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The Best and Worst of '77: Should Old Acquaintance Etc.

Cracker Jack

By John Donley

A British playwright once wrote, "The best that can be hoped for from the ending is that sooner or later it will arrive." And that's about all that can be said for the ending of the 1977 sports year--it arrived. It didn't end with fire works or with all of us having a warm, glowing feeling about the 12 months past--it just ended.

It was a year when the hockey, baseball, football and tennis teams all faltered in the eleventh hour (not to mention the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots). So let's just breathe a sigh of relief that 1978 is here, and look back at the good, the bad and the, ugh, unbelievable.

Can you believe...

...that Jim Kubacki, a quarterback and Harvard's all-time leader total offense, scored a touchdown in last January's Shrine Game? ...as a tight end?

......that Harvard's hockey team defeated the eventual national champs, won the Beanpot, and went on to mios the ECAC playoffs for the first time in 11 years when Providence upset B.U. on the last day of the season?

...the way Jack Hughes handles a hockey stick?

...the way George Hughes skates with the skill of JoJo Starbuck, and puts the puck in the net much better?

...that Bill Clearly still won't talk The Crimson?

...that The Crimson still thinks there's a chance he might one of these years?

...that Harvard's baseball team finished 22-7 and still missed the playoffs?

...that freshman Mike Stenhouse hit 4 HR's one weekend and broke season RBI and average records (40, and .475)?

...that Loyal Park allowed only a select group of talented chewers to chew tobacco on the baseball team?

...that a couple of Winthrop House sophomores tried to buy the Red Sox?

...that Denny Doyle tried to play for the Red Sox?

...that Jim Rice missed the first half of a doubleheader during the pennant stretch because a car caught fire in front of him in Sumner Tunnel?

...that Carl Yastrzemski (among other Red Hose) broke the 100-RBI mark?

...all those home runs?

...Catfish Hunter and Jim Palmer?

...that the price of bleacher tickets rose to $2?

...that the Harvard heavyweight crew lost its first race in 25 tries, by one-tenth of a second, to Penn?

...that the heavies came back at Princeton the next week to clean up in the Easterns?

...that the Radcliffe crew, and just about every other Harvard women's sport throughout the year, simply dominated its competition?

...that the men's tennis team lost a shot at the Ivy crown and the NCAA tourney with a 5-4 upset loss to Yale, after leading 3-2 in the third-set tiebreaker of the crucial doubles match?

...that Kevin Shaw had to play an ambidextrous Eli who hit both left handed and right-handed forehands in that match?

...that coach Dave Fish lugged his 35mm and telephoto out to the Longwood tennis tournament to catch some shots of idol Ken Rosewall last August, but was driven away by a horde of swarming gnats?

...that freshman racquetman Don Pompan looks exactly like Starsky of t.v. fame?

...that tennis captain Todd Lundy could double for Hutch?

...that Crimson number-two golfer Spence Fitzgibbons practiced his "lateral hip slide" by smashing his hips time after time against his Canaday door? (Spence later quit, saying, "It's rough on the hips.")

...that the Harvard basketball squad won four of its last five games last spring to finish 9-17?

...that the cagers still have to play in the Indoor Athletic Building?

...that the Indoor Athletic Building is called "The Indoor Athletic Building?"

...that Princeton hoop coach Pete Carril never lets go of the rolled-up program in his left hand, even when he's beating Harvard by 20 points?

...that inspiring new coach Frank McLauglin has been unable to change the fortunes of Harvard basketball?

...that Satch Sanders has been unable to change the fortunes of Celtic basketball?

...Sidney Wicks?

...that the Celts took the Sixers to seven games last April?

...that Lloyd Free calls himself "All-World?"

...that Darryl Dawkins missed several games this fall with a cut on his hand, allegedly sustained while washing dishes? (Rumor has it that the injury occurred during a machete fight).

...that Dawkins actually said, "I need my shot like a hog needs slop."?

...that Billy Cunningham actually said, in response to a question about offensive problems arising when George McGinnis and Doctor J play at the same time: "The big problem is that both of them need the ball to score. When Doug Collins is in the game it's better because he doesn't need the ball to score."?

