Friday, February 26, 2016

Fifty years ago, a championship team and season

      (Second in a series)
     One reason the 1966-67 Louisiana Tech basketball team was special to me, other than the friends: It was the first conference championship team I experienced in my four years (fall 1965-spring '69) at Tech.
     That 1966-67 team was my sophomore year. The only other Tech team to win a conference championship in those years was in golf of my senior spring, the last of many championships for legendary athletic director/football and golf coach Joe Aillet.
     Great as the football tradition was -- and is -- at the university, not even Terry Bradshaw, in his breakout junior season, could deliver a title (he did with the 1969 Bulldogs, but I had graduated). 
     Great as the Tech baseball tradition was, we missed a championship by a half-game in my freshman year, losing both ends of a final-day doubleheader after winning six consecutive doubleheaders.
Charlie Bishop and Richard Peek, back row, left side. Bob Watson ducked
out of this photo. (from the Shreveport Journal game story)
     So basketball provided the big thrills in many ways in that 1966-67 season, remembered for our "Triple Towers" at center -- Richard Peek, Bob Watson and Charlie Bishop.
     But that team had so much more ... and we thought from the start of practice this would be a great season. It was.  
     We had two veteran guards who could flat-out shoot -- senior Leon Barmore (you might have heard of him, as a women's basketball coach chosen to the Basketball Hall of Fame) and junior Jimmy Pruett, back after a redshirt season (knee injury).
      The other starter was senior small forward Jon Pat Stephenson (6-foot-3), the team's most versatile, fastest and all-around best athlete.
      The bench was strong, led by two juniors -- rugged 6-7 forward Tommy Gregory and tenacious defensive star Malcolm Smith (6-4). In many of the key games, they were on the floor at the finish.
      All five of those players, like Bishop, were from Louisiana. Two other top reserves were guards -- senior Billy Ray Stokes (Yazoo City, Miss.), a junior college transfer in his second year at Tech, and true freshman Wayne Smith (Tishomingo, Okla.) in his only year at Tech.
      Three key factors in this team's success: (1) the big guys, Peek and Bishop as a devastating low-post combo; (2) great balance, all five starters averaged scoring in double figures -- Barmore 15.6, Bishop 14.6, Peek 14.1, Pruett 11.4, Stephenson 11.1; and (3) solid defense -- if you played for Coach Scotty Robertson, you had to play defense ... or you'd sit.
       The season began with a victory against a "major" -- at Texas A&M. But December was rough, with four consecutive losses (none all that close) to SEC teams, and a tournament loss to Morehead (Ky.) State in Shreveport.
       Then came 17 victories in the next 19 games -- and an 11-1 record (and championship) in the Gulf States Conference, an all-Louisiana league with bus road trips and longstanding, strong and often heated rivalries.
       No rivalry then, and for the next few years, was more intense than Tech vs. Southwestern Louisiana -- USL. Coach Beryl Shipley had one of the first integrated programs in the Deep South, maybe the first, and Shipley had gone far to recruit very talented -- and many suspected, well-financed -- players.
        This USL team was the first of that program's powerhouse era, which included a couple of NCAA Tournament Division I bids and -- eventually -- a "death penalty" handed out by the NCAA for a large number of rules violations.
        Frankly, we did not like those guys. There was an arrogance about the Ragin' Cajuns. So beating USL twice was the highlight of the season, the difference between first and second place.
        In the first meeting, the first game of 1967 (Jan. 4), Tech won 72-66 on USL's floor. I won't forget that score, hopefully; I remember looking at the scoreboard afterward at old Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette and thinking: This is a huge win.
        But the second meeting, a month later in Ruston, was -- in reality -- the conference championship game. We were tied for first place, and Memorial Gym (which seated 5,000) was crammed to the rafters with about 6,000 fans. It was one of the tightest, most tense games I can remember. I've rarely been more nervous about a game -- and I was just keep statistics.
        Our fans went crazy often that night, especially on dunks by Peek and Bishop which shredded USL's vaunted, stretched 1-3-1 defense. Barmore had 22 points, Bishop had 20 and Peek had 14 rebounds.
        Tech 80, USL 78. Beautiful. Good Guys beat the Mercenaries.
        (I have told people for years: In my four years at Louisiana Tech, this game and victory were topped in athletics only by the Terry Bradshaw-to-Ken Liberto, 82-yard touchdown pass in the final 25 seconds to beat Northwestern State in the 1968 State Fair Game in Shreveport.)
