Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How to Go to the Palmetto Bowl: Clemson vs. South Carolina

The State House in Columbia, with its Confederate Memorial

This Saturday, the football team at the University of South Carolina hosts its cross-State rival, the defending National Champions, Clemson University, in a rivalry known as the Palmetto Bowl, in honor of their home, the Palmetto State.

Before You Go. South Carolina is in the South, so it could be a bit warmer than you're used to, including at this time of year. Saturday is forecast for mid-60s by day, low 40s by night. You won't need a Winter jacket for the entire trip, but you should still bring one.

Although South Carolina was the original "Southern State," you don't need a passport or to change your money to visit. It's in the Eastern Time Zone, so you don't have to fiddle with your timepieces, either.

Tickets. Both teams have stadiums seating over 80,000 people. Clemson nearly always sells theirs out, and South Carolina usually gets over 70,000. Getting tickets might be hard, especially for this game.

Pretty much every seat for this Palmetto Bowl at Williams-Brice Stadium is going for $134 and up, though you might be able to get a seat in the upper deck for $112. And because Clemson has already played its last home football game of the season, I wasn't able to get ticket prices. I did find a site (not the University's) that said that the average ticket price was $83.

Getting There. This will be Thanksgiving Weekend, so demand means that the usual guidelines for availability and pricing will not apply.

It's 717 miles from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan to Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina, and 777 miles to Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. Knowing this, your first instinct will be to fly.

Unfortunately, neither Columbia nor Clemson (nor Greenville nor Spartanburg, near Clemson) is big enough to have a major airport. You may be better off flying to Charlotte Douglas International Airport and renting a car and driving the last 102 miles to Columbia or 132 miles to Clemson -- or flying to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and renting a car and driving the last 219 miles to Columbia or 133 miles to Clemson.

Amtrak goes to both towns. Columbia is on their New York-to-Florida routes, the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor. It would be $438 round-trip, except every train from Florida to New York is sold out for Sunday. You would have to stay in Columbia an extra night. The station is at 850 Pulaski Street, at the western edge of downtown. You'd have to walk a few blocks to Assembly & Blossom Streets, and take the Garnet Bus (campus bus) to get to the stadium, 2 1/2 miles to the southeast.

Were this game at Clemson, you could take the Crescent, their New York-to-New Orleans train. It leaves Penn Station at 2:15 PM and arrives in Clemson at... 4:54 AM. The return trip leaves at 9:45 PM and arrives back in New York at 10:35 the next morning. It'll cost a whopping $496 this week. The station is at 1105 Tiger Blvd., about a mile north of the campus. Red Route bus.

Greyhound to Columbia may not feel worth it, either. Round-trip fare is $338, but it can drop to $299 with advanced purchase. 710 Buckner Road, about 5 miles north of downtown. You'd have to walk a mile and a half to Main and Oakland Streets to get Bus 101 to downtown. Greyhound to Clemson is worse: The Dog doesn't even go to Clemson. It gets no closer than 4500 Highway 81 South in Anderson, 20 miles to the southeast. Fortunately, Clemson Area Transit runs bus service to Clemson proper.

So it looks like the best way down is driving. For Columbia, you'll be going down Interstate 95 (or its New Jersey equivalent, the Turnpike) almost the whole way, until Exit 160B, onto Interstate 20 West. That will get you to Columbia's beltway, at Exit 76A, taking Interstate 77 South, to Exit 5, to State Route 48 North, which will get you to the stadium.

It'll be about 2 hours from the Lincoln Tunnel to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, 20 minutes in Delaware, and an hour and a half in Maryland, before crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, at the southern tip of the District of Columbia, into Virginia. Then it will be 3 hours or so in Virginia, another 3 hours in North Carolina, and about 2 hours and 15 minutes in South Carolina. That's a little over 12 hours. Given rest stops, preferably in one in each State from Maryland to South Carolina, you're talking about a 16-hour trip.

For Clemson, take the New Jersey Turnpike/I-95 all the way from New Jersey to Petersburg, Virginia. Exit 51 will put you on I-85 South, and that will take you right through North Carolina and into South Carolina. Take Exit 19 to U.S. Route 76 West, to State Route 93 West, and that will take you to the campus.

You'll be in New Jersey for about an hour and a half, Delaware for 20 minutes, Maryland for 2 hours, inside the Capital Beltway (Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia) for half an hour if you're lucky (and don't make a rest stop anywhere near D.C.), Virginia for 3 hours, North Carolina for 4 hours, and South Carolina for 2 and a half hours. That's about 14 hours. Throw in rest stops, and it'll be closer to 18 hours.

