Friday, August 22, 2014

Mo'ne Davis and Jackie Mitchell

Mo’ne Davis is the little girl and ace pitcher for the Philadelphia's Taney Dragons who got a lot of press in the Little League World Series. Davis was one of two girls playing in the series and she pitched a 4-0 shutout against South Nashville on August 14, 2014.  Davis is also an excellent basketball player who hopes to someday play at U Conn.  She attends the highly regarded  Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia—a private K-12 school where parents pay a college-size tuition. 

Of course, as every parent of an athlete knows, each year brings new challenges as the competition gets better and the athlete must work harder and harder to succeed.  The 13-year old Davis has some work to do before she plays for U Conn or signs with the Yankees or the Phillies or anyone else.   But one thing we know and that is if she is good enough to play in the MLB, she will be welcomed.  Today, there will be no locked gates for a major league talent based on race or gender. 

It wasn’t so long ago that she would have been barred from the majors by race and gender. Jackie Robinson’s story has gotten more and more attention these days with the movie “42.”  Ken Burns has a documentary feature planned on Robinson’s life as well.  Interestingly enough, many scenes for “42” were shot at Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee—former home of the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Joe Engel, the owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts signed on Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year old female pitcher in 1931.  Mitchell had learned the game from her dad and Dazzy Vance, a young pitcher who was headed for the Hall of Fame.  On April 2, 1931, Mitchell struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game between the Lookouts and the Yankees and she was an instant celebrity.  Whether Ruth and Gehrig gave their all that day we’ll never know for sure—it’s one of those odd never to be solved mystery in a sport in which there are many.

10 Commandments of Baseball
Some sources suggest that baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis didn’t like the idea of women playing professional baseball and Mitchell found herself out of professional baseball.  She joined up with a famous quirky exhibition baseball team called the House of David that featured long haired bearded players that had an affiliation with the House of David church.  While the House of David was actually a good ball club, the games were often met with kind of side show interest by the fans, which is something that did not appeal to Mitchell.  Jackie Mitchell loved the game and she wanted to play it at the highest level.  Mitchell retired from baseball at age 23. 

Book on Jackie Mitchell
 Noted children’s book author, Jean Patrick, has a book called The Girl Who Struck outBase Ruth about Mitchell and episode for young readers in the early grades. Jean Patrick visits schools and talks about Jackie Mitchell and her other books as well.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Briggs and Tillman Still Defensive Keys for Bears

"Lance Briggs" by Jeffrey Beall - Own work. 
Licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

One thing that's tough to measure in preseason, is just how good your vets are going to play.  Especially when you have players who have been banged up in the previous season like Lance  Briggs and Peanut Tillman.  The face of the 2014 Bears D  are these two guys.  It may be possible to play good defense without them with the new additions the Bears have made, but if these two guys are healthy, it will help the Bears repair their Monsters of the Midway reputation.  When on the field, they also give the Bears D the kind of "street cred" they need--in addition to their physical play, they also play very intelligently.  Jared Allen helps the Bears football IQ and muscle--another pro-bowler that the vets appreciate.

The Bears wanted to improve their defense with acquisitions short term while building their talent with new players for the long term.  Defensive end Jeremiah Ratliff who came over from Dallas last year, is another vet with plenty of experience.  His health is another key for the Bears--he is a versatile defensive lineman who has played several positions over his career.  D. J. Williams who came from Denver is another vet who helps the Bears substantially if healthy.  Williams suffered a season ending injury last year.  

So as the Bears build up and the young players gain experience, new acquisitions help  today's Bears.  Just how it all plays out is a mystery, but we know Briggs and Tillman remain key.

 Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships and other fine books. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brian Bulaga Looking to Come Back Strong in 2014

Bryan Bulaga at Work,
Amy Andersen Photo
NFL lineman are expected to do an awful lot these days.  The left tackle position is the toughest and calls for someone who can protect the quarterback and fight off the most dangerous pass rusher--today's defensive end.  Bryan Bulaga is a Barrington, Illinois, native who played for Marian Central in Woodstock and then went on to the University of Iowa.  Bulaga was a promising young star in the Packers' roster and it looked like he was destined to become an important long-term "body guard" for superstar Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately, all the movement required of huge men like Bulaga in today's offensive schemes can take a toll on players.  Big men today need to do many things that big men normally do not do!  When they move around so much, collisions of all kinds from multiple sides at all kinds of angles are likely to occur.  How often do we see a great lineman get twisted up from behind as he is falling down and when 300 plus pounds pulls a knee in an unnatural direction--anything can happen. 

Bulaga Recovers from Injuries

In 2012 Bulaga suffered a season-ending hip injury that kept him out of the last seven games.  Hard to imagine how difficult it was for Bulaga when he tore his ACL in the 2013 preseason and lost the entire year.  Bulaga has spent his time recovering from the injuries with expert help and facilities.  He's lost some weight and looks primed for a good season at right tackle this year. 

Bulaga of course was not the only injured Packer in 2013.  But his healthy return will certainly help the Packers this year. Unfortunately for the Packers, Don Barclay, their offensive lineman  who fills in at either guard position and right tackle tore his ACL this summer and will miss the entire 2014 season. 

