Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Back in September, I wrote about my son attending a showcase for JUCO baseball players that was being held in Austin. I have been to several of these showcases over the years and in general, I have not seen that they are all that fruitful for the participants. With this event, there was a difference…Blake was immediately contacted by the coach from Houston Baptist to let him know that he would be in touch with him. Over the past month, Coach Hernandez has been in contact with Blake and it was apparent that their interest was sincere. After receiving Blake’s transcripts, they actually sent him a scholarship offer that was pretty attractive. So…last Friday we headed to Houston for an official visit. It was a nice visit, which culminated with Blake deciding to accept their offer and become a Husky in 2015/2016. Houston Baptist plays in the Southland conference, which is very established baseball conference. I think we are all relieved to have the next step put in place, so we can enjoy the season ahead at Ranger. I have to say…college athletics can be stressful for the parents as well as the student.
Garrett Broshuis is taking on MLB...
I was watching an interesting interview about the pay structure of minor league baseball earlier this week. I knew that minor leaguers did not get paid too much, but I suppose I never really looked at the numbers very closely. There is a former minor league pitcher named Garrett Broshuis that decided that he wanted to something about the poor pay for players. At some point during his career, Broshuis realized that he was never going to move beyond the AAA level of baseball. So, he began to use his down time to study for the LSAT to gain admission to law school. After graduating from St. Louis University Law School, Broshuis did not forget about his minor league experience. He tried to tinker with idea of creating a union for minor league players, but this effort failed. So, he decided to explore attacking baseball on the basis of unfair wages under the Fair Wages Standard Act. The starting salary for minor league players ranges between $1150 and $2150. In the off season, players receive no compensation and are not paid for spring training. They may put in 50 to 70 hours each week, with no additional pay. Baseball says players voluntarily seek the job and that playing in the minor leagues is training for playing in the major leagues. They are like “interns”…playing to earn experience. The problem with this is that when fans pay their $8 to see a minor league game, the players are no longer “apprentices” but the featured attraction. It is rather odd that the guy working at the concession stand is making more than the players on the field.
I think that many fans see the huge salaries that major league players make today and don’t realize this generous pay scale does not trickle down to the minors. Perhaps a fan might argue that if minor league players are paid more that the ticket prices would increase. That would be a valid argument if the minor league teams paid the players. I was surprised to learn that the big league teams are responsible for paying most levels of minor league players. The reality is that major league teams are owned by billionaires and the best players become millionaires. But, the majority of professional players are grossly underpaid. Baseball believes that they are exempt from paying overtime or minimum wage, but my hunch is that this trial will deliver a different answer.
Information gathered from WS Journal article by Ashby Jones and Mother Jones article by Ian Gordon.
Each week of the NFL season that passes presents us with a slightly better view of the playoff contenders. I laughed when some were proclaiming the Cowboys the best team in football a few weeks ago. Denver was looking good, until traveling to New England. Arizona took a big step forward until Carson Palmer went down with a torn ACL. Big Ben leads the Steelers to two big wins with 12 TD passes, and then they travel to New York and lose to the Jets. This season reminds me of a horse race many with horses taking turns surging to the lead. There are two games looming this weekend that I think will be very pivotal. Philly at Green Bay and New England at Indy are huge games. The Eagles have been winning ugly all year; I have to think that Aaron Rodgers ends this streak. All talk of Tom Brady sucking has ended. Isn’t it amazing what a healthy Gronk and some practice time for the OL has done to New England. After what I have seen this year…I have no idea who wins in Indy. Brady vs Luck…that should be fun.
I have stopped trying to figure out what goes on in the head of Jerry Jones. I am completely puzzled by the mess with Dez Bryant. A few years ago, I could understand giving up on the guy. But from all I have seen, this is a guy that has matured tremendously and is obviously one of the top receivers in the NFL. Jerry, pay the man…he has earned it. Is there more to this story than what we see? Can Jones be pissed because Bryant changed agents? Does Jones really think that Bryant is not able to handle a big contract? This has certainly never stopped him from writing a check before. I know that there are plenty of teams that will spend big for the talent of Dez Bryant.
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
"He was a cowboy mister, and he loved the land. He loved it so much he made a woman out of dirt and married her. But when he kissed her, she disintergrated. Later, at the funeral, when the preacher said, 'Dust to dust' some people laughed, and the cowboy shot them. At his hanging, he told the others, 'I'll be waiting for you in heaven...with a gun."
