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    LeBron and Jordan

    LeBron and Jordan

    Below is another Chris Mizzoni blog post on LeBron James and Michael Jordan. I will bet that Chris is watching some sporting event at this very moment… This sports junkie really knows his stuff.

    - Blair

    Since the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2017 NBA playoffs, LeBron James has taken his team to the Eastern Conference Finals for an amazing, seven straight seasons. In fact, James has led his Miami Heat and Cavaliers to six consecutive NBA Finals and may do the same this season to make it a lucky seven finals in a row. Even the great Michael Jordan could only take his Chicago Bulls to five straight Conference Finals before his first retirement in 1993.

    Coincidentally, MJ is the only player to have more total playoff points in his career than LeBron. After two rounds of the 2017 playoffs, James sits with 5,847 points over 207 career playoff games. Jordan is first with 5,987 in 179 games. James should pass “His Airness” by the end of the next round.

    Interestingly, this season, LeBron James is 32 and has a shot at winning his fourth NBA Championship. If he accomplishes this, he will match Michael Jordan, who won his fourth title with the Bulls in 1996, at age 32. What makes Jordan so special though is the fact that he also helped the Chicago Bulls to the next two titles in ’97 and ’98, bringing his total to six Championships, as well as six Finals MVP Awards. James is currently tied for second most all-time with three Finals MVPs. His chase to equal another of Air Jordan’s records could very well continue with another title this season.

    Vintage Sports Images has several historical Michael Jordan images and many NBA legends images available.

    What do you think? When it’s all said and done and LeBron retires (hopefully many, many years from now), who will we say was the best NBA player of all time?

    Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings 1971 and 2017

    Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings 1971 and 2017

    Chris Mizzoni is at it again. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, this guy knows his stuff! Below is his blog post on how he figured out the year and the players in this Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings scrum.

    Great work Chris!

    - Blair

    It’s time to identify another unique Vintage Sports Images old hockey photo. This one came to me as is, with no information whatsoever. Luckily, this one was fairly easy to narrow down to a specific season.

    The Vancouver Canucks began playing in the NHL in the 1970/71 season; this was also the last NHL season (for a while) for Gordie Howe. Gordie is seen in the middle of this melee, so the photo is from the 1970/71 campaign. The game was obviously in Detroit, what with the Red Wings logo on the ice on the right side of the photo.


    Another way to help pinpoint an old Canucks photo is by looking for the "V" on the sleeve stripe. Thanks to the great NHL Uniform Database website, we know that Vancouver had this style of jersey for only their first two seasons of existence. Below is a close-up of one of the Canucks in the photo.

    Using the Society for International Hockey Research website, it's easy to identify most of the players in the historical image:

    • Detroit – #15 Rene Leclerc, #12 Tom Miller, #9 Gordie Howe, #11 Don Luce, #16 Ron Harris and #5 Serge Lajeunesse
    • Vancouver – #9 Ed Hatoum, #15 Rosaire Paiement, #5 Darryl Sly, (helmeted) Wayne Maki, #16 Ted Taylor, #12 Mike Corrigan and #3 Pat Quinn

    This game was most likely from March 25, 1971, at Detroit Olympia – as Detroit’s #12, Tom Miller, had been acquired from the New York Rangers on February 2nd of that year. This is the only #12 listed on Detroit's roster for the entire season. The Red Wings won this game 4-3.

    Move forward in time to another debacle for the Canucks: April 29, 2017 and the NHL Draft Lottery. For Canucks fans, this day was a huge disappointment. Even though this year's crop of players isn't as strong as recent drafts (there isn't a definite number one like Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid), as a favourite to get a top-two pick, the Canucks dropped to fifth overall.

    The talk in Detroit isn't fairing much better. Although it looked like the Red Wings would most likely secure the seventh pick, they ended up falling to ninth. Only time will tell which team will "win" at this year's NHL Draft. In lieu of selecting a Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, the Canucks will have to dig a bit deeper to fill their needs at the centre position.

    The ’89 Jays Made the Post Season – Can They in 2017?

    The ’89 Jays Made the Post Season – Can They in 2017?

