The Popcorn Stand: In sports, we’re losing an iconic generation.
It’s been another rough weekend when it comes to losing sports icons.
This past weekend, we lost two all-time greats, Keith Jackson, the legendary sports announcer, who died at the age of 89, and arguably the most respected Major League umpire of all-time, Doug Harvey, who died at the age of 87.
Jackson was from the “old school” of broadcasting as he actually believed telling you what was going on was what was most important.
I do have one loose tie to Jackson. Larry Stewart, a fellow Strathmore High graduate who went onto to become the Los Angeles Times well-known TV-radio sports columnist, and Bill Sharman, a graduate from nearby Porterville High, were all part of my world during my time as the Porterville Recorder sports editor in Central California. Sharman, a legendary NBA player and coach, died in 2013 at the age of 87.
Stewart relayed a story to me one time about how Jackson was talking to him about Sharman, calling Sharman one of the greatest athletes ever from California.
Harvey on the other hand I got to know fairly well and interviewed him on several occasions as he moved to the foothills above Porterville to retire. Harvey chewed tobacco, but developed throat cancer, so eventually became a leading activist to prevent youth from picking up the habit that caused him to develop throat cancer.
Harvey was also the home plate umpire when Kirk Gibson homered to win game one of the 1988 World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the call Harvey made he talked about the most came 20 years earlier in the 1968 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals leading the Detroit Tigers in game five and already up 3 games to 1.
It appeared Lou Brock was going to score to extend the Cardinals’ lead, but Brock didn’t slide, came home standing up and Harvey called him out. The call turned the series around and the Tigers came back to beat the Cardinals in 7 games.
Harvey and Jackson. In sports, we’re losing an iconic generation.
— Charles Whisnand