5-at-10: Friday mailbag on sports memorabilia and if Saban leaves who will Bama fans blame

5-at-10: Friday mailbag on sports memorabilia and if Saban leaves who will Bama fans blame

December 13th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Great week - here and on Press Row from 3-6 p.m. on 105.1 FM - so we thank everyone for that.

And thanks to some of the regulars that filled in with some high-quality questions this week. Well-played indeed.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let the game begin.

From Sportsfan

Jay - I got a few minutes, so here's a mailbag query for you. What's your Rushmore of sports memorabilia that you would like to display in your mancave if money wasn't an issue?

Sportsfan -

Staff Photo by John Rawlston This baseball was signed by Babe Ruth, who was a first base coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938.

Staff Photo by John Rawlston This baseball was signed...

This is such a money question, and one we'd love to hear everyone's answers.

We have one - a Bo Jackson-signed AU helmet - that would be a contender.

As for the others, we'd want a combination of things with historical sports value and things that feature the "Oh. My. Goodness." (copyright Verne Lundquist) factor.

Before we get into our list, let's review the most expensive sports memorabilia purchases on record (according to a Men's Journal article published last month and a list on SI.com)

1) Babe Ruth game-worn jersey - $4.4 million

2) James Naismith's original rules of basketball - $4.3 million

3) Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball - $3 million

4) 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card - $2.8 million

5) Jesse Owens gold medal - $1.47 million

6) Soccer rules from 1859 - $1.4 million

7) Babe Ruth's bat - $1.265 million

8) Paul Henderson 1972 Summit jersey - $1,275,707

9) Ali's gloves against Floyd Patterson - $1.1 million

10) Babe Ruth's Yankees contract - $996,000

Some other items of interest include:

Barry Bonds' 756th home-run ball - $756,000

Babe Ruth and David Wells game-worn Yankees cap - $537,278

Ozzie Smith's 13 gold gloves - $519,203

Dr. J's 1974 ABA championship ring - $460,741

Ali's gloves against Frazier the first time - $385,848

UCLA's center court circle signed by former Bruins including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton - $325,085

Bobby Jones 1937 Augusta National jacket went for $310,000

For the bang for the buck, we think Bobby Jones' Green Jacket would be killer.

OK, for our Rushmore with price as no object, here's our four:

The football Chris Davis returned 109 yards to win the Iron Bowl.

The stick Mike Eruzione used against the Russians in 1980 and a US Hockey gold medal for a display.

Jack's 1986 green jacket and the putter and ball he used to win his 18th and final major.

Kirk Gibson's jersey from Game 1 of the 1988 World Series with the bat he used and the ball he hit for one of the best home runs ever.

(Great question, and since we can't afford any of those, we'll start with our Bo Jackson helmet. Giddy-up.)


From chas9 -

For the bag: Today is Virgin of Guadalupe Day in Mexico, where you can ask for anything you want from The Virgin. What should the football fans in Mexico Norte wish for?

9er -

A wish list for football fans? Great idea.

1) Nick Saban to stay or go (the desired answer depends if you're Tide-dyed or not) and for it to happen quickly so we can move on.

2) Peyton-Brady in the AFC title game. Good times.

3) That the month lay-off does not slow the FSU and Auburn offenses and that the BCS game is as good as it could be.

4) That the targeting rule gets fixed ASAP. If you can review a penalty - and you are going to review it any way - then you should be able to over turn that penalty when warranted. This is an awful rule that must be addressed and certainly cost Georgia the Vandy game.

5) That either a) Verne Lunquist surrenders his cat-bird seat on the best game every Saturday or b) someone briefs him on the names of the teams and players. The CBS SEC game is such a marquee event, we really need better than Adrian Griffin for Adam Griffith.

6) That the snow comes in buckets for the Super Bowl. Yes, we want it sloppy and freezing and then hear Roger Goodell's fake surprise that a February game in New York at an outside stadium had snow.

7) That the Mocs and the Vols are in the postseason next year. And your Cats too. Football's more fun when everyone has a little skin in the game.

More to come. What do you want for football Christmas?


From JMC -

We all know the Dr. Pepper Classic is not a major tier college tournment. But given the fresh blood in the adminstration and the program, could there be a push to bring in more "recognizable" programs to help put butts in the new seats? While Mocs vs. Middle Tennessee I believe will draw a respectable crowd, I don't forsee any interest in Grand Canyon U. (Who the hell are they? The fight'n donkies?)

UTC men's head basketball coach Will Wade.

UTC men's head basketball coach Will Wade.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.


Great question. In fact we asked UTC coach Will Wade this very thing this week on Press Row (from 3-6 on ESPN 105.1 FM and right here at timesfreepress.com).

Here were some of the things we found interesting:

He said the plan is to have more non-conference home games than road games. That means there will always be a few cupcakes and a couple of teams that none of us know their mascot. That's how it goes.

He's looking at trying to make whatever deal possible to bring big-time schools back to the Round House. This is tougher than it looks, especially if the Mocs improve - who wants to a potential resume-damaging loss on the road against a lower-level conference.

The thing that really sparked our ears was Wade said he really wants to establish rivalries with the in-state schools, and mentioned directly Austin Peay, Belmont and Lipscomb. We'd love if those four were regulars in the Dr Pepper. Add in a MTSU now and then. Or have the state foes be regulars on the schedule with alternating home and road dates.

And the team that he mentioned that they are trying to work something with - Memphis. In his words, "We'd love to get Memphis on the schedule..." because he said they are high-profile and are in an area of the state they would love to re-establish recruiting ties.


From JohnProctor

Master J:

Derek Dooley

Derek Dooley

Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Times Free Press.

Who scores higher on the ineptness coaching scale, Derek Dooley or Gene Chizik? Both jumped into high profile jobs despite having losing records on the lower rung of the coaching ladder and both flamed or slow burned out when their respective ineptness was exposed. Granted, Auburn won a national championship but cratered when the Gus Bus left the station and Chizik had to go it alone without him or Cam. Of the two, who scores higher on the scale?

Also, how does Arkansas State become something other than a coach's one year stop on the way to somewhere else? 3 coaches in 3 years outdoes the Fulmer-Kiffin-Dooley-Jones UT carousel and has to be some sort of record for being a football whistle stop. (Granted, it's the Sun Belt conference, but the team kept winning regardless of who was temporarily in charge.)

JP -

Let's cover the second part first: The Arkansas State carousel is even more pronounced than you stated. 2010 - Steve Roberts; 2011 - Hugh Freeze; 2012 - Gus Malzahn; 2013 - Brian Harsin; 2014 - ????. So think about this: Redshirt junior defensive back Andrew Tryon signed and redshirted for Roberts, and is now about to play his fourth season for a fourth different staff.

And are you writing this letter for David Oku, considering the former four-star prep recruit originally committed to Auburn but left when Chizik replaced Tommy Tuberville, signed with UT and left after year one of Dooley and headed to Arkansas State, where he redshirted under Freeze, shined under Malzahn and played for Harsin.

As for the comparison of stink, well, both Mean Gene and Orange Pants were in way, Way, WAY over their heads. You would have to Dooley scores higher on the coaching ineptness scale - in fact there are some that say Dooley may be one of the worst major-college coach coaches of all time - and Chizik scores higher on the leadership ineptness scale.

Under Dooley, the UT program was rotting and the pieces in place were more Sun Belt than SEC in most cases. In fact, the void of juniors and seniors on UT's roster next year other than junior college kids may be staggering.

Under Chizik, Auburn's program was talented but spinning way out of control. The stories of uneven discipline and clicks and a dysfunctional relationship on almost every level of structure within the program are staggering and were punctuated by the fact that Auburn had to pay a security company to monitor and discipline the players.

This also set the stage for the 2013 season.

National coach of the year Gus Malzahn had to get the Tigers attention and find a quarterback, two things he did early, and then was able to make the talented Tigers remember they were the same bunch of four- and five-stars that everyone in the country wanted in the last four years.

Butch Jones was relegated of going into six games against top-10 opponents with talent of a top-50 team.

We'd have to rank Dooley higher on the ineptness scale overall. But in truth, picking between the SEC coaching times of Dooley and Chizik is not unlike picking between the hot dog or the nachos at the gas station. You may have to make the choice, but you're not comfortable with either one, and in the end you're likely going to be sick.


From Jomo

Alabama head coach Nick Saban leads his team on to the field in this Oct. 26, 2013, file photo.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban leads his team...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

IF Saban leaves to go to Texas, who will the Bama fans blame :

Field goal kicker Cade Foster

Clay Travis

Pual Finebaum


Harvey Updike

Fulmer, Hamilton, Kiffen, Dooley

Cam Newton




AND will the Bammers go Saddam on that statue of Saban ?

Jomo -

First, sorry about the Dooley mention, we know how you loathe the UT blame game, but we were asked, so there you go.

We have given this some serious thought. Here's the list in order of who Bama fans would blame if Nick Saban goes to Texas:

1) Jimmy Sexton - Bama fan's view: "When in doubt blame the lawyer, and we all know that crook made Saban leave for the money and because Sexton represents half the SEC coaches, he's looking out for the rest of his clientele by getting Saban out of the league. Let's go get a 12-pack."

2) Ms. Terry - Bama fan's view: "We know coach hates the media and who can blame him, so he tells them all those stories, but why did Ms. Terry say those things if she didn't mean it? Why? Let's go get a 12-pack and some fireworks."

3) Cade Foster - Bama fan's view: "If our stupid kicker had made a field goal we'd be getting ready to make history right now and not worrying about all this B.S. Let's go get a 12-pack and some fireworks and find Cade Foster's FaceSpace page or his Tweeter account."

4) Each other - Bama fan's view: "If the rest of you guys would not have hassled Coach so much this would not have happened. What's that? There's a Nick Saban commemorative plate and cup set on the TV shopping channel? Hold on I'll get my Visa. Let's go get a 12-pack and some fireworks and find Cade Foster's FaceSpace page or his Tweeter account and wash our matching Saban T-shirts."

5) Gene Chizik - Bama fan's view: "Why did that doofus have to go and get fired and then those Barners had to bring in a real coach? Stupid Chizik. Stupid Barners. Let's go get a 12-pack and some fireworks and find Cade Foster's FaceSpace page or his Tweeter account and wash our matching Saban T-shirts and punch the first person we see in a visor. Stupid visors."

That said, we don't think Saban is going anywhere, which means every Alabama fan can breathe easier and they all will say, "We were never worried," which is hogwash.