    Chris Mizzoni is a good friend of mine, works with Vintage Sports Images, and really knows his stuff. Below is a blog post on the Blue Jays and their amazing comeback to make the post season in 1989.

     

    This season’s Toronto Blue Jays are a disappointment, to say the very least. After reaching the post season in each of the last two years, another playoff appearance was expected in 2017. However, as of this writing, that seems like an extreme long shot. Through April, after 25 games, the Jays have won only 8. There is, however, some precedence for the Blue Jays to turn it around and make a push for the playoffs. It happened in 1989, after a similar start to the season.

     

    Formed in 1977, the Jays first made the playoffs in 1985 (back when finishing first in your division was the only way – there were no wildcard spots). In 1987 and 1988, they finished each season two games behind the leader – and then came 1989. Under manager Jimy Williams, the Jays got out of the gates to a pathetic 12-24 record. The low point was a Sunday afternoon game, on May 14, that turned out to be a 13-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins. It also proved to be the last Jays game managed by Jimy Williams, as he was replaced by Cito Gaston soon after the game.

     

    Gaston had been Toronto’s hitting instructor since 1982, before reluctantly assuming the manager’s responsibilities. Despite their 12-24 record, the Jays sat only six games behind A.L. East leaders, Boston and Cleveland. Gaston immediately led them to five wins in his first six games.

     

    On Sunday, June 4, Toronto won a game in Boston that may have been the turning point of the season. They were behind by a score of 10-0 entering the 7th inning, but tied the game in the bottom of the 9th on a grand slam by catcher Ernie Whitt. The Jays won the game on a two-run homerun in the 12th inning by rookie Junior Felix to cap the improbable comeback. The win raised Gaston’s record to 11-7, but the Jays had still slipped to eight games behind the suddenly hot Baltimore Orioles.

     

    The very next day, June 5, the Blue Jays opened the brand new SkyDome (a game I attended). Although they lost the first two games at the state-of-the-art facility, buoyed by 48,000 fans every night, the Jays finally climbed back to the .500 mark on June 23. After going 12-24 under Williams, they had now gone 24-12 under Gaston.

     

    It took the Jays until the very last day of August to finally reach first place; a 5-1 win over the White Sox lifted them to a 72-62 mark and they tied with Baltimore for top spot. At this point, they were in the midst of a 22-5 run that pretty much locked up the division title. Toronto ended up winning the American League East by two games over Baltimore and would lose to the powerhouse Oakland A’s in the A.L. Championship Series.

     

    So, as the current Blue Jays sit, mired in the poorest start in franchise history, can they replicate the comeback of 1989? A few large factors are much different now than they were 28 years ago. Firstly, the Jays do not have a brand new stadium to move into, midway through the year. I firmly believe this helped to turn around their fortunes. After starting the year 7-10 at Exhibition Stadium, the Jays went 39-25 at SkyDome. Secondly, the deficit the Jays have this time around is larger. As of May 1, Toronto sits 8.5 games behind division-leading New York. The one saving grace may be the Wild Card spot, which did not exist those many years ago. The Blue Jays sit 6 games out of the second Wild Card – the exact same amount they were out of first, in 1989. Could they possibly do it again?

     

    Father’s Day is fast approaching. Check out our unique Blue Jays images for Dad. We also have historical MLB images and wooden signs.

    Reminiscing – The Golden Bear’s 1986 Masters Comeback Win

    Reminiscing – The Golden Bear’s 1986 Masters Comeback Win

    Chris Mizzoni is a good friend of mine, works with Vintage Sports Images, and really knows his stuff. Below is a blog post on Jack Nicklaus winning the 1986 Masters.

    - Blair

     

     

    Entering the fourth round in the PGA’s 1986 Masters, 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus sat tied for ninth place at two under par. Nicklaus played his first eight holes to even par in the final round, a round which saw five different leaders. After birdies on holes 9, 10 and 11, Nicklaus bogeyed 12 to remain three back of the leaders.

     

    He would begin his legendary comeback at the 15th hole, hitting a 204-yard drive to within 12 feet of the hole. He drained the eagle putt to pull within two strokes of leader Seve Ballesteros.

