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More Fun in the Sports Illustrated Vault

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Last week, we spent some time inside the new SI Vault, which houses virtually everything that's ever appeared in Sports Illustrated (all for free). The Vault is a fantastic mix of history, nostalgia and unintentional comedy. We're at it again, highlighting the first time various topics were covered. Today's lineup includes steroids, the Internet, LeBron, Morganna, and the births of fantasy sports and sports-talk radio.


September 20, 1965

Warning to amateur medics
alzado.jpgThe American Medical Association's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports cautioned athletes and coaches last week against the use of two new types of drugs—one a painkiller, the other intended to induce weight gain.
* * * * *
The weight-gain drugs (androgenic-anabolic steroids) can have horrendous results. In prepubertal boys, the committee warned, they may stop growth, induce precocious puberty and decrease testicular size. In the pubertal boy, the warning continued, the steroids markedly suppress production of testosterone, a male hormone. And in adult males, testicular size and function revert to the prepubertal stage, and there is "decreased libido."

A gain of a few pounds would not seem to be worth it.

Rotisserie Leagues

May 14, 1984

fantasy-football.jpgFor the champion in the rotisserie league, joy is a Yoo-Hoo shampoo
Daniel Okrent certainly didn't know what he was about to start on that dreary January day in 1980 when he and five others rendezvoused at La Rotisserie Française, a restaurant—now morte—on Manhattan's fashionable East Side. They met for a regular session of the Phillies Appreciation Society, but out of that meeting came the idea for a statistical baseball league. The league was actually organized at another East Side eatery, P.J. Moriarity's—also now defunct—but the Rotisserie League sounds a lot better than the Moriarity League, don't you think? It's also a nice play on Hot Stove League, but you probably don't care.

And so the Constitution was hammered out in long, painful sessions. "I felt like Madison writing The Federalist papers," says Okrent, who, incidentally, is Vedie Himsl's biggest fan (see page 575 of the fifth edition of The Baseball Encyclopedia): "Glen Waggoner was Hamilton and Bob Sklar was John Jay. At one point Glen said, 'Why do this for money? It'll be fun to play for nothing.' We looked at him as if he were a Martian."
* * * * *
The champion gets Yoo-Hoo, the chocolate-flavored drink, poured over his head. Take a look at the ingredients on a Yoo-Hoo bottle sometime—ferric orthophosphate is a personal favorite. Yoo-Hoo actually leaves your hair soft to the touch. You can also drink it.

LeBron James

July 23, 2001

Boys of Summer
lebronjames.jpgNo player made a bigger name for himself this month than LeBron James , a 6-foot-7 forward who will be a junior this fall at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron . In a matchup that was the stuff of summer legend, James got the better of Lenny a hotly contested game at last week's Adidas ABCD Camp in Teaneck , N.J. "It seemed as if all week people were hyping it up like it was the game of the century," James said. "I just wanted to give everyone a good show."

Cooke is widely regarded as one of the nation's top seniors, but James outscored him 24-9, capping off the showdown by making a running 25-foot trey at the buzzer to give his team an 85-83 win. "He's the best high school player I've ever seen," one NBA scout says. "He's so explosive and versatile, and he has a great feel for the game. The guy is just a freak."
* * * * *
However, James 's performance last week did touch off speculation that he might be the first player to try to enter the NBA draft as a junior, which would require a legal challenge to the league's rule prohibiting such a move. Goaded by reporters, James said that it was a possibility, but he backed away from that stance last Friday, after returning to Akron . "It's not going to happen," said James . "I'm not going to give it any thought. I have friends here, and I'm not going to leave them. I'm going to graduate with my class and then see what happens."


July 3, 1995

Navigating the Web
With the overwhelming amount of information available on the Internet, the biggest problem is locating whatever it is you're looking for. The easiest way is to use the World Wide Web, a graphical Internet interface that even the most hardened critic of digital technology can quickly grow to appreciate.

