Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Remembering Sam Huff

 

Washington Post | Obituary

Another throwback post, inspired by the passing of NFL great Sam Huff on November 13th at 87. He played - famously - for the NY Giants and Washington Redskins in the 1950s and 60s. 

 

Long before the Panthers, the Washington Football Team (formerly the Washington Redskins) was this region’s favorite team, especially in the northern tier of NC.

 

And rightfully so. From 1982 to 1991, under legendary head coach Joe Gibbs, a NC native, Washington appeared in the postseason seven times, captured four conference titles and played in four Super Bowls, wining three of them. 

 

The team’s renowned radio crew of “Sonny, Sam & Frank” - Sonny Jurgensen (from Wilmington and Duke), Sam Huff and Frank Herzog called the games.

 

Capitol Radio Networks had built a regional satellite network in the 1980s and we provided that service for the Redskins broadcasts in the late 80s/early 90s, working originally with DC flagship station WMAL and later with WTEM. We grew the network to over 100 stations in the mid-Atlantic states. 

 

The football broadcasts connected us to Sam Huff, but we got to know him through his avocation, horse racing and breeding. Sam and his partner Carol Holden operated Sporting Life Stables in northern Virginia, and Capitol assisted them with the launch of a weekly radio show called Trackside. It aired for 28 years until 2016.

 

Sam’s day job was VP with Marriott. He was a celebrity rainmaker, persuading sports teams to use their hotels. He was a great salesman - disarmingly intense!

 

I recall a dinner at the Angus Barn where I asked him to do a commercial for an advertiser. He readily agreed…for $2500. That was major money in the early 90’s. My jaw dropped. Sam smiled and simply tapped his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring. Message delivered. Value established. (Like I said, disarmingly intense.)

~  ~  ~ 

Read about Sam’s equestrian pursuits and his inspiring life that began in the WVA coal fields, a football career that included a Time magazine cover, and his later years that unfortunately ended with dementia.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Celebrating Our Braves Legacy


My Myrtle Beach Pelicans 

Championship rings, 1999 & 2000. 

Thank you, Brian Snitker!!!

The Sun News looks back.


The Durham Bulls have been affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays since 1998, and over two decades the Rays have won my love and loyalty. I must confess, however, to flirting with an old flame during the 2021 World Series - the Atlanta Braves. I was smitten with memories of Durham’s Single-A Braves’ affiliation in the Carolina League and Atlanta’s most glorious decade that began thirty years ago.

Capitol Broadcasting purchased the Bulls in 1991, and the parent club played in World Series that fall (losing to the Twins.) During the 90’s the Braves, under legendary skipper Bobby Cox, played in a total of five World Series. The Fall Classic in 1995 was their singular triumph.


The Bulls and Durham had an eighteen year marriage with Atlanta. Capitol was the local operator for the last seven years, then engineered the move to Triple-A in the International League with the Rays’ affiliation.


For Capitol the Braves connection didn’t end in 1997. With the blessing of the very gracious Braves’ GM John Schuerholz, we retained the Single-A franchise and moved the team to Myrtle Beach. They became the Pelicans playing in a brand new ballpark adjacent to the landmark shopping/entertainment complex Broadway at the Beach. 


Forgotten tidbits…

  • While Coastal Federal Field was under construction in 1998, Danville VA hosted the Single-A team for one season. It was named the Danville 97s, commemorating a legendary train collision. Indeed, the year in Danville was somewhat of a train wreck, but we were focused on the Pelicans’ SC premiere in the spring of 1999.
  • We originally intended to name the team Myrtle Beach Braves. I have one of the promotional caps! The logo incorporated the traditional Braves script surrounded by waves. In consultation with Atlanta we decided it would be better to develop a unique, hometown brand for the team. It was the right thing to do, but some diehard Braves fans in Myrtle Beach were (temporarily) disappointed.
  • Capitol sold the Pelicans in 2006. Affiliations have since changed; in 2011 to the Texas Rangers; in 2015 to the Chicago Cubs.

I have buried my lead in nostalgia. The motivation for this post was to celebrate Braves’ Manager Brian Snitker. I so wanted this week’s Series win for him. It was a Hollywood ending! Brian, a lifer in the Braves organization, played for the Bulls, then managed both the Bulls and Pelicans. This AP piece by Charles Odum is a story well told…with some help from Twitter:



Hearty congratulations to Brian Snitker and the Atlanta Braves!