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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By MARC TOPKIN
Published September 3, 2006
The Associated Press in Toronto did it first in April. USA Today did it in May. The Sports Network in Detroit and the Ledger in Lakeland did it in June. RotoTimes and a bunch of other dot coms have done it.
And now - in case you hadn't heard - that it's football season, it's going to happen more frequently: people mistakenly calling Rays manager Joe Maddon John, in reference to NFL analyst and new Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden.
"It happened the other day, someone called me John. Actually it was one of the umpires, but I won't reveal who it was, but he called me John," Maddon said. "I'll just roll with it. I don't even correct them. Or I'll ask them, 'How did you know my middle name, since I'm Joseph John James.' So I go there."
Joe Maddon doesn't mind, in part, because he is a John Madden fan. It's a product of his own football background, having been a star quarterback at Hazleton (Pa.) High, where he earned the nickname Broad Street Joe in reference to Broadway Joe Namath. Plus, there are some similarities in their careers, despite a difference of nearly 20 years - and at least 100 pounds.
- Neither played in the "majors." Maddon played four nondescript minor-league seasons then went into coaching; Madden suffered a career-ending knee injury during his rookie training camp with the Eagles and never played in an NFL regular-season game.
- Both went to small schools: Maddon to Lafayette (Pa.) College, where he played football as a freshman before the toll of nagging injuries helped convince him to stick with baseball; Madden to San Mateo Junior College then Cal Polytechnic College, where he earned all-conference honors playing on the offensive and defensive lines and also played baseball.
- Both worked behind the dish. Maddon went to Lafayette as a shortstop and pitcher but switched to catcher and stayed behind the plate. Madden played catcher at Cal Poly.
- Both worked their way up. Maddon spent 13-plus years as a coach, manager and instructor in the minors, then another dozen as a coach in the big leagues before getting the chance to manage; Madden worked his way from Hancock Junior College to San Diego State to an assistant's job with the Oakland Raiders, then had a remarkable 10-year run with the Raiders, going 103-32-7 and winning seven division titles and a Super Bowl before turning to broadcasting.
- Both get mixed up with others. While Joe Maddon gets called John; John Madden shares his name with an NHL star and an Oscar-nominated movie director. (Plus, John Madden has a son named Joe!)
- Both have a distinguishing accessory. Maddon wears his funky black retro glasses when he manages; Madden, no matter what the weather, wore a short-sleeve shirt to coach.
- Both expect to be part of a championship in Tampa Bay. Maddon hopes to lead the Rays to their first postseason appearance in the next couple years; Madden, as the new lead analyst for NBC, will work the 2009 Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.
Between now and then, Joe Maddon (who actually is a big Arizona Cardinals fan) hopes for the chance to visit with John Madden.
"I would love to be able to meet that man," Maddon said. "I love what he did as a coach. I love what he does as an announcer. The whole thing he does with the bus and everything is fantastic. If I had my bus taking me all over the country and I was giving out six-legged turkeys at Thanksgiving, I'd be pretty happy. He did a lot of great work at a very young age. People have forgotten a lot of the things he did. Listening to his broadcasts, he has a lot of great insights. I think he's really good."
If things had worked out differently, Maddon might have already met Madden.
"I could have played in the NFL, I really believed that," Maddon said. "I could have played that game. It just started hurting way too much."
THE BLUE RAYS
How many former Rays does it take to win the NL West? The Dodgers apparently are hoping eight is enough. After last week's acquisition of Marlon Anderson from Washington, the Dodgers have now used eight former Devil Rays this season. Five will be part of the final-month push for the playoffs: INF Anderson, LHP Joe Beimel, C Toby Hall, LHP Mark Hendrickson and INF Julio Lugo. The other three were shipped out: RHP Danys Baez (traded to Atlanta), RHP Lance Carter (sent to Triple A) and OF Jose Cruz (released).
HE SAID IT
"I see a nice little smile on his face now and then, which I kind of like."
- JOE MADDON, Rays manager, on rookie Delmon Young