Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saulting a Past KC Sports Hero

After last night's San Francisco thrashing of the Royals in the opening game of the World Series Dr. D sent to a text asking where the great Amos Otis was when you need him. This launched a bit of a volley of names like Paul Splittorff and Dan Quisenberry who were part of some great Royals teams in the 70s and 80s - before their well-documented 20-plus year playoff drought.

This brought my mind around to other formerly great and someone obscure Kansas City sports stars of the past and one guy in particular, Ed Podolak:

I don't know what else to say about the ex-Chiefs running back that this picture can't. He played for the Chiefs for 9 years, '69-77, so he was there for my coming of age as a football fan. Problem was that while I remember him being regarded as good, I never really thought he was. He best year was probably 1973, one of my favorite years as it's when my sports memories basically start, as Ed had more than 1,100 yards from scrimmage that year and also returned punts. He finished his career with a strong season in 1977, but the problem was that Chiefs mostly sucked from 1973 through 1977, after being a powerhouse early in Podolak's career. So I remember him as like the best (at least the most focal) player on some pretty bad teams. Previous to that he had had a playoff game vs. Miami where he accounted for more than 300 total yards.

But look at him. Is it any wonder that if you Google his name, you get a link to a story titled "Is Ed Podolak the most underappreciated Iowa football icon?" Basically, he's a white halfback who wore number 14 in a day and age when the top halfbacks were the likes of O.J. Simpson, Franco Harris, and Walter Payton - all shifty fast black dudes with cool names who wore numbers in the '30s? Ed Podolak, well, there's this: 

That's right, check out that 'stache. I just want to finish by saying, that like the Iowa football program, Ed, I too, as a youngster ignorant to the nuances of the game, probably underappreciated your abilities on the football field. Nice work and great career.

No comments: