tom jones' two cents
In honor of Father's Day, here's our Two Cents list of our favorite father-son duos in sports history.
Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning
Dad Archie was a superb NFL quarterback but spent most of his career with the awful Saints. Meantime, sons Peyton and Eli have combined for three Super Bowl titles, and Peyton is considered one of the best pure quarterbacks the league has ever seen.
Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr.
Senior spent 19 seasons in the majors, while Junior was on his way to being one of the best players ever before injuries slowed him down. The two hit back-to-back homers in 1990 with the Mariners.
Bobby and Brett Hull
Bobby became the first NHL player to record more than 50 goals in a season and is the 16th-leading goal scorer in NHL history despite playing much of his career in the old World Hockey Association. Brett is the NHL's third all-time leading goal scorer with 731.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr.
Senior remains the most popular NASCAR driver of all time long after his death, while Junior is, perhaps, the most popular driver in today's NASCAR.
Rick and Brent Barry
Rick is the third-leading free-throw shooter in NBA history and the 1975 Finals MVP who led the Warriors to a title. Son Brent won two titles with the Spurs and the 1996 slam dunk competition.
Calvin and Grant Hill
Calvin was a four-time Pro Bowl running back with the Cowboys, while son Grant recently retired after 19 NBA seasons and one of the greatest college basketball careers ever.
Bobby and Barry Bonds
Bobby was the first MLB player to record 30 steals and 30 homers in a season, and he did it five times in his career. Even before the steroid allegations, Barry, who officially is baseball's career and single-season home run king, was one of the best players the game has ever seen.
Cecil and Prince Fielder
They're estranged, but they're also the only father-son combo in MLB history to have both hit 50 homers in a season.
Gordie and Mark Howe
Gordie was a 23-time NHL all-star and some still believe he is the most complete hockey player to ever put on skates. Son Mark was a solid NHL and WHA defenseman for 22 years.
Ken Norton Sr. and Jr.
Senior was the heavyweight champ of the world and once broke Muhammad Ali's jaw, while Junior was a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker and three-time Super Bowl champ with the 49ers and Cowboys.
ESPN's unkindly move
ESPN had a slew of layoffs last week, but mostly they were behind-the-scenes office types, with one notable exception.
Howie Schwab is best known for being the star of the old ESPN show Stump the Schwab in which contestants tried to outwit Schwab in sports trivia. But Schwab was so much more than that show. He joined ESPN as a freelance researcher in 1987, and many who work at ESPN consider Schwab to be the backbone of what is now ESPN's research department.
He had become especially close with college basketball analyst Dick Vitale and worked closely with Vitale throughout the years.
Beyond that, Schwab is an outstanding human being. Almost as soon as word of his layoff became public, past and current ESPN employees flooded Twitter with nothing but well wishes for a true gentleman in every sense of the world. He was much different than the persona he had on Stump the Schwab, and even those who spoke anonymously said no one ever had one bad thing to say about Schwab.
What makes this story all the more disturbing was that Schwab was laid off strictly for financial reasons.
On his Facebook page, Schwab wrote:
"After 26 years at ESPN, I am extremely disappointed to say farewell. I have been proud of my association and my work during my tenure. I was a loyal employee, displayed respect for others, worked with numerous charities, represented the company well. I always did everything asked of me and more. What did I get in return today … word that I should get lost. The only thing that mattered was my salary, which in my view was the lone reason I lost my job.''
How appalling that a company that rakes in as much money as ESPN and seems to hire a new on-air, former-athlete analyst about every six minutes for one of their 8 billion NFL shows doesn't have enough cash to pay one of the people who helped make ESPN the legendary network it has become.
That's not an overstatement. On his radio show last week, former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick said Schwab would be on his all-time ESPN Mount Rushmore, along with Chris Berman and Bob Ley.
Joke of the day
ESPN NBA analyst Bill Simmons, who is outstanding on TV, made a joke the other night during SportsCenter that apparently the network did not find humorous. In fact, ESPN edited the crack out of repeat showings, according to Simmons.
After the surprising 32-point performance by the suddenly resurgent Dwyane Wade in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Simmons made a joke about the Heat guard "visiting Germany." The joke being that, perhaps, Wade flew to Germany to pick up performance-enhancing drugs.
Simmons took to Twitter at 3:14 a.m. Friday and wrote, "Wow, SportsCenter edited my joke out about Wade going to Germany before Game 4 — I should have just ripped people to shreds like SAS did." (The SAS is a reference to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.)
Simmons followed that up with: "The rigidity of studio TV is really discouraging. Let's just say that A LOT makes sense after these past 8 months."
The ratings game
• Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final between the Bruins and Blackhawks actually did pretty well among television viewers in the Tampa Bay area. The game locally drew a 3.6 rating, meaning 3.6 percent of Tampa Bay households with televisions were tuned in. However, the Rays still were the sports king that night. The Rays-Red Sox game drew a 5.6 rating on Sun Sports.
• ESPN's coverage of college baseball has drawn strong numbers — at least for college baseball and, especially, compared to last year. The 22 telecasts for the Super Regions on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU averaged 404,000 viewers. That's a 9 percent increase over last season's 369,500 average viewers. Which market had the best ratings? New Orleans, which, one would guess, was tuned in to watch the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers, as well as Louisiana-Lafayette.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Cool to see the Nets with some outside-the-box thinking by hiring just-retired star Jason Kidd as their new coach. But you just know that there are a ton of assistant coaches across the NBA who have been biding their time who must have thought, "What the heck?!"
2. Don't you ever wonder if baseball players would act so tough when they clear the benches if they actually had to fight like hockey players do?
3. NBA and NHL finals. Baseball season. The U.S. Open. NASCAR. Might this be the best weekend of the sports year?