        The GSC title clincher came a few games later by beating another hot rival, Northeast Louisiana, at Memorial Gym. And with a final 19-7 regular-season record came an NCAA Tournament (College Division) invitation -- a first for Tech.
        So it was off to the four-team Midwest Regional in Bloomington, Ill., where Illinois State was the home team. It was a plane trip (rare for Tech teams in those days), but without Bishop and Wayne Smith because freshmen were ineligible for College Division postseason play and in Division I, period.
        Without Bishop, the opening-round game was a challenge because North Dakota (19-5 record) had a gangly 6-8 forward/center who was setting all sorts of school records and, we heard, was a hot NBA prospect. His name: Phil Jackson.
        Yes, that Phil Jackson -- two NBA championships as a player (New York Knicks), a record 11 rings as a head coach, and currently running the Knicks.
        The North Dakota coach was Bill Fitch, who 14 years later coached the Boston Celtics (with Robert Parish) to an NBA championship. Fitch's assistant, Jimmy Rodgers, also went on to become a Celtics' head coach.   
        Jackson played well against Tech (21 points, 9-of-13 from the floor), but he didn't dominate. Fact is, Jim Hester -- future New Orleans Saints tight end -- was the Sioux's top scorer with 22. But Tech's balance -- five double-figure scorers, led by Barmore (20) and Stephenson (18), and one near-miss (Gregory had eight) -- led to an 86-77 victory. Peek had 13 points, 10 rebounds.
       That set up a game against Illinois State for a trip to the College Division final eight.
        In the consolation game the next night, Jackson had 52 points against a school named Parsons. The regional title game that followed wasn't pretty for us.
        Illinois State won in a rout and our wonderful season (20-8 record) was finished. So were the college careers of our seniors, including Peek and Watson.
        Bishop remained at Tech for three more seasons and he wasn't a great star, but he starred in many games. Tech basketball played on -- for 50 years, and the women's program founded in the mid-1970s became more of a national power than the men's program.
         Life had just really started for those of us at Tech then, adulthood -- hard as some of us fought it -- and careers awaited. But we had those sweet memories of that basketball season.
         (Next: Bob Watson, big man in town) 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A long-ago basketball team that hit the heights

     (First in a series)
     They were our "Triple Towers" -- a basketball team with, if you can imagine, three (nearly) 7-footers.
     It's only been 50 years ago, just a short passage of time. But the memories of the 1966-67 Louisiana Tech University team are clear to those of us who were there.
     It was a championship team, the first Tech team to play in an NCAA Tournament (College Division).
photos from Shreveport Journal, 1967
     And it had that huge front line -- 6-10 senior Bob Watson, 6-11 senior Richard Peek and 7-foot freshman Charlie Bishop. 
     That was unique then ... or in any season. Opposing teams weren't necessarily intimidated, but they took  notice. It had to be one of the country's tallest teams.
     A friend recently suggested I write about those big guys, and that season, and -- to be honest -- although I stay in touch with several of the players from that team, I was not current with the three centers.
     To my dismay, as I began to research, I found on the Internet that Richard Peek, the only one of the three to make a professional regular-season roster, died two years at age 70. Then the news came that Charlie Bishop had died in Ruston -- home of Louisiana Tech -- on Valentine's Day at age 68. 
     I also found a story from May 2014 that Bob Watson was retiring after 29 years as the superintendent of schools in El Dorado, Ark. He still lives in that city, about 53 miles and one hour directly north from Ruston.
     Peek was from Pensacola, Fla., a metropolis compared to the hometowns of Watson (Logan, W.Va.) and Bishop (Summerfield, La.).
     In 1966-67, they were part of a classy, unselfish team -- the best team in our little part of the world. The big guys were fun to watch; the whole team was. 
     These Bulldogs played hard, they were competitive -- and they were smart players. They reflected the head coach, Scotty Robertson. 
     They were serious about winning, but there was lots of joking and laughter. It was a close-knit, friendly, happy bunch, even the team managers and one student sports information assistant/statistician/would-be sportswriter. 
     Watson arrived first, coming to Tech in 1964 as a transfer from home-state West Virginia University, where he spent part of one year. When he became eligible to play for the second semester of the 1964-65 season, he became the tallest player in Tech's long basketball history.
     He joined a team that was talented but lacked any significant height. And he was an immediate sensation, although that would not last.
