Bobby Pope

Red, white and blue of sports

Macon’s John Odom played in three World Series with the Oakland Athletics.
Macon’s John Odom played in three World Series with the Oakland Athletics. AP

America’s colors: Red, white and blue.

With the Fourth of July coming up, I thought it would be interesting to see what names of individuals or teams I could come up with to match those colors. Hope that makes sense.

We start out with red, and most of the ones chosen are “nicknames” as opposed to surnames. The only prominent athlete with the surname Redd who I could find was Michael, who led Ohio State to the Final Four in 2000 and was a second-round draft choice of the Milwaukee Bucks after his junior season. He played in the NBA for 13 years. He was also a member of the U.S. gold medal winning Olympic team in 2008.

How about the “Galloping Ghost,” Red Grange, the famed Illinois running back in the mid 1920s? He scored six touchdown against Michigan in 1924 and is a charter member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Red Miller coached the Denver Broncos from 1977 to 1980, leading them to the Super Bowl in 1977. Red Broadnax was the MVP on the 1958 national champion LSU football team. Red Barron was a three-sport letterwinner and a two-time All American in football at Georgia Tech, playing for John Heisman and Bill Alexander.

Red Auerbach won 16 NBA championships as the head coach, general manager and president of the Boston Celtics. He won nine titles and 938 games a head coach. Rounding out the first color are Red Schoendienst, a baseball Hall of Famer who played 19 seasons in the majors, with the St. Cardinals, New York Giants and Milwaukee Braves, and colorful Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber, who called games for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees.

Teams you can add to the red list are the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Red Wings, the St. John’s Red Storm, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Marist Red Foxes, the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, the Cornell Big Red and Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.

White easily produced the most surnames. You have 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White of Southern Cal who went to on to play nine seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams, as well as 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White, who is one of just three winners of the famed award not to be drafted. He never played a down in the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys have two Whites on the list: defensive lineman Randy, a two-time All-American at Maryland and a nine-time Pro Bowler and nine-time All Pro, and quarterback Danny, who also punted for America’s team. Atlanta Falcons fans might remember Danny led Dallas to a come-from-behind 30-27 win over Atlanta in the playoffs in 1980.

Let’s not forget Byron “Whizzer” White, an All-American at Colorado in the 1930s who served on the U.S. Supreme Court for 31 years. From baseball, you find Gray’s Rondell White, a first-round draft choice in 1990. He played with seven different major league teams in a 15-year career including the Yankees, and Roy White, a two-time all-star, who spent his entire 15-year career with the Yankees. Auto racer Rex White won 28 times in nine years on the NASCAR circuit, and six of those came in 1960 when he won the NASCAR Grand National championship.

Two more from the white category, golfer Greg Norman, nicknamed “The Great White Shark” and the Chicago White Sox baseball team.

Blue was the most difficult color name associated with sports to find. The No. 1 choice was Oakland A’s hurler Vida Blue. The left-hander was named to six All-Star teams and played on three World Series championship clubs. He was AL MVP in 1971, the same year he won the Cy Young Award.

Another blue is Houston running back Alfred, who has been with the Texans for two seasons after being drafted out of LSU. You can throw in Macon’s John “Blue Moon” Odom. He played for 13 seasons in the big leagues and was on the same teams with Vida Blue in Oakland that won three World Series. Other “blues” include the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Duke Blue Devils, the, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. DePaul Blue Demons, the Presbyterian Blue Hose, the Delaware Blue Hens and the New York Giants Big Blue Wrecking Crew defense that won Super Bowl titles in 1986 and 1990.

It’s a stretch for a column, but it was enjoyable checking out the red, white and blue names. Happy Fourth of July.

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