"Fear can sometimes be a useful emotion. For instance, let's say that you are an astronaut on the moon and you fear that your partner has been turned into Dracula. The next time he goes out for the moon pieces, wham, you just slam the door behind him and blast off. He might call you on the radio and say, he's not Dracula, but you just say...think again bat man."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
I partly thought of some of the points of discussion below based on reading a blog from B.O.B. here. There is a group of FCS teams that deserves respect. He singled out one of them in his blog, but I elaborate on a few more examples. LSU used to avoid playing any FCS opponents, and I'm certainly in favor of avoiding the mediocre or bad ones, but I think it can be a really good experience to play ones that are among the best of their subdivision. So that's what I meant in the comments about the teams being better to play than the likes of Southern and Grambling. I wasn't talking about seeking out some recruting edge. LSU has routinely played in-state FBS opponents (they play one on Saturday, in fact), so I really don't think they're more worried about Southern and Grambling. The better FCS teams give different looks and expose weaknesses. I think they're more difficult to plan for in some ways. In LSU's case, there is usually not a serious risk of losing, but all it takes is a bad game and for the FCS team to be particularly good and it could happen. Michigan was a program in much better shape than it is now and had an otherwise successful year when it lost to Appalachian St.
Before I post my other thoughts on that topic, I gave some more thought to his divisions there. Most of them are good, but I wouldn't put the Texas teams with the Southern California teams. That doesn't make sense tradtionally or geographically. The traditional teams to group together are the Pac-8. So that's the Pac-12 minus Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona St., all of whom are much closer to Texas than the Southern California teams are. Utah is the only one that comes within a couple hundred miles of being as far. The four relatively new Pac-12 teams also in general have more experience playing the relevant Texas teams. I can also tell you that the Southern California teams want it the way I'm suggesting as well because they would not agree to the Pac-12 divisional alignment unless it was guaranteed they would both play all three of the other California teams every year. I don't think they really care whether they play Arizona or Washington teams, but it even seems to me (at least if you talk to USC fans) that the Oregon opponents are a bigger deal than the Arizona ones. Anyway, here's my regularly scheduled blog...
This isn’t the main thing I’m going to write about, but I heard it after I published my blog about the LSU-Wisconsin game. Since Les Miles took over at LSU, the Tigers are 22-21 when trailing in the fourth quarter, the only team in the FBS to have a winning record during that span (apparently, they don’t count the last-second loss to Clemson as “trailing in the fourth quarter”; but no one else comes close regardless). Miles is also back above the 80% mark as head coach of the Tigers. After winning 85% in his first three seasons, Miles’ winning percentage had fallen to 77.3% after the 2009 season. The Tigers are attempting to finish with double-digit wins for the fifth consecutive year since then. It would be Miles’ 8th overall in 10 seasons.
By comparison, Nick Saban won 75% of his games at LSU and had two double-digit-win seasons in five years, falling just short of a third on the last play of his stint at LSU. I understand Saban didn’t take over a program in the same shape; but he was still considered a strong success overall, so building on his tenure is still something to be proud of. Not many coaches can step into a situation like that and improve it, so Miles deserves a good deal of credit.
I don’t have too much to say about the Sam Houston St. game itself, but although LSU won extremely easily, that was not necessarily the expected result.
Ameer Abdullah’s great run with 20 seconds left saved Nebraska from potential embarrassment.
After the Nebraska-McNeese St. game (if you missed it, Nebraska scored the winning touchdown with 20 seconds left with the Cowboys essentially one tackle away from forcing overtime), I want to talk a bit about FCS opponents. They really vary. A number of the scores were pretty close. Of course, you also have your 70-point wins against such opponents as well.
Sam Houston St. went to the FCS championship game in the 2012 season, so they could have been among the best teams this season. I was looking at the margins Sam Houston St. won by that season. They won seven games by 35 points or more and beat Southeast Louisiana, 70-0. I think there is as much of a gap between the top and bottom of FCS as there is of FBS. Maybe Sam Houston isn’t as high on the scale this season; but the team they lost to in that championship game, North Dakota St., seems to be about the same after the Bison’s 34-14 win over Iowa St. So I don’t think there is a real appreciation of that.
Most people dismiss the opposition right off the bat. I know a Kansas St. fan who just assumed North Dakota St. was nothing to worry about last year, for instance. There is a general lack of appreciation of the fact that if you play a playoff-level FCS team, there is a good chance that team will be clearly better than a low-level FBS team.
One of those teams that is routinely toward the bottom of the FCS is Nicholls St. (which just lost to Arkansas , 73-7), but even they have a recent win over an FBS school. They beat Western Michigan last year, but when they played would-be bowl teams, the results were more predicable: losses to Oregon, 66-3, and to ULL, 70-7.
