UM Sports Trivia | May 20

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Big Sky High School star softball catcher Jessi Schafer has always had an appreciation for the value of a home run. In the summer of 2002 Jessi and some friends were chasing foul balls at an Osprey game when Jessi tracked down a home run ball off the bat of Miguel Montero; it was Montero’s first as a pro ball player. After the game Jessi and her dad Gene caught up with Montero to give him his home run baseball. Montero was deeply touched by it and told the youngster to keep the ball which he autographed and then he got out a baseball from his bag and had Jessi sign it. In 2013 Montero is in his 8th season as the Diamondbacks catcher and one of his first fans is hitting for power.  Just like Miguel Montero, Jessi Schafer is very gracious in response to autograph requests.

Fifty years ago the AA high Jump event at the state track meet had some forward thinking jumpers. Bruce Quande had developed an unusual jumping style where he leapt over the bar backward rather than going straight on as was the tradition. Quande finished sixth and was viewed by many as a novelty. Interestingly enough the young man who won the AA high Jump spent several minutes with Quande quizzing him about his jumping style. See the jumping star from Butte was Dan Hodge and he explained that he wanted to be a coach some day and I am curious on unique styles. Dan Hodge would take his track knowledge to Kalispell and has claimed 6 state titles.

The Final Four in the NBA Conference finals are a unique crew. None of the four conference final franchises were part of the NBA before 1976. San Antonio and Indiana were survivors from the old ABA with the Pacers having won 3 ABA while the Spurs never reached the ABA title Series. The Memphis Grizzlies began life in Vancouver B.C. in 1995. The Miami Heat started life in the fall of 1988 by losing 23 of its first 24 games Both Memphis and Indiana have never won an NBA title. The Pacers are 1-5 in Eastern Conference finals taking their lone Conference title in 2000 with Larry Bird as head coach.

How important are major League Standings on Memorial Day? Last Memorial Day the best record in the majors belonged to the LA Dodgers who failed to reach the post-season.

An additional good sign for the Grizzly football team this year:  they will have experience at Mascot. Both of Monte’s “alter-egos” are returning for the 2013-14 sports seasons. Many mascots have left school early to enter the NBA mascot draft.

 

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Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumedmascot.

Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament

When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.