The deification of sports figures continues, this time in Pittsburgh. A regional commission approved plans to name a street near Heinz Field after former Steelers Coach Chuck Noll, who led the team to four Super Bowl titles.
Nearby, streets are already named in honor of Hall of Famer and Pirates star Bill Mazeroski, the late Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr. and former Pitt football star Tony Dorsett.
This idea isn’t new. Boston has the Ted Williams Tunnel; Green Bay named a middle school after Vince Lombardi; and Ty Cobb Place is a subdivision in Austin, Texas.
Perhaps the most extreme memorial for an athlete, however, occurred in the picturesque town of Jim Thorpe (pop. 4,800) in eastern Pennsylvania. This former mining community, once known as Mauch Chunk, was suffering a severe economic downturn in 1953 when Thorpe, the former Olympic and football star, died. Thorpe had no connection with the town, but officials negotiated a deal with his widow to have Thorpe’s remains buried there, and the town was renamed after him in hopes of drawing tourists.
It didn’t work and Jim Thorpe, the town, slipped into obscurity. Only in recent years did Jim Thorpe’s attractive Victorian residences, with their modest prices, begin to lure New Yorkers shopping for bargain weekend homes.
Who is oldest living former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion?
Grapefruit League inflation
We’re in one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, prices are nose-diving and the term disinflation is back in vogue.
So it’s comforting to know that in Florida ticket prices for Red Sox-Yankees spring training games are skyrocketing like Nasdaq stocks of the late ‘90s.
The Red Sox froze ticket prices this year, so tickets for their March 13 game against the Yanks in Fort Myers cost $10 to $46 apiece — but on Stubhub.com those tickets are being resold for $16 to $299. Meanwhile, the sticker shock is worse for the March 24th game in Tampa. Those Yankee tickets, originally $17 to $31, are priced at $36 to $555.
Fortune cookie time
The Yankees are 4-1 favorites to win the 2009 World Series, according to beted.com, followed by the Red Sox and Cubs at about 8-1, with the Angles around 9-1. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 20-1, although that sounds as if some fans are betting on Manny Ramirez playing here.
Muhammad Ali, 67.
From David Letterman’s Top 10 messages left on Alex Rodriguez’s answering machine: "It’s Madonna. You got a phone number for Jeter?"
-- Barry Stavro
Photo: Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll watches his team play to a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings during Super Bowl IX game in New Orleans on Jan. 12, 1975. Joe Gilliam is to the right. Credit: Associated Press