SCREAMIN’ FROM THE CHEAP SEATS – DECEMBER 15
By Leo Haggerty

DAYS OF CHRISTMAS PAST IN SPORTS

Today, I will begin a triumvirate of columns that will look at a different time frame of sports.  I’m starting with, being that it’s the Christmas season, the first ghost to visit Ebenezer Scrooge and that would be Christmas past.

Join me as I go back in time to a few everts in sports that fans today will not have a chance to experience because they have vanished with rule changes or the evolution of that specific sport.

So, without further adieu, here we go.  Enjoy the ride back to as early as the 1960’s.

NFL

A nine-yard field goal. (Goal posts were on the goal line then)

Fullbacks were ball carriers.  (Today many teams don’t even have a fullback on their roster and, if they do, they are strictly blockers.

NBA

Offensive goal tending was legal. (Player could catch a pass over the cylinder)

No three point line.  (Was first used in 1979-80 season)

NHL

Passes over two lines were illegal.  (Puck could not travel from behind your blue line to over the red line)

Goalies didn’t wear masks. (First worn by Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens in 1959 after he was hit in the face with a puck and demanded protection before he would go back to the net)

MLB

Starting pitchers were expected to complete games. (Leader in 1968 was Denny McClain with 28 where there hasn’t been a double digit performer since 1998)

No such thing as a shift in the infield.  (Players would bunt if that would have happened even the great ones)

NCAA FOOTBALL

Freshman could not participate on the varsity team.  (2021 Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston were both freshmen)

Unlimited number of scholarship players.  (Limit was 105 in 1973 and is now 85)

Four year scholarships.  (Changed to one year renewable in 1973 as well)

NCAA BASKETBALL 

The four-corners stall to keep games close.  (The game that led to the shot college in college basketball was when North Carolina beat Virginia in the 1982 ACC Men’s Basketball Championship game 47-45 using the four-corners the last eight minutes of the game)

NCAA March Madness consisted of 25 teams in 1960.  (68 teams competed in 2021)

Hope you enjoyed this trip down sports memory lane.  Look for the next installment, Christmas Present, early next week.