Anyway, I’ve noticed the quality of FCS opponents on LSU’s schedule of late. The Tigers played Furman last year, and while that’s not typically one of the top FCS teams (although they are competitive in one of the top FCS conferences), they still did a decent job. LSU only led by four at halftime and didn’t lead by more than 11 until less than 17 minutes remained in the game. The Paladin defense folded after that, and LSU ended up winning by 32; but that was still a better exercise than Kent St., whom LSU led 31-7 in the second quarter, or UAB, whom LSU led 35-7 in the second quarter last season. LSU let both teams back into the game a little bit before pulling away, but I don’t think that’s the same kind of pressure.
In 2012, LSU blew out Idaho, 63-14, but then struggled to beat Towson, 38-22, two weeks later. Towson failed to make the playoffs that year despite only losing twice in FCS play, but they advanced to the FCS finals last year (they also lost to the Bison of NDSU) after again only losing two games in FCS play. They played no FBS opponents last season, however.
A similar combination of results took place in 2010 when LSU beat McNeese St., 32-10, after trailing in the second quarter and leading only 16-10 after halftime. The Tigers then went on to beat ULM, 51-0, later that season. LSU plays ULM next week, by the way.
LSU had only played an FCS opponent twice in the previous six seasons, both times being against Appalachian St. In the first meeting in 2005, the Tigers, who would win the SEC West, only led the Mountaineers 14-0 after three quarters before pulling away slightly in the fourth to win, 24-0. Appalachian St. at one point drove to the LSU 15 while it was still 14-0 (before missing a field goal), so the game was in doubt for a long time despite the lack of points. The Tigers had easier wins that season @Mississippi St., @Vanderbilt, @Ole Miss, and in the bowl game against Miami. LSU also blew out North Texas at home by more than twice that margin in that season.
So if I wanted to give LSU a test in a given year, I’d pick a top-20 FCS team over a bottom-20 FBS team every time. Just something to keep in mind.
Also, McNeese wasn’t the only team with a good result last week. Eastern Kentucky got the only win (over Miami U.), but there were some others that were in doubt fairly late. Stony Brook gave Connecticut all they could handle. Rutgers only beat Howard by 13. Eastern Washington was neck-and-neck with Washington the whole game, falling short by only 7 points. Southern Mississippi only beat Alcorn St. by 6, and UNLV only beat Northern Colorado by a single point.
Finally, I don’t think Missouri St. made Oklahoma St. too nervous, but I thought it was interesting that the Bears only lost by 17 after the Cowboys were a touchdown short of beating Florida St. in Week 1.
By the way, LSU plays McNeese St. and Eastern Michigan next season. I would not be surprised if they had more trouble with McNeese St.
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July holiday. From reading a few blogs, it appears that weather and work made the weekend less than a perfect holiday. For a change, Austin was not scorching hot and we took full advantage of the nice respite. Last July 4th, Julie and I happened to be headed south of the river about dusk and stumbled upon a really awesome fireworks display. This year, we planned ahead and took a few friends to check out the show and then grab some awesome Mexican food. As I sat on the bridge waiting for the show to begin, I began to think what an awesome place Austin is to live. There was a time that I was out and about listening to music and doing the many things that 20 and 30 year olds do. Raising kids and settling fully into the mid- life rut, I sort of forgot how beautiful and unique the Austin area is. It sure was fun being in the middle of high school sports, but I am beginning to dig this next phase of life.
I have seen many fireworks displays over the years, but until last weekend…I never really stopped to acknowledge just how amazing the fireworks have become. Growing up, you lit the rocket and it went up and either exploded or sent out a bright shower of light. This year, I saw happy faces, hearts, Saturn with rings...just an amazing exhibition of technology. My video camera does not take the best pictures, but at least I was able to capture the moment. I hope you enjoy…
Sky divers started the proceedings in a very cool manner.
Carl Spackler, my wife Julie and friend Joe...getting ready for the big show.
The Austin Country Club allows members to sit on the fairway to watch the show.