Sports fans will find the Web most useful for two things—instant access to updated scores and news, and in-depth information on particular teams or sports. Here are some Web sites to get you started:

Perhaps the most comprehensive Web site for sports news is ESPNET SportsZone (, a joint venture between ESPN and Paul Allen's Starwave Corp. This site provides news stories, commentary from ESPN broadcasters, updated scores, audio interviews with athletes, statistics and more. All this information makes SportsZone very popular—it is visited by 45,000 users a day.
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The NFL ( and big league baseball ( already offer official Web sites, and the other major leagues are soon to follow. Even the NHL Players' Association ( is on the Web.

Dick Vitale

January 7, 1974

A vital victory refuels the Motor City
vitale.jpgHis name is Dick Vitale (rhymes with "Hi, pal") and he is the new basketball coach for the University of Detroit's fightin' Titans (known in Romulus and River Rouge and other car-making places as UD). He is blind in his left eye and the eye tends to drift to the side, making it seem that while he is talking to you he is also looking over your shoulder at some prize recruit in the distance. And maybe he is, because Dick Vitale has the reputation of being an energetic, persistent, hellacious recruiter.
* * * * *
Just how good a college coach Vitale is remains to be seen, but he is not off to a bad start. Detroit beat Michigan, which was fun, and then, before a big crowd in Cobo Arena, slipped by Michigan State after being down by five points with only a minute and a half left in overtime.


July 27, 1987

wfan_logo.gifSports around the clock: WFAN is the first station to give sports junkies a 24-hour fix
Lift your heads and rejoice, all ye sportaholics, for whom ESPN, WTBS, WWOR and CBS Sports Sunday just aren't enough....There's something new in New York, and it's just for you. They call it all-sports radio.

If you are between Maine and southern New Jersey, you no longer need a TV set to satisfy your sports lust. Just turn the AM dial to 1050 WFAN—all sports all the time—and you'll immediately be plugged into the latest locker room developments. Are you a Knicks fan? WFAN had live coverage of the press conference that introduced new coach Rick Pitino. Do you go bonkers over Bo? The station had a reporter at Jackson's press conference in Auburn, Ala., at which he declared his intention to become a two-sport pro. WFAN has it all in the world of sports.

The problem is, during the greater part of most days, the world of sports isn't all that newsworthy, which explains why the lion's share of the station's airtime is devoted to listeners' calls. The hot topic in New York is the mercurial behavior of the Mets' Darryl Strawberry. Typical callers range from Jeff of Manhattan, whose voice took on a tone of malicious glee as he discussed possible trades for Strawberry, to Dan of Enfield, Conn., who got all choked up recounting how Strawberry's rookie season inspired him to accomplish what Richard Simmons, Dr. Stillman and Weight Watchers couldn't, that is, lose 50 pounds.
* * * * *
The power behind the all-sports experiment is Emmis Broadcasting, the nation's largest privately owned broadcasting group. Eleven months after purchasing WHN, a New York City country music station, Emmis plunged into the uncharted waters of all-sports. If the experiment works, clones should soon appear, and you, too, will be able to hear endless over-the-air second-guessing by your fellow fanatics. If it fails, Emmis execs will be doing some second-guessing of their own.

Lawrence Taylor

October 27, 1980

Kickin' up their Tar Heels
LT-Gastineau.jpgBy trouncing archrival North Carolina State 28-8 on Saturday, the Tar Heels went 6-0, their best start since 1948 when they also went 6-0. And with such a splendid performance, the Tar Heels may improve on their No. 8 AP ranking, the highest they've had since the middle of the 1949 season. Says John Swofford, Carolina's athletic director, "Expectations are awfully high around here."
* * * * *
Within that solid defensive unit is one Lawrence Taylor, outside linebacker, who spends his Saturday afternoons—and this one in particular—marauding, hitting, smashing, disrupting and terrorizing. "The thing about Taylor," says Marcin, "is he's soooo nasty."Several times Taylor, a 6'3", 238-pound senior from Williamsburg, Va., didn't just tackle North Carolina State Quarterback Tol Avery, he crumpled him. Taylor is so intimidating that the opposition tries to stay away from him as much as possible so as to avoid incurring his wrath. But Taylor, who was far from being a star until midway through last season, doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

