This will be the 12th annual “Where Are They Now?” issue in Sports Illustrated. It’s always fascinating to catch up with sports heroes of yesteryear and some of the athletes we’ll read about include Michelle Akers of the 1998 USA Women’s National Soccer Team which won the World Cup, the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates and some NFL legends. Here’s the preview from SI.
Charlie Sheen’s Behind-the-Scenes Behavior on the Set of Major League
Catching Up With: ’71 Pirates, NBA 7-Footers, Roger Bannister, Michelle Akers and Nine NFL Legends
The Top 40 Sports Songs of All Time (We’re Not Talking Stadium Anthems)
(NEW YORK – June 29, 2011) – Yogi Berra graces the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 12th annual “Where Are They Now?” issue, dated July 4 and on newsstands now. It is the fifth cover for the Yankees great and his first since the April 2, 1984, issue. To download a hi-res JPEG of this week’s cover, click here.
MAJOR LEAGUE REVISITED – CHRIS NASHAWATY
Twenty-two years after the theatrical release of Major League, Chris Nashawaty—a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly—caught up with the cast and crew, who try to explain what makes it one of the most beloved sports movies ever. This included more than two hours spent with Charlie Sheen, who had some memorable things to say (page 90).
On adding extra zip to his fastball: “Let’s just say that I was enhancing my performance a little bit. It was the only time I ever did steroids. I did them for like six or eight weeks. You can print this, I don’t give a f—. My fastball went from 79 to like 85.”
On having women fly in to Milwaukee, where the movie was filmed: “It wasn’t as bad as on Young Guns [a year earlier]. We made that one in Santa Fe, and you would fly into Albuquerque and drive to Santa Fe on this two-lane highway. Literally, the girls that were leaving would pass the ones coming in. Major League was so physically demanding that you didn’t have a lot of time for that. You’re lying in bed and everything [hurts], and you’re thinking, I have to pitch tomorrow?! But there were certain days that we’d look at the schedule for the next day and be like, ‘Gentlemen, tonight we ride.’ ”
On what Major League means to him personally: “We had this party at my place a few months ago to watch Major League. It was awesome. The beard was there—Brian Wilson, from the Giants. We had Eddie Murray and Kenny Lofton. And I got David Ward to introduce the film. Colin Farrell showed up. And when my big strikeout at the end comes on, the place goes nuts like we’ve never even seen the movie before. I’m in between my two girlfriends, and I look over and there’s Colin Farrell giving me a thumbs-up. I reach behind me for a fist bump from Brian Wilson, who goes, ‘Winning!’ I’m telling you, David Ward created a baseball classic, and baseball is all that matters in the world. You know, I always wonder what I’m going to be in the middle of when I die. And I just hope it’s not in the middle of the greatest f—— pennant race ever.”
To read the full online version of A League of Its Own, click here.
On the Tablets: Five memorable scenes from the movie as well as a transcript from the full interview with Charlie Sheen.
YOGI BERRA WILL BE A LIVING LEGEND EVEN AFTER HE’S GONE – JOE POSNANSKI (@JPosnanski)
Yogi Berra is a Hall of Fame catcher, but his renown stems primarily from being one of the most quoted athletes of the last 100 years. Just about any famous collection of words gains prestige by being connected to his name, so much so that Yogi Berra even quips (page 62): “I never said most of the things I said.”
If his “Yogi-isms” are put aside, what remains is the fact that Berra was one of the most prolific winners in sports history. From 1957 through 1981, when New York baseball teams appeared in 13 World Series, Berra—as a player, coach or manager—appeared in every one of them. In all, Yogi has appeared in 21 World Series, more than any professional baseball team other than the Yankees.
To read the full online version of Yogi Berra Will Be a Living Legend Even After He’s Gone, click here.
On the Tablets: A video interview with Yogi Berra and a photographic slideshow of his career.
’71 PIRATES: A BOY AND HIS BUCS – AUSTIN MURPHY (@SI_AUSTINMURPHY)
As an 11-year-old, senior writer Austin Murphy worshipped his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates during their 1971 championship season. Forty years later, Murphy connected with many of his childhood heroes at a team reunion. As players recounted stories from their winning season—facing the dominant Orioles’ starting rotation in the World Series, fielding the first-ever starting lineup that consisted solely of black and Latino players—Murphy realized that the team’s success was rooted in its off-field camaraderie. Recalls starting pitcher Steve Blass (page 124): “It was just a very open atmosphere. And what it created was a room full of friends. You could say anything to anybody. And when we went out on the ball field, we were brothers.”