I had an epiphany Tuesday night while watching the Astros whack the Rangers again. It is so obvious, that I had to laugh. The Texas Rangers have gone from being playoff contenders to being in danger of being the worst team in the AL West. I know…the Rangers have had an insane amount of injuries; but could there be something more at play? Do you remember when the Rangers got good? For me, there was no coincidence that the Rangers playoff teams coincided with Nolan Ryan joining the Rangers front office. Is it possible that the karma of chasing Ryan away has caused the Rangers all the maladies that have afflicted Texas with this year? If you look at the moves that Texas has made, nothing has worked out for them. The most glaring example is the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade. Yeah…it looked like a good deal until it was not. Kinsler is having a terrific year in Detroit and the player the Rangers made room for (Jurickson Profar) is out for the season with a torn muscle in his shoulder. If not for bad luck this year, the Rangers truly would have had no luck at all. Players have dropped like flies in Arlington this year…especially pitchers. Here is a list of pitchers on the DL…Tanner Scheppers-out indefinitely with right elbow inflammation. Martin Perez-out for the season due to Tommy John surgery. Joseph Oritz (who?) is on the 60 day DL with a fractured foot. Alexi Ogando-out indefinitely with elbow inflammation. Nicholas Martinez- on the 15 day DL with side discomfort. Derek Holland- on the 60 day DL recovering from knee surgery. Matt Harrison- out indefinitely recovering from spine surgery. Pedro Figueroa-out for the season due to Tommy John surgery. On Tuesday, the Rangers announced that Nick Martinez was headed to the DL…honestly; the guys called up from AAA are headed to the DL as well. It is pretty clear that this is a lost year for Texas, but is far-fetched to think that the current play may just be what we should expect? The Rangers do have some talented position players…(Beltre and Rios). Choo got big bucks in the offseason, but has been anything but the OBP darling that so many of the Sabre Metric boys dreamed he would be. The pitching staff aside from Darvish is lacking at best. The bullpen? Ogando was not great before he went to the DL and Soria has been just awful in the past 6 weeks. I could be wrong, but I see the fortune arrow pointed down for Texas in the foreseeable future.
Could this be the Nolan Ryan curse? Or better yet...the Nolan Ryan effect. It certainly does seem that whichever team Ryan hooks up with is able to make the right moves. I read this week that the Astros are having issues signing their top pick Brady Aiken. It appeared that they were set to sign Aiken for $6.5 million until a physical turned up potential elbow issues. The Astros team physician Tom Mehlhoff is quickly gaining a reputation as a great mind in the field of sports medicine. So, when he raised a red flag, the Astros wisely listened. The signing bonus has been reduced to $5 million and Aiken is now weighing attending UCLA. I could not help but think about Prince Fielder’s physical and wonder if perhaps a more complete examination might have changed their thinking. For me, the reality is that Houston is pulling the right levers for the future. You can argue that Ryan has nothing to do with the Astros improving fortunes, but I would not bet against it.
Did you see that a Yankee fan fell asleep at a ball game is suing the TV crew for poking fun of him sleeping? Andrew Robert Rector has filed suit against MLB, The New York Yankees, ESPN and announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk. Rector is looking for $10 million to compensate for “defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” It is too bad that BOB has already handed out his douche bag of the week award as Mr. Rector would be a likely candidate. Honestly, I am not a big fan of Kruk the color analyst, but did you hear him say anything that was out of line? The funny thing is that instead of being some anonymous guy sleeping at a baseball game, we now have a name to go with the crooked neck.
BOB wrote a classic rant about Johnny Manziel on Tuesday. If you have not read the blog, you really need to check it out. It is funny that everyone is up in arms about Manziel’s behavior, as I think that Johnny is just being Johnny. I mean if you think about Johnny’s track record, he is right about where he usually is in the offseason…partying hard. The thing that does continue to amaze me is that we expect something different. The Cleveland Browns had to know what they were getting when they called Manziel’s name on draft day. If ever there has been a college player that did not hide who he was, it is Johnny Football. For Manziel’s sake…the best thing for him would to have been undrafted and forced to walk on somewhere. The funny thing is I still believe that Manziel has the talent to succeed in the NFL. As I was saying to Sully this week, in some ways…JM reminds me of Michael Irvin. He has the same bad habits that Michael had and the same strong work ethic while on the football field. Like Irvin, Johnny seems to get in trouble during the off season. The difference is that Johnny Football is a QB. Hey Johnny…just ask Vince Young how easy it is for a QB to get a second chance in the NFL. The job of an NFL QB is the toughest job of any position in any sport. I see a different future for Johnny and my hunch is that it will not be pretty. Johnny being Johnny is a dead end street. Hopefully, he finds this out before it is too late.
I read this week that Texas is passing a law called the “slow-poke” law. You know those drivers that get on the interstate and drive 10 miles under the speed limit in the left lane…now they can get a ticket. Hell yeah! This is a pet peeve of mine and I say, it is about damn time.
I read a story this week that really got me steamed. This story makes Michael Vick’s dog fighting history seem pretty tame. I will never understand how someone can treat animals with such disdain.
It is hard to believe, but today is the 23rd birthday for my middle daughter Shelby. Happy birthday sweetheart! Where does the time go?
That’s all I have this week, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I remember how my Great Uncle Jerry would sit on the porch and whittle all day long. Once he whittled me a toy boat out of a larger toy boat I had. It was almost as good as the first one, except now it had bumpy whittle marks all over it. And no paint, because he had whittled off the paint.
