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Texas' asterisk a bad idea from the get-go

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 9, 2009 at 10:04 am •  Published: April 9, 2009
The most famous asterisk in sports never existed. Ford Frick, a bumbling stooge of a baseball commissioner, ordered Roger Maris’ 1961 home run record listed separately, under the 162-game category.

But there was no asterisk, if only because Frick was too gooberheaded to think of it.

Someone in Austin thought of it. Which is how "2008*” came to be included on a wall in the Texas football complex, listing the Longhorns’ Big 12 titles.

Of course, Texas no more won the Big 12 title than it won the NCAA snow skiing championship. OU, beaten 45-35 by Texas, won the Big 12 title. If you don’t believe it, check the trophy case. The hardware was handed to Bob Stoops not by frisky frat boys who stole the trophy for a prank, but by button-down Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who is early in his administration but seems a far sharper knife than Ford Frick.

Anyway, that Texas wall proclamation has caused much consternation north of the Red River and much embarrassment south. Longhorn King Mack Brown, claiming he knew nothing of the 2008* in the first place, ordered it removed.

I can see how the asterisk went from bright idea to wall décor. Someone, whose name is withheld to protect the idiotic, figured the asterisk might motivate the Longhorns. Football coaches in every precinct seek bulletin-board material; the OU staff has been known to fabricate articles that boil the blood of every Sooner.

So long as it stayed deep in the UT catacombs, the asterisk was no big deal.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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