Monday, October 30, 2006

Death watch update: Spooky rule of three edition

It looks like one New York Times article too many killed take your inner-slut-to-Halloween day. I hit two parties this weekend and the ratio of "naughty" costumes to "clever" costumes has solidly moved towards abstract artists and board games.

Even though I had previously
criticized the practice of too much Halloween skin -- especially in colder environments --I have to confess I was disappointed in what I didn't get to see.

But Whore-a-ween wasn't the only thing that died this weekend. So did 300,000 human beings. Most prominently a trio from the world of professional athletics:

Red Auerbach won a record nine world titles as coach of the Boston Celtics. He also invented the fast-break and was instrumental in the integration of the NBA. Anyone who has watched a basketball game over the last 40 years (not involving the Utah Jazz) can attest to these two things being really big deals.

Auerbach was around long enough to coach players from Bob Cousy to Allen Iverson. He was probably best known for the victory cigar he lit -- often before the game was over. He was to stogies as Tom Landry was to snap brimmed fedoras and Bill Clinton is to, well . . . stained blue dresses.

Joe Niekro won 221 games in the major leagues. Like his Hall of Fame brother Phil, Joe threw the knuckle ball and was effective well into his forties. He started his career on a team that featured Ernie Banks and ended it on one that starred Kirby Pucket. An interesting fact about Niekro was he pitched 18 scoreless innings in his two post-season starts, but his team managed to lose both games in extra innings.

Continuing our era-bridging theme, former heavyweight champion of the world
Trevor Berbick was the man who ended Muhammad Ali's career. Six years later Berbick lost the heavyweight title to a 20-year old Mike Tyson. Berbick died the most intriguing prominent athlete death of the weekend: Felled by an apparent hatchet blow to the head.

I was thinking it too, but Maurice Clarett currently resides in a Ohio correctional facility.

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