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100 Years Later, Their Numbers Don’t Add Up

Excerpts from the Big Ten’s centennial media kit:

“The entrance of Michigan State to the Conference in 1949 [was] the most important event in the history of Michigan State! And the Big Ten!” says Doug Weaver, former MSU athletic director.

Adds Stanley Ikenberry, University of Illinois president, “For me, the joining of Penn State in the Big Ten Conference was the single most significant moment in our recent history.”

So when are they going to teach mathematics in the Big Ten? Michigan State’s entry brought the number of conference teams back to 10, and Penn State’s sent it to 11.

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Add Big Ten: Dan Gable, University of Iowa wrestling coach, has the answer: “The Big Ten is so respected and dominant that even when adding an 11th team, the name remained the same.”

Can that be new math?

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Trivia time: What two Hall of Fame athletes in other sports played together on the 1951 University of Cincinnati basketball team?

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Double dipper: Jim Williams is a teaching golf professional who had gone 37 years without making a hole in one when he played a round at Port Malabar Country Club in Palm Bay, Fla.

Using a ball he had found a few days earlier, Williams aced the 169-yard third hole with a six-iron, then, using the same ball, did it again on the 140-yard sixth hole with an eight-iron.

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Fax it: Cal Ripken Jr. gets the same questions over and over from reporters as he closes in on Lou Gehrig’s major league endurance record. The Baltimore Oriole shortstop has come up with a stock answer: “I’d like to give you a scoop, but I just don’t know one.”

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Health insurance: Quarterback Y.A. Tittle loves to recall the day he played his last game for the San Francisco 49ers. He was facing the New York Giants and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t being pressured by the Giants’ defense.

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After the game, he asked one of the opposing linemen, “What’s the matter with you guys? You all getting soft?”

“Naw,” came the reply. “They told us before the game that you’d just been traded to us and not to lay a hand on you.”

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No free lunch: Ever wonder how much it costs Anheuser-Busch for all those beer commercials on TV sports events?

During the first three months of 1995, the Houston Chronicle reported, the St. Louis brewery spent $42 million in advertising. Next was Chevrolet at $37 million.

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‘Nuff said: This is how Madonna introduced Muhammad Ali at a gathering of New York sports personalities:

“We’re alike in many ways. We have espoused unpopular causes, we are arrogant, we like to have our picture taken, and we are the greatest.”

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Price of fame: The San Francisco 49ers’ Steve Young gets badgered daily with requests for pictures, personal appearances, interviews, autographed footballs to be auctioned off, memorabilia and whatever, but Father’s Day provided one of the most unusual requests.

“A lot of people wondered if Steve could call their dad as a special gift,” Stefanie Wanicur, Young’s personal secretary, told Mike Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News. “There were so many we had to turn them down.”

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Trivia answer: Baseball’s Sandy Koufax and tennis’ Tony Trabert.

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Quotebook: Manager Jim Leyland of the Pittsburgh Pirates, on pitchers: “They can talk about [Hideo] Nomo all they want, and that’s fine, but [Greg] Maddux is the best. It’s not even close.”


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