Some may remember Moose Stubing as the manager of the Quad-City Angels in 1976. He oversaw a team that went 72-59 and included future major league stars Carney Lansford and Dickie Thon along with a backup catcher named Joe Maddon.
The gregarious Stubing, who passed away last week at the age of 79, was one of those unique characters that we don’t often see in sports anymore.
He played 15 seasons in the minor leagues and managed 10 years in the minors before becoming the California Angels’ third base coach.
He certainly is fondly remembered by Mike Ebbing, who covered minor league baseball for the Quad-City Times in 1976.
"When Moose arrived in Davenport, he installed his personal bar in the clubhouse, complete with beer on tap and barstools," Ebbing recalled on Facebook recently. "Moose and I spent many summer nights on those barstools, analyzing just-completed games. Moose was the ultimate host. Before the post-game interview, he always set the mood by going behind the bar and drawing a cold one for each of us."
Ebbing usually could only have one or two before scurrying back to the office to write his story.
"Moose would invariably say, ‘C'mon, Mike. Have just one more.’ I would look at my watch, and most of the time (what my editors didn't know wouldn't hurt them), I would agree to lift one more. I remember I would often hope for a quick game, so I could spend more time with my pal in ‘Moose's Hideaway.’"
Stubing also moonlighted as a college basketball referee, working in the Western Athletic Conference for many years. As Bill Knight reported in an article in the El Paso (Texas) Times, Stubing claimed to have never called a three-second lane violation in all his years as an official.
"I never call that," he said. "That's a chicken bleep call. I just stick my head in and yell GET OUTTA THERE."
Aside from his colorful personality, Stubing also holds a special distinction in major league baseball history. He is the only person ever to go hitless as a player and winless as a manager. He was 0 for 5 (with four strikeouts) in a brief stint on the Angels’ roster in 1967 and 0-8 as their interim manager in 1988.
Reader David Fletcher was tinkering with the sensors on his garage door when a thought occurred to him that could possibly help reduce the number of lengthy video replays in football games.
"I got to thinking about the laser light beam traveling side to side," Fletcher wrote. "What if college and pro football contrived a similar scenario for touchdowns at goal lines? You rig up small pencil thin sticks-to-rods on the inside of the pylons, which could send a beam across just above the field height. You install chips in both ends of the football.
"This could work for first downs also. A stick could be set back a few yards to allow players on the field of play a shot at the angle of the sideline and yardage line. It may be a reach, but there obviously is a better system in the works than having to always dial back to a command center for a verdict."
He may have something there. Then again, they probably still would need to go to a replay to make sure the player retained possession of the ball as he broke the plane, etc. They’ll still find some way to drag out the game.
That Purdue team that dismantled Iowa last week is doing more than just playing great basketball this season.
Purdue players also are making a social statement by wearing shirts in pregame warm-ups that express things they feel the world needs more of these days. Each player has a different word on the front of his shirt, things like compassion, justice, love, respect, empathy, friendship and tolerance.
"The shirts pretty much stand for everything we need in this world right now," senior Vincent Edwards told ESPN.com.
"Our generation wants to change the world," he added, "and I think it starts with us."
Very nice idea. Of course, the Boilermakers aren’t showing much compassion or empathy for opponents as they’ve reeled off 16 straight wins. They have the look of a national championship contender.
It was great to see that the Iowa High School Athletic Association voted last week to allow Iowa football teams to play out-of-state opponents in seasons to come, something that Quad-Cities schools are likely to take advantage of.
It’s a sign that the IHSAA finally is catching up with the times.
Now, if they’ll just allow Iowa high school basketball teams to host and play in holiday tournaments.