My Biggest Sports Thrills
A lifelong sports fan recalls great moments from hometown heroes and sports icons alike
At age 6, I duked it out with my 9-year-old brother, Buddy, in the ring at the old Atlanta Municipal Auditorium until my dad could get us out – so referee Jim Talerico could start the main event. I thought we were the main event.
From a lifetime of great sports moments in which I was a participant or an observer, here are some standouts.
Darrell Crawford throwing four touchdown passes to Buck Martin as Georgia Tech beat undefeated Auburn, 28-0 in 1951.
My daughter Laurie celebrating her first birthday sitting on my lap and watching Bobby Dalgleish of Murphy High shut out Roosevelt High School, 6-0. Laurie repeatedly said, “Hi!” to home plate umpire Frankie Allen and never took her eyes off the ball.
Tech High’s Frank Smith and Commercial’s Max Benator slugging it out toe-to-toe in the finals of the 1948 Georgia Golden Gloves tournament. Smith won a decision that could have gone either way.
In 1944, Tech High’s baseball team, behind one run in the ninth inning against arch rival Boys’ High, rallied on a two-out triple by pitcher Paul Sheppard, a drag bunt by Jack Peek and a game-winning double by Bob Mitchell for a Tech High victory.
Watching Sandy Koufax strike out 15 New York Yankees in the opening game of the 1963 World Series to set a new series strike out record.
Ray Chaney and Charlie Wood-ward in Tech High’s 1942 Milk Bowl upset of Boys’ High.
Charlie Glock, my Atlanta Crackers hero, having dinner with my family after a Sunday double header. I was 13 years old.
Watching Sugar Ray Robinson take time away from his Atlanta night club act and put on a dazzling show for the Georgia and Georgia Tech freshman football teams.
Playing gin rummy with Carmen Basilio, former world welterweight boxing champion, the night before the Masters Golf Tournament.
Interviewing Sidney Walker, a/k/a Beau Jack, at his Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, Fla.
The pride of Macon’s Lanier High School football team, Billy Henderson, and Atlanta Tech High’s Pierce McWhorter staging the greatest prep football shootout ever at Ponce de Leon Park – and McWhorter winning, 26-19.
Furman Bisher’s sending me to Columbus in 1957 to ask Rocky Marciano what he thought about amateur Peter Rademacher’s chances of staying in the same ring with heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. Marciano said, “Not much.”
In 1950, Georgia upsetting Maryland’s highly-touted, power laden football team, 27-7. The Terps had All-Americans Jack Scarbath, Bob Ward, Dick Modzelewski, Ed Modzelewski, Chet (The Jet) Hanulak and Ronnie Waller. The Bulldogs had a few All-Stars of their own: Bobby Walston, John Car-son, Harry Babcock, Marion Camp-bell, Dick Yelvington, Art DeCarlo, Claude Hipps, Billy Mixon and Hamp Tanner.
Maurice Furchgott, Georgia Tech’s 165-pound guard, giving 215-pound All-American tackle Don Whitmire all he could handle in the 1944 Tech-Navy game at Grant Field. This was the unbelievable game in which Navy out-rushed Tech, 236 yards to minus 12 and made 21 first downs to Tech’s nine. Navy missed a touchdown on Tech’s one inch line with one minute to go in the game. Tech won 17-15 on a 28-yard field goal by a freshman, Allen (Dinky) Bowen.
Freshman Leman (Buzy, Super-frog) Rosenberg running a punt back 60 yards for a Bulldog touchdown against Tulane in Tulane Stadium in the early 1970s.
Georgia’s Anthony Joseph “Zippy” Morocco zipping down the sidelines on a 90-yard touchdown run against Furman University in 1950.
Taking my daughter Susan to Memphis to see Army play Tennessee in a day game and then flying to Nashville to watch Tennessee A&I play Florida A&M at night. During halftime of the night game, I asked Susan how she liked football and she said, “I like it, Dad, but not as much as you do.”