...that the Harvard soccer team fielded 12 men for more than 10 minutes in their opener at Columbia, but still lost, 3-1?

...that everyone laughed when coach George Ford suggested that his team might win three or four Ivy games, and that he would be satisfied with such a result?

...that everyone stopped laughing when the booters finished 3-3-1 in the league?

...that Walter Davis finally finished his college career?

...that Leamon Hall finally finished his college career?

...that Clemson beat the point spread in nearly every football game this fall, then fooled everyone by turning creampuff against Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl?

...that the Harvard football team nearly didn't get to play in 1977, when both team busses narrowly missed a jacknifed truck en route to Columbia

...that quarterback Tim Davenport, who hinted of greatness, barely got to play in 1977, breaking two neck vertebrae on a touchdown run in toe Columbia win?

...that Brian Buckley threw 40 passes out of the shotgun in the second half against Colgate? and completed 20?

...that Colgate gave up more than 70 points to Columbia and Northeastern?

...Ralph Polillio, Jon Sigillito, and Al Ippolito?

...that Steve Potysman and Bob Baggott collaborated to save the Cornell game with a fumble recovery on the one-yard line?

...that Chris Doherty complained to the coaches about his playing time at halftime of that game, and went on to become a starter, average more than five yards a carry, and earn team MVP honors?

...that Potysman and Paul Halas led the secondary to the nation's best interception percentage--18 on 158 opponents' passes?

...that the Crimson beat Dartmouth?

...that the Crimson lost to Princeton?

...Bobby Isom?

...John Pagliaro?

...that Harvard had a chance to tie the Ivy title against Yale, and the biggest play of the game--Bob Baggott's fourth quarter sack of Bob Rizzo--only set up Mike Sullivan's touchdown run out of punt formation?

...that Baggott received no post-season honors, save All-Ivy?

...that in The Game, with Larry Brown lined up as QB and Buckley at slotback, the quarterback took the hike, pitched to the slotback, who pumped to the split end, and then threw to the quarterback, who was now a receiver and had scampered out into the left flat, all for an incompletion?

...that Brown listens to Bob Seger's "Katmandu" to get psyched for games?

...that Brownie came out of nowhere to do a solid job at quarterback?

...that the football rowdies, led by the likes of Bill Roberts, outdid themselves again?

...that The Crimson (daily) touch football team again went winless, but persisted in claiming a string of 23-2 victories?

...that Bill Scheft did 20 straight Sam Cunningham touchdown plunges over the Quincy House hedge?

...Michael K. Savit writing for The Independent?

...Michael K. Savit writing for The Crimson?

...that the major league baseball and football playoffs were marred by outrageous officiating?

...Harry Wendelstedt?

...Fred Silva?

...Ed Marion?

...Franco Harris's hands?

...Howard Cosell's mouth?

...Reggie Jackson's bat?

...Steve Garvey's bat?

...Larry Bowa's glove?

...Reggie Smith's arm?

...Frank Tavera's legs?

...Pete Rose's bat?

...ROD CAREW's bat?

...Manny Mota?

...George Foster, Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver?

...Bill Campbell?

...Sparky Lyle?

...Frank Tanana?

...Steve Carlton?

...Pudge, Butch, Rooster, Yaz, and Boomer?

...Ken Singleton?

...Brooks Robinson?

...Bob Griese?

...the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

...Walter Payton?

...Tony DorSETT?

...Russ FranCIS?

...Dave CasPER?

...Too Tall Jones?

...Gary Fencik?

...Tom Jackson?

...Bill Walton?

...Dave Cowens?

...John Havlicek?

...Julius?

...Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus?

...Guillermo Vilas?

...Gordie Howe?

...Pele?

...Dave Singleton, Ron Stewart, Danny Waldman, Petro in the Beanpot, Gene Purdy, Mike Desaulniers, Anne Sullivan, Geoff Stiles, Russ Savage, Alex Vik, Sue St. Louis, Lee Nelson, Fred Herold, Glenn Fine, Brian Banks, and Bobby Hackett?

...that it's Reading Period already?

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