"If you lived in the Dark Ages and you were a catapult operator, I bet the most common question people would ask is, 'Can't you make it shoot farther?' 'No, I'm sorry. That's as far as it shoots.' "
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Last week, I spent some time complaining about the unseasonable cool weather that Austin had been experiencing. Well, it is now June and that coolness has disappeared. June is the beginning of summer and our weather has finally acknowledged that summer is here. I am sure that I will soon grow weary of the heat and humidity, but I sure do dig shorts weather. When the calendar turns to June, I cannot help but take a few moments and remember the summers of my youth. June was the beginning of freedom. The long days and warm nights are still there when I close my eyes. Although, my youth is long gone, the beginning of June allows me to remember. Summer is here again…
Many weeks ago, I wrote that the worm was turning for my Houston Astros. George Springer was soon to be called up and more talent would follow. It was my belief that teams should get their licks in this year as this Astros team would soon be a team to be reckoned with. I had no illusions about this year. The AL West cellar would surely be the finishing spot for Houston. A funny thing happened on the way to last place…the Astros began to win. Although now 11.5 games out of first place, something is different. The Astros are in the news again this week. Jon Singleton was called up to join George Springer on the big league team. Since the Astros have virtually no production at 1B (.181 batting average and an OPS of .561 and last in MLB), this is great news. But there is more to this call up than just another player coming to the “show”. The Astros did something very unusual with Singleton. Houston signed Singleton to a long term deal. What makes this so unusual is that Singleton has never played an inning of major league baseball. Singleton’s contract is a 5 year deal worth $10 million…$1.5 million this year, $2 million for the next 4 years. The Astros have options for 2019, 2020 and 2021…2019 is $2.5 million with a buy out of $500,000. 2020 is $13 million with a buy out of $250,000. 2021 is $13 million with a buy out of $250,000. So, who wins with this deal? If you listen to MLB pitcher Bud Norris and former pitcher Mark Mulder, the Astros are the big winner. Their tweets indicate exactly how they feel:
Just saw contract this #astros prospect signed. Either he doesn't believe in himself to be great or he has a terrible agent who wants the 4%
What these guys seems to overlook is the fact that Jon Singleton was suspended last season for 50 games for second failed drug test. Before you jump to the steroid conclusion, Singleton admitted earlier this year that he has had struggles with alcohol and marijuana addiction. He openly talked to the press about his month long stay at a treatment center. I think it is great that Singleton has done something to fight his addiction; there remains the fact that there is risk for the Astros and any other MLB team. As we have seen with Josh Hamilton and others, relapse is a real possibility. When you consider that Jon Singleton was being paid $40,750 per year as a Triple A player and was scheduled to make only $500,000 once he was called up…this is a good deal for him. How many top prospects have failed to perform at the major league level? Although Singleton has shown excellent power in the minor leagues, there is no guarantee that he will rake at the highest level. To say that he should have listened to the union or that his agent was selling him out is just wrong. Jon Singleton is 22 years old. After this contract and options are complete, he will be 30 years old. As we saw with Albert Pujols, if you put up the numbers you will get paid.
This truly does look like a win/win for both the Astros and Jon Singleton. For the record…Singleton hit a HR in his first game Tuesday night. The HR helped propel the Astros to a 7 to 2 victory over the Angels. There is something special brewing in Houston. While some may not like the way that the Astros are going about their business, the fact remains that the Astros are suddenly better. I am not making any bold predictions, but perhaps the cellar is a place for another AL West team this year. I do know that very soon, playing the Astros will not be as easy as it has been the past few years. Oh..and the Astros have the first pick for the draft this week as well. I hope the make a wise choice because I have a feeling that this is their last #1 pick.
Congratulations to Jason Lane on being called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lane was once a power hitting outfielder for the Astros, before he lost his stroke. Now he is a left handed pitcher for the Pirates. It is amazingly difficult to make it to the bigs one time, but to return at a different position is almost unheard of. Best of luck Jason!
Tuesday also was the 10th anniversary of Yadier Molina’s first major league game. Molina is one of my favorite players. It is hard to believe that it has already been 10 years.
Wasn't this about the time the Sox ended their losing streak?
You have probably heard about the incident last week with David Price and David Ortiz. In the first game since Ortiz took Price deep in last year’s playoffs, Price drilled Ortiz with a well-placed fastball. Warnings were given to both benches, then Price “accidentally” hit Red Sox player Mike Carp. The umpires deemed that Price really did not mean to hit Carp, so they did not throw him out of the game. So, the Sox took action by having Brandon Workman throw at Evan Longoria. Although Workman missed his mark…the pitch was thrown several feet behind Longo. Message received and Workman was ejected from the game…along with manager John Farrell and a couple of other coaches. Ortiz went on record to let Price know that if he is hit again, Big Papi will pay him a quick visit. On Tuesday, MLB fined Workman and suspended him for 6 games. The surprising thing to me is that Price received no fine or suspension…even though Price admitted that he hit Ortiz on purpose. Really MLB…I don’t get this decision. To be honest, this is exactly how brawls are created. This will not go away. Ill feelings are going to fester and at some point this season, there will be an ugly incident…you can mark it down.
