Once A Star #1

The first of two hour-long programs profiling former professional athletes. The show focuses on these athletes' lives after retiring from sports, with archival footage sprinkled throughout. We get an in-depth look at these personalities, while also indirectly getting a sense of the difference between professional sports of the 50s, 60s, and 70s versus today: virtually all of the athletes work for a living. This program features "no-hit" Chicago Cub pitcher Kenny Holtzman; Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone;  first African American in the NBA, Nat “Sweetwater" Clifton; TV wrestling pioneer “Dick the Bruiser” (Afflis); all-time NFL scoring leader, kicker and quarterback George Blanda; bowling champ Carmen Salvino; Casey Stengel speaking “Stengelese;”  Clown Prince of Baseball, Max Patkin; and one-season phenomenon, pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych.

0:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone, slate.

1:28 Opening titles

2:41  Jack Brickhouse greets audience, along with John Mengelt and Steve Stone. They explain the concept of the show, which is to answer sports fans’ question, “Where are they now?”

3:20 Jack Brickhouse introduces segment on Kenny Holtzman, former pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Clips are shown from Holtzman’s 1971 no-hitter.

4:22Copy video clip URL Holtzman, now an insurance agent, talks about missing baseball, and how the insurance business could never replace the thrill.

5:05 Holtzman talks about his time on the Oakland Athletics, where the players were always at odds with owner Charlie Finley.

5:56 Holtzman talks about going to arbitration with the owner of the A’s. He talks about the whole team following him into arbitration. Holtzman compares the 1973 Oakland A’ s to the 1969 Cubs, and says the Athletics were just clearly much better.

7:24 Another clip from Holtzman’s 1971 no-hitter.

7:47 Holtzman talks about the pleasures of being away from baseball, outside the critical eye of the public.

8:12 Brickhouse, Stone, and Mengelt banter about Holtzman’s career. Brickhouse tells a story about seeing a home run pitched by Holtzman right after his no-hitter. Stone and Mengelt talk about the desire to be viewed as a businessman in spite of athletic talent.

9:32 Mengelt introduces an old clip of Steve Stone sporting a moustache and a shaggy haircut, from 1975.

9:55 Stone introduces upcoming clips and leads out into commercial.

10:09 Black out for commercials.

12:09 Mengelt talks about Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first black player in the NBA, who is now a Chicago cab driver.

12:39 Clifton describes having to drive a cab off-season during his NBA career.

12:16Copy video clip URL Clifton talks about being the first black NBA player in 1950, drafted to the Knicks from the Harlem Globetrotters. Clips of the Globetrotters are shown.

12:55Copy video clip URL Clips of “Sweetwater” on the court with the Knicks, making baskets and rebounding. He talks about not being a high scorer because he did whatever his coach told him to, which usually was not shooting.

14:54 Clifton talks about playing in the All Star Games for a pension fund, but never getting the pension.

15:28 Clifton sitting with two grandchildren on his South Side stoop, talks about the importance of family in his life. He talks about how his legacy was opening the sport for black players, and having been able to travel the world playing sports. He says he’s never been mistreated and he loves the country.

17:10 Mengelt and Brickhouse discuss opening the basketball pension up to pre-pension plan players. Stone says that despite not having a pension, Clifton seems to be happy. The hosts talk about how Clifton got his nickname, and Mengelt explains that it was because he liked “soda pop.” Lead out to commercial.

18:27Copy video clip URL Black for commercials.

20:30 Stone introduces a segment on wrestler Dick “The Bruiser” Afflis. Cute montage of archive footage of Afflis wrestling mixed with shots of his happy home life in Indianapolis, Indiana.

21:52 Afflis talks about being injured in wrestling matches, and how his wife won’t let him wrestle anymore because she doesn’t like him being hurt. His wife, Rita, explains that she likes wrestling.

23:02 Afflis goes over his busy schedule as a promoter and speaker. He says he keeps busy but tries to keep Sundays for himself. “Bruiser,” a former NFL player with the Green Bay Packers, says all he would need to become a professional basketball player is a shin-lengthening procedure. More clips of wrestling intercut with home life.

24:22 Stone, Brickhouse, and Mengelt talk about the strange trajectory of Afflis’s career, being known as a villan. Brickhouse talks about working in early sports TV, including “Wrestling From Marigold” in the early 1950s.

25:34 Stone introduces a clips of the 1977 White Sox over the “Batman” music.

26:00 Out to commercial.

