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TIDBITS® CELEBRATES THE EQUINOX
SPRING IS HERE! by Rick Dandes
Lewis Grizzard, the famous Atlanta author once wrote, “Spring time is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.” That about sums it up for us. Springtime brings relief from winter. It’s all about renewal, warmth and new beginnings. So sit back and enjoy, as Tidbits welcomes in the new season this week. • The start of spring is seen by the vernal equinox, which occurs on March 20 or 21 each year the Northern Hemisphere. Oddly enough, this date is also the autumnal equinox—the first day of autumn—in the Southern Hemisphere. • Turnabout is fair play: the autumnal equinox in the north (which occurs in late September), is the also first day of spring south of the equator.
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• No kidding: Spring fever is not a figment of your imagination. It is a real physical condition that occurs when a sudden warm spell follows a long cold period. As the temperature rises, the body has to get rid of heat; there’s a dilation or expansion of the blood vessels so that blood can be carried to the body surface where heat can be lost quickly. Some people experience an energetic feeling. Hence, spring fever. turn the page for more!
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SPRING IS HERE (continued):
Getting your garden ready for all those seeds, buds and bulbs? Here are some green tips for you! Collect rain water to use in your garden instead of water out of the hose. Compost your kitchen scraps for plant food your garden will love. Avoid chemicals in your garden - think about those chemicals later going in your body! Eep! Happy gardening!
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• May Day is not an American holiday, but it’s celebrated all over the world. • During ancient Roman times, spring was celebrated with the Feast of Floralia. This marked the flowering of the grains and the bounty of the animals as spring continued. The egg became an important symbol during this time period, thanks to the symbolism of egg bringing forth life and nourishing people. • As the Italian Feast of Floralia evolved, people began creating eggs out of many materials, including chocolate, as gifts for their loved ones. Young matrons carried these eggs with them in baskets throughout the spring, trying to determine the possible gen-der of a future child.
• Here comes the sun: Suppose you were standing on the equator during either the vernal or autumnal • In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, on April 30th and equinox. Now look up. You would see the sun pass May 1st celebrates the release of winter’s hold on directly overhead. There are only two times in the the land and the oncoming joy of summer. year when this happens. • More spring legends: On May 1st, it is believed • Full tilt: Why is there more daylight in spring and that the earth spirits like sprites and fairies, summer? Easy. In spring, the Earth’s axis is tilted emerge to bring the land safely to summer. People toward the sun, increasing the number of daylight celebrate with great feasts of food and drink as hours and bringing warmer weather that causes the look forward to the coming of summer. plants to bring forth new growth. • In Thailand, a three-day water festival on April 13• Celtic tradition, which is based solely on daylight and the strength of the noon sun, says that spring begins in early February and continues until early May.
15 marks Songkran, the Buddhists’ celebration of the new year. Parades feature statues of Buddha that spray water on passersby. In small villages, young people throw water at each other for fun. People also release fish into rivers as an act of kindness.
• Spring forward. In recent decades seasonal creep has been observed, which means that many signs of the season are happening earlier than expected • The Jewish holiday of Passover is held during in many regions. We’re talking a couple of days per spring. Passover begins with two nights of a decade. special dinner called Seders. During these two dinners, families read from a book called the • Akitu was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia. Haggadah about the ancient Israelites exodus The name is from the Sumerian language for from Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. As “barley”, originally marking two festivals they honor their ancestors, Jews reaffirm the celebrating the beginning of each of the two halfimportance of freedom. years of the Sumerian Calendar, marking the sowing of barley in autumn and the cutting of barley • On Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection in spring. of Jesus Christ. People attend church and also enjoy different Easter customs. In Germany, • The Lunar New Year is sometimes called the people make “egg trees” that are decorated like Chinese Spring Festival. It is the most important Christmas trees. In Hungary, boys sprinkle girls of the traditional Chinese holidays, particularly by with perfumed water — and in return, girls people on mainland China and Taiwan. The festival prepare a holiday dinner for them. traditionally beings on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th. • It’s commonly called “Spring Break,” that time of year when students have a week-long break • Hurricane season also begins in late spring, on May from the tedium of school and travel south or to 15th in the northeastern Pacific and June 1st in the parts unknown to party; Fort Lauderdale, Fla. northern Atlantic. You don’t see hurricanes before and Cancun, Mexico are two favorite hot spots. these dates although they do sometimes occur. One Other countries celebrate it too, including China, of the earliest was Tropical Storm Ana in mid-April Korea, Japan, Germany and Mexico. 2003. • Severe weather generally occurs during the spring, when warmer air invades the lower latitudes just as cold air pushes out from the polar regions. Spring is also when flooding is also most common in and near mountainous areas during this time of year due to the melting of snow, aided by warm rains.
