was #44 Chuck Foreman. I remember the one year the Rams got homefield advantage and hosted the Vikings and of all things it rained cats and dogs that day and the field was slop, so much for the sunny weather HFA. I was also a big Cincinnati Reds fan and actually hated the Dodgers during the 1970s. The Reds and Dodgers had some great penant(sp?bob) races. My favorite player was #13 Dave Concepcion. My parents took me to many Dodgers/Reds games at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers da-da-da-da-da-da CHARGE! rallying cry drove me crazy, so I asked my dad what the opposite of charge was, so when the rallying cry came up, I would shout RETREAT! instead of CHARGE! haha!
Oh for the good ole days!
vr, Xei
2006-01-16 15:03:17
29.   Marty
My goodness, a Reds AND Vikings fan. That's really being on the dark side :)
2006-01-16 15:04:46
30.   D4P
The Dodgers da-da-da-da-da-da CHARGE! rallying cry drove me crazy, so I asked my dad what the opposite of charge was, so when the rallying cry came up, I would shout RETREAT! instead of CHARGE! haha!

The first MLB game I went to was in 1983 at Candlestick, Giants vs. Cubs. Atlee Hammaker was on the mound for the Gnats, and the fans would shout "Let's go At-LEE!" I, 9 years old at the time, responded with "Let's go Fat-LEE!"

I thought it was pretty funny until they dumped beer on me.

2006-01-16 15:13:18
31.   grandcosmo
I still remember the 1976 NFC Championship where Ron Jessie ran a reverse and was takled at the goal line (it would have been a TD today because he broke the plane by about a foot) and Kox decided to kick the FG instead of going for it on 4th and an inch. Of course the horrible Tom Dempsey had it blocked and it was returned for a TD.

Later the Rams had a punt blocked and were down 17-0 but they mounted a great comeabck to make it 17-13 but then the terrible Tom Dempsey missed an extra point and the Rams had to go for a TD at the end instead of a FG and wound up losing.

2006-01-16 15:23:27
32.   Marty
My favorite Ram memory is going to a game against Green Bay at the Coliseum. I was about 12 or so. My mother's boss had about 10 season tickets and invited my father, brother and me to the game. They sent my brother and me into the stadium, while they tried to sell the remaining tickets. We were sitting next to Sheldon Leonard having a great time. He bought us sodas and hot dogs. At one point we noticed a group of people carrying an obviously totally drunk Chill Wills up the aisle next to us.

A little into the second quarter my brother and I both thought "I wonder where dad and our mom's boss are?" At half-time my dad shows up and says he and the boss had been arrested for scalping and they just let him out to get us. He made us swear that we would not tell our mother. He stayed for the rest of the game and then we went and bailed the boss out of jail.

I'll bet THAT kind of father-son activity doesn't happen too often.

2006-01-16 15:39:50
33.   Bob Timmermann

November 4, 1979.

The Rams beat Seattle and held the Seahawks to -7 yards total offense for the game, which is an NFL record.

On the other side of the equation, the Rams hold the record for total yards in a game with 735 against the NY Yankees in 1951.

2006-01-16 15:42:10
34.   Suffering Bruin
Does Fred Dryer still hold the record for most safeties in a game (2)? I recall he had a bitter falling out with the management of the team.
2006-01-16 15:47:38
35.   D4P
Was that a Jim Zorn-led Seattle team?
2006-01-16 15:51:07
36.   Bob Timmermann
Dryer remains the only NFL player with 2 safeties in one game. The most anyone has in a career is 4.

No one at the major college level has two in a game.

2006-01-16 16:32:51
37.   Bob Timmermann
Zorn was 2 for 17 for 25 yards in the game.
The Seahawks rushed for 23 yards and were sacked 6 times for -55 yards.

The Rams had 29 first downs and Seattle had 1. The Rams ran 95 plays to Seattle's 35.

2006-01-16 17:03:11
38.   Marty
OT, but vintage Jim Tracy quote in Pittsburgh commenting on a drill during mini-camp:

"It has been tremendous. The work ethic that has been put forth has been just great," said Tracy. "The environment was very loose, which is what I like to see, and yet within the framework of that looseness was a very businesslike approach."

Pittsburgh fans are in for alot of fun...

2006-01-16 17:04:43
39.   Marty
The same article mentions that the Pirates' home opener will be against....the Dodgers!
2006-01-16 17:06:23
40.   Suffering Bruin
Okay, Bob, try this...

Who is the only MLB player to record two safeties in an NFL season.

Hint: it's not Jim Thorpe.

Other kids can play, too. If you Google, you're a cheater!;-)

2006-01-16 17:07:57
41.   Marty
Deion Sanders?
2006-01-16 17:08:56
42.   Suffering Bruin
41 good guess but no.

Another hint, at the risk of a dead giveaway: there is a Dodger connection.

2006-01-16 17:13:49
43.   das411
Yeah SB, that is a dead giveaway :)
2006-01-16 17:32:48
44.   caseybarker
How is that a Dodger connection? A Dodger connection would be if the answer was Brian Jordan.
2006-01-16 17:40:18
45.   Suffering Bruin
2006-01-16 19:07:25
46.   xaphor
OT baseball news:

OBP is not just for nerds and geeks, it is for needs and geeks willing to pay the licensing fee.

2006-01-16 20:50:43
47.   natepurcell
wow... anyone who is watching the lakers heat game... was my eyes decieving me? 18 yr old andrew bynum just backed down shaq, juked him, and dunk on him.

then at the other end of the floor shaq threw a punch at bynum lol loL!

