If someone proposed it today William Hayes Jersey , they’d get laughed out of the room. But there was a time when one of the major events of the American sports year was a game between the reigning NFL champions and a team of college all-stars. And it all came to an end 42 years ago today.|
Known as the Chicago Charities College All-Star Game, the contest was played every year from 1934 until 1976, with the exception of 1974, when it was canceled by an NFL players’ strike. Soldier Field hosted every game except the 1943 and 1944 games, which were played at Northwestern’s Dyche Stadium.
Could a ragtag group of 22-year-olds who had barely had time to practice together really compete with the best team in the NFL? Amazingly, in those days, they could. In the 1930s and 1940s, the best college players didn’t always choose to play pro football, and pro players weren’t necessarily better than college players. The first five College All-Star Games featured two wins by the college players, two ties, and only one win by the NFL team. (That one, in 1935, was the only year when the NFL’s runner-up, rather than the reigning champion, represented pro football.)
By the 1960s and 1970s, however Cornellius Carradine Jersey , pro football had become America’s most popular sport, and the money that came with playing pro ball meant all the best college players wanted to turn pro, and many of the top pro players were training year round, rather than finding offseason jobs. As a result, in the last couple decades of the College All-Star Game, the pro teams were beating the college teams consistently, and often easily: The pro teams won 16 of the last 17 College All-Star Games, and few of those games were even close.
The last game the College All-Stars won came in 1963, when the Green Bay Packers fell to the College All-Stars 20-17. Packers coach Vince Lombardi felt humiliated.
“We used to have a social get-together after a night game,” former Packer Boyd Dowler recalled in 2013. “Lombardi came in, and he looked visibly upset — like death warmed over. He wasn’t real kind when we got together for training camp again.”
Packers great Willie Davis added that Lombardi “would always bring it up to us when we weren’t playing well. Believe me, we never would forget it.”
On July 23, 1976, the Super Bowl champion Steelers played what would become the last College All-Star Game. A horrific thunderstorm broke out in the third quarter, and video of the game has to be seen to be believed: Not only was the storm like something out of a disaster movie, but when the college team’s coach DeMario Davis Jersey , Ara Parseghian called a timeout to try to get his players organized in the monsoon, the fans took the opportunity to storm the field. Eventually the game was called off in the third quarter, both because of lightning and because those fans on the field had torn down the goal posts and showed no signs of being willing to vacate. The Steelers led 24-0 at the time the game was called.
And that was the end of the College All-Star Game, for that year and forever. The game had come to seem pointless, as the college players really couldn’t compete with the NFL players anymore, fans were losing interest, and players were more concerned about avoiding injuries than winning the game. The plug was pulled, and what had once been a major part of the American sports year came to an end.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had to wait several weeks into the season to see just what they got with right-hander Joe Musgrove in an offseason trade with Houston.
It has been about a month since he came off the disabled list after a shoulder injury delayed his season debut, and Musgrove has proved fiercely competitive and fiercely loyal.
Musgrove is 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA for Pittsburgh (35-35) going into his sixth start Sunday, against right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.40) and the Cincinnati Reds (25-45) in a series finale at PNC Park.
With a 6-2 victory Saturday, the Pirates won their third straight, climbed back to .500 and ensured themselves of winning a series after dropping eight in a row.
The Reds have lost two straight after a three-game winning streak.
Not only is Musgrove averaging more than six innings per start, with 23 strikeouts in 25 innings and a 1.12 WHIP, but also has played with an edge.
“He’s a tough guy,” Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said last month. “When he’s on the mound Dave Casper Jersey , he’s mean. He’s the kind of guy that you want to have on the mound all the time.”
In his most recent outing, a no-decision Monday in Arizona’s comeback 9-5 win, Musgrove was cruising with a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning when he hit Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Owings in acknowledged retaliation.
An inning earlier, Diamondbacks right-hander Braden Shipley hit Pirates infielder Josh Harrison — who got plunked 23 times last year and spent time on the DL this season and last because of a broken hand after being hit by pitches — and Pittsburgh rookie Austin Meadows got knocked down by a pitch earlier.
“It’s nothing more than just protecting your teammates,” Musgrove said. “It’s baseball. That’s how the game is played. That’s how I was raised to play the game. You protect your teammates, especially when a guy gets hit high up and in.”
The Pirates appreciated Musgrove’s loyalty, despite the fact that his retaliatory move might have sparked Arizona’s winning rally.
“That wasn’t the turning point of the game in my eyes,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “You can’t control what other people are going to think.
“The importance of teammates taking a stand for one another, I think that is part of the game. Everybody can construct their own narrative afterward. But I know (Harrison) has been hit a ton, been hit a lot. … Just plunking our guys, whether it’s accidental or not, is just not OK.”
Harrison said “it felt good” to have his new teammate stand up for him.
Musgrove has never faced the Reds.
DeSclafani has made six career starts against Pittsburgh, going 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA, but not since Sept. 17, 2016.
DeSclafani missed all of 2017 because of an elbow injury and, like Musgrove Jake Matthews Jersey , opened this season on the DL because of an oblique strain.
Last Sunday, in his second start this season, DeSclafani picked up his first win since Sept. 28, 2016, 6-3 over St. Louis. He gave up two runs and 10 hits in five innings, with six strikeouts and two walks.
“I don’t think I was as good as I wanted to be,” DeSclafani said. “There’s definitely a lot of work from here on out. I was falling behind some guys and giving up too many hits.
“But it’s definitely something to build on.”
He has yet to get his setup pitch, his curveball, back to where it once was.
“Definitely still getting a feel for it. I only threw a few of them,” he said. “It’s definitely got to be incorporated. I need some kind of equalizer to (go along with) my fastball and slider. Once that comes around, it should make things a little bit easier.”
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