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by kite-flying, rooftop gatherings, garden parties and horse riding events.
• In America, “Tornado Alley” is most active by far during the spring. The Rocky Mountains prevent the surging hot and cold air fronts from moving westward and instead force them directly at each other. • Some of the worst blizzards have occurred in the spring. Does anyone remember the Great Blizzard of 1993, which brought hurricane conditions and then light snow to northern Florida on March 13th, and deposited up to five feet of snow in parts of the Appalachian Mountains. • The festival of Basant, in Pakistan, is held in the ancient eastern city of Lahore. Basant is marked
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• It was 18th-century French author and philosopher François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, who made the following sage observation: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore, all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” • It took between 75,000 and 80,000 workers to build the Panama Canal, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the Isthmus of Panama. • Pop star Prince may be best known for his hit “1999.” After playing the song at a New Year’s Eve party in 1999, he vowed he would never perform it again. Seven years later, however, unable to escape its perennial popularity, he started including the song in his performances once again. • Pope Benedict IX held the office three different times. • When the Barbie doll was first introduced in 1959, it was described in The
New York Times as a “crushing bomb.” So much for early reviews. Since then, more than a billion Barbies have been sold in more than 150 countries. Mattel, the doll’s maker, claims that three Barbies are sold every second. • It was Britain’s Prince Albert who originated the boutonniere. It seems that while they were courting, Queen Victoria offered a small bouquet of flowers to her future husband. Prince Albert used his pocketknife to cut a hole in the lapel of his jacket and put the stems of the bouquet through it. • A form of air conditioning existed as far back as ancient Rome. Wealthy citizens had piping installed in the walls of their homes through which water from an aqueduct would circulate, cooling the interior. *** Thought for the Day: “If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play at it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.” -- Bob Hope (c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.
TIDBITS AND MUSIC:
THE MOTOWN SOUND
It all began in Detroit, when Berry Gordy started a pop record label featuring some of the most talented African-American performers every gathered together under one roof. Little Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, featuring Michael Jackson. They all started with Motown. Truly, a legendary group of performers. • Motown Records was founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. on January 12, 1959. It was first known as Tamla Records, but later incorporated as Motown on April 14, 1960. The name Motown was perfect. It came from the two words motor and town, which was the nickname for Detroit. • The first female artist signed by Motown Records was Mable John. John was a blues vocalist and produced several minor hits for the new label. • Jimmy Ruffin hit the heights with “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” in 1966. Jimmy’s brother, David Ruffin, was a member of the Temptations. • The Jackson 5 made their reputation on Motown, but in 1975 they took the money and ran to Epic Records. There was some loyalty to Motown. Jermaine Jackson left the group and stayed with Motown as a solo artist. He was replaced by his brother Randy and the group on Epic became The Jacksons. • “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes was the first hit from Motown to reach number one on the Billboards top 100 chart in December 1961. • Diana Ross, who had come from The Supremes, another mega-hit maker for Motown, was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being “The Most Successful Female Artist of All Time,” with more than 70 hit singles.
• In 1961 “Little” Stevie Wonder was signed to Motown Records. Wonder has kept those ties. He has been with the label ever since and recently signed a life-long deal. • Another popular Motown group was The Commodores, also known as “The Black Beatles,” at the time. Originally known as the Mystics, they became the Commodores in 1969. • In 1968, Lionel Richie became the lead singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. They signed to Atlantic Records in 1968 for a onerecord contract, before moving to Motown Records, being schooled as support act to the Jackson Five. • The Commodores became established as America’s most popular soul group of the 1970s, and Richie was responsible for writing many of their tunes, and singing many of their biggest hits, specializing in romantic, easylistening ballads such as “Easy”, “Three Times A Lady” and “Still”. • Remember the Four Tops? They were huge in the 1960s, before the Beatles changed pop music forever. Their early hits included covers of the Left Banke‘s “Walk Away Renee” and Tim Hardin‘s “If I Were A Carpenter.” • Gladys Knight and the Pips were signed to Motown Records’ in 1966, where they were teamed up with producer/songwriter Norman Whitfield. • Mary Wells was the First Lady of Motown, with a string of extraordinary hit singles, mostly written by the great songwriter, Smokey Robinson. Some of her hits included “Two Lovers” and “You Beat Me to the Punch.” Tragically, she died at age 49.
