Sweet Sixteen by Bob Ryan

NCAA Basketball has taken us to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament…of course, lots of comments…16 to be exact…. on those games & teams but what about other 16’s……..we’ll widen our scope to see the wider horizon of the 16’s across the sports world according to other sources with some mild personal modifications   …..so here’s 16 thoughts on the 1st NCAA weekend…in no particular order….

1…Mizzou’s loss had to be expected….Mizzzou  had problems with quick guards all season…Florida State not only had quick guards but quickness all over the lineup….too many “run out” layups for the Seminoles….I always thought that the team that shot the most layup baskets and/or baskets off the backboard (meaning it was a close shot)…will win the game….Miracles didn’t happen for the Tigers…Michael Porter still looked like a player far from his best ..kudos to Cuonzo Martin for the tourney bid…but this was a non-memorable game

2….statistically …it HAD to happen some day….finally….#16 upends #1…UMBC….sounds like a Juco team to be not only beat Virginia but blasted them 74-54…VA Coach Tony Bennett who uses a slower offensive style better check his NCAA results in past years….this year…lost round of 32 scoring 54 pts; 2017 lost round of 32 scoring 39 pts; 2016 lost in elite eight scoring 62 pts; 2015 lost round of 32 scoring 54 pts and in 2014 lost round of 32  scoring 59 points…you can’t win many games in the NCAA tournament scoring in the 50’s

3…..#11seed, 30-5 team from the Valley… Loyola-Chicago ..is the darling of the tournament….their 2nd round win 1 point win over #3 seed, Tennessee 63-62 follows a 2 point victory over #6 seed, Miami(22-10) 64-62 in the first full round … the 2nd win over the Vols was an gigantic win…..the 1st win wasn’t a real surprise….The U was only 5-5 in their last 10 games…at one point they were 11-0 (11 cupcakes)…so their REAL record..at least in my mind… was 11-10! Their only win over a significant team was over #9 N.Carolina on Feb 27, 91-88 but just 10 days later the Tar Heels thumped them 82-65…

4….”Doing it MY Way” …is the slogan not only of Frank Sinatra but of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim…. he’s going to play a zone and you better have 2 or 3 ways to attack it because he’ll adjust his zone movements and stymie a lone pattern of attack….once again he’s pushed hit Orangeman past the 1st weekend…..what a thrill for a guy who played for Syracuse!

5….don’t think that I’ve ever seen N.Carolina or a Roy Williams team look so bad as in their bad loss to Texas A&M…btw…the Aggies were tied for 7th in the SEC this year

6…..some were surprised when a #7 team –Rhode Island beat #10 seed Oklahoma 83-78 in OT…..while Rhode Island won the A-10…it’s difficult to find a win over a top 20 ranked team on their schedule….. OU’s wild shooting selection in the OT would have driven any coach crazy…it looked like they thought that there were 4 point shots from 40 feet out  …..I was one of those surprised by the win

7….Charles Barkley entertains me….he’s like Terry Bradshaw….they know their sport but aren’t so serious like this is a discussion on solving a world-wide issue…I must admit….the roles of those commentators…being on-live for 4 consecutive days of evaluating, pontificating, predicting,etc IS very difficult….soooooo….we do need some levity

8….I watched much of the enjoyable game between #12 seed Davidson(21-12) &  #5 seed Kentucky (25-10) won by the Wildcats 78-73.  Clearly KU had the better athletes…I’m not sure…athletically…that any of the Davidson players would have been in KU’s top 8…but….Davidson was extremely well coached….moved the ball and themselves with a purpose…fell behind at half 34-24 and I was about ready for the “switch” to a different channel when Jon Ax Gudmundsson…I didn’t make his name up… knocked down 3 straight 3 balls early in 2nd half to make it game…and it remained close until Kevin Knox hit some mid-range jumpers  very late for the Wildcats…..very entertaining…. Kentucky made zero… nada… none…3 pointers in the game! btw…..Davidson beat SLU by 3 points this season??!! Comparative scores are dangerous…very dangerous…..I’m not saying that the Bills would take the  Wildcats to the final minutes… but…ya never know…

