It’s the latest Greek American Sports Report, from Sports & Media Correspondent Terry Poulos. Read on for the latest news on Greek Americans in sports, with a focus on the greater Midwest and beyond.
BASEBALL GREAT MILT PAPPAS, 76
Former MLB standout Milt Pappas in April died at the age of 76. He was a starting pitcher (1957-73) for the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago Cubs. He later went into sales, most recently with Primesource Building Products. He had a career record of 209-164, recording 100 wins in each league. His lifetime ERA was 3.40 with 43 shutouts and one All-Star game start. A native of Detroit, Milt’s first marriage was to Carole, who died in a tragic car accident. He’s survived by his second wife, Judi, son Steven (first marriage) and daughter Alexandria (second marriage). He had a second daughter, Michelle, from his first marriage, who passed away in 2015. Milt lived his final years in Beecher, Illinois.
At age 33, Milt had the most memorable moment of his career. He pitched a no-hitter but was denied a perfect game in the 9th inning – with two outs and a 3-2 count – when the umpire called ball four on a pitch virtually in the zone, if not an outright strike. Umpires habitually ring up batters who fail to swing at close pitches with two strikes. The umpire claimed he wasn’t aware of the perfect game. The performance has become known as the closest anyone has ever come to a perfect game without actually getting one. In art, it’s oft repeated that `perfection’ is found in the imperfection. Otherwise, a Michaelangelo would be a mere photograph opposed to an ornate hand-made interpretation. If baseball were art, then Milt pitched a masterpiece for the ages. It is arguable that, had he gotten the perfect game, it would be much less memorable than being denied. And with that, Milt will be remembered far more simply because he fell one strike short of absolute perfection. RIP (Rest in Peace, and perfection), Milt Pappas.
GIALAMAS TO RIO FOR PARALYMPICS
Next up in Brazil is Naperville, IL native Alyssa Gialamas, now preparing for her second Paralympics (September 7-18) in 200m freestyle swimming. Alyssa placed 5th in the world in 2012 at the London Summer Games. She holds many American records.
MUSEUM HOSTS 2-TIME US OLYMPIAN, PARALYMPIANS FOR TALK
On September 8 (doors open 6 pm, program runs 7-9), the National Hellenic Museum will host a panel discussion on the Olympics featuring Diver Christina Loukas, 2-time US Olympian (9th in world at Beijing 2008, 8th at London 2012). Christina, who also competed in synchronized swimming in Beijing, will be joined on the panel by US paralympic athletes Patrick Byrne (sled hockey) and Paul Moran (volleyball and tennis).
UIC ASSISTANT COACH
The University of Illinois at Chicago in June hired Seth Cooper as an assistant basketball coach. Seth is still one of the top players in the National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament. He was a two-time captain at NCAA Division III Edgewood College (Wisconsin). Three times he was named all-conference and in 2005 he was Player of the Year. A scholar athlete, he graduated with a degree in business management. In 2013, while serving as a graduate assistant coach at Indiana University, he obtained a masters in Athletic Administration and Sports Management. In 2006-10, he was an assistant video coordinator for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. Seth was also involved with helping coordinate game-plans and served as an advance scout. Later, he served as associate head coach for the Maine Red Claws, an affiliate of the NBA’s Boston Celtics in the NBADL. In 2015, he married Corina.
PARTNERS WITH NFLPA
Teamworks of North Carolina has been making some noise of late. Its founder and managing director is former Glenbrook South (Illinois) High School and Duke University football player Zach Maurides. In July, the company secured capital financing of $6 million and in August it inked a partnership with the NFL Players Association, the union representing all NFL players. Teamworks bills itself as a “leading athletic communication software” concern. It has agreements with major NCAA conferences. Teamworks creates “collaborative software” which helps student-athletes better schedule classes, homework, practice, games and more.
MANTICE GOT GAME
Recent Valparaiso University (Indiana) journalism grad Tommy Mantice didn’t take long to get in the game. In July, he started working for STATS Inc. a leading data tracking provider in sports. In August, he was hired as a freelance reporter by the Daily Herald newspaper, where he’ll cover Chicago-area prep sports.
CPD/CFD CHARITY BASEBALL GAME
Greek Media Club of Chicago co-founder George Bliss on July 13 reprised his role as radio play-by-play announcer for the annual Chicago Police Department vs. Chicago Fire Department charity baseball game, held at US Cellular Field. Proceeds benefited the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. George is a principal in the Chicago 16″ Softball Hall of Fame & Museum and has performed these police/fire broadcast duties for the past five years. He was joined by Spiro Frentzas, a businessman and actor, who has appeared as an extra on various sets for the “Chicago Fire” TV drama.
Dr. George Korkos, former principal co-owner in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, was at the Rio Olympics and met up with current NBA commissioner Adam Silver. He was also present this summer when the Bucks broke ground on their new stadium. Incidentally, over the summer. Dr. Korkos’ grandson, James Theofilos, worked a marketing internship with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers…The newly-appointed head coach of Loyola University-Chicago women’s basketball, Kate Achter, played one year of pro ball for Palaio Faliro in Athens…George Karavidas (Glenbrook South HS, Illinois) is now playing baseball at Oakton Community College. He was named 2nd team all-conference at 3B/1B. His season stats were .322 average, 9 doubles, 4 triples, 25 RBI…Speaking of Oakton, their basketball team had a great season last year and one of the assistant coaches helping tutor young talent is Plato Dimakos, a former pro basketball player in Greece…Tino Malnati (New Trier, Illinois), whose mother is Greek, is a walk-on basketball player at Northwestern University…Pavlos Marakis, a 6’7 freshman at Elmhurst College (Illinois), joined the team from his native Greece…Returning all-state basketball player Jimmy Sotos (Conant H.S., Illinois) was mentioned by the Chicago Sun-Times in August as the “Summer’s biggest winner” in offseason competition. He’s being recruited by several NCAA Division I schools…Nick Mantis, the grandson of former NBA player Nick Mantis, was named all-area in basketball in the Northwest Indiana region…Jim Pappas is the boys varsity basketball coach at Warren Township H.S. (Illinois).
There’s more but we’re out of space for now. Thanks for stopping by. If you have items of interest, please drop me an email.