     

    Nicklaus then birdied 16 to move to within one stroke of the lead. After pulling his approach into the water, Ballesteros failed to get up and down and bogeyed the hole, giving Nicklaus a share of the lead. Tom Kite made birdie at 15 to join a three-way tie for the lead. On 17, Jack hit his approach to within 18 feet and, after a long deliberation, he drained the putt for sole possession of the lead.

     

    Nicklaus then two-putted for par on 18 to post a nine under, the result of an amazing 30 on the back nine in the final round. After Ballesteros three-putted on 17 to fall out of contention, Tom Kite had a 12-foot birdie attempt to tie Nicklaus. Kite barely missed his putt on the high side that would have forced a playoff. On the 17th, Greg Norman was attempting to stage his own comeback, making a shot between two pine trees to within eight feet of the hole. He would drain the birdie putt to tie for the lead, but on 18, pushed his approach into the gallery and missed his 15-foot par putt that would have forced a playoff with Nicklaus.

     

    At 46 years old, The Golden Bear – Jack Nicklaus became the oldest winner of the Masters. He holds the record of being a six-time Masters champion. His 23 years between Masters wins is also a record that may never be broken.

     

    For additional Vintage Sports Images shots of PGA golf legend Jack Nicklaus, please visit our gallery page on the famous athlete.

    Behind the Scenes – Identifying an Image

    Behind the Scenes – Identifying an Image

    Chris Mizzoni is a good friend of mine, works with Vintage Sports Images, and really knows his stuff. He will blog for us from time to time. As you will see, he is very meticulous and fantastic at his job!

    - Blair

    Here's another fantastic Vintage Sports Images NHL photo. It came to me with no date – but three of the sports legends were labelled: Red Kelly, Ted Kennedy and Harry Lumley. These are all easily identified by most hockey history buffs, as is the second Toronto Maple Leaf in the photo – Sid Smith. A couple of other things are quickly noticed: the referee in the background is clearly "King" Clancy, and the game is taking place at Detroit Red Wings’ Olympia Stadium.

    A few other details allow us to narrow this down to the exact game this was from. Firstly, Harry Lumley was Detroit's goalie through 1949/50 (when he helped the Red Wings win the Cup) until the arrival of Terry Sawchuk the following year. Red Kelly began with the Red Wings in 47/48 and "Teeder" Kennedy was certainly active over these seasons. However, Sid Smith, wearing a number ending in "4," definitely helps to narrow down the time frame here.

    Smith had been with the Leafs for parts of the 1946/47 and 1947/48 campaigns, but wore numbers 22 and 16 respectively in those stints. He started wearing number 24 in 1948/49, when he suited up for only one regular season game with Toronto. He did however play six of Toronto's nine playoff games as the Leafs won the Cup over Detroit. So this photo is from either the 1949 Stanley Cup Final or the 1949/50 season – Lumley's last with the Red Wings.

    This is when "King" Clancy comes into the picture. Clancy retired from playing early into the 1936/37 season and coached the Montreal Maroons for part of 1937/38. Clancy then became an NHL referee until the end of the 1948/49 season. Clancy's last stint as referee was working the 1949 Stanley Cup Final. This eliminates 1949/50 as the year of the photo and nails it down as the '49 Finals, with Smith wearing #24. The four games of the final round took place between April 8 and April 16, 1949. Perhaps the exact date of this game can be determined. A little bit of Google newspaper archive digging turned up the box scores of each of the four Final games, including the referees listed.


    Game 1

    Game 2

    Game 3

    Game 4

    There we have it. The ref for each game was: Bill Chadwick in Game 1, “King” Clancy in Game 2, George Gravel in Game 3, and Chadwick again in Game 4.

    The photo has to be from April 10, 1949, Game 2, won by Toronto 3-1, at the Detroit Olympia. All three Leaf goals were scored by the aforementioned Sid Smith, with the third goal assisted by Ted Kennedy. Having Kennedy pictured in all alone on Lumley in this photo could very well make this a photo of Smith's hat-trick goal at 17:53 of the second period.

    And that’s how it’s done at Vintage Sports Images. We’re all about adding the stories behind the images, helping to make them the perfect gifts for diehard sport fans.