9…I’ve thought for that the NIT should be the opening tournament of the following year with the final 16 …or 8 teams ….from the previous year NCAA tournament

10….You might hate to say it….but….Kentucky looks like they may go real deep in the tourney…Coach Cal doesn’t have his usual stable of #1’s but he’s doing a good job of mixing & matching

11….swirling around Arizona was the “shoe scandal money”…..who knows maybe the players thought that their “bonus money” would cease…at any rate, #4 seeded Arizona was completely beaten my MAC Champion-Buffalo 89-68. Buffalo converted 15 of 30 from beyond the arc…..looking back, one may think that the Pac 12 just wasn’t that tough…Arizona lost 3 games early against top-flight competition then breezed through Pac 12…then all 3 Pac 12 teams are eliminated by the round of 64….formerly called the 1st round

12….in the battle of muscle vs speed, #8 Seton Hall prevailed over fleet footed #9 N. Carolina State  94-83…no sweet Caroline after this game because it was one of the slowest…tightest called games  in history….ugh

13…the current college teams are playing 35-37 games a year now…..too many…..I recall when UCLA under Coach John Wooden won each of his tournaments …playing max # of games in each and  winning the NCAA championship  and their final record  was 30-0

14….it looked the seeds were backwards…#10 Butler had two long runs over #7 Arkansas…it was Butler defense to start the game…Arkansas did not hit its 2nd field goal until 13:13 remained in the first half…and then the Bulldogs used the offense to close it out on a 23-11 run…winning it 79-62.

15….read that the viewing numbers were way down for the “Selection Show”….of course, they showed all the teams in the first few minutes….duh…..why would anyone watch any longer? No one really cares if those athletes  are sitting together in a special spot celebrating the fact that they are “in”

16…the Pac-12 wins the prize for having the worst performances of their teams in the NCAA..UCLA & Arizona State both lose in the “play in” games…in round 1, #13 Buffalo upended #4 seed, Arizona..ugh

 

Now…..some other 16’s…….

….the top Cardinal pitchers of All Time with some anecdotal info about them…..

#16 Bill Sherdel…..pitched 13 seasons with the Cards…a feat in itself…finished 1st in saves in the NL in 3 seasons…with the overwhelming total of 6 per year; 3rd in career appearances as a Redbird and 4th in innings in this career which was a totally different era— 1918- 1930 and back again in 1932

#15  ”Wild Bill” Hallahan-pitched in 4 Cards World Series (1926,30,31 34) , 93 wins as a Cardinal

#14 Lee Smith –once the All-time career save leader with 478…racked up 160 saves in 3+ seasons (#2 in Cards history) late in career with StL… who can forget his casual stroll from the bullpen to the mound?  The sponsors could run 3 or 4 spots during that time. Currently is #3 in MLB history in SAVES with 478.

#13  John Tudor. Acquired in 1985, Tudor’s 1985 season was arguably the best single season ever by a Cardinal lefthander…that season he carried the Cards to post-season with his 21-8, 1.93era, 36 starts-14 CG, 10 shutouts in 275 innings. Remarkably, he didn’t win the Cy Young that year… a guy named Dwight Gooden was the winner. Tudor is the Cards All-time leader in ERA 2.52 and WHIP 1.08 in his 3+ seasons. He looked more like an usher than a player..with his frail, thin looking stature, who would have thought that he’d get out major leaguers in dramatic fashion in 1985…..with his control that year he would have been able to hit a dime any place in the strike zone

#12 Joaquin Andujar—dominant pitcher in the 80’s…back-back 20 win seasons….. After coming over to the Cardinals from the Astros in 1981, he went 15-10 the next year for St. Louis and dominated in the World Series, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA.  In 1984, he was 20-14, and in 1985, he was 21-12, pitching for the Cardinals in the World Series. He was 68-53 wearing a Card uniform. This guy was a live wire…. Apparently the club house was never quiet with Joaquin around…

#11 Jason Isringhausen—with little experience closing (only 18 saves) prior to arriving in the Lou… between 2002 & 2008 piled up 217 saves for StL—most in Cardinal history…currently tied for 26th spot in career saves with 300…personally…he frequently drove me crazy….always…it seemed that he’d allow men on base, usually in scoring position in the 9th…very few “clean” 1-2-3 innings.

