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Mizell’s Mailbag

Sharing memories of McGuire

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 2001

Thanks for such a warm piece on Al McGuire (McGuire's touch won't be forgotten, Jan. 27). I cried when I heard the news (of his death). My parents rented the first bungalow his parents bought in 1936 at Rockaway, Long Island. Al was 8 and I was 5.

His parents bought a bar and other bungalows on 108th Street and the Boulevard. Al's brothers, Dick and John, played half-court basketball with my brothers, Bill and Dick. They played "dogball" on the beach, played with hard-rubber balls that dogs love to chew. Al was the fastest human I ever saw run on sand.

One summer, I worked as a waiter at "McGuire's," and Al was bartender. What a golden tongue. You had to love him. Pat, the most spectacularly beautiful girl on the beach did, and she married Al. He once said to me, "Jackie, I'm going to have a spectacular death." And he did. His life was seashells and balloons.
-- Jack Bray, Dunedin

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McGuire, far more than an NCAA championship basketball coach.

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Thank you for years of giving me some knowledge and appreciation for sports. I wanted to reply to columns you wrote about living in Jacksonville. When my family moved to Florida in 1952, our apartment was a weird place at 1519 Hubbard. You will be missed.
-- Margaret B. Randolph, Clearwater

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I’m a Hubbard alum. Reaction has been incredibly kind re my retirement, but I’ll keep in touch. For at least three years, beginning in June, I will write for the Sunday sports section.

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Not only did Marty Glickman broadcast Giants and Jets games but he was a member of the 1936 Olympic team. Years ago, I heard Marv Albert interview Marty, and he called Glickman the finest announcer he ever heard. I had always thought of Marv as the best.
Charles Farrell, St. Petersburg

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Glickman, a giant in many ways. Marty was not only an excellent radio voice but a guru to generations of announcers like the Albert brothers, Bob Costas, Dick Stockton and many more. And the center of an Olympic cause celebre. Glickman and Sam Stoller, the only Jews on the U.S. track team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, were pulled from what would have been their only race, the 400 relay, because a victory would have embarrassed the host Nazis, team officials said. Like McGuire, Marty's passing is a great loss.

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Reading your Times column on the Web brought back memories. I used to listen to you all the time and I still get many Tampa Bay radio stations on the Internet. When 820 The Team folded, we were crushed. Which station took The Team and where can I hear Hubert Mizell?
Larry Lincoln, Peterson AFB (Colorado) NORAD, U.S. Space Command

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Some of the 820 bunch is on WQYK-AM 1010. Me? No market. I never got an offer I deemed reasonable to continue doing sports talk.

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Really liked your "Unbelievable" article (Believing the 'unbelievable', Jan. 18). It's one for us more cerebral sports fans who get sick of listening to former athletes turned broadcasters. Feeling a need to ramble incessantly, talking but saying nothing. I am 27 and have read your column with much joy and anticipation since I was 13.
Joe Wisterman, Leesburg (English teacher)

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Now there's something I seldom heard as a kid, an English teacher saying I did well. Thanks, for the comment and for reading me from age 13. Sadly, not enough young people are prone to read anything longer than a CD package.

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You're so right about the Raiders improving their image. I was pulling for the Ravens, only because of Trent Dilfer.
Clyde Reynolds, via e-mail

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It was warming, seeing Trent embrace the Super Bowl experience with dignity and appreciation.

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Devil Rays trade for Ben Grieve, an outfielder with a candy arm. Reveals yet another LaMar-Naimoli wacko move. Fact that a strong, steady pitching staff is 80 percent of winning has yet to reach their addled baseball brains.
-- Lou Kiefer, Hernando

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Not long, Lou, before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. You are right; as for pitchers, the Rays are still way underdosed.

* * *

I have never before written to a newspaper or called a radio station. But I read everything that is written and hear any talk show. I have been waiting for someone to address (Bucs) problems on defense, which you touched on after the Philly game.

I saw such a difference between 1999 and 2000. I sat week after week watching our D allow one sustained drive after another. I respect your honesty, opinions and style. Can you address this?
-- Kate Tolan, via e-mail

* * *

You're right, Kate. Tampa Bay defense went from extraordinary to pretty good, no matter the stats they spout. It wasn't just losing Hardy Nickerson. Right now, the Bucs defense is a bit more reputation than performance, evidenced by all those guys in the Pro Bowl. Worn down, perhaps, by carrying an insufficient offense, which remains the runaway No. 1 challenge, but status quo on D would not be a good idea for 2001. They should watch Ravens tapes.

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