Wednesday, June 5, 2013.
If you don’t count Larry Jackson, Borah High product Stephen Fife is only the second pitcher from Boise ever to win a game in the major leagues after notching his first Monday night for the L.A. Dodgers. We’re going with native-born Boiseans, and according to Baseball Almanac, Fife is only the third major leaguer of any kind after Pat House, a former Boise Junior College pitcher, and Vance Law, son of former Pittsburgh star Vern Law. Jackson was the city of Boise’s most famous major leaguer, winning 194 games in a 14-year career from 1955-68. Jackson graduated from Boise High and starred in both football and baseball at BJC for Lyle Smith. But Jackson was actually born in Nampa. Fife is thus the first native Boisean to get a major league victory since House with the Houston Astros in 1968.
The Treasure Valley did produce the late Harmon Killebrew, of course. But pitchers from the area have been hard to come by. The best next to Jackson was Vern Law, born in Meridian. Law won 162 games in a 16-year career with the Pirates from 1950-67. Mike Garman (1969-78) and Frank Reberger (1968-72) were big league hurlers from Caldwell. And Tom Edens (1987-95) hailed from Fruitland and was born in Ontario.
The next couple of days will be curious ones for Boise State football signee Joey Martarano. The linebacker—and third baseman—out of Fruitland High will be watching the Major League Draft out of the corner of his eye as it begins tomorrow. Martarano declared his undivided allegiance to Bronco football last month. But as recently as May 16, a couple days after his final decision was revealed, Martarano was listed as the No. 41 overall big league draft prospect by MLBProspectGuide.com. Will there be a club that decides to pick Martarano in the lower rounds this week just for the heck of it, like the Cubs did with Colin Kaepernick in 2009?
With the wolves closing in on him, Ohio State president Gordon Gee announced his retirement yesterday. “Retirement” is one way to put it. The trail of verbal gaffes that started with the “Little Sisters of the Poor” comments aimed at Boise State’s and TCU’s schedules 2½ years ago and peaked with the recently-revealed reference to "those damn Catholics" at Notre Dame and shots at the academic quality of other schools last December finally did him in. Gee definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer and didn’t want to be, in effect, “on probation” at OSU.
The line of demarcation in the Mountain West basketball standings next winter will be fifth place. Men’s and women’s teams that finish in the top five will avoid three play-in games included in the new Mountain West Tournament format that goes into effect with an 11-team league lineup next season. Everybody will make the field, but the bottom six face an extra game in Las Vegas to reach the quarterfinals. Boise State happened to finish fifth this past season—the Broncos fell to San Diego State in the quarterfinals, 73-67.
It’s been 2½ weeks, but Les Bois Park alumnus Gary Stevens still calls Oxbow’s wire-to-wire victory in the Preakness Stakes, which made trainer D. Wayne Lukas the all-time leader in Triple Crown triumphs with 14, “mind-boggling.” Stevens and Oxbow are set for the Belmont Stakes Saturday, when they’ll try to upset Orb’s apple cart one more time. The Preakness win also put Stevens in record territory—he and all-time great Eddie Arcaro are the only jockeys ever to win each Triple Crown race at least three times. “I’m pretty proud of that,” Stevens says.
For the 10th year overall—and ninth in a row—the Idaho Steelheads will be affiliated with the NHL’s Dallas Stars next season. The extension of the developmental agreement means the Steelheads will continue to be the primary partner of Dallas at hockey’s Double-A level. As the Stars affiliation has strengthened, it has paid dividends for the Steelies. This past season, Idaho’s leading scorer, Austin Smith, and team MVP, goalie Josh Robinson, were both assigned to the club by the Stars organization.
Emma Bates kicks things off for Boise State’s four representatives tonight at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene. Bates will be competing in her third national championship meet (two outdoors and one indoors). She earned second team All-America honors in each of her previous two national meets in the 5,000-meters. This is the first time Bates has run two events at nationals—she’s entered in the 10,000-meters tonight and the 5,000 Friday night at Hayward Field.
The 6th annual Ironman 70.3 Boise is set for Saturday at—by definition—a variety of locales around town. Hey, it’s 70.3 miles. The start time for the 1.2-mile swim is 12 noon again this year at Lucky Peak. That will be followed by the 56-mile bike ride and the half-marathon, with the finish line on 8th Street in BoDo. The Boise race provides 50 qualifying slots to the Ironman World Championship 70.3 on September 8 at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, NV.
This Day In Sports…June 5, 1977:
The Los Angeles Dodgers retire Walter Alston’s No. 24 jersey in a ceremony at Dodger Stadium. Alston had stepped down as the club’s manager after the 1976 season, ending a 23-year run that spanned the Dodgers’ move from Brooklyn to L.A. In 1955, he was the first manager in team history to win a World Series and would be victorious in three more (1959, 1963, and 1965) after the move to the West Coast.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)