To read the full online version of A Boy and His Bucs, click here.
On the Tablets: Photos from Pittsburgh’s memorable, seven-game win over Baltimore in the ’71 World Series.
NBA 7-FOOTERS: LARGER THAN REAL LIFE – Pablo S. Torre (@SIPabloTorre)
For the 7-foot set, professional basketball provides more than an occupation—it’s a near life imperative. Jokes Harry Stanback, whose 13-year-old son, Trevor, is already 6′ 8″ and is projected to exceed 7 feet: “There ain’t but two things you can do at 7 feet. One of them is play basketball. The other is clean elephant butts.” Reporter Pablo S. Torre caught up with several lofty former NBA players to talk about the challenges they’ve faced—including coping with foot and back problems, finding pants that fit and posing for pictures (page 108).
To read the full online version of Larger Than Real Life, click here.
On the Tablets: Video of Pablo S. Torre spending time with 7′ 4″ Mark Eaton near Eaton’s home in Utah.
ROGER BANNISTER: SIR ROGER’S RUN – DAVID EPSTEIN (@SIDavidEpstein)
Fifty-seven years ago Roger Bannister broke the four-minute barrier in the mile. But when staff writer David Epstein asked Bannister whether his greatest contributions came on or off the track, the 82-year-old didn’t hesitate: “Oh, medicine.” In a home decorated with awards recognizing his four-minute mile, his favorite ornament is a trophy for lifetime achievement presented to him by the American Academy of Neurology in 2005. As he describes it (page 102): “This is more important because it’s about my life as a whole and medicine, which are more important to me than whatever I did as a runner until I was 25.”
To read the full online version of Sir Roger’s Run, click here.
On the Tablets: Bannister and Epstein are interviewed together on the Sports Illustrated audio podcast. Plus, video of Bannister’s historic run from 1954.
MICHELLE AKERS: GREEN ACRES – GRANT WAHL (@GrantWahl)
Michelle Akers may be far away from the game of soccer—she now spends her days rescuing abused horses, raising her son Cody and rebuilding her farm which was devastated by a flood in 2009—but her legacy on the field will never change. Says her 1999 World Cup coach, Tony DiCicco (page 98): “I still think she’s the best player who ever played. Players like Marta will challenge that, but from a physical standpoint, with her technical ability and her mentality, from every aspect of the game, Michelle was at the top. That’s why I think she was able to play so long even with her physical challenges. Finishing, heading, dribbling—Michelle was the model.”
To read the full online version of Green Acres, click here.
On the Tablets: A timeline of the highs and lows from the first 20 years of the women’s World Cup.
NFL GREATS: SHOOTING HISTORY – WALTER IOOSS JR.
For more than five decades, Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss Jr. has captured football in all its muddy, bloody glory. Now he turns his lens on nine of the game’s living legends: Joe Namath (Jets), Jim Taylor (Packers), Jim Brown (Browns), Sonny Jurgensen (Redskins), Raymond Berry (Colts), Chuck Bednarik (Eagles), Lenny Moore (Colts), Sam Huff (Giants) and Art Donovan (Colts). Even off the field and in old age, these players are still compelling (page 21).
To read the full online version of Shooting History, click here.
On the Tablets: Nine separate podcasts of Iooss discussing each of his photo subjects as well as video of each of the shoots.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S ULTIMATE PLAY LIST – GREG KELLY
Sports and music connect on so many levels that it has been tough to ignore the role they play in each other. With that in mind, Sports Illustrated presents the 40 Best Sports Songs of All Time. They aren’t stadium anthems but rather songs by serious artists who used sports as subject and metaphor. Here’s the top five on the list (page 128):
1. Who Killed Davey Moore – Bob Dylan (1963)
2. Surfin’ USA – The Beach Boys (1962)
3. All Kinds of Time – Fountains of Wayne (2003)
4. Racing in the Streets – Bruce Springsteen (1978)
5. The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel (1969)
To read the online version of The Ultimate Play List, click here.
