Brendan Shanahan, New Jersey, Toronto, and Useless Facts

1988-89 O-Pee-Chee - Brendan Shanahan

1988-89 O-Pee-Chee – Brendan Shanahan

2009-10 O-Pee-Chee - Brendan Shanahan

2009-10 O-Pee-Chee – Brendan Shanahan

In light of today’s announcement regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs, I thought we’d look at a little Now and Then of the man, Brendan Shanahan, who just hired the man who drafted him, Lou Lamoriello.

Shanahan began (in 1987-88) and ended (in 2008-09) his career with the New Jersey Devils. Even though there were four other stops in between, the connection is obvious.

A few things to note about Shanahan’s career between the bookends above:

-His signing with St. Louis as a free agent led to Scott Stevens being awarded to the Devils as compensation… that turned out pretty well for Lamoriello, I’d say.
-He was one of the first Canadian members of the Triple Gold Club after his Olympic gold medal win in 2002
-His request for a trade out of Hartford led to Paul Coffey being traded to the Whalers, where he played all of 20 games, which is more than he played for either the Boston Bruins (18) or Chicago Blackhawks (10). Useless fact, sure, but why else are you here?

We’ll see how this goes for the Leafs this season, but who wouldn’t pay money to be a fly on the wall for some of those conversations between Shanahan, Lamoriello and Mike Babcock? This is going to be fun.

Stormin’ Gorman Thomas and Truck Stops

1986Topps-GormanThomas

1986 Topps – Gorman Thomas

I know what you’re thinking, and no, this picture was not taken at a truck stop in the movie Smokey and the Bandit and photoshopped onto this baseball card. This is actually what Gorman Thomas looked like near the end of his Major League Baseball career.

Outside of Mike Schmidt, who you might have heard of, nobody hit more home runs than ol’ Stormin’ Gorman between 1978 and 1983. Schmidt had 220, Thomas had 197. Not bad.

Now, I found a few clips here that will make you really understand Gorman Thomas. The first two are courtesy of the crew at Disciples of Uecker:

“They come to see me strike out, hit a home run, or run into a fence. I try to accommodate them at least one way every game.” – This is a quote from Gorman himself, and it makes me long for a simpler time.

“In Okrent’s account, it’s easy to understand why Gorman Thomas was such a fan favorite in Milwaukee. Thomas drank beers with tailgaters in the County Stadium parking lot, had a beer gut, and smoked Marlboros.” – I’ve never been to Milwaukee, but this pretty much embodies everything that I hope and dream Milwaukee stands for. I want Milwaukee to be a city from a simpler time and I don’t care if they’re mad at me for wanting that.

Now, this is from Wikipedia, a fairly popular website that you may have encountered:

“At present, he works under a personal services contract with the Brewers to make appearances in the community and welcome visitors to Gorman’s Grill at Miller Park.” – Basically, he’s a mascot for a restaurant/bar at a Major League Baseball stadium. This is literally my dream job. I want to meet this man and learn from him.  He also wore the shit out of that hat.