2006-01-16 21:23:19
48.   LAT
47. Did he connect?
2006-01-16 21:24:51
49.   natepurcell
looking at the replay, it was more of a elbow to the throat/upper shoulder area of bynum. he connected. he should have been tossed.
2006-01-16 21:26:07
50.   Xeifrank
Ok, why was Cook ejected on that play? I missed the first half, how flagarant was Shaw's elbow to Bynum?
vr, Xei
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-01-16 21:43:38
51.   LAT
Just saw a reply. Wasn't Kobe suspended for two games for basically the same thing.

Also the D-Train and the Fish avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 1 yr deal for $4.35. Why woulnd't Willis go to arb. How can he do worse? Tomko gets $3.6M. O.P. $9.5M. Lowe $9M.

Seems like he'd get at least $ 6M or 7M at arb. Am I missing something?

2006-01-16 21:46:13
52.   regfairfield
51 Can a player get that much in his first year in arbitration?
2006-01-16 21:51:17
53.   Bob Timmermann
Arbitration cases rely heavily on service time, so Willis wouldn't have been taking a risk if he asked for too much.

The record awards for arbitration in a players first eligible year are $5 million per year for Derek Jeter and Eric Gagne.

So, that's some pretty elite company.

2006-01-16 21:57:45
54.   LAT
Thanks, Bob. That makes $4.35 a fair price.

That being said, tying arb to service time verses performance doesn't seem to make much sense. Isn't the arbitrator supposed to measure the value of the player to the team, not how long he has been in the league.

2006-01-16 22:04:20
55.   Bob Timmermann
The arbitrator has to choose between two figures and can't pick a compromise figure. The team will argue that Player X of comparable quality and comparable service time got paid their figure. The player tries to argue that he's so good that he's better than that.

I saw some of the exhibits that the Dodgers used in the Gagne case. They were quite persuasive.

2006-01-16 22:23:03
56.   blue22
50 - That was Cook's second T of the game. He got a T earlier for "swearing". This time it was for that little hissy fit he threw while sitting on the ground. IMO, it was a good call by the ref; Cook was moving.
2006-01-16 22:26:06
57.   blue22
And Kobe finally gets the 380-pound gorilla off his back.
2006-01-16 22:34:56
58.   natepurcell
And Kobe finally gets the 380-pound gorilla off his back.

too bad bynum will probably now be the carrier of that gorilla.

2006-01-16 22:44:50
59.   blue22
I think Bynum welcomes it. Shaq is starting to resemble the statue formerly known as Dikembe Mutombo at this point in his career. In fact, I hear Reebok's 2007 Shaquille O'Neal's will be two buckets of cement.
2006-01-16 22:47:18
60.   natepurcell
Shaq is starting to resemble the statue formerly known as Dikembe Mutombo at this point in his career.

at least mutombo is still a defensive force. shaq is too lazy to play defense.

2006-01-16 23:13:04
61.   das411
Hasn't Mutombo won a title more recently than either Shaq or Kobe?

...same for The Admiral, another 7' center who slowed noticeably in his last few years.

55 - But given how wacky the market for starting pitching is this year, how could an arb judge NOT come down on Dontrelle's side?

Willis will be making roughly $750k more than Tomko next year. This is why service clocks are so important for low-budget teams, no?

2006-01-16 23:28:14
62.   Bob Timmermann
Which championship team did Mutombo play for?
2006-01-17 07:04:17
63.   Vishal
[61] Hasn't Mutombo won a title more recently than either Shaq or Kobe?


2006-01-17 07:21:03
64.   oldbear
Shaq doesnt play hard until the playoffs.
2006-01-17 07:30:55
65.   FirstMohican
64 - That was true... maybe... 2, 3 years ago. It's sad seeing Shaq like this.
2006-01-17 08:57:02
66.   blue22
65 - I'm an admitted Shaq "hater", so I actually enjoy this.
2006-01-17 11:55:27
67.   Thomas Naccarato
Excellent stuff on the Great Shav Glick.

I had up until 5 years ago been heavily involved in drag racing for most of my entire life, starting out working on a friends bracket car down the street, and eventually working my way on to fuel funny cars.

It was a fun and memorable life in racing, but not nearly as poetic as Shav Glick's. He has been a hero to NHRA Championship Drag Racing. He stood by tongue and cheek, reporting the widely spurned outlaw sport as it has grown from the streets of Southern California to drag strps across the world. (For those of you that might not realize, Drag Racing is in fact a sport that originated in Southern California on the lakes of El Mirage and on the runway of Santa Ana Airport. (No longer existing) It was born here, raised here and flourished to it's fast approaching pinnacle (as the popularity seems to be gaining quite rapidly to a NASCAR level)

The press box behind the starting line at Pomona is named in Shav's honor. He was a much of friend to drag racing as Jim Murray was a friend to the Los Angeles Dodgers. What pains me most about his leaving the LAT is that it is signaling the very rapid decline of the news in print in Los Angeles. I don't blame Shav one bit for leaving, and if the NHRA was smart, they would hire him immediately. It would be the steal of the century! For they couldn't be getting a better reporter, writer, fan and friend to the sport of Championship Drag Racing.

Congrats on the retirement Shav, it was well deserved, but still way too early!

2006-01-17 13:40:28
68.   das411
Ahh, that Nets team with the big Deke never actually won anything. Sorry guys!

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