Do you remember Vlad Guerrero? Dude was the best bad ball hitter of all time (for my money). If you saw 50 Cents embarrassing first pitch...you might have wondered if Vlad could hit that garbage. Here is your answer.
Last week we learned that the LA Clippers are worth an amazing figure of $2 billion. I saw a crazy report today that in “Clipper” dollars the Dallas Cowboy are worth $8.004 billion. That is about a billion per win, if you are keeping score. Has everyone completely lost their mind? In case you are wondering, the Pats are 2nd in NFL value at $6.264 billion. Here is the article with the complete list:
(I'm having some awful writers block, and really tired from a long weekend at work...So I decided to go back in the archives, and share a post from our old friend ThirdStone...Enjoy -The Beeze)
6,723 Receiving Yards
5 Pro Bowls
AFL All-Time Team
First With 101 Receptions In A Season
Charles Taylor Hennigan joined the expansion Houston Oilers as an undrafted 25-year old in the fledgling American Football League in 1960. He had previously been a high school teacher at a high school, where he earned $4,000 annually. He kept a monthly pay stub of $270.72 in his helmet for inspiration on the gridiron.
He had initially went to college at LSU on a track scholarship, where the coaches of the school had designs for him to compete in the Olympic games. The Tigers were the SCC mile-relay champions in his freshman year, an event Hennigan specialized in.
Football became Hennigan's primary interest soon after his high school sweetheart passed away from cancer. LSU did not want him switching sports, so Hennigan transferred to Northwestern State University and played running back for three years.
After college, he was invited to try out for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He was cut after a week, so he had a stint in the United States Army before returning to Louisiana to teach biology and gym class while also coaching both football and track.
Hennigan used his time as a track coach to run and stay in shape, along with using isometrics. Red Cochran was a former NFL player who later became a scout. He happened to live nearby Hennigan, so Cochran got him to try out for the newly founded Oilers. Cochran's career would last 52 years in the NFL, ending up in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Having no real experience as a wide receiver, Hennigan asked Cleveland Browns legend Dub Jones for some help. Jones, whose son Bert would later become a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Baltimore Colts, was a former Pro Bowl receiver who happened to live close by Hennigan as well.
Jones, who still shares the NFL record for six touchdowns scored in one game, drilled Hennigan on how to fake the defender and not the area. NFL defenses employed man-to-man coverage in those days, as opposed to the zone coverage most teams use in the game today.
Hennigan went into a Oilers camp that had a few stars trying out for the team. The team cut future stars like Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown and Pro Bowl wide receiver Homer Jones. Jones, who still holds the NFL record for yards per catch in a career, is known best for inventing the football spike after a score.
A big reason Brown didn't make the Oilers is because he had difficulty covering Hennigan in practice. The two would butt heads many times over the years, often complimenting each other as the toughest opponent either had faced in their careers.
There was a few hundred men trying out for the Oilers and Hennigan began to hear rumors he was about to be cut as well. Yet he made the team and had Browns great Mac Speedie, a former teammate of Dub Jones, as his wide receivers coach.
He and Oilers teammate Charley "The Human Bowling Ball" Tolar are the first persons at Northwestern State to play professional football. The school would later produce such greats like Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith, Pro Bowl players like quarterback Bobby Hebert, cornerback Terrence McGee, wide receiver Mark Duper, running backs Tolar, John Stephens and Joe Delaney. They are amongst the 44 players from that school to play professional football.
The five Pro Bowls Hennigan accrued is tied with Smith as the most ever by a Northwestern State Demon. Also a track star, he has been named one of the 100 greatest football players in school history.
He soon won a starting job in camp and developed an amazing repertoire with Hall of Fame quarterback George Blanda. Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oilers history, which happened in the first game in franchise history against the Oakland Raiders.
Separating his shoulder in the first half of that game, Hennigan then sat out for three games as he healed from the injury. He returned to be second on the team in receiving yards and touchdown catches as the Oilers eventually reached the first ever AFL title game.
Playing against the Los Angeles Chargers, Houston came back from an early deficit to capture the championship with a 24-16 victory. Hennigan's four receptions for 71 yards were both the second best totals on the team.
The 1961 season started out strange for the Oilers. After stumbling out to a 1-3-1, they replaced head coach Lou Rymkus with Wally Lemm. This awoke the Oilers roster, as they would then explode upon the AFL with 10 straight wins on their way to winning the second, and so far last, title in franchise history.