"Actually, I'm not sure I'm all that good," he says. "But I do know you've got to be able and willing to hit. And you've got to have a little killer instinct. There is nothing better in life than a violent head-on collision. Look, football is supposed to be a rough game and not everybody is supposed to be able to play. So if I knock a guy silly, he'll be wondering where I am and what I'm going to do to him the next time he runs my way. A lot of things just happen when I'm playing defense. I don't plan anything."


July 20, 1970

To a stripper, Boyer's hipper
morganna.jpgMorganna, the large stripper whose hobby of running out on baseball fields to kiss players has not hurt her career a bit ("She's the highest-paid stripper in the country," says her agent. "She's booked a year ahead"), has rated some of the victims she has lipped.

She says of Wes Parker: "He doesn't kiss good, but he runs fast."Billy Cowan: "I thought Cowan had sexy lips until I read in the paper that I kissed his ear. Now I'm really confused."

Frank Howard: "The poor thing. He almost fainted. I don't even want to mention him."

Pete Rose: "He cussed a lot."

Clete Boyer: "He kisses good. I told him I loved him. He said, 'I love you, too.' A week later he came into the club where I was dancing and jumped up on the stage and kissed me. He said, 'Now we're even.'"

Jose Canseco

April 14, 1986

1986 Preview: Oakland Athletics
canseco_SI.jpgThe A's unquestionably have power. In [Jose] Canseco, they feel they have a new Mantle. They already have an old Dave Kingman, who, despite recurrent grumpiness, has hit 65 homers for Oakland in the past two seasons. The first base platoon of Dusty Baker and Bruce Bochte had a total of 28 homers and 112 RBIs, and Mike Davis, a brilliant defensive player in rightfield, came offensively alive last year with 24 homers and 82 RBIs. Veterans Dwayne Murphy, when he's not striking out (123 times in '85), and Carney Lansford, when he's not on the disabled list, are good for another 20 homers apiece. Defensively, the A's are stronger behind the plate with Mickey Tettleton than they were with Mike Heath, and shortstop Alfredo Griffin and centerfielder Murphy both won Gold Gloves.

And if you'd like to start collecting SI covers featuring U.S. Presidents, here's what your personal gallery would look like...






[Take your own look inside the SI Vault.]

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Old News: Very Early Media Coverage of the GOP Candidates
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Every week, I used to wander into the New York Times archives to find the first time the paper covered various topics (like The Walkman). In honor of tonight's Iowa Caucus, we're bringing back "The First Time News Was Fit to Print." Here are the first times The Times mentioned each of the remaining GOP candidates.

Mitt Romney

February 28, 1960

A Maverick Starts a New 'Crusade'
mitt-and-george.jpgGeorge Romney feels that he has pat across the compact car. Now he is turning his missionary fervor to a campaign to reshape American political institutions.

The man who made the compact car big competition for Detroit's land yachts is crusading against bigness on an even bigger scale these days. George Romney, the almost terrifyingly earnest head of the American Motors Corporation, has moved from his conquest of the gas-guzzling dinosaur into a battle to break up the concentration of economic power embodied in giant companies and giant unions.
He speaks with equal disrespect of the ranking politicians of both major parties when it comes to their readiness to face up to what he considers the make-or-break issues in America's survival.
George Romney considers talking his wife out of a movie career his greatest sales achievement. They are shown here with their children, Mitt, Jane and Scott.

[Well, not here. This picture is from two years later, when George announced he was running for President. To see the picture referenced here, you'll have to check out the original article.]

