Some little-known sports facts and a bit of elk lore
written by Bob Briggs
Abner Doubleday was thought to be the inventor of baseball while in Cooperstown, N.Y. so Cooperstown has become baseball’s adopted home. However, Alexander Cartwright has been proved the actual inventor of the game. Doubleday never even lived in Cooperstown.
Besides being thin-haired presidents, Gerald Ford and Dwight D. Eisenhower had something else in common: both played college football. Ford played at the University of Michigan, Eisenhower at West Point.
The Harlem Globetrotters got their start as a team that was sent on a grueling tour across the Midwest to play local teams in 1926. Their now famous antics didn’t start until 1929.
Wilt Chamberlain played as a Globetrotter for a year before joining the NBA. In 1962 the “Stilt” scored 4, 029 points, an amazing average of 50.4 points per game! He had a 100 point game and a 55 rebound game as well.
The great center fielder Mickey Mantle of Commerce, Okla., began his career as a shortstop.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s real name is Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.
Roger Staubach won the coveted Heisman Trophy during his junior year of college while enrolled in the Naval Academy in 1963. Staubach didn’t enter the NFL draft until 1969 because he served in the U.S. Navy.
Ted Williams missed nearly five seasons in Major League baseball due to serving his country as a flyer in the USMC during World War II and Korea.
After spending nine seasons as a professional basketball player, George Mikan, the first big man in basketball, became the first commissioner of the former American Basketball Association.
People in the know say that Sandy Koufax may have been the greatest pitcher ever had he not acquired chronic arthritis in his left elbow which forced him into early retirement. Koufax also was the youngest man ever inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was 36 when he took his place in Cooperstown.
Patrick Ewing was born in Jamaica.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “fertility clinic”? Probably a bunch of middle-aged ladies being bathed in perfumed waters, while being fed herbal concoctions while their husbands watch old movies and chew on an elk antler.
There has been quite an upsurge lately in the form of exotic animals, and a bunch of Canadians and Americans are in the business of supplying elk to the public, not just as a fertility enhancer, but for a plethora of ailments from boils to memory loss.
Elk raising is well suited to a lot of livestock operations. The animals have to be worked, treated, bred, wormed, vaccinated, fed and pastured not unlike other cud chewers down through the ages. Fencing, of course, has to be adapted along with the other working facilities. As one old garrulous ranch hand told me, “It’s kind of like fencing in kangaroos.”
Elk velvet is the whole horn sawed off the bull elk in the velvet stage. The market value, according to the old ranch hand, was $45 per pound. The fresh horn or antler from a mature bull elk weighs about 10 pounds. The live market for breeding animals is high. Yearling heifers brought an average of $3,750 late last year, while yearling bulls went for an average of $1,300. Young elk cows and mature bulls went for $4500 and up.
Other species like llamas, ostriches, emus, pot-bellied pigs, buffalo and catfish have also made inroads in the livestock operations throughout Oklahoma and Texas as additional sources of income. Like the elk, supporters of these breeds of livestock talk up the practical side of these animals such as meat, milk, feathers, hide and tallow. And they are quick to point out that eggs and breeding stock are very valuable and therefore, a good investment.
Elk have a value that is above and over elk burgers and market speculation—-antlers. As the brochure says, “The magical and mystical elkhorn has been prescribed in countries such as Asia, China and Russia for virtually every disease known to man.
In our country the FDA requires proof before miracle cures and products can be advertised as such, so the promoters of elk velvet have a disclaimer printed which says, “we cannot make any medical claims for the product; however, we will let the product speak for itself.”
But then again, jogging, garlic, ginseng, megadoses of sunshine and Vitamin C, Mama’s chicken soup, Sunday School and loose shoes are all accepted as beneficial to health. So far there has been no concrete proof that they are bad for you. I’ve been taking my elk antler drops regularly. Now we’ll have to wait and see if my hair starts to come back and if that slice has been cured.