We lost a couple of good guys this week

Old age and cancer take their toll, as we've learned from family and friends who've died recently.

I lost my dad a few years ago at age 89.  I have a good friend battling cancer, and it does not look good.  It's life, but we are still shocked to hear that a friend or loved one dies.

This week, we lost two of my sports heroes: Bart Starr and Bill Buckner.  Starr was arguably the best NFL quarterback ever.  Buckner was undoubtedly one of the toughest guys ever to play baseball.  Starr was the master reader of defenses.  Buckner played baseball as if he were a hockey player.

First, Bart Starr died at age 85.  My love of Starr goes back to our early days in the U.S.

My brother and I had never seen a football game.  We were raised playing and thinking baseball 24/7.  However, it didn't take us long to fall in love with the Packers and the game of football when our family settled in Wisconsin from Cuba. 

My first football hero was Bart Starr, the legendary Packers QB, who won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls.  He was also the MVP in those two first AFL-NFL Championship games, as they were known back then.

In fact, I loved Starr so much that I always wore #15 on every sports jersey.  It's still my favorite number today!

Greatest game?  Probably the so-called "Ice Bowl," but there were others.

With all due respect to Unitas, Namath, Staubach, Bradshaw, Montana, Aikman, Young, Brady, and even Favre, I will always pick Starr to start my big game.

Second, Bill Buckner was born in Vallejo, Calif. in 1949 and died after a battle with cancer.  His death was a bit of a shock because I did not know he was sick.

Buckner hit .289 with 2,715 hits and a .408 on-base average.  He played with the Dodgers, Cubs, and Red Sox.  He was a fan favorite everywhere he played but will always be remembered for missing that ground ball that killed the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series.  Buckner missed the ball, but a lot of other crazy things happened that inning.

He was a tough out, a great competitor, and the kind of guy you wanted on your team.

RIP, Bart Starr and Bill Buckner.  You made football and baseball a lot of fun over the years.

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