Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Further Review: In so many words, goodbye

To every great sports career there is a great ending. With emotional ceremonies, notorious final words and terrific endings, here are the ways some of sports greatest bid their adieus.

Lou Gehrig:

New York Yankees 1923-39.

The original Iron Man, Lou Gehrig defined what it meant to be a baseball player in the 1930s. After playing for over a decade in the bigs, Gehrig announced May 2, 1939 that he was retiring from baseball, just eight games into the regular season. With that decision, he ended his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played. Two months later, on July 4, 1939, Gehrig gave one of the most notorious farewell speeches of all time. In front of 61,808 fans at Yankee Stadium, Gehrig said, “Today I consider myself the luckiest man of the face of the earth.”

John Wooden:

Head Coach, UCLA 1948-1975.

One of the classiest and winningest coaches in NCAA basketball history, John Wooden went out the only way he knew how — on top. In his final game as head coach of the Bruins, on March 31, 1975, Wooded coached his team to an overtime victory to win its 10th NCAA championship in 12 years. UCLA trailed Louisville by four points with 50 seconds left in regulation, but overcame the slim deficit to even the game at the end of regulation. The Bruins edged Louisville by one point in overtime to walk away with the 75-74 victory.

Following the game Wooden said this of his retirement: “I’m sad I’m getting out, but I’m going out pretty happy, too. I told them [the team] how proud I was of them. I told them they’d won a national championship, but to keep it in perspective. There are other things ahead.”

Walter Payton:

Chicago Bears 1975-1987

In his 13 years in the NFL, Payton recorded 125 touchdowns, 16,726 rushing yards on 3,838 carries and 21,803 all-purpose yards. Known as “Sweetness,” Payton wowed the Chicago Bears’ faithful with his speed, agility and willingness to take a hit.

Before the 1987 season, Payton announced he would retire at the conclusion of the Bears’ year. Before his final home game in Chicago, the Bears retired his No.34 jersey, putting Sweetness into the team’s record books forever.

Six years later, in 1993, Payton was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. During his speech, he offered these parting words: “I am going to close by saying, life is short — it is oh so sweet. There are a lot of people that we meet as we walk through these hallowed halls, but the things that mean the most are the friendships that you meet and take along with you.”


Cal Ripken, Jr.

Baltimore Orioles 1981-2001

Just as Gehrig did over 60 years earlier, Cal Ripken, Jr. exited baseball with class. Oct. 6, 2001, Ripken walked across the field at Camden Yards for the final time in his 21-year career, ending a reign of 3,001 games played in his career. While Ripken will be remembered for breaking Gehrig’s record of consecutive games played, he bid his farewell in just as memorable a fashion. With the Orioles’ owners, President Clinton and MLB commissioner Bud Selig on hand, Ripken played his final game as an Oriole in front of the 48,807 fans on hand.

When the game ended and Ripken was officially a retired MLB player, he had this to say: “One question I’ve repeatedly been asked these last few weeks is ‘how do I want to be remembered.’ My answer has been simple: ‘To be remembered at all is pretty special.'”

Mary Motzko

Sports Editor, The Badger Herald, 2001-02

As sports editor at The Badger Herald, I bid my adieus in a fashion that is the only way I know how. I’m not exactly sure how many sports editors have graced this page since 1969, but I will never forget the ones that worked here during my Wisconsin tenure.

Kevin Kaduk gave me my start here three years ago. Back then, he tutored me in sports writing and gave me helpful hints. Now, a few years later, he still gives me advice ? about anything. For that I will always be grateful.

I am also indebted to the foundation Pat Whiting, Andy Bitter, Johnny Daly, Manu Raju and Matt Barnes set. They all came before me, yet their personalities and contributions have remained at the Herald sports desk.

When I set out on this sports-editor journey, I had no idea that it would end a year and a half later. It wasn’t always easy, but if I had to do it again I would not do it with anyone but Lars Russell. My co-editor for a year and a half, I probably would have made this farewell a long time ago if I didn’t have your patience, professionalism and friendship to rely on. You’re a good editor, and you’re going to be great next year.

Lee Ironside and Ben Robinson — you’ve both made this semester a lot easier for me and Lars, and for that I thank you. Good luck next year — you’ll be great. And, with all “saltiness” aside, have fun in Vegas!

I also couldn’t have enjoyed any of this experience if it wasn’t for Brandon Finsterwalder, Chris LeBarton and Andy Meister. Thanks for your willingness to help and, of course, for your friendship.

With that, I take my final bow from the Herald sports page. Unable to sum up my farewell in my own words, I am taking the words that someone wrote to me, which I think sum up my editorship: “I am glad this happened, despite all my joking.”

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