#10 Mort Cooper –Cooper was a stalwart of the Cards staffs in the 40’s when they went to 3 straight World Series (won it in 42 & 44) and Cooper won 65 games in those years…in 1942, Cooper was the National League MVP with a 22-7 record, 1.78 ERA. His 105  Redbird wins place him 10th in Cards history.

# 9 Bruce Sutter pitched for the Cardinals from 1981-1984, notching 127 saves, which was, at the time, a club record. It stands in the 4th spot now. He set the NL save record with 194 in 1982, which has since been eclipsed many times since then. He ended his career with 300 overall. He won the Cy Young in 1979 He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. His No. 42 is retired by the Cardinals. I recall many swing-misses when Sutter pitched and how quickly he dispatched the opponents in the 9th inning.

#  8″Harry the Cat,” Brecheen had an 11-year career with the Cardinals, racking up 128 wins-8th in Cards history. He was known for his deceptive screwball. His 4 World Series wins were a Club record for the Cardinals until Bob Gibson broke it in 1967. Breechen was the ace of the Cardinals staff for 3 of their 4 World Series appearances in the 1940s. They won in 1944 and 1946. He would have pitched in the 1942 Series (which St. Louis also won) were it not for his service in World War II. He is 4th in career WHIP 1.18

#7 Bob Forsch was a staple of the dominant Cardinal teams of the 1980s. His career with St. Louis lasted from 1974-1988, during which he pitched in three World Series, winning one in 1982. He gained all but five of his 168 career wins with the Cardinals, good for 3rd all-time with the club. He and his brother, Ken, are the only brothers ever to have each pitched a no hitter.

#6 Steve Carlton  While not a star for the Cardinals, Carlton is generally considered the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time (by experts…not just me) Steve Carlton pitched 23 years, won 329 games, played in 10 All-Star Games, won four Cy Young Awards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. While he won all of his Cy Youngs with the Phillies, he began his career in St. Louis in 1965.  He currently is 8th in career strikeouts with 951 in his 5 Redbird seasons. We all know the story…he won 20 games in 1971 with the Cards—contract dispute….shipped off to Philly for his historic career….sad story last year relayed by his close friend, Tim McCarver…apparently Carlton was in his car driving to talk to Cardinal GM to indicate that he’d accept their “lower” offer when he heard on the radio that he’d been traded….OMG!!  Shame on Gussie for this one…..

#5 Chris Carpenter has led the Cardinals pitching staff to two World Series titles (2006, 2012). He currently has 144 lifetime wins with a 3.76 ERA. He won the Cy Young award in 2005 and finished second and third in 2009 and 2006, respectively.  But Carpenter vaulted ahead of many other Cardinals pitchers due to his clutch postseason pitching. He is 9-2 overall, and his highlights include a 1-0 deciding Game 5 win over Roy Halladay and the Phillies in the 2011 NLDS and a 3-0 record in the World Series with a 2.00 ERA. In the 2011 World Series, he pitched three games and won two of them. He currently is 16th in career Card wins, 4th in career Strikeouts and 2nd in career WHIP.  Not a favorite of mine… I still see him chastising Brendan Ryan on the mound…in front of the entire crowd….after a Ryan miscue….to me… that isn’t the way a pitcher….any pitcher ….. treats his teammates…at least in public

#4 Adam Wainwright…starting his Card career as a closer in the 2006 playoffs with 4 saves…Waino is in this 13th Cardinal season in 2018…. presently is “reinventing” his repertoire;  Wainwright is currently 5th in career Cardinal wins-146, 5th in career Card starts, 8th in career innings…should pass up the next two in line by end of May; 2nd in career strikeouts…..don’t get your hopes up…he’s about halfway to Gibby’s total; has been considered the Cards ace for several seasons; has pitched in 24 post season games—4-4, era 3.03;

# 3 Dizzy Dean…He came from Arkansas. He dropped out of school after the second grade, and Cardinal scouts eventually discovered him playing sandlot ball. He became the most famous member of the Cardinals “Gashouse Gang,” averaging 24 wins over five seasons. He won a World Series in 1934 and an MVP (30-7, 2.66).

