UM Sports Trivia | Week of April 25

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Saturday’s Grizzly intra-squad game simulation scrimmage with players split up on maroon and white teams brought to mind the days under Don Read when the Griz did something similar. Instead an intra-squad scrimmage to end spring drills the Griz faced a team of former UM players. The series was a bit of a reality check for the Griz as they lost 3 straight years to the alums before winning a decision in 1989 at which point the series was ended. Former Griz stars Rocky Harris, Kelly Richardson and Eby Dobson came up big for the alums in those games. Buoyed by that win in the spring the UM team became the first to win more than 10 games in a season and also the first to reach the 1-AA semi-finals.

Looking up some information on Big Sky conference men’s basketball coaches brought this tidbit to light. Over the past 10 seasons 9 of the current 12 members of the Big Sky have had only 2 head coaches over the past decade, with Eastern Washington and Southern Utah having had 3 and Weber State just Randy Rahe.
During ceremonies this week to honor the members of the 2015 Senior Softball World Series champs from Missoula the question arose has any player who played in a Major baseball Series championship ever played pro ball in Missoula. After some research we learned that former Billings Mustang and current Chicago White Sock Todd Fraser fit the bill. Fraser was the star pitcher and clean up batter for Toms River New Jersey as they won the 1998 Little League World Series.
Each summer in Cincinnati  Ohio there is a Shakespearian Festival at a city park near the downtown area. One park in Cincinnati that probably will never host a Shakespearian event is the Great American Ball Park home of the Cincinnati Reds. On April 23, William Shakespeare’s 400th birthday the Reds were no-hit by Houston Pitcher Ken Johnson. Last Thursday, 2 days before the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death the Reds were no-hit again on their home field–this time by the Cub’s Jake Arietta. For Reds fans it was a “Mid-Spring Night Nightmare.”
It was 40 years ago Monday April 25, 1976 that the San Antonio Spurs played their final game as a member of the American Basketball Association. The Spurs lost in five games in the Eastern Conference finals to the New Jersey Nets. Soon after the NBA absorbed the Spurs, Nets, Nuggets and Indiana Pacers as members of the older league. That same day in 1976 something very wonderful was happening that would mean a lot to spurs fans two decades later. It was on that date that future superstar Tim Duncan was born. Duncan would lead the Spurs to five NBA Titles.
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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.