Beginning this month, I will post my remembrances of sports personalities that have had some significance with me. Viewing the person live and in the flesh or on TV in their time, these men and women shall not be forgotten. Again, these deaths cover the time period of January through June 2019.
BART STARR: NFL Quarterback, Green Bay Packers; NFL Head Coach, Green Bay
Bart Star was one of the best quarterbacks of his day. Along with Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath, Starr was a personal favorite. was Not flashy, but a total winner with his Packers as coached by the great Vince Lombardi, you always respected his abilities to win and be a champion. His offensive leadership was key to the team as the Packers were always as tough as nails (as demonstrated by the likes of Jerry Kramer, Jim Taylor, etc.) on both sides of the ball. Bart Starr, Hall-of-Fame quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. May 26. He was 85.
NIKI LAUDA: Race Car Driver, World Formula One champion
Of all the race car drivers on the world stage, Lauda was always a favorite to follow. He was the most intelligent of drivers. He also could set up a Formula One race car, and just as importantly, the coolest driver under pressure of his day. He was preceded by Jimmy Clark and followed by Jackie Stewart as my favorites of the F1 scene. Niki Lauda, three-time Formula One world champion, right. May 20. He was 70.
GINO MARCHETTI: NFL Defensive End, Baltimore Colts
Marchetti was a monster for the Colts and he and Big Daddy Lipscomb were devastating to their opponents in the 50’s. My Dad always pushed the Colts on me and the personalities of Lenny Moore, Johnny U, Raymond Barry and the great Gino Marchetti was a reason. They were great players and my first major sports memory was watching the 1958 NFL title game in Yankee Stadium between the Giants and the Colts. I was a Colt fan and it was important to a five year old to watch this game. Yes, I was young but was raised right. I viewed the game at home in OKC on a 19 inch black and white Admiral TV set. Gino Marchetti, Hall-of-Fame defensive end who led the Baltimore Colts win consecutive NFL championships in the late 1950s. April 29. He was 93.
JOHN HAVLICEK: NBA basketball player, Boston Celtics
I was a Havlicek fan and every Sunday the Celtics were probably on the tube. Havlicek was a 6th man and he would give support to the older veterans on the team “Hondo” was a great player on great teams and yes, “HAVLICEK STOLE THE BALL.” John Havlicek, Boston Celtics legend and Basketball Hall-of-Famer. April 25. He was 79.
JOHN MACLEOD: College and NBA head coach
I viewed Coach Macleod (mac cloud) many times as he led his Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team in his tenure in Norman. He was one of the first gentlemen coaches I have watched in person with regard to his players, the officials, the opponents. I started “viewing” coaches at age three. For Coach MacLeod, he always displayed his cool, never seemed to be upset or out-of-control with this team, even if they were messing it up on the court. MacLeod was as cool as he looked. I followed him and Alvin Adams to the NBA and Phoenix became one of my most favorite teams they were leading the Suns in their glory period. MacLeod was intelligent and was one coach that transferred from college to the NBA with ease. He was successful in all his positions. John MacLeod, longtime coach of the Phoenix Suns who led the team to the 1976 NBA Finals, from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. April 14. He was 81.
FRANK ROBINSON: Baseball player, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds
The Orioles were great during the years of Frank Robinson and this slugger was one of the best hitters in baseball history. He could hit homers, hit for average, and hit to win any particular game. I viewed many Baltimore games and can say I was always positive with this team. Their stars were household names for me and Earl Weaver was a favorite manager as he was always into something during a game. Frank Robinson was not as good a manager but that is noting unusual. When he stepped on the field it he was never the second best player on the it. You can argue that others were just as good but better? No. Frank Robinson, Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame slugger, the game’s first black manager, and later a league executive. Feb. 7. He was 83.