Once In the State. Like North Carolina, South Carolina was named for the King of England at the time of its settlement, Charles I. It has just under 5 million people, and is 1 of 4 States, along with North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, to be both 1 of the Original 13 and 1 of the Confederate 11. Indeed, South Carolina was the 1st State to secede, shortly after the 1860 election, and had threatened to do so once before, during the Nullification Crisis of 1832. It is still in the shadow of its racist and rebellious past.
Prominent newspapers in South Carolina include the Columbia-based The State, the Greenville News (pretty much the paper for the Clemson community), the Charleston-based Post and Courier (not to be confused with South Jersey's Courier-Post), the Myrtle Beach-based Sun News, and the Spartanburg-based Herald-Journal.

Founded in 1786 as a State capital with a central location, and named for Christopher Columbus, Columbia is home to about 135,000 people, with a metropolitan area of a little under a million. (It's neck-and-neck with Charleston as the largest city in the State.) Street addresses increase eastward and westward from the Congaree River, and increase northward. The University of South Carolina -- and nobody outside the State calls it either "Carolina" or "USC," but people inside the State do -- was founded in 1801.

Clemson the city has only about 14,000 permanent residents, while Clemson the University, founded in 1899 and known until 1964 as Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, has about 23,000 students. And, of course, a sellout at Memorial Stadium has a population of about 81,000.

Both the city and the University were founded by Thomas Green Clemson IV, a mining engineer from Philadelphia who had studied at the Sorbonne (the University of Paris). He had married Anna Maria Calhoun, daughter of John C. Calhoun, the leading Southern politician of the 1st half of the 19th Century, and the staunchest defender slavery and States' Rights ever had. When Calhoun died in 1850, Clemson inherited his Fort Hill plantation in what was then part of the town of Pendleton, and built his university around it.

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, a.k.a. The Comet, runs buses in the Columbia area, with a single fare of $1.50. Clemson Area Transit (CAT) runs free buses around town, and to Anderson. ZIP Codes in South Carolina start with the digits 29. For the Columbia area, it's 290, 291 and 292; for the Clemson-Greenville-Spartanburg area, 296. The Area Code for Columbia is 803, and for Clemson 864. The State has no sales tax.
Going In. The official address of the University of South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium is 1125 George Rogers Blvd., about 2 1/2 miles south of downtown. If you drive in, parking is a whopping $40.
It opened in 1934 as Columbia Municipal Stadium, not as a school facility, with 17,600 seats. In 1941, it was renamed Carolina Stadium. It was expanded to 34,000 seats in 1949, and 42,517 in 1959. The estate of Martha Williams, whose husband Thomas Brice had played for the Gamecocks in the early 1920s, funded an expansion to 56,140 in 1972, and it was renamed Williams-Brice Stadium. And so, the stadium known as the Cock Pit also began to be called "the Billy Brice" and "the Willy B."

It was expanded again to 72,400 in 1982, and to the present 80,250 in 1996. It s a horseshoe pointing northwest. The field is aligned northwest-to-southeast, and was switched to artificial turn in 1970, and back to natural grass in 1984. The stadium has also hosted rock concerts, and a 1987 visit by Pope John Paul II.
The official address of Clemson's Memorial Stadium is 1 Avenue of Champions, just to the southwest of downtown. If you drive in, parking costs $25. Like Tiger Stadium at Louisiana State, it is nicknamed Death Valley. The playing surface is named Frank Howard Field, for their head coach from 1940 to 1969, when, "I retired due to illness. The alumni got sick of me."
It opened in 1942 with 20,500 seats, was expanded to 43,451 in 1960, 53,306 in 1978, 79,845 in 1984, and its present 81,500 in 2008, making it the largest stadium in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Unusual among football fields, due to the angle of the sun, the field is aligned east-to-west. It has always been real grass. Behind the east end zone is "The Hill."

Not only is Clemson more successful in football than South Carolina, but it has the honor of having the only venue in the entire State to have hosted a regular-season major league sporting event. When the NFL granted a franchise to Charlotte for the 1995 season, to be named the Carolina Panthers, it was determined that the stadium being built in downtown Charlotte wouldn't be ready until 1996, so the Panthers played their 1st season at Clemson.
Food. The South is known for great food. The Carolinas, in particular, are known for good barbecue. Unfortunately, both universities' websites only state that they have concession stands. It's bad enough for a not-that-big program like the Gamecocks', but the Tigers'? Does that sound like a defending National Championship program to you?

Team History Displays. South Carolina has one of the lamest histories of any Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A) schools. It's not quite Rutgers bad, but bad enough. They went undefeated in the Southern Conference in 1933, but still