The offense was ranked first in the league in offense, total yards and passing yards. They also finished second in rushing yards, points and total yards allowed. It was also the finest season of Hennigan's career.
He had to share receptions with Pro Bowlers like Tolar, Billy Cannon, Willard Dewveall, Bob McLoud and Bill Groman. Groman led the AFL with 17 touchdowns off of 50 receptions for 1,175 yards that year, as well as leading the league in yards per catch.
Hennigan racked up 82 catches at an impressive 21.3 yards per reception average that was second best in the AFL. He led the league with a career best 1,746 receiving yards, breaking an 11-year old record previously set by Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch.
He had started out the season charting out a way to break Hirsch's record. Hennigan once calculated the number of receptions and receiving yards he needed to break the record by writing on a bathroom mirror with soap as he shaved.
Not only did he set a career best mark by leading the AFL with 124.7 receiving yards gained per game, he also caught a career high 12 touchdowns. The 124.7 yards mark stood as a record until 1982, when Wes Chandler surpassed it in a strike-shortened season that lasted nine games that year. Hennigan appeared in 14 games 21 years earlier and his average still ranks second best in pro football history.
Yet he also piled up more records. He still owns the record for three games of which Hennigan had over 200 yards receiving. He also owns the record for seven straight games of at least 100 yards receiving, which is how he started out the 1961 season. Hennigan was also the first player ever to have 10 games in a season with over 100 receiving yards.
Hennigan had 11 total games that year of at least 100 yards receiving. It, as well as his streak of seven games, was tied in 1995 by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. Irvin needed 16 games to tie the record.
His streak of seven games ended after getting 232 yards and two scores against the Buffalo Bills. After missing his eighth straight game by 22 yards the next week in a game Houston won 55-14 over the Denver Broncos, he did not catch a pass the following game.
While the Oilers beat the San Diego Chargers for the 1961 AFL Championship, they did a good job limiting Hennigan to 43 yards on five catches. The reason was because they concentrated on him after he had burned them for 214 yards and three scores just three weeks earlier.
Not only did his 1,746 total yards lead the AFL on 1961, Hennigan began a streak of five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. The record of 1,746 receiving yards stood as a record until 1995, when Isaac Bruce and record holder Jerry Rice surpassed it. Yet Hennigan's total still ranks and the third most ever.
The difference between Hennigan's record setting seasons to those who tied or surpassed him is the fact he passed Hirsch's record in 12 games, the same number of games Hirsch had played in 1951. Rice and Bruce needed 16 games, two more than Hennigan played in 1961, to surpass him.
Another difference is that only Irvin was on a championship team like Hennigan was during these record-setting years. Rice, a Hall of Famer, and Bruce would win titles in different seasons.
Hennigan, who was named First Team All-Pro in 1961 and 1962, then continued his excellence after his incredible year. He grabbed 115 balls for 1,918 yards and 18 touchdowns over the next two seasons. The 1962 Houston team reached the AFL title game for a third straight season, but lost in overtime.
Some say Hennigan's 1964 season was his best, while Hennigan prefers to think his 1961 season was. Though he was good friends with Denver Broncos legend Lionel Taylor, he set out to break Taylor's 1961 record of 100 receptions.
He broke the record by grabbing 101 passes that year. This mark stood 20 years until Hall of Famer Art Monk had 106 in 1984, a record would stand for. Hennigan also had 1,546 receiving yards, which also led the AFL and still ranks as the 21st most in pro football history.
The 110.4 yards gained per game receiving average he has in 1964 also still ranks as the eighth best ever in pro football history. Hennigan is the first pro player ever to have two seasons of over 1,500 yards receiving, and he is also the first to have four games of 200 or more receiving yards.
Concussions began to catch up to Hennigan by 1965, as well as the fact he was running around on an injured knee. He gutted it out over the next two years, catching 68 passes for 891 yards and seven touchdowns over that time.
One game against the Chargers saw San Diego cornerback Claude Gibson hit Hennigan with a rabbit punch, knocking the Oilers star out cold. Hennigan woke up in the locker room, but was dazed. He was put back out on the field, but didn't know where he was most of the time because of the concussion he suffered.
It turned out to be a mistake by Gibson, a great punt returner who led the AFL in punt return yardage and average twice. Player in those days took care of their own teammates.
Unbeknownst to Hennigan, two of his teammates set up Gibson during a preseason game a few years later. He was hit in the knees, which ended Gibson's career. Hennigan was told this story at a 50th anniversary reunion by his teammates.
Concussions went untreated back then, and medical technology was not good enough to do a good job repairing knees either. Houston traded Hennigan to the Raiders for a future draft pick, but he failed the physical and decided to retire.
