This Month In Matador Athletics (November)

Nov. 1, 2010

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Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, offers his monthly insights on the accomplishments on the teams, coaches and student-athletes who compete for Cal State Northridge ... The monthly report includes upcoming key games, and a report on what other activities are happening in the Matador Athletic Department ... This month, Tim Leary, Katie Holloway, Dick Enberg and Dr. Stan Charnofsky.

Northridge, Calif. - It is perhaps the greatest moment in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

It is 1988 and the Dodgers are facing the heavily favored Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning with a runner on first base, Kirk Gibson wasn't expected to play because of a bad knee, but up to the plate hobbled Gibson to face future Hall of Fame relief pitcher Dennnis Eckersley. Cal State Northridge pitching coach Tim Leary, a prominent member of the Dodgers that season, knew what was coming.

"The energy was epic," remembers Leary. "The count reached 3-and-2. We were sure Eckersley was going to throw a slider. Sure enough, Eckersley throws a slider, and BAM, Gibson hits the ball out of the park in right field."

Pandemonium exploded at Dodger Stadium. "I remember running onto the field and celebrating with my Dodger teammates," smiled Leary. "The next hour was the most incredible natural high ever. We were so excited."

You could say that Leary helped set the dramatic situation in motion earlier in the day.

"Kirk (Gibson) and I lived in Santa Monica," remembers Leary. "On that day, I picked him up and drove him to the stadium. No one thought Kirk was going to play because of his bad knee, but Kirk made incredible history that day. That game really tore out the heart of the A's. We slayed the giant. We beat Dennis Eckersley and starter Dave Stewart. That was the heart and soul of their pitching staff. They were done. It was over. We won the World Series in five games."

Time has moved forward to 2010 and now Leary is hoping to mentor future major league pitchers at Cal State Northridge. The enthusiasm to teach and coach drives Leary forward.

"I've seen all our pitchers and now is the time to go ahead and teach, something I enjoy doing," said Leary. "With the kids we have, we need to teach them the whole package ... how to stretch, how to train, how to stay healthy, and learn the fundamentals of the game. We have a great group of players at Cal State Northridge. They are strong with great arms. I think we will do just fine when the 2011 season starts."

Leary, who was an All-American pitcher at UCLA, spent an illustrious 14-year career (1981-1994) in the major leagues with seven teams including the Dodgers (1987-89). Here are just a few of the many memories that Leary remembers.

His first major league game - April 12, 1981 with the New York Mets.
"A great moment and a tragic moment all within two innings. It was my very first start in the big leagues against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. I struck out the first two batters. However in the second inning, I tore a muscle in my forearm, my first real injury. It was a rough time and it steamrolled into a couple years of injuries. It was a real character builder to fight my way back to the major leagues from 1983-to-1985."

A member of the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers. That season Leary won 17 games, won the 1988 Comeback Player of the Year Award, and helped the Dodgers to the World Series title over a powerful Oakland A's team that featured Mark McGwire, Jose Canesco and Dennis Eckersley.
"That Dodger team simple jelled during the entire season. From the All-Star game on, we were on an upswing. We rode the shirt tails of players like Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser. We could pitch and play defense."

In 1989, the Dodgers traded Leary to the Cincinnati Reds.
"I wasn't excited to get traded from the Dodgers. However, as I was cleaning out my locker, I got a phone message from Pete Rose. `Hey Tim, it's Pete Rose. You're pitching on Thursday. Glad to have you.' Pete was one of my idols and here he was giving me a call to welcome me to Cincinnati. That really pumped me up."

In 1991, Tim Leary was the Opening Day pitcher for the New York Yankees against the Tigers in Detroit.
"It was 14 degrees in Detroit that night. I pitched nine innings. The hitters didn't want to hit in that type of weather so I jammed everybody. it was an honor to be an Opening Day starter for the New York Yankees."

The toughest players he ever faced.
"Wade Boggs probably hit .400 off me but he did that to everybody. Jose Canesco, Joe Carter and Harold Baines were a couple players that come to mind."