     Peek arrived a few months after Watson and sat out a season as a transfer. He also originally had stayed in his home state, going as a heralded recruit from Escambia High School to the University of Florida, where he had played for two seasons (one on the freshman team, one as a varsity letterman).
     Peek was a starter from the start for Tech in the 1965-66 season, averaging 17.4 points a game and leading the team in rebounding. He basically replaced Watson, who had been ill and never regained a regular spot.
     A team with no seniors showed promise late in the season, going from a 6-9 record to eight victories in the final 10 games, including the memorable comeback from six points down with 21 seconds to play against Centenary (the "Donnie Henry punch game," subject of a previous blog piece:
      So the only starter not returning for the 1966-67 season was shooting forward George Stone, who opted for a pro baseball career (and made the majors).
     His starting replacement: Charlie Bishop. We went from 6-foot-3 to 7 feet. Prospects for this team were promising.
     Bishop was a true freshman in the fall of 1966, a much sought-after recruit by Robertson (about to enter his third season as head coach at Tech), a player with size that had rarely -- maybe never -- had been seen in North Louisiana. He had some ability, he'd averaged close to 30 points a game for his Class C (smallest classification) school, but he was a raw college prospect.
    Charlie wasn't shy, he was willing to work, eager to learn and Peek -- quiet, reserved, determined and a polished, skilled offensive player with strong moves around the basket -- was a mentor.
    Fans loved them, especially their dunks off lob passes from the wings or guards, as Robertson installed a double low-post offense. That helped beat a lot of teams.
    Watson was the roughest of the three centers and while he played mostly in a mop-up role, the home fans loved him, loved his spirit. He was a crowd favorite. He was all arms and legs, and jerky motion, and action always picked up -- one way or the other -- with him on the floor.
    Peek was drafted by an NBA team, but played with the Dallas Chaparrals the next season, the first season of the American Basketball Association. Two trades and a hurting body convinced him to stop playing ball.
    Watson graduated with a BA degree in Education, then earned a masters' degree in Speech and moved into a 45-year career as an educator/administrator.
    Bishop played three more seasons at Tech and started 97 games in his college career. He was Tech's No. 4 career scoring leader (1,398 points) when he finished, he made all-conference, and his 11.5 per-game rebound average is still fourth on the all-time Tech list (Peek is No. 5 at 10.3).
    Bishop had a shot at the NBA, but a knee injury spoiled that, and basketball was soon over for him.
Bob Watson
     A little-known secret, as I remember it: None of our "Triple Towers" were 7-footers then. Not even Bishop.
     Watson was a hulking 6-10, kind of a stooped figure at times. We listed Peek at 6-11; the next year the Chaparrals made him a 7-footer. His widow, Carole, says he actually was 6-10 1/2.
     And Charlie was listed as 6-11 in high school. Measured before his freshman season, he was 6-11 3/4. Close enough, said Scotty Robertson, let's round it up. So he was listed as 7 feet. Maybe he grew into that.  
    Here is a thought I had: Not many fireman were as tall as Peek (that was his occupation for 33 years in Dallas); not many school superintendents were as tall as Watson; not many industrial mechanics were as tall as Bishop. They were -- pun here -- in the upper echelon of their professions.
     I can tell you for sure that those three big guys were all popular and friends with their teammates.
Charlie Bishop
     Subsequent three blog pieces will tell of the lives of our "Triple Towers." They each had interesting and what I consider rich lives -- careers, many interests, families they were proud of (and families proud of them). They had to deal with tragedy -- a son killed, a spouse's death, and for Peek and Bishop, debilitating health issues in later years that led to their deaths.         
     Louisiana Tech has had many outstanding men's basketball teams, before and after -- 21 conference champions. The 1966-67 team wouldn't make my top five of Tech teams, maybe not even top 10 (when Tech moved to Division I, the schedule got tougher and the talent got better).
      But this isn't an objective sportswriting piece. That "Triple Towers" team in 1966-67 were my guys -- and they still are.

      (Next: A championship team and season)            


Monday, February 15, 2016

In today's world, it's all about ... me, me, me

     Watching and listening to today's politicians is about the only thing more difficult than observing today's athletes.
Personally, I don't care what Cam Newton says or doesn't say ... win or
 lose. But the media gives him a lot of attention (photo from
     I have written -- and railed -- about this previously. It came to mind again after  Super Bowl 50.
