Sandy, the fireworks are hailin’ over Little Eden tonight. Forcin’ a light, into all those stoned-out faces left stranded on this Fourth of July. -Bruce Springsteen
Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go! 4th of July baby, 4th of July. I’m a Red Sox Doodle Dandy. Red Sox Doodle do or die. A real live nephew of my Unlce Sam. I was born on the 4th of July. Yup, Independence Day folks. So say goodbye, it’s Independence Day. It’s Independence Day all down the line. Just say goodbye it’s Independence Day. It’s Independence Day this time. Yesiree, Independence Day. Fourth of Joo-ly. What better way to celebrate than to look back at some other famous fours. Some Gang of Fours. Some Figure Fours. Some Fantastic Fours. Some Fab Fours. So without any further ado, Happy FOURth of Joo-ly!
Mel Ott: New York Giants. Master Melvin. O is for Ott, of the restless right foot. When he leaned on the pellet, the pellet stayed put. A prolific home run hitter. Hit a slew of home runs. A gaggle of home runs. A pride of home runs. The youngest player to hit 100 home runs. The first National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs. Six-time NL home run leader. Holds the major league record for leading his team in home runs. Eighteen consecutive seasons. Yowza!
The way free agency is today, this record may never be broken. Morning has broken, like the first morning. Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird. Praise for the singing, praise for the morning. Praise for the springing fresh from the word. Praise Mel Ott!
Bobby Orr: Boston Bruins. Number four, Bobby Orr. You’re simply the best. Better than all the rest. Better than anyone. Anyone I’ve ever met! Greater than the Great One. Plus/Minus. Orr has the single season record at +124! That means his team scored 124 more goals than they gave up when he was on the ice. His career +/- is .91; the next closest guy is Larry Robinson at .53. Yowza! Talk about a difference maker. A takes the caker. A shake and baker. A Porterhouse Steaker.
In 1971, Bobby Orr piled up an unbelievable 139 points. 139 points! 37 goals and 102 assists. No player had ever notched 100 assists in one season before, and only two have since. The Great One and Super Mario. Orr did it from the blue line. He did it faster than anybody I’ve ever seen. Number four, Bobby Orr. The greatest hockey player who ever lived. You don’t believe me? Just ask Don Cherry. Or his dog Blue. Oh ya, this guy could fight. They tested him his rookie year. They didn’t test him again.
Sidney Moncrief: Milwaukee Bucks. Think defense. Hit ‘em again! Hit ‘em again! Defense, defense! Dig in! Sidney Moncrief dug in. Dug in on defense. Tough defense. Rugged defense. Stalwart defense. Unyielding defense. NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. Get the papers, get the papers. His Airness: “When you play against Moncrief, you’re in for a night of all-around basketball. He’ll hound you everywhere you go, both ends of the court.” It’s Huckleberry fun, it’s for everyone. So come on, gather ’round. Get yourself all set. Turn on your TV set. For Huckleberry Hound. Sidney Moncrief will be your huckleberry.
Brett Favre: Minnesota Vikings. Ted Stroehmann’s boy. The toughest summamabitch to ever take a snap. He’s got the power. Takes a licking and just keeps on ticking. Starting at QB in the NFL since 1992. Has not missed one game. Not one, I tell you. And Jerry Glanville says, “Not for long.” Feh! He has made an NFL record 285 consecutive starts (309 including playoffs). Yowza! Makes Cal look like a slacker. This is one tough quarterbacker. Taking sacker after sacker. I mean, football’s a man’s game. Takes a man to start 291 straight games at QB.
Lou Gehrig: New York Yankees. The Iron Horse. I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. I’m wanted, dead or alive. This guy stayed alive. Stayed alive for 2,130 consecutive games. Stayed alive for a career .340 average. Stayed alive for 493 bombs and 1,995 RBIs. Gracious! Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha. Stayin’ alive. The Iron Horse was part of some of the best Yankee teams from 1923 through 1939. Lou Gehrig became the first Major League Baseball player to have his number retired by his team. He was voted the greatest first baseman of all-time by the Baseball Writers’ Association. Lou Gehrig, the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
Jean Beliveau: Montreal Canadiens. Le Gros Bill. The Captain. O Captain! my Captain! Our fearful trip is done. The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won. The prize they sought was won ten times with the Captain on the ice. Ten Stanley Cups. The longest-serving captain in Canadiens history. Jean played in thirteen All-Star games. Jean made NHL 1st Team six times. Second Team four times. He won the Art Ross Memorial Trophy. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy. He was ranked seventh on The Hockey News’ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Big skater. Hard skater. Strong skater. Classy skater. Classy Freddy Blassy skater. Clarence Campbell: “Any parent could use Jean Beliveau as a pattern or role model. He provides hockey with a magnificent image. I couldn’t speak more highly of anyone who has ever been associated with our game than I do of Jean.”
Joe Dumars: Deetroit Pistons. Joe-D. Eighteenth overall pick in the NBA Draft out of McNeese State University. Our Cowboys fight for victory. They knock their foes out one, two, three. They roll aside all opposition. Blocking their position. Striving in close harmony. Joe-D knocked his foes out one, two, three. Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you.
Two Championships. One Championship MVP. Dumars silently put up solid numbers. Sound numbers. Murder by numbers. But Joe’s game was defense. That’s where he did his damage. Damage. Unh. Damage. Unh. Damage. Unh. Damage. Destruction, terror, and mayhem. Pass me a sissy so suckas I’ll slay him. Slaying folks nightly. Almost singlehandedly creating the Jordan Rules. Shutting down MJ. Forcing the other Jordanaires to step up their game. Say my name! Joe-D!
Honorable Mentions: Luke Appling, Joe Cronin, Ralph Kiner, Duke Snider, Earl Weaver, Paul Molitor, Tuffy Leemans, Wendell Ladner, Jerry Sloan, Rick Barry and Barry Ashbee.
Just So You Know: Japanese baseball players avoid wearing number four, pronounced shi, because it also means death.
Peace out homies. Six two and Even!