Big Shot Bob


Has there ever been anything quite like Robert Horry in sports history? The guy is just uncanny, and he proved it again Sunday night, singlehandedly pulling San Antonio’s (and, more particularly, Tim Duncan’s) fat out of the fire with yet another unconscious shooting display. There have been other clutch performers on Horry’s level, but they are usually superstars, Jordan, Bird, Reggie Miller; Derek Jeter or Tom Brady in other sports. However, I can’t ever remember another role player who sleepwalks his way through the season yet repeatedly finds a way to become a superstar in the postseason. And it’s not just hitting big shots; it’s also rebounds, passes and superior defense. The only somewhat-analogous player I can think of is Jim Leyritz, who had a knack for coming off the bench and hitting huge postseason homers for the Yankees and Padres. Still; just for the length of time he’s been doing it, I think Horry stands alone. Any one else like that come to mind?

And then, a strange lack of clutch

It was strange to see Tiger Woods miss big putts down the stretch Sunday (though he certainly had nothing to feel ashamed of considering the epic meltdown of Retief Goosen). You expect a competitor like Woods to stick it into overdrive when he’s that close to a major victory. It does make you wonder a little bit, though, since Tiger has still yet to come from behind to win a major. Not to say that he can’t pull out close victories; his playoff win over Dimarco in the Masters showed that. However, even then, he was in the driver’s seat most of the day, and wasn’t the pursuer like he was at the Open. It’ll be interesting to see how Tiger performs in similar situations in the years to come.

A hidden treasure

If you have some free time and are interested in learning some of baseball’s history, I’d recommend checking out anything you can connected with Buck O’Neil. O’Neil is a baseball hall-of-famer who played with Negro League legends like Satchell Paige and Josh Gibson back in the 30’s and 40’s. He’s also a masterful storyteller, and he makes the life of the Negro Leagues come to life in telling stories of the legendary players of that time. There is obviously great tragedy associated with the Negro Leagues, but there’s also a richness that even the major leagues at that time can’t quite match. Part of it comes from the fact that the leagues didn’t keep the same statistical records of the majors back then, so legends are more free to grow. Was Satchell Paige the best pitcher that ever lived? Was Josh Gibson as great a hitter as Babe Ruth? Sadly, we’ll never know, but it’s wonderful to hear the stories of that time. There are some websites where you can check out interviews with O’Neil. Wonderful stuff.

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