     Cam Newton's lack of humility, his showoffness (how's that for coining a word?), his outrageous celebrations, and then his postgame petulance -- pouting, sulking, whatever -- is too much. But even the sainted Peyton Manning sank to the occasion afterward. I mean ... what's the deal with repeatedly telling us he was going to drink a lot of beer, a lot of Budweiser?
     Really, I didn't want to hear that.
     But I'm not here to pick on Cam Newton. There's been enough of that, and I'm not piling on. He's a wonderful athlete and when, a day later, he explained that his brief, moody postgame session with the media was because he is a "sore loser," I can identify with that.
     My old friends from Shreveport can vouch that I've long had that trait. And I'm not apologizing.
     Sure, Cam could have been more accommodating for the media. But -- this is a sign of being an old ex-media person -- I no longer pay attention to what coaches and/or athletes have to say. It's all BS to me now.
     I have friends who write about the NFL and deal with the athletes, and I'm happy for them because they love it and it keeps them employed. But ...
     There is a reason I haven't watched an NFL game live in 2 1/2 seasons. Can't stand the on-the-field behavior; can't stand the off-the-field crap. If this sounds as if I've written it previously, I have.
     I did record some games a year ago when the Cowboys had a contending team, and watched them late at night -- sometimes knowing the result, sometimes not. But the past season's Cowboys were a lost cause; didn't record the games, didn't listen to the radio play-by-play.
     If I never see another interview with the Cowboys' owner/(ha) general manager, that's OK.
     Last NFL game I watched live, it actually was a matchup of the Super Bowl 50 teams -- Panthers vs. Broncos. But this was the 2013 season and in the first five minutes, two players -- a Denver cornerback and a Carolina receiver -- had three fights. With that, I turned off the TV and I haven't been back to live action.
     Still haven't seen Odell Beckham Jr.'s ugly incident vs. the Panthers this past season -- and don't want to.
     Confession: I did record this Super Bowl and -- not knowing the result -- watched it starting at about 11:30 that night. Only reason is I wanted to see how Peyton Manning did. Fine. Glad he went out a winner. But those beer comments afterward?
     But this is not just about the NFL. Take just about any sport, and athletes are acting out. Tennis stars are screaming after winning points; pitchers are screaming after key strikeouts; bats are being flipped after home runs; basketball players pose after thunderous dunks; a college basketball player I watched two weeks ago hit a hot streak and, after his third 3-pointer in about a minute, strutted around like a peacock.
     Even golf, in my opinion the most genteel of the major sports, has its characters that I am sure fellow competitors find hard to tolerate. (Hello, the former Tiger Woods and Kevin Na.)
     The on-field celebrations by baseball teams are ridiculous, especially for "walkoff" victories; so is the pouring of the Gatorade/water coolers on the players being interviewed, and bless the media people that are doused as they do the interview.
     (The always cutting-up Texas Rangers' shortstop who loves doing this and soaked the woman interviewer early last season should worry more about his defense in the decisive playoff game that ended his team's season.)
     The championship celebrations, with the champagne and the goggles, are off-limits on my television. Hey, win the World Series ... and then go for it. The Kansas City Royals deserved it.
     Love seeing the old stars -- for instance, Bill Russell (NBA) -- be part of the title-trophy presentations. But that's for nostalgia's sake, and I like nostalgia.
     Yes, I'm sounds like a bitter old man who has seen better days. My view: sportsmanship and humility are dormant; brashness and ugliness are in.
     Nowhere is that more true than in this Presidential campaign. Politics -- the "sport of politics" are you hear so often (I heard it on the nightly news just a week ago) -- has become name-calling and trash-talking. It is absolutely worse than ever, and I am sick of it ... with nine months before we vote. Heaven help us.
     But back to athletics. Used to be, many years ago, that you never "showed up" opponents. It was taboo. Athletes were acted out, or were all about themselves, were considered "hot dogs." Now there are so many hot dogs, there is not enough relish and mustard in the Western Hemisphere to cover them all. We'll have to borrow from China.
     My wife says that my view of athletics, and today's athletes, and the way I react to them is a personal problem. Maybe. So I checked with some friends, and some feel the same way. But it's not a problem for some. They feel it's a generational gap; the older you are, the more you resent athletes acting out.
