Tua! Tua!! Tua!!! I’m a believer. Put me on the bandwagon.
Can you believe it? Down 35-14 at the start of the fourth quarter. No one could recover from that. Is there another game to watch? What a bunch of bums!
And then Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa exploded. Touchdown pass after touchdown pass.
An advantage of 28-3 in the fourth quarter. A final score of 42-38 Miami. A team-tying record of six touchdown passes. Six! Count me in.
But … There’s always a but. We have to realize what had gotten the Dolphins in that hole to start.
To me, it was defense. And that defense will still be there this Sunday when the outstanding Buffalo Bills visit the Dolphins. Yes, Tua to Tyreek Hill will still be there, too. Tua to Jaylen Waddle will still be there. Tua to seven other receivers will still be there.
But I’m afraid the Bills are a better team. We shall see.
LET’S TALK ABOUT some baseball. Namely Babe Ruth to Aaron Judge.
For 34 years, the most hallowed baseball record was Ruth’s 60 home runs, which he hit in 1927.
It lasted until 1961 when another New York Yankee, Roger Maris, hit 61.
Three other hitters have also topped 60 and all did it in the National League. Sammy Sosa did it three times for the Cubs with totals of 66 in 1998, 63 in 1999 and 64 in 2001. Mark McGwire
topped 60 twice for St. Louis with 70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999. And the king of homers, Barry Bonds, topped them all with 73 in 2001 for San Francisco.
But the 60 for Ruth and 61 for Maris remain tops for a lot of people as Sosa, McGwire and Bonds are all tainted because of the possible use of performance enhancers.
Hence the interest in Judge as he trudged along in search of 60 and 61.
Interestingly, Ruth, though regarded as clean by so many people, was a victim of one of the worst sins of all: He faced only white pitchers. Not by choice, of course, but segregation back then eliminated a sizable portion of the baseball populace.
The fix was simple.
Eleven weeks after infielder Jackie Robinson integrated baseball on April 15, 1947, outfielder
Larry Doby of Cleveland integrated the American League on July 5, 1947. Dan Bankhead was the first black pitcher, joining Robinson on the Brooklyn Dodgers on Aug. 26, 1947. Though Bankhead had left his mark in the Negro leagues, he couldn’t duplicate that in the majors – except for homering in his first at-bat – giving up 10 hits and eight runs in 3 1⁄3 innings of relief work in his first game. That first year, Bankhead got in only four games, finishing with an earned run average of 7.20. He was soon back in the minors, returning three years later and marking a season with 9 wins and 5 losses.
The first outstanding pitcher in the American League, who happened to be black, was Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige, who was 42 when he broke in with the Cleveland Indians on July 9, 1948. In that year, the Tribe won the World Championship and I saw Paige with the team. He won 6, lost 1 over 21 games. Paige, who began his pitching career as an 18-year-old semi-pro in 1924, also pitched for the St. Louis Browns and a final game in which he pitched three one-hit innings in 1959 – when he would have been 53 – with the Kansas City Athletics. He had a career mark of 28 wins and 31 losses.
Judge’s season continues against a variety of talented pitchers. While Ruth batted left-handed, Judge bats right. Ruth was 32 when he hit those 60 home runs while batting .356, Judge is 30 and is batting above .300. Judge has this week (Sept. 22-25) to overcome what must be a ton of pressure in search of further records.