26:12Copy video clip URL Black out for commercials

28:15Copy video clip URL Mengelt introduces a segment on George Blanda, a football player with one of the longest careers ever. Blanda talks about getting more out of football than he ever expected.

29:54 Blanda talks about being a better kicker towards the end of his career, and even the end of games, than at the beginning.

30:19Copy video clip URL Blanda talks about playing for “The Monsters of the Midway”. He talks about not getting raises from George Halas during his career with the Bears and being unable to do anything about it.

30:00Copy video clip URL Blanda talks about his new career as a motivational speaker. Mengelt says Blanda can usually be found on the golf course, and Blanda talks about how playing golf is similar to field goal kicking because you have to do it the same way every time to succeed.

32:06 Blanda talks about the pleasures of the competition in playing sports as an older player.

32:29 Stone, Brickhouse, and Mengelt talk about Blanda’s longevity in football.

33:20 Out to commercial.

32:26Copy video clip URL Black for commercials.

35:37 Stone introduces a segment about bowling on television. Clips of Carmen Salvino.

36:35 Carmen Salvino talks about bowling in the early days, when pins were wooden, and when few bowling balls were available. Old clips of Salvino on “Championship Bowling” with “Whispering” Joe Wilson.

37:17 Salvino discusses the difficulty of making a living in bowling and how it worked as an incentive to bowl well. He talks about the importance of analyzing the game academically.

38:00 Salvino says he doesn’t like looking back, because he likes air conditioning too much.

38:24 Clip of “Whispering” Joe Wilson signing off.

38:40 Stone talks about Salvino being inducted into the Bowling Hall of Fame, and Brickhouse hails Joe Wilson as an amazing sports broadcaster. Brickhouse talks about the importance of developing a personality as an on-air sportscaster.

40:00 Stone signs off to commercial.

39:00Copy video clip URL Black for commercials.

42:11 Clip of Casey Stengel talking to Vince Lloyd in 1964 about what it takes to be a good baseball player: “You have to play mentally as well as physically.” “Want to have bad luck, just don’t have teamwork.”

43:33 Stone, Mengelt, and Brickhouse banter about Vince Lloyd. Brickhouse talks about crazy things that Casey Stengel told him.

44:18 Brickhouse introduces a segment about Max Patkin, the “clown prince of baseball.”

45:20 Patkin does his act for the stadium crowd, acting the part of a loopy batter.

46:09 Patkin talks about traveling from field to field and using the umpires as straight men.

46:45Copy video clip URL Pete Vonachin, owner of the minor league Peoria Chiefs, talks about Max bringing in crowds, and how he’s welcome at any ball park.

47:10Copy video clip URL Patkin talks about his constant exposure on local news. He talks about his enmity for the San Diego Chicken. He says at some games it’s hard to be funny, especially with certain crowds, and when fights are breaking out. He talks about his plans to keep working as long as he feels physically able to do the work, mostly because of the appreciation of kids.

49:30 Lead-out to commercial.

48:28Copy video clip URL Black for commercials.

50:34Copy video clip URL Stone introduces segment on Mark “The Bird ” Fidrych.

51:36Copy video clip URL Mark Fidrych talks about starting to play in the minor leagues and not understanding that he was signed solely as a pitcher. “After that, I was a full-fledged pitcher.”

52:45Copy video clip URL Clips of Fidrych’s sensational rookie year with the Tigers in 1976.

52:52Copy video clip URL Fidrych talks about his quirks: filling up the hole on the pitcher’s mound, talking to himself, etc. He says he doesn’t think he was as crazy as the media portrayed him.

54:27Copy video clip URL Fidrych talks about the shoulder injury that eventually ruined his career. He talks about the inability of doctors to repair his injury at the time.

55:26Copy video clip URL Fidrych reveals to the cameras that he’s since had the surgery, which he had been keeping a secret. Fidrych talks about the possibility of a comeback.

56:05Copy video clip URL “The Bird” talks about his puzzlement that he hasn’t been invited to do more commercials or television. He says he tries to keep the negative attitude out of his head.

56:46Copy video clip URL Fidrych talks about his new life as a real-estate developer. He talks about the pleasantness of having something to come home to and fall back on in his hometown of Worcester, MA.

57:42Copy video clip URL The three hosts ponder Fidrych’s comeback desires.

59:13Copy video clip URL Brickhouse addresses the audience, thanks them for visiting, and suggests they drop a line to the show. The hosts sign off.

59:39Copy video clip URL End credits

1:00:50Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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