Ron Paul

April 28, 1976

Big Victory by Bentsen Called Vital to Re-election
John B. Connally, the popular former Democratic Governor [of Texas], was credited in 1970 with pushing Mr. [Lloyd] Bentsen to victory over Mr. [George] Bush [in the Senate race]. Mr. Connally, now a Republican, helped a politically unknown gynecologist, Dr. Ron Paul, upset a liberal Democrat, Bob Gammage, in a race last month to fill the unexpired 22d Congressional District seat vacated by Democrat Bob Casey, who has been appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission.

Rick Santorum

November 7, 1990

The 1990 Elections: State by State
In an upset, Representative Doug Walgren, a seven-term Democratic Congressman from Pittsburgh, lost to a political neophyte, Richard Santorum, a 32-year-old Republican lawyer who ran on an anti-incumbent theme.

Michele Bachmann

September 24, 2006

Campaign in Crisis Mode (by Charles Baxter)
While my assignment was to write about Minnesota’s important Senate race, I think there’s more to be learned right now from the far closer contest in Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, which borders Minneapolis-St. Paul to the east, north and west. The race, between Michele Bachmann, the Republican, and Patty Wetterling, the Democrat, has revealed a Bush-era national trend now visible locally.
Terrorism has infected every subject and every discussion, even locally. Alarmism has become so ubiquitous in discussions of Iraq, the decline of the family and financing for Social Security and education that polarization is assured. Extremity, after all, is more newsworthy than good sense.

This outlook has the effect of trivializing most local issues — who cares about farm-price supports when radical Muslims want to make Stillwater part of the caliphate? And it ensures that the volume will always be turned up to 11 — at least until everybody begins to suffer crisis fatigue and tries to calm down.

Newt Gingrich

November 2, 1974

Divided GOP in Georgia Facing a Rout on Tuesday
In another House race, however, Republicans may be able to take some comfort. In the state's Sixth District, suburban Atlanta, the 10-term Democratic mainstay who ran unopposed in 1972, faces a strong challenge from a 31-year-old history professor, Newt Gingrich. Although Mr. Flynt is favored, he is facing some difficulty because he is now running in a redrawn district in which his strength has not yet been tested.

[Note: Gingrich narrowly lost.]

Rick Perry

November 8, 1990

Farm Chief's Foe Has the Last Laugh
The Texas Agriculture Commissioner with the Borscht Belt sense of humor is out. Jim Hightower, a two-term incumbent known as an advocate of enlightened farming as well as one of the funniest figures in American politics, was defeated Tuesday by Rick Perry, a 40-year-old rancher and farmer.
Katie Dickie, Mr. Perry's press secretary, said today that her candidate "took a lot of angry farmers, banded them together, raised money in places like Garden City, Sterling City, the small places all across Texas, East Texas and West Texas."

She added, "Rick wants to refocus the department on mainstream agriculture."

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

July 22, 1998

Nova of Canada to Purchase Huntsman Styrene Business
The Nova Corporation of Canada will acquire the bulk of the styrene operations of the Huntsman Corporation for $860 million (United States) in cash and preferred stock, the companies announced yesterday.
For Huntsman, of Salt Lake City, the largest privately held chemical company in the United States, the deal represents a chance to pay down debt and to increase funds to homeless shelters and other charities that its ownership family has long supported.

In particular, it will let Huntsman funnel more than $100 million into research on genetic predispositions to cancer. Jon M. Huntsman [the candidate's father], the company's chairman, lost both his parents to cancer and has had two bouts with the disease himself.
Under the terms of yesterday's deal, Huntsman will receive $625 million in cash, and $235 million of nonvoting preferred shares, which can be converted to a maximum of 10 million common shares of Nova stock in two years. Nova will also assume $60 million of Huntsman's debt. After the deal, Huntsman will become Nova's largest shareholder.

Mr. Huntsman expects the two companies to combine some purchasing operations and to seek ways to combine product lines and operations. His son, Jon M. Hunstman Jr., will sit on Nova's board.

More First Mentions Worth Mentioning...

