York Sports Hall of Fame member and one of the original group that got York Sports Night off and running, George Trout has a long memory when it comes to sports.
Better than mine by a mile.
But he's older now, though reasonably well-preserved, which means his memory occasionally might need to be jogged.
So I'm pleased to note that my column last Thursday about my "Pennsylvania Bowl" prognostication (Eagles vs. Steelers in the Super Bowl) made a few months ago, and my experience predicting the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies as the National League champions, hit home with him.
"It really rang true to me," he said in an interview Wednesday.
And actually, his story is funnier than mine.
So I'll pass it on.
Back in 1964, the first year for York Sports Night, too, come to think of it, Trout worked as the program director at the WORK-AM radio station in York. WORK -- York County's first radio station -- was known as York's sports radio station back in those days.
And back then, Trout recalled, the station had just hired a new manager by the name of Elwood Anderson.
According to Trout, Anderson knew next to nothing about sports, especially baseball. He hailed from the coal regions of Virginia ... enough said.
But he was the man in charge, so when he got all excited about "his" great new contest idea, he ran with it.
"Everyone was all ears whether we thought it was a good idea or not," Trout said.
The idea, Trout remembered, was to have an on-air contest giving listeners a chance to pick the day on which the Phillies would win the pennant. Now keep in mind, the Phils were at the top of the National League by 61/2 games with only a dozen games left to play. Two weeks were left in the season.
Anyway, Trout had his on-air personalities promoting this contest every chance they could with 30- and 60-second spots (ads).
"It went something like this," Trout said: "'We all know the Phillies are going to win the pennant ... the question is, on what day will they win it?' Then the voice went on to extol the greatness of the Phillies on WORK."
Well, guess whose voice was used on the spots? Right, it was Trout's. And it was easily recognizable.
Anyway, Anderson ordered the 60- and 30-second spots to run every 30 minutes all day long.
"At first I asked, then near the end I pleaded ("begged" might be a better word) to cut back on the number of times the spots were running. It was my voice, after all," Trout said.
To this day, almost 50 years later, it's still a painful memory.
Day by day, slowly but surely, the Phils went down the tubes.
They didn't win the pennant or much of anything else those last two weeks of the season.
"The worst thing," Trout recalled, "is everyone connected my voice with those spots. And I was very involved in the community at the time. At every meeting I attended, the question was asked with accompanying laughter, about the Phils and the sinking ship.
"People in cars passing me on the street yelled something about the Phils. People called me at home and at the office asking how the Phils were doing."
Finally, the end came for the Phils.
But it wasn't the end of the taunting he received, Trout said.
"It went on for weeks. Many weeks," he said.
In fact, it took a few seasons, Trout said, before the pain of the opening line -- "We all know the Phils are going to win ..." -- went away.
He remembers it still, however.
The radio station held a contest, and nobody won.
It's a story worth telling.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.