Not only was Hennigan on the gridiron for the love of the game, but he was able to pursue his doctorate in education with an increase in salary compared to what he earned as a teacher.
He once asked Oilers owner Bud Adams for a raise after his monster 1961 season, but was refused. Instead, Adams cut him a check for $10,000 and sent Hennigan out of his offices.
When Hennigan retired after the 1966 season, he basically owned every receiving record there was for the Oilers and AFL. He still has the most touchdown receptions in franchise history, as well as the fourth most receiving yards and sixth most receptions in team history.
He owns the Oilers record of most catches and receiving yards in a game, when he went for 276 yards on 13 receptions in 1961. His 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving is also a franchise record.
His 71.8 receiving yards per game is not only the best in team history, it is still the 12th best ever in pro football history. Four of the players ahead of him on this list are still active, so Hennigan could move back up the list as the years go on.
The 16.8 yards per reception average is excellent for any era of football, especially one that dealt with the 10-yard chuck rule. Not only does it rank 39th best ever in yards per touch in pro football history, it is the second best in Oilers/ Titans history behind Oilers great Ken Burrough.
I do not know what disgusts me most. Hennigan's exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the fact Adams has seemingly spit on his teams earlier history.
Blanda and Jim Norton are the only early Oilers in the franchises Hall of Fame. Ken Houston and Elvin Bethea, two more Hall of Fame players, are the only other AFL Oilers inducted into the teams Hall of Fame.
Hennigan should have been inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Oilers/ Titans Hall of Fame by now. Not only is he the greatest wide receiver in that franchises history, he is one of the very best in AFL history. Hennigan is a member of the AFL All-Time Team.
There are the obvious signs of the continued AFL disrespect by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the reasons to why Hennigan has not yet been inducted. Even though the building in Canton does not say NFL Hall of Fame, it has become just that.
The NFL's anger of being forced to merge with the successful AFL still seems to burn brightly. The voters obviously cower and heed this anger by inducting modern inferior players instead.
Not only did Hennigan have to deal with the 10-yard chuck rule, which is a lot harder to have success in compared to the modern five-yard rule, he dealt with playing fields that were nowhere as near as pristine as they have been the past few decades.
Football used to be a game for men in Hennigan's era. Players had to actually earn their accolades then, as opposed to the rule changes that guarantee successes like now. Yet the numbers he put up easily match or exceed many players today that are deemed as stars.
Some detractors will point at he fact he lasted just seven seasons, but the Hall of Fame is filled with men who had careers of that length or less. Men who put up inferior production as well.
While Hirsch is in the Hall of Fame, he went to two less Pro Bowls and had one less First Team All-Pro honor than Hennigan. Though a great wide receiver, Hirsch had two excellent seasons and several decent ones.
Lynn Swann, another Hall of Famer, lasted nine years but many of his number pale in comparison to Hennigan. Swann was finalist 13 times before induction, while Hennigan hasn't even been named a semi-finalist once. Hennigan also has more receptions than Hall of Fame receiver Bob Hayes, let alone the fact he either owns or shares several other records with some of the best receivers to ever play the game.
Blanda, who was later a teammate of Brown's, often lamented the exclusion of Hennigan from the Hall of Fame up until his death. Hennigan set his receptions record after catching nine passes against Brown, who also agrees with Blanda that the Oilers legend deserves a bust in Canton.
Not only did Hennigan's 101 reception season stand as a record for 20 years, his 1,746 yards gained stood as a record for 34 seasons. He is the only player ever to have three games of 200-yards receiving in a season.
Voters should look at the travails Hennigan had to persevere through compared to the game now. Not only the rules to empower the modern offense that he did not have to help him nor the shoddy fields he played on often. How the hash marks placement greatly differed then and the goal posts used to be placed hazardously on the goal line in his day.
How the defenses of his day actually were allowed to play defense and even extend it further to the realm of crossing the lines of fair play. Even with medical care that didn't have as much expertise as now, Hennigan went out there and performed at a Hall of Fame level no matter how hurt he was.
There is no doubt that Hennigan belongs in Canton. The seniors committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is afforded just two nominees each year, which is unfair to the tremendous backlog they have to sift through annually. Yet Hennigan should never have reached the seniors pool, because it is obvious he should have been inducted long ago.
While he is in that deep seniors pool now, Hennigan easily rises to the top of the best wide receivers not yet inducted. Yet too much times has passed in his omission, so the voters must get it together now and put him in so Hennigan can enjoy his long overdue induction.
It is easy to see Charlie Hennigan is the greatest wide receiver not yet put into the hallowed halls within Canton. He belonged long ago, but now is the time to right the wrongs made by past voters. Contact all of the voters and tell them that Hennigan deserves his rightful place inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame.