- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 5, 2007

Here’s my dream scenario: The Countdown to 756 drags on into September … and Ted Koppel comes out of retirement to launch a new program: “The Bonds Crisis — Bud Selig Held Hostage.”

If Selig, the erstwhile Ford dealer, had any sense of humor, he’d meet Barry at the plate after his record-breaking homer and present him with the keys to a car — a ‘77 Pinto.

Speaking of My Favorite Left Fielder, the folks at motheringhut.com are selling a T-shirt to commemorate his impending “accomplishment.” Listed on the shirt, in oversize numerals, is “756” — along with some other notorious numbers in sports history. Such as:

9.83 (Ben Johnson’s 100-meter time in the ‘88 Olympics).

14 (Danny Almonte’s age during the 2001 Little League World Series).

10,000 (Wilt Chamberlains’ alleged sexual conquests).

2:31:56 (Rosie Ruiz’s clocking in the ‘80 Boston Marathon).

Get ‘em while they’re hot. Only $14 plus tax (with the $5 summer discount).

Three thoughts about the late great Bill Walsh:

1. Let’s not forget the role luck plays in the making of legends. According to former 49ers personnel guy Tony Razzano, when the third round of the 1979 draft started, “I found out Bill wanted Steve Dils, his quarterback from Stanford. Bill was not sold that Joe Montana was his man.” Walsh was pressured by others to take Montana and, well, you know the rest. Dils collected dust on the bench for most of his career, while Joe Cool collected Lombardi Trophies.

2. Though the Niners had a reputation for being a finesse team in that era, Walsh himself was no softie. When he was “in the army, stationed at Fort Ord [in California],” Lowell Cohn writes in “Rough Magic,” “he boxed as an amateur and would spar with professionals like Bobo Olson who sometimes came down there. … When Gerry Cooney was near the top for a brief time, Walsh saw himself in Cooney — they were both left-handed Irishmen who had been turned around to fight right-handed in the ring. Walsh would get Cooney on the phone and discuss strategy with him and tell him he admired his big left hook.”

3. Walsh’s celebrated West Coast offense wasn’t entirely his own creation. He was greatly influenced — and has admitted as much — by the short-passing game Bud Grant’s Vikings used in the early ‘70s. (The Vikes’ Fran Tarkenton and Chuck Foreman operated much like Montana and Roger Craig.) What Walsh did was take that idea in new and more exciting directions, helped by Jerry Rice and tight ends such as Russ Francis and Brent Jones.

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