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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for December 16, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller succumbs to leukemia at the age of 92.
* It went from bad to worse for the Jets "tripper," assistant coach Sal Alosi. Turns out he told players to form a wall and obstruct Miami players running down the sideline. The Jets have suspended Alosi indefinitely.
* The red hot Boston Celtics won their 11th straight game, 118-116, when Amar'e Stoudemire's game winning shot for the Knicks came after the final buzzer. Nice to see pro basketball returning to New York.
* Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants to set up his own college football playoff. He's certainly got the resources.

2. Bob Feller, 1918-2010

If Cliff Lee gets $120 million, what would Bob Feller be worth? When I was writing my book, The 25-Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time, I sent a list of around 40 names to my blue ribbon panelists. The first two voters had the exact same reaction. "You left off Bob Feller." There are lots of juicy tidbits about Bob. He may have thrown a pitch 107.9 mph. His fastball definitely out-raced a speeding motorcycle in one famous stunt. He's still the only pitcher to pitch a no-hitter on opening day. Here's the one I like the best. How famous was he as a teenager? His high school graduation in Van Meter, Iowa was broadcast live coast to coast on NBC Radio. Tell me another sports figure who was so honored? And to top it all off, just a great guy.

3. Sainthood

Cliff Lee met the Philadelphia media yesterday and admitted to walking away from millions to sign with the Phillies. He said winning championships is more important. Sure it is, but the Phillies still had to pony up gazillions to get him. And as several Top 5 subscribers pointed out, yes he could have made more money, but he's doing just fine thank you. Your message is, "don't make him out to be some kind of saint." True. But still, it's the rare athlete and agent who leaves money on the table. Even if you're still the highest paid pitcher (by average yearly salary) in the game.

4. Your Taxes at Work

They passed a resolution in Congress yesterday honoring Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton. Normally these little vanity resolutions, proposed by the Congressional pom pom wavers from the home district, are passed unanimously. But lo and behold yesterday, 15 Congressmen voted no and 22 others abstained. I guess they weren't happy that Newton's dad lobbied for cash for his son to choose a college. I understand why the Congressmen are pissed. Selling out to the highest bidder is their responsibility. The nerve of some college football player moving in on their turf.

5. Sis Boom Bah

I have this thing about pro cheerleaders. Do they actually lead cheers? Exactly how many cheers have those Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders led? "Push 'em up, I mean push 'em back, push 'em back, way back." Now comes the Edmonton Oilers cheer team, known as Octane. They made their debut Tuesday night. They become the first Canadian NHL cheerleaders. Check out the video.

I'm not sure how you judge the success of the cheer team, but for the record, they are winless. Toronto beat the Oilers 4-1.

Happy Birthday: Former Bears "running back" William "The Refrigerator" Perry. 48.
Bonus Birthday: 60 Minutes lady Leslie Stahl. 69.

Today in Sports: At Shea Stadium, Buffalo's O.J. Simpson broke Jim Brown's single season rushing record. 1973.
Bonus Event: Now that's a Tea Party. The original one, in Boston. 1773.

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