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.
Warning to amateur medics
The 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.
For 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 FranÃ§aise, 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.
Boys of Summer
No 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 Cooke...in 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."
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 (http://espnet.sportszone.com/), 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.
* * * * *
The NFL (http://nflhome.com) and big league baseball (https://www2.pcy.mci.net/mlb/index.html) already offer official Web sites, and the other major leagues are soon to follow. Even the NHL Players' Association (http://www.nhlpa.com/) is on the Web.
A vital victory refuels the Motor City
His 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.
Sports 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.
Kickin' up their Tar Heels
By 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."
To a stripper, Boyer's hipper
Morganna, 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.'"
1986 Preview: Oakland Athletics
The 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...