Saturday’s Den: Stuff you remember that reminds you we’re all getting old(er)

13) You remember having to get up to change the channels on the TV.

Until 1973, when I was 13, we had three TV channels, plus PBS which nobody watched except for Sesame Street and Mister Rogers (I preferred Green Acres and Mister Ed).

In 1973, we got cable TV, which came with a brown plastic box that was attached to the TV with a wire; you could sit there and change the channels. It was excellent. Still had to get up to adjust the volume, but it was excellent.

12) If you don’t know, Mister Ed was a talking horse who only talked to Wilbur Post, who owned the house, with the horse in a barn behind the house. Wilbur was an architect who never seemed to work; Ed got him into a lot of trouble. The show still appears on obscure cable channels now and then; check it out.

11) They used to have day games in the World Series; the first night World Series game was in 1971. Game 7 of the ’72 Series started at 1:00; it was over by 4:00 (the A’s won!!!) and at 4:00 the late NFL game came on. Obviously these days, World Series games are all at night.

10) When I was in college, the drinking age was 18; I used to sit in the Across the Street Pub with some of my college friends and argue about sports while they played Pac-Man endlessly. My friend Mike was fond of yelling at me, “Thats the dumbest thing I ever heard!!!” He said that a lot, usually very late at night.

9) There was a time when NHL players didn’t wear helmets’ nd those who did wear helmets were thought to be less manly than the others.

Boston Bruins had a terrific winger named Rick Middleton who had concussion issues so he had to start wearing a helmet. It was unusual then; now it is obviously a rule.

Goalies didn’t always wear masks either, which is staggering to think about. Was Andy Brown the last goalie who didn’t wear a mask?

8) Until 1958 there were no major league baseball teams west of St Louis; then the Dodgers/Giants moved to California. What a sucker the owner of the Giants was; he got Candlestick Park, a windy, cold, cruddy stadium, while the Dodgers got Chavez Ravine. Oy.

7) Before the Giants/Dodgers moved, there were three major league teams (out of 16) in New York City. Then from 1958-61, there was only one team in the Big Apple., before the Mets came into being in ’62.

6) Random baseball trivia from Ryan Spaeder: Hall of Famer Greg Maddux made his major league debut as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the 17th inning, on September 3, 1986;  he would stay in the game to pitch the top of the 18th.

Maddux became the first player to both pinch-run and pitch in his big league debut since Dan McGinn did so for the Reds on September 3, 1968.

5) Before 1985, there was no shot clock in college basketball, which made it a much different game. If you had the lead in the second half, you could just hold the damn ball and wait for a good shot. North Carolina had a “four corners” offense that featured PG Phil Ford and was very effective at the end of the games.

In 1979, Duke led North Carolina 7-0 at halftime. Of a basketball game. UNC held the ball for 11 straight minutes when they trailed 2-0. ESPN was about to become a real thing and games like this were unwatchable, so the shot clock eventually became a real thing.

4) For a long time, college basketball teams only made the NCAA Tournament if they won their league; in 1974, Maryland was #3 in the country, but they lost the ACC title game 103-100 in OT to NC State (#2 in country), so the Terps went to the NIT and crushed everyone they played.

NC State ended UCLA’s string of seven straight national titles, beating the Bruins in double OT in the national semifinals.

3) Again though, UCLA won seven straight national titles in an era where they had to win their league just to get into the tournament. Nowadays, Duke hasn’t won the ACC regular season title by itself since 2006.

2) There was a time when you went out, you made sure you had an extra dime (or later, a quarter) in your pocket, in case you had to make an emergency phone call. Phone booths were very popular and bailed a lot of people out in emergencies. Cellphones made them obsolete.
1) As I’m typing this, the 6-OT UConn-Syracuse game from the 2009 Big East tournament is on ESPNU; one of the refs was John Cahill, who is from Albany and was always very nice to me in our dealings when I was a student manager for the Albany Great Danes. Good to see him on TV again. Classic game, with Sean McDonough/Bill Raftery/Jay Bilas on the call, before Bilas became one of the more annoying people in America. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.