His career was cut short after a line drive hit his foot in the 1937 All-Star Game, affecting his mechanics and ultimately damaging his arm. His 11-year career ended with 150 wins and a Hall of Fame induction. His 134 wins with the Cardinals are sixth all time for the team.  His No. 17 is retired by St. Louis.

#2 Jesse “Pop” Haines pitched 18 seasons with the Cardinals, amassing 210 wins and pitched 3203 innings, second in both categories only to Bob Gibson.  He won two World Series for the Cardinals. The first in 1926 with Grover Cleveland Alexander, where he won two games including the decisive seventh game.  The second came in 1934 with Dizzy Dean and the “Gashouse Gang.”

#1 Bob Gibson…who else?  Bob Gibson is not only the greatest Cardinal pitcher of all time, but one of the greatest pitchers ever. He overcame asthma as a child to become a proficient athlete (he left the Harlem Globetrotters to play baseball). He refused to leave a game after Roberto Clemente broke his leg with a line drive. He is the all-time Cardinals leader in wins (251) and strikeouts (3,117), innings pitched (3,884.1) complete games (255), shutouts (56) and hit-batsman (102). An eight-time All Star, and two-time Cy Young Award winner, Gibson was one of the most feared pitchers of his time described by players as simply “terrifying.” He glared at opposing hitters, threw inside at will and was known for working extremely fast. Teammate Curt Flood said he could throw a baseball through a brick wall. His 1968 season where he won the MVP award going 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA, the lowest ERA ever with 300 or more innings pitched. This led the MLB to lowering the mound….

Who are the 16 best pro athletes to wear #16?…..I had to go to several sports…sooooo he are players who wore #16 through their career….hopefully most of their career….but no guarantees….no

Bronco Nagurski, Henri Richard, Lenny Dawson, Whitey Ford, Bobby Clark, Hal Newshouser, Ray Lankford, Bob Lanier … in the NBA a #16?…Pat LaFaontaine, Frank Gifford, Joe Montana, Ken Stabler and our favorite #16—Brett Hull!

I can’t give you 16 ways why I’m stopping….but ….thx for reading the 16’s !

Comments

  1. Cliff Hagan, Lil’ Abner’s Hawks’ jersey was #16.

  2. Enjoyed this week’s column. – Ed McKee

  3. After Michael Porter Jr’s poor performance in the NCAA, I think he should seriously think about coming back to Mizzou for one ,more year. Even though he was out of shape, I saw no first round ability show through. He definitely hurt his draft status with that performance. As for the rest of the tournament, I think the NCAA should re-seed in the sweet 126 round. On one side of the bracket you have the South and the West that have no number one seeds and a bunch of 5,7, 9 and 11 seeds left. On the other side of the Bracket (East and Midwest) you still have two number 1’s, two 2’s, a 3 and a couple of 4’s. I would much rather see the remaining talent spread out.

  4. March Tourney: some real exciting games! Glad to see some new blood moving through bracket!
    Mizzou… Although self inflicted, hated to see J Barnett miss his only chance at Post Season. MP Jr… obviously, far from healthy. Felt pressure to try and play… just too long a layoff. Jontay simply not ready to play against MEN.
    Overachieved for his age/ level of experience. Just hope Mizzou isn’t held hostage by the Porters… recruitment starts NOW for next season. ( Get a point guard!!)

    Enjoyed the 16 best Cards pitchers & the # 16’s!
    JP

  5. Scott Brown says:

    Ken Stabler? I don’t consider his years wearing #16 with the Saints his best. I still think of him as #12 with the Raiders. Now if you would have said Jim Plunkett or George Blanda I would have been fine with those former Raiders.
    Also, By placing Pop Haines at #2? Is that because you thought he was a lot better in the games you saw him pitch in than the ones you saw Dizzy pitch in?

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