On the Tablets: Samples of all 40 songs on the list.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Which athlete in another sport would make the best baseball player? (page TK)
Michael Vick, Eagles QB….16% Aaron Rodgers, Packers QB….7%
LeBron James, Heat F….13% Drew Brees, Saints QB….4%
Sidney Crosby, Penguins C….7%
[Based on 269 MLB players who responded to SI’s survey]
FAST FACTS: Of the 31 athletes who received more than one vote, all but seven are from football (18) or basketball (6)…. Despite not playing baseball at Virginia Tech, Vick was drafted by the Rockies in the 30th round of the 2000 MLB draft…. Crosby, who played baseball until age 13, hit a 370-foot homer in batting practice at PNC Park in 2010.
Facebook Fan Picks
Tom Brady, Patriots QB….35%
Kobe Bryant, Lakers F….8%
Tiger Woods, Golfer….8%
POINT AFTER: BATTLEFIELD TO BALL FIELD – PHIL TAYLOR (@SI_PhilTaylor)
On senior writer Phil Taylor’s new favorite team, the shortstop is missing his right foot and one of the outfielders is missing his right arm up to his shoulder. So it goes with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, each member of was wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq. Yet opponents underestimate the team at their own risk. In the Warriors’ first game, in May, they beat a team from the FBI 35–10. Says the Warriors’ shortstop, former Army Spc. Matt Kinsey (page 144): “Whatever part of your body you lost, you’re not going to grow it back. So we don’t really sit around feeling bad about what happened to us. We chose to just get on with it.”
To read the full online version of Battlefield to Ball Field, click here.
SCORECARD: TWEET SMELL OF #SUCCESS – L. JON WERTHEIM (@jon_wertheim)
On the fifth anniversary of the company, it’s a good time to acknowledge that Twitter has become a permanent part of the sports firmament, moving well beyond 140-character ruminations. It’s used to shape the real-time conversation surrounding games, help fans get “digital autographs” from their favorite players and aid athletes who want to connect with consumers, brand themselves and move products. Says Cleveland guard Baron Davis, Twitter handle @Baron_Davis (page 20): “It’s a way of getting your voice out there, your personality across, where in the past, you had other people speaking for you. It’s all you, so there’s no manipulating the message.”
To read the full online version of Tweet Smell of #Success, click here.
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD: SPECIAL ARMED FORCES EDITION (page 32)
- Tim Jefferson Jr. (Atlanta/Air Force) – Football
- Nicholas Halbach (Wheat Ridge, Colo./Merchant Marine Academy) – Diving
- Hayley Feindel (River Ridge, La./Coast Guard Academy) – Softball
- Angela Myers (San Antonio/Navy) – Basketball
- Clint Moore (Greensboro, N.C./Army) – Baseball
- Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, Pa./Marine Corps) – Basketball
Follow Faces in the Crowd on Twitter @SI_Faces
INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS (page 36)
- Baseball: Field Leveled – With offense at historically low levels, 20 teams are still in the playoff hunt as the season hits its midpoint. (Tom Verducci)
- On the Tablets: A slideshow and video highlights of some of the first half’s most memorable moments.
- The NFL: Sharing Secrets – Talk of revenue sharing has been mostly absent from reports of CBA negotiations. Is change in the offing? (Jim Trotter, @SI_JimTrotter)
- Soccer: Resurrection – Youthful creativity won the Gold Cup for Mexico—and earned Freddy Adu new life in a U.S. uniform. (Grant Wahl, @GrantWahl)
- On the Tablets: Soccer podcast with Wahl, Steve Davis, Jen Chang and Mark Mravic
- Tennis: Growing Pains – Once it was not uncommon for teenagers to rule the majors. Now, they’re a rare sight in the later rounds. (L. Jon Wertheim, @jon_wertheim)
- College Football: Better Duck – Oregon’s ties with a scouting service owner raise plenty of questions but likely not enough to spell sanctions. (Andy Staples, @Andy_Staples)
- Olympic Sports: Star Search – Who will be the new face of U.S. track and field? Several candidates emerged at the national championships. (Tim Layden, @SITimLayden)
- On the Tablets: A multimedia recap of the US Track and Field Championships from Eugene, Ore.
- NASCAR: Ready to Win? – Getting that first Cup victory is the toughest task in NASCAR—and new winners are what the sport needs. (Lars Anderson, @LarsAndersonSI)
That will do it.