Tag Archives: TBT

TBT: JUNE 18TH, TONY GWYNN

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The past couple of years were difficult for Mr. Padre after he was diagnosed with cancer of a salivary gland in 2010. An on and off battle with the disease ended 2 days ago when cancer took his life. Gwynn attributed his cancer and mouth issues to his addiction to dipping tobacco. A lot has been made of the smokeless form of tobacco since Gwynn passed, and many are wondering if the MLB should ban it. But instead of delving into that topic we use this TBT to remember and honor one of the best to ever take the plate.  

 

Some of Tony Gwynn’s statistics are absolutely mind bottling, they’ve got my mind all trapped in a bottle. You can start at his career .338 batting average, eight batting titles, 3,141 career hits and 15 all-star games…whatever. The only season he didn’t hit .300 was his rookie year, followed by 19 straight years of over .300. Father Time gets to everyone, and even legends Jeter, Kobe, Tim Duncan, and Jerry Rice all got to points in their careers where they declined. So perhaps the most ridiculous Tony Gwynn stat is that in seasons from 1995 to 2001 (his last season), Gwynn batted .350 at the plate….he turned 35 in 1995, absolutely bonkers. In that 1995 season Gwynn struck out a total of 15 times. Currently, there are 30 MLB players who have struck out more than 15 times in the month of JUNE. He did it against the best pitchers too, he batted over .350 against Cy Young winners throughout his career.

 

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Absolutely incredible numbers. Video Game stats right there. Truly one of the best hitters in the history of the game. Gwynn was spending the last 12 years of his life coaching his alma-mater San Diego State (where he also was a great basketball player).

 

Here is a pretty chilling memorial video of Mr. Padre: 

 

— Steve Butabi

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TBT: Jason “White Chocolate” Williams

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(Check out a young Pau in the background…classic)

Jason Williams in my opinion was one of the most underrated point guards in the history of the league in terms of entertainment value. The guy consistently dropped jaw-dropping dimes from all angles and with both hands.

Originally from West Virginia, White Chocolate stayed in state to play for Billy Donavan at Marshall. Williams was the star point guard for a solid team. When Billy Donavan took the Florida job, Jason Williams followed. His senior year he was averaging 17 points and 7 assists per game before getting suspended for failing his 3rd drug test (all for weed). Even after the drug tests, the Kings drafted him with the 7th overall pick. Williams, C-Web, Vlade and Peja were a fun group to watch. Until Jason Williams failed another drug test and was traded to the Grizzlies. After a couple solid years in Memphis, Jason Williams was sent to Miami in a blockbuster. That year in 05-06, Williams was the starting point guard for the D-Wade-led heat that won the NBA championship. After he retired he was named as one of the Heat’s top 25 players of all time.

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But it wasn’t what J-Will did that made him a legend, it was how he did it. Not once did he make the smart play…he went the flashy route 100% of the time. Again, in my opinion he was the most fun point guard to watch of all time. Not a game went by that Williams didn’t make at least 1 pass that made the crowd go nuts. Behind the back, through the legs, no looks, he did it all. He literally played street ball in the NBA, and i don’t think thats an exaggeration. He also pulled THE single greatest pass in basketball history “the elbow pass” that will be remembered forever. Take a look at this unreal highlight tape. (Elbow pass comes in at the 2:10 mark).

– Steve Butabi

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TBT: AUGUST 1ST, MIKE VANDERJAGT

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“We’re talking about our idiot kicker, who got liquored up and ran his mouth off.”

– Peyton Manning

Mike Vanderjagt was one of the most accurate place kickers in the league during his time. He’s had some all-time great seasons as a kicker, none better than his incredible 37 for 37 year in 2003 (fist kicker in NFL history to not miss a single FG). While in the league, there was no question he was one of the most talented players at his position. But you don’t get to be a Press Box Pillow Talk TBT honoree by simply being a good player. Vandy had some legendary off the field moments that made him, in my opinion, the most ridiculous kicker to ever play in the league.

2003: Like i said, the man was 37 for 37, he could kick the lights out of the stadium. But whats great is everybody remembers him for something else. After the Colts lost in the playoffs Vaderjagt ripped Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning. I know he was riding high off of his great season but come on, what kind of kicker rips a head coach and quarterback? He was quoted after the year as saying, “I’m not a real big Colts fan right now, unfortunately. I just don’t see us getting better.” He also said “Coach Dungy, he’s just a mild-mannered guy. He doesn’t get too excited, he doesn’t get too down and I don’t think that works, either. … I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody’s face when they’re not performing well enough.”

This sparked one of Peyton Manning’s more memorable quotes to come about at the probowl. Sound clip is in this video:

2005: After coming back down to earth and making a relatively average 20 of 25 FG’s in 04, Vanderjagt had another great year going in 05. He was a solid 23 for 25 on year. Then came the infamous playoff game, at home, in the dome, against the Steelers. With the season on the line, Vanderjagt barely keeps this ball in the stadium to lose the game and the Colts’ season.

Weird video and poor quality, but seeing Cowher’s reaction to the awful kick is priceless.

It doesn’t end there. 4 days after the atrocious miss, Vanderjagt thought it would be a genius idea to go on Letterman. On the show he kicks a 46 yard field goal and drills it. Him and Letterman are laughing and having a good time. Again…this was only 4 days after the game. As expected, Colts fans went crazy. It was the last straw for Vanderjagt with the Colts, and he was cut a couple weeks later.

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But don’t worry, Vanderjagt has matured since. Last year while coaching, a student was heckling him and making fun of that famous miss. Naturally, Vanderjagt went over and grabbed the kid by his throat. So as you can see Vandy is still being Vandy. Good to know he’s still at it. Keep doing you Mike.

– Steve Butabi

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TBT: July 25th, Gerry McNamara

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As soon as G-Mac stepped on the Cuse campus, he was an impact player. He started every game as a freshman and averaged 13 points, 4.6 dimes, and 2.2 steals per game for a team that went on to win the national championship. Everyone remembers Melo obviously, and Hakim Warrick (“the block”), but people forget that McNamara was a valuable contributor as a freshman.    As a sophomore G-Mac did not slow down. He averaged 17.2 points per game, was a Wooden and Naismith award candidate, and finished 2nd team all Big East. He hit a school record 9 trey balls and finished with 43 against BYU in the first round of the tourney that year.

NBA range, step backs, off a feed, off the bounce…it didn’t matter where it was coming from, Gerry was splashing it home.

Junior year G-Mac led the Orange to another solid year, he averaged 15.8 and helped Cuse get the Big East tournament championship. But it was McNamara’s senior year that made him such a boss. After a disappointing year, Cuse was below .500 and had no shot at making the tournament unless they made a miraculous run in the Big East tourny. He was voted the “Most overrated player in the conference” just before the tourny began. Syracuse’s own school newspaper called him overrated. With a bad leg, G-Mac led Cuse past cincy in the first round, and then hit a 3 in the final seconds of the game to force OT against #1 in the country UCONN. Cuse ended up winning that game to set up a battle with rival Georgetown. G-Mac hit 5 three’s in the second half and got a game-clinching steal in the final seconds of the game to put Cuse in the championship. Fittingly, McNamara led them to a win in the Big East championship over Pitt. After the win G-Mac goes: “Wait….overrated??”

2006 Big East Tournament Highlights:

I was at that championship game and let me tell you…watching this guy play was special. The Eminem look-alike was one of those players that you knew never held anything back. You could tell this guy cared about winning and winning only. Today he is back at Syracuse as an assistant coach.

-Steve Butabi

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