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See all the previous installments of The First Time News Was Fit To Print
November 3, 2007: Appearance on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

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10 Headlines from 9/11/01
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We spent the summer of 2001 chastising Gary Condit, mourning Mr. Belvedere, and pardoning Microsoft. But on the second Tuesday of September, a mere twenty months after widespread wisecracks about the world ending on Y2K, it felt like the world did. I've been reading through the online archives of The New York Times from September 11, 2001, to see what was in the news the morning of the attacks. Here are some of the headlines:

1. Taliban Suicide Bombers Target Deposed Afghan Leaders

"If the would-be assassins were indeed Arabs, as the United Front asserted, the fact would lend credibility to those who contend that foreigners, including Osama bin Laden, are playing an ever bigger decision-making role among the Taliban."

2. Washington: Rumsfeld Attacks Bureaucracy

"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that he was declaring war on bureaucracy in the Pentagon and that he wanted to combine some civilian and military staffs, cut duplication in the military services and shift some jobs to the private sector."

3. Senator Joe Biden attacks President Bush on Missile Defense

"Mr. Biden has fastened onto missile defense as the centerpiece of his critique of Bush foreign policy. In part, that is because the system is almost the sole focus of the administration's foreign policy... 'Are we willing to end four decades of arms control agreements, and go it alone, a kind of bully nation, sometimes a little wrongheaded, but ready to make unilateral decisions in what we perceive to be our self-interest?' Mr. Biden said in his speech at the National Press Club."

4. Michael Jordan to Unretire (Again)?

"Jordan is either getting ready to return to the N.B.A. at the age of 38 or he is setting up the sports world for a letdown of legendary proportion. Either way, the drama builds. Speaking with three reporters, Jordan said he was less than 10 days away from a news conference in Washington announcing his decision."

5. Grand Jury Declines Request For Inquiry into Condit Matter

"A grand jury has rejected a flight attendant's request that it investigate her complaint that Representative Gary A. Condit obstructed justice by asking her to sign an affidavit falsely stating that they did not have an affair....Anne Marie Smith, 40, said that she and Mr. Condit had a 10-month romance and that his intermediaries tried to get her to sign an affidavit denying the affair....Ms. Smith's link with Mr. Condit became public after the disappearance in Washington of Chandra Ann Levy, a 24-year-old government intern from Modesto, on May 1. Mr. Condit, 53, is not considered a suspect in the disappearance, but he acknowledged having had a relationship with Ms. Levy."

6. Mayoral Candidates Crisscross City Seeking Last Few Votes

"The six major candidates running to succeed Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani ranged across the city yesterday in the final burst of politicking before the polls open today. Dodging late summer downpours, the candidates hit neighborhoods where they thought they might be able to eek out just a few more votes. Crossing and crisscrossing the boroughs -- sometimes missing one anothers' campaigns by just minutes -- it seemed as though the six candidates were out to shake every hand in the city."

7. Broncos Win Game, Lose Receiver

"The New York Giants did not upset the festive Denver atmosphere as the Broncos christened their noisy new home with a loud and thorough 31-20 rout. The game's outcome seem to hinge on a gruesome injury to Denver's Pro Bowl wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who broke his lower left leg early in the third quarter."

8. Disco Near Auschwitz to Close

"The owner of a building now used as a disco but once a tannery where Nazis sorted the luggage and clothes of Jews at Auschwitz said he would not renew the club's lease when it expires in November."

9. U.S. Blacklists Paramilitaries in Colombia

"Being put on the State Department list of terrorist groups means that financial support for the organization is illegal. The action also makes it easier for the United States to seize assets, an important factor because investigators here estimate that the paramilitary groups have hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts."

10. Thomas Friedman on Terror in Israel

"You drive south...and there is another long concrete wall blocking snipers from hitting Gilo, but also sealing in Gilo. There are Hebrew posters all over this wall that read: 'The New Middle East.' Some Israeli coffee shops now have security guards at the door to deter suicide bombers."

See previous installments of 'The First Time News Was Fit To Print.'


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