Sporting Chance Press's Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships is Patrick McCaskey's new book.  The book examines the football lives of the greatest coaches in NFL history: Halas, Chamberlin, Lambeau, Brown, Ewbank, Lombardi, Noll, Walsh, Gibbs, and Belichick. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

News for Sporting Chance Press Author Patrick McCaskey

Sporting Chance Press Author, Patrick McCaskey

Pro Football Hall of Fame Bookstore, Summer 2014

McCaskey’s new book, Pillars of the NFL, is now sold by the Pro Football Hall of Fame store.

EWTN Mini-Series Available, Summer 2014:

This EWTN original mini-series, "Fields and Faith," hosted by EWTN contributor Bob Dolan, features athletes and sports figures who talk about their their career and achievements, as well as their strong Catholic faith and the role it plays in their lives.  Interviews included: Joe Wieland, Chris Horn, Bonnie Blair, Pat McCaskey and Sal Bando. The five-part series has aired on EWTN and now is available for purchase on CD.   More information on the CD presentation

Summer--Catholic Television

Patrick McCaskey speaks on Catholic Television about his work and his new book Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships. Listen Here. 

Article on McCaskey’s New Book, Pillars of the NFL

Sporting Chance Press author Patrick McCaskey was interviewed by Deana Carpenter for an article in the called "Chuck Noll Included in the Pillars of the NFL."  The article discusses McCaskey's new book that we published at Sporting Chance Press. The Almanac serves the South Hills area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  

Vineyard Books and Gifts Signing, August 23, 2014

Senior Director of the Chicago Bears Patrick McCaskey will sign copies of his new book, Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships along with another popular book Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout on Saturday, August 23, 2014, at Vineyard Books and Gifts at 1638 N. Alpine Road in Rockford, Illinois (815-398-4030).  The event run from 12:00 Noon-2 p.m.

Love Christian Center Signing on September 6. 2014

Love Christian Center in Kankakee, Illinois carries Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey's new book, Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships and Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout also by Patrick McCaskey. Love Christian Center is located at 49 S. Schuyler in downtown Kankakee. Some signed copies of Pillars of the NFL are available now at the shop and Mr. McCaskey is scheduled for a book signing meet and greet on September 6, 2014 from 10 am to Noon.  You can reach the store at 815-933-2822. 

McCaskey New Book Reviewed

Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships by Chicago Bears Senior Director, Patrick McCaskey, was reviewed by four sources to date:

Notre Dame University Signing on September 4, 2014


Senior Director of the Chicago Bears Patrick McCaskey will speak and sign copies of his new book, Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships at Notre Dame University's Hammes Bookstore.

Arlington Heights Memorial Library Presentation on September 16, 2014

Senior Director of the Chicago Bears Patrick McCaskey will speak at Arlington Heights Memorial Library at 7-8:30 p.m. The program is called Sports Authorities: Patrick McCaskey of the Chicago Bears

Carthage College Presentation on September 21, 2014

Senior Director of the Chicago Bears Patrick McCaskey will speak to students in the ministry group at Carthage College.


Gage County Historical Society Presentation on Pillars of the NFL on December 7, 2014

Senior Director of the Chicago Bears Patrick McCaskey will sign copies of his new book, Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships, at the  Gage County Historical Society in Beatrice, Nebraska.  McCaskey will speak at a Gage County Historical Society dinner that evening.  One of the Pillars covered in the book is Guy Chamberlin, one of the greatest coaches in NFL history and someone who lived in Gage County for much of his life.  

Recent Past Events

Knights of Columbus Presentation, April 26, 2014

Spoke at Knights of Columbus Council 1911 Jim Baurenfeind Catholic Athlete of the Year Award Dinner honoring Jordan Lynch of NIU and Mount Carmel High School.  


SALT Leadership Presentation, April 28, 2014 at Warren Township High School

Spoke at Student Athletic Leadership Team (SALT) at WarrenTownship High School on April 28, 2014 in Gurnee, Illinois. The mission of the SALT program is to help student athletes develop leadership skills needed to serve as effective leaders of their teams.  The program aims at team captains who are recommended by their respective coaching staff.  The host for the presentation is Mark Pos, Athletic Director at Warren Township High School.

Son Rise Morning Interview, April 30, 2014

Radio Interview: Matt Swaim Son Rise Morning Show at 740 AM Sacred Heart Radio in Cincinnati, and  EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.The Show link is below--scroll to the very end of the three hour program for the interview.

Cardinal Stritch University Athletics Presentation, May 5, 2014

Spoke to Cardinal Stritch University Athletics on May 5, 2014.  The host for the presentation was Patrick Clemens, Athletic Director.  

Piccolo Award Ceremony at Halas Halls, May 6, 2014

2014 Piccolo Award ceremony at Halas Hall.  Brian Piccolo played for four short seasons, but he left a legacy of courage with the Bears and the NFL.  Awards are presented to Bears players voted deserving of such an honor by their peers. 


WSNS Steve Bowers Drive Time Interview, May 27, 2014

Radio Interview: Steve Bowers Drive Time Show on WSNS 105.1 FM Jackson, Tennessee. Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships was discussed.

Theology on Tap Presentation in Bourbonnais, July 30, 2014

Senior Director of the Chicago Bears Patrick McCaskey spoke to the Theology on Tap group of the Joliet Diocese Young Adult Ministry in Bourbonnais on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  His subject is "Sports and Faith" not just a topic for McCaskey, but a family mantra. The event was held from 7-9 pm at the Brickstone Brewery at 557 William Latham Drive in Bourbonnais.