The toughest player he dominated.
"George Brett (Hall of Famer) was 1-for-18 against me until he got a couple hits in a game."

Playing with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1985-86.
"I had the opportunity to play with several outstanding players including Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor and Ted Simmons. I ended the 1986 season as the #2 starter with 12 wins."

Leary's major league career ended in 1994 with the Texas Rangers.
"On June 6, 1994, I retired. But several weeks later, my agent called to say the Texas Rangers needed pitching help. I signed and back to the major leagues I went. However, in one game I threw 126 pitches. My shoulder was on fire and I was put on the disabled list for two weeks. I knew then it was time to get out. Fortunately, I struckout two-time batting champion Edgar Martinez in my last chance at pitching in the big leagues. It was tough to quit but I had no regrets. I saw other players stay too long and saw how they were emotionally damaged. Your mind wants to play but you physically can't execute."

Enberg Episode ...
Last month, we reported on Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg, who began his post-collegiate career as a professor and assistant baseball coach at then San Fernando Valley State in the early 1960's ... Enberg indicated that he had not visited the campus in many years, and would like to visit the school following the major league baseball season in which he served as television announcer for the San Diego Padres ... Sure enough, Enberg recently made a surprise visit to CSUN to relive many memories of his campus days and visit his long time friend, Dr. Stan Charnofsky, who was Matadors head baseball coach in the early 1960's, and is currently a professor at CSUN ... Dr. Charnofsky gave Enberg a tour of the campus and then made a visit to The Matadome where Enberg was a public address announcer at Matador games nearly 50 years ago ... The women's basketball team was practicing, and head coach Jason Flowers stopped practice to introduce Enberg to the squad ... Enberg told the team that the friends they make in college last a lifetime ... Enberg told the team that even if you lose a game, "you are winners if there is love on your team." ... The meeting lasted several minutes and the team applauded and shook hands with Enberg, who is regarded as one of the best sports announcers in broadcast history.

Holloway Hoopla ...
Congratulations to former CSUN women's basketball player Katie Holloway who is a member of the United States Women's Sitting Volleyball team ... At the recent Sitting Volleyball Championships in Edmond, Ok, Holloway helped the Americans finish the 10-day event with a 7-1 record, losing only to China in the gold medal match ... Despite the loss, the United States captured the silver medal and gained a berth in the 2012 London Paralympic Games ... Holloway, who is a key starter on the USA team, began her Paralympic Games debut in Beijing in 2008 and was a huge contributor to Team USA's silver medal ... Holloway is simply an amazing story ... Holloway was born without a fibula in her right leg, and when she was 20 months old, her right foot and ankle were amputated ... Holloway played volleyball and basketball in high school, but concentrated on basketball at Cal State Northridge ... Not many people know that Holloway played her entire collegiate basketball career (2004-08) at CSUN with a prosthetic leg ... During her senior season, Holloway averaged 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, led the Big West Conference in field goal percentage (.554) and was an all-league selection ... Holloway ended her Matador career sixth all-time in rebounding (546) and ninth in scoring (938 points).

Charnofsky Chatter ...
From the "Where are They Now File", Dr. Stan Charnofsky served as the Matadors head baseball coach from 1962 to 1966 ... Despite his success in nurturing the fledging baseball program, and coaching several outstanding players, education proved to be the winning hit for Dr. Charnofsky ... To this day, Dr. Charnofsky is still a key faculty member at Cal State Northridge ... Dr. Charnofsky started as a professor in 1961 at then San Fernando Valley State and 49 YEARS later, he is still teaching at Cal State Northridge ... Dr. Charnofsky, who earned his undergraduate degree in 1953 and earned advanced degrees in later years at USC, is currently a professor of Educational Psychology and Counseling at Cal State Northridge ... Dr. Charnofsky has been a Fulbright Scholar and a CSUN Department Chair in addition to several other prestigious academic appointments during his tenure at CSUN ... So what motivates a person to stay working at one place for 49 YEARS? ... "I love what I do," proclaims Dr. Charnofsky. "I like the people I work with, and I love the students."

See you in December !!!

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