     And then I think, we had athletes in the 1960s and '70s who were pretty darned confident, pretty brash. Muhammad Ali set the standard; he was "The Greatest" at trash talking. Joe Namath. Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson. Elmo Wright, at the University of Houston in the late 1960s, started the touchdown-dance revolution. Mark Gastineau was the NFL's first "sack dancer" in the mid-1980s. Darryl Dawkins and others began tearing down backboards with thunder dunks in the NBA.
     Now many more athletes than not have their own "celebration" moves. Yeah, there are now rules in place against "taunting" the opponent ... but it still happens.
     An example: Some of my favorite basketball players -- Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons and even the great Dirk Nowitzki, all of the Dallas Mavericks -- let the world know whenever they pump in a big 3-point shot.
     Not much I resent more than watching an LSU wide receiver signal first down after his catch or an LSU defensive back wave his arms after a pass breakup ... and LSU is behind by 20 points at the time. That's really awful. I have complained about that before.
     Today's world in sports and politics (and other areas): Look at me, me, me. A friend says that's what Facebook is about.
     But here is a disclaimer. Look at this blog: A lot of it is about ... me. It's about my family, my opinions, things that interest me (and hopefully the readers). I try to put my spin on it. I have had people, friends, make suggestions for blog  pieces -- good suggestions -- and I told them I didn't want to do those because I don't have a personal connection.
     Truth is, I could not, would not have done this blog until I retired as a full-time newspaper journalist. But the time to begin, at my wife's urging, was right four years ago.
     So as I was thinking of writing this piece, I was reading the book The Time of Our Lives by political analyst Peggy Noonan -- one of President Ronald Reagan's main speechwriters in the 1980s -- and came across a segment of her writing about her son's eighth-grade confirmation class in the Catholic Church in 2001.
     She writes how much she loved some of those children, how kindhearted and brave and "deep inside good" they are. But then she writes:
    "Some are victims of the self-esteem movement. They have a wholly unearned self-respect. No, an unearned admiration for themselves. And they have been given this high sense of themselves by parents and teachers who didn't and don't have time for them and who make it up to them by making them conceited. I'm not sure how this will play out at they hit adulthood. What will happen to them when the world stops telling them what they have been told every day for the first quarter century of their lives, which is: You are wonderful."
    All about me, even in an eighth-grade Catholic confirmation class.
    Makes me think of Cam Newton. Even more, it makes me think of college football's National Signing Day. I think that college football recruiting -- maybe more than anything -- is overblown, overpublicized. This is a blog topic to itself, but the glorification of these young men is magnified so greatly on that day.
    It is such a spectacle, and this year one recruit took to skydiving to reveal his college choice (Ole Miss). What next?
    My opinion -- and it's in the great minority -- is to do away with National Signing Day for football. Instead let's have a National Signing Day for kids signing scholarships for real educational subjects.
    I digress. Back to Cam Newton. The other side, as a friend pointed out, is that the pouting Super Bowl-losing QB has -- and I looked this up -- three times in the past year or two done something really special for young men stricken by cancer.
    Another point: When Peyton Manning was the losing Super Bowl QB with the Colts, he walked off the field and did not congratulate any players from the Saints (the team in his hometown). So consider that.
    Finally, I saw a wonderful moment a few weeks ago when Dirk Nowitzki made the game-winning basket against the Los Angeles Lakers and, after he shot, wound up right in front of Kobe Bryant (injured and not dressed out) on the Lakers' bench. Kobe tapped Dirk on the behind in a sign of congratulations, and Dirk turned and tapped Kobe on the shoulder -- mutual respect from two of the NBA's biggest current stars.
    That's the kind of sportsmanship that still plays well. Nice to see. I'm not bitter about that. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

'Shape of Shreveport' hits a home run

     Those of us who are fond of Shreveport-Bossier and its people very much appreciate The Shape of Shreveport documentary series.
     Especially, episode 7 -- on professional baseball in Shreveport.
     Sure, that's personal because (1) baseball has been a passion for about 60 years; (2) I've written about baseball in 24 previous blog posts over four years; and (3) eight of those blogs pertained to the old Shreveport Sports, Braves and Captains.
     And another reason: I was one of the people interviewed for The Shape of Shreveport baseball episode.
     In case you haven't followed my e-mails and Facebook posts in the last year, The Shape of Shreveport is a project created by Will and Jim Broyles through their Ring Media Group.
     Here is the objective, borrowed from the "Shape" web site: "... Our end goal is to create civic pride in Shreveport. As lifelong Shreveporters, we believe we and this city will see the benefit of this investment in the long term if people come together and begin to understand our past so we can move forward as a community with a unified vision of what we want to become."
     Not having lived in Shreveport-Bossier since 1988, I can't judge what kind of shape it's in -- financially, socially, artistically, spiritually, etc. -- and I don't know what kind of clout it has within Louisiana or the Ark-La-Tex; I don't know how strong its leadership is. 
     What I can tell you, having seen most of the episodes in this series, is that The Shape of Shreveport is well done. The material is interesting, well-researched and well-written. The history -- often difficult -- is fascinating, especially if you are nostalgic (as I often am).
     Episodes 1 through 4 premiered last summer, and episodes 5 through 8 were introduced last Thursday (Jan. 28). Both premieres were grand occasions, with  sellout crowds at Shreveport's venerable and renovated Strand Theatre.
       We were invited to a private preview and the Strand event last week. Planned to attend, but were unable to because of a bad break (some people will know the hidden meaning in that sentence.)
     Sorry to have missed it. From all I have read and heard, it was -- in baseball terms -- a big hit. And that's all the episodes -- on Shreveport during the Civil War, on "The Bottoms" and the roots of musical great Huddy "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, and on Barksdale Air Force Base.
     Hard to say that they were better than episodes 1-4, which includes pieces on Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley's visits to Shreveport, and "A Tale of Two Crashes."
     But I'm not objective or impartial here: I loved the baseball episode. And -- bragging rights -- it was 23 minutes, 40 seconds. That's 5 minutes longer than any other episode so far; more than half have been in the 15- to 16-minute range.
     Not saying that baseball is more important ... oh, yes, I am.
     So I'm honored to have been asked to participate. Three blog pieces I wrote last summer dealt with the Shreveport ballparks -- SPAR Stadium (known as Texas League Park until 1959) and Fair Grounds Field -- and those caught the attention of The Shape of Shreveport people.
     Much of the credit for the series belongs to Chris Charles Scott III, the writer and producer of the episodes, and -- in my case -- the interviewer who came to Fort Worth. He is from East Texas (Chapel Hill, near Longview), a Baylor U. grad who is now based in Las Vegas but has made Shreveport a second home.
     It's his interest, research and vision that ties the episodes together. And the narrators -- in the baseball episode, Shreveport media personality Tim Fletcher -- add the drama.
     I can't speak for the rest of the people interviewed, but I know this: They took the segments from my interview and made the most of them. Believe me, in a session that took well over an hour, I stumbled through many thoughts (not unusual).
     I have no complaints with how it all came out on screen.
     This is a solid history and narration of Shreveport's baseball story, from early on through the demise of the ballparks and the Class AA franchise (it left after the 2002 season).
     I am nitpicking: I wish there had been mention of two Sports player/managers -- Francis "Salty" Parker (1940s) and Mel McGaha (mid-1950s). Both became Shreveport residents for a couple of decades and went on to  manage and coach in the major leagues.
     Wish that Jon Long, the 1980s/early 1990s Captains general manager who died so suddenly and much too soon, had been recognized.
     And maybe credit should have been given to the Atlanta Braves, whose investment and interest helped bring pro baseball back to Shreveport in 1968 and put an aging ballpark back into working shape, and the San Francisco Giants, who provided the players for our teams and had a strong, stable working agreement with the franchise for 24 consecutive years.
     So now I've filled in those minor gaps.
     Among those interviewed, it was nice to see the perspectives of longtime Captains main owner/operator Taylor Moore, a friend for decades; 1980s assistant general manager Elizabeth Denham (now Oliver), who was a pioneer of sorts among Texas League front-office personnel; and old friend J.W. Jones, the Sports' 1950s catcher and then for three decades a mainstay in the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.
      Don't want to share too much of what's in this baseball episode or the other episodes because, well, this is a commercial enterprise, and The Shape of Shreveport has the videos on sale -- episodes 1-4 are available now on the web site and episodes 5-8 will go on sale in late spring or early summer. It's $20 for each set.
     It's just the beginning; there are plans for 20 episodes. And back to where I started, if you love Shreveport-Bossier -- as I said in the baseball episode, "it will always be home" -- seeing these videos is worth the effort.
     Web site:
     Facebook page:           
     Note: Images taken from Episode 7, with permission from The Shape of Shreveport