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Tidbits® of Jefferson County
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Hoarding Rampant Among Elderly The actual number of elderly hoarders is unknown, but it’s thought that the numbers are astronomical. In most cases, no one has any idea what’s going on inside the house or apartment -- unless rescue personnel or social services are called and ceiling-high mounds of debris are discovered. Why do seniors hoard? There are no simple answers, but: • To take the place of people who have been lost in their lives. • Difficulty in making decisions and being organized. • Fear that something will become valuable over time. • Fear that something will be needed later. • Fear of loss of control What hoarders keep is often incomprehensible to a non-hoarder: Plastic (food containers, grocery bags, laundry bottles, newspaper sleeves), books, empty jars, office supplies, broken jewelry, electronics and televisions that don’t work, catalogs, containers of coins, old things (shoes, clothing, purses, keys).
• The economic impact of baseball on Arizona during spring training has been estimated at about $359 million. • Professional baseball started in Arizona in the early 1900s as a training ground for minor league teams prior to the start of their regular season. • It wasn’t until the year 1946 that the major leagues came to Arizona. To that point, spring training was always in Florida, the Grapefruit Circuit. The Cleveland Indians were first to move to Arizona, but not before Indian’s owner Bill Veeck convinced New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham to do the same. The Indians came to Tucson. The Giants to Phoenix. • The New York Yankees have always trained in Florida. Except for one year, 1951, when they trained in Arizona, using the New York Giant’s facilities in Phoenix. What a treat it was for Arizona fans, who got to see Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle play together for the first and last time. It was Mantle’s first year with the Yankees, and DiMaggio’s last. • Major league spring training baseball is a Florida tradition since the beginning of the 1900s. During that time, fans have enjoyed seeing the legends of the game, from Babe Ruth to Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
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Clutter and hoarding are not the same. The biggest difference is in the willingness to get rid of things when offered help. A person who is a genuine hoarder will strongly resist assistance, will deny there’s a problem and often needs counseling to come to terms with the hoarding. Just cleaning out the debris of a hoarder doesn’t solve the problem. A hoarder will simply begin building up the clutter again in a very short time. It takes professional intervention to address the obsessive-compulsive mental-health issues involved. Safety is a big issue with hoarding. Narrow pathways through rooms could keep emergency medical personnel from responding when help is required. Fire is a big risk, as are falls and mice or cockroaches. Avalanches of falling debris are not unheard of. If you believe you have a problem, ask for help now. The first step is the hardest, but it’s easier than taking the chance of being removed from your home because it’s unsafe. Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.
• As we near the end of another spring training baseball season, here are some Tidbits about last year’s attendance. The 2009 Cactus League season was the best in its history. The overall attendance reached 1.57 million baseball fans, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2008.
• In Central Florida major league spring training games began in October 1908, when there was a single exhibition game between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Petersburg Saints. But games began for real in February 1913, when the Chicago Cubs arrived in Tampa for the area’s initial spring training. • In 1913, only two teams trained in Florida, the Chicago Cubs, in Tampa, and the Cleveland Indians, in Pensacola. It was soon after, however, that teams began moving into the Sunshine State and by 1914 the Cubs and Indians were joined by the St. Louis Browns in St. Petersburg, the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Augustine and the Philadelphia Athletics in Jacksonville. • There was no spring training in Florida during World War II. It was due to travel restrictions made by the government. It was called the “Potomac Line.” In 1946, Commissioner Kennesaw Landis erased the “Line,” and permitted teams to resume the practice of traveling south to prepare for the season in a warm climate. • During the War Years, in order to free up space on railroad lines carrying troops and supplies for World War II, teams had been prohibited from training south of the Potomac and Ohio Rivers or west of the Mississippi River. • The Grapefruit League cities with the most years of spring training are St. Petersburg and Tampa (87 years), Bradenton and Clearwater (76 years), Lakeland (75 years), Sarasota (74 years), Fort Myers (64 years), West Palm Beach (63 years), Orlando (62 years), Vero Beach (58 years) and Winter Haven (55 years).
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Name the Houston Astros pitcher who holds the mark for most victories in franchise history. Who holds the majorleague mark for most career steals of home? Name the two NFL players to have at least 50 rushing touchdowns and 30 receiving touchdowns. Who is the only U.S. menâ€™s basketball coach to win two Olympic gold medals? How many times has the home team won the NHLâ€™s Winter Classic? Name the last Major League Soccer expansion team before the Seattle Sounders (2009) to make the postseason. Who were the last three horses to win the Triple Crown?
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NASCAR THIS WEEK By Monte Dutton
A year after replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 20 car for Gibbs Racing, Joey Logano, 19, has made a successful transition to Sprint Cup racing. (John Clark/NASCAR This Week photo)
Joey Logano Is Pumped
Season two could be a breakout year for Joey Logano, who won’t turn 20 until May. The 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year has finished fifth and sixth in the past two races. Don’t look now, but Logano, a Middletown, Conn., native, is eighth in the Sprint Cup point standings, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch (12th) and Denny Hamlin (22nd). “I feel more excited to come to the race tracks, is what it comes down to,” said Logano. “Last year it was, ‘Oh, boy, California, we stunk there last time.’ I don’t know if I want to go there. Now, you look at these places, and you’re excited to go back to the track because you think you’re going to have a good race car. “I’m more pumped up about coming to the race track. I think that’s the biggest deal, me knowing what I want. It’s the biggest (learning) curve I’ve ever taken.” Logano was still in grade school when Mark Martin began telling whoever would listen that the kid was going to be a star. One hears such stories quite often in NASCAR, but most fall short of such heady forecasts. Logano, so far, has passed every test on his way to the top. Logano’s one Sprint Cup victory -- New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June 2009 -- was something of an anomaly, greatly aided by a timely rain shower that cut the race short. He wound up finishing 20th in the point standings with the victory, three top-five finishes and seven top 10s. It’s obvious: Logano is starting to “get it.” “It’s a gradual deal,” he said. “It’s not like a light switch. I remember last year at this point. Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) were telling me something, or Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) was telling me something, and I couldn’t make sense of it in my mind. As I kept going with time, and kept thinking about what they said to me when I was on the race track. I’d think about it and then, eventually, I made sense of it.” Early results this year have raised the bar on expectations. “I think it’s cool,” said Logano. “I’m excited. Eighth in points ... and last year I would have been happy with 20th in points at this point in the season. “I wish they’d start the Chase now, but we have a long way to go.” *** Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week (http://nascar.rbma. com) features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at nascar_thisweek@ yahoo.com. (c)
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COUCH THEATER -DVD PREVIEWS By DNA Smith
EDITOR’S NOTE: New DVDs reviewed in this column will be available in stores the week of March 22, 2010. PICKS OF THE WEEK “The African Queen” (Commemorative Box Set) (Not Rated) -- Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn star in this 1951 classic directed by John Huston. Set in 1914 Africa, Hepburn plays a Methodist missionary whose mission is destroyed by the Germans following the breakout of World War I. She is rescued by Charlie Allnut (Bogart, who won an Oscar for the role), the skipper of a rickety old tub named The African Queen. Together they brave the perilous waters of the Congo, avoiding the Germans and dangerous rapids in their attempt to sink the gunboat Louisa, thus opening the route to British ships and their way to freedom. This boxed set is light on special features, but it what it offers is pretty nifty. The first disc contains the newly restored print and a one-hour documentary on the making of the film. The second disc is a CD featuring the radio broadcast of “The African Queen” starring Bogart and Greer Garson. Also included is a reproduction of the out-of-print book by Hepburn, “The Making of The African Queen, or How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind,” her memoir on the filming of this classic movie. “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (PG-13) -The sparkly vampire series by Stephanie Meyer continues with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who, after being abandoned by vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), goes to frolic with shirtless teenage werewolfens. Stuff happens. I don’t know what, because I did not see this movie. “The T.A.M.I. Show” Collector’s Edition (NR) -- This is one of the greatest rock-n-roll concert films ever made. Filmed using an experimental high-definition video camera, this 1964 concert film features amazing performances by Jan and Dean, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, just to name a few. But the performance that will grab you is the one by James Brown. In the prime of his career, Brown’s set (“Out of Sight,” “Prisoner Of Love,” “Please, Please, Please” and “Night Train”) brings down the house. “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” (G) -- With this year’s release of “Toy Story 3,” Disney is rereleasing the first two films on DVD and BluRay. If you already own them, there’s no real reason to grab these, as the special features are basically the same as the older versions. TV SERIES “Mad Men” Season 3 “The Prisoner” (Miniseries) “Krod Mandoon & The Flaming Sword of Fire” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” The Complete Sixth Season “Father Knows Best” Season Four “7th Heaven” The Complete Tenth Season “The Lair” The Complete Third Season “Case Closed” Season Four
Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart star in “The African Queen” MOMENTS IN TIME The History Channel • On March 28, 1814, the funeral of Guillotin, the inventor and namesake of the infamous execution device, takes place outside of Paris. Guillotin had built the guillotine to show the intellectual and social progress of the Revolution; by killing aristocrats and journeymen the same way, equality in death was ensured. • On March 23, 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published, in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for “oll correct,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans. • On March 27, 1912, in Washington, D.C., Helen Taft, wife of President William Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, plant two Yoshina cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River, near the Jefferson Memorial. The event was held in celebration of a gift by the Japanese government of 3,020 cherry trees to the United States. • On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Beer and Wine Revenue Act. This law levies a federal tax on all alcoholic beverages to raise revenue for the federal government and gives individual states the option to further regulate the sale and distribution of beer and wine. • On March 24, 1945, Billboard publishes its first pop-music chart for albums. The first No. 1 album was Nat King Cole’s “King Cole Trio.” Billboard had been publishing charts for single records since 1940. • On March 25, 1958, Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Carmen Basilio to regain the middleweight boxing championship. Born Walker Smith, Jr., “Sugar Ray” got his boxing name when he borrowed his friend Ray Robinson’s Amateur Athletics Union card to enter a boxing tournament at age 16. • On March 26, 1987, responding to a 911 call, police raid the Philadelphia home of Gary Heidnik and find an appalling crime scene. In the basement of his dilapidated house was a veritable torture chamber where three women were found chained to a sewer pipe. Heidnik was one the inspirations for the Buffalo Bill character in “Silence of the Lambs.”
ARIES (March 21 to April 19) A pesky health problem should clear up soon. Meanwhile, travel -- both for personal as well as for business reasons -- is strong in the Aries aspect this week, and well into the next. TAURUS (April 20 to May 20) Look for Bovines to be on the move this week, whether it’s traveling for fun or for business. Other “moves” include workplace adjustments and, for some, relationship changes. GEMINI (May 21 to June 20) Geminis who have just gone through a hectic period involving job and/or family matters might want to take some well-earned time out to relax and restore those drained energy levels. CANCER (June 21 to July 22) A romantic situation seems to have stalled, just when the Moon Child was expecting it to go forward. Could that be a bad case of miscommunication going on. Talk it over openly and honestly. LEO (July 23 to August 22) Showing a genuine interest in something that’s important to a friend, family member or colleague could open a communication line that had been pretty much shut down for a while. VIRGO (August 23 to September 22) Making a potentially life-changing decision takes as much knowledge as you can gather, plus determination and patience. Take your time working it out. Don’t let anyone rush you. LIBRA (September 23 to October 22) You should be back on schedule and heading in the right direction after clearing up a misunderstanding. But there could still be some setbacks. If so, correct them immediately. SCORPIO (October 23 to November 21) A business matter keeps you pretty busy, but try to squeeze in time to be with family as well as close friends. You need the good vibrations you get from people who care for you. SAGITTARIUS (November 22 to December 21) Investing in an attractive prospect (business or personal) with little or no information can be risky. Avoid future problems by getting all the facts before you act. CAPRICORN (December 22 to January 19) Someone close to you might have an unexpected reaction to a decision you feel you’re prepared to make. Listen to his or her point of view. It could prove to be surprisingly helpful. AQUARIUS (January 20 to February 18) Don’t give up yet. That once warm, personal relationship that seems to be cooling off fast could recover with some tender, loving care, and who better than you to provide it? PISCES (February 19 to March 20) Career matters are strong this week. You might want to enter a training program to enhance your skills. Also, consider getting professional help in preparing a brilliant resume. BORN THIS WEEK: You have a way of respecting the feelings of others, which is one reason people feel comfortable having you in their lives.
(c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.
Tidbits速 of Jefferson County
Answers 1. Joe Niekro, with 144 wins. 2. Ty Cobb, with 54. 3. Marshall Faulk (100 rushing TDs, 36 receiving TDs) and Lenny Moore (63 rushing, 48 receiving). 4. Hank Iba (1964, 1968). 5. Once -- the Boston Bruins in 2010. 6. The Chicago Fire, in 1998. 7. Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977) and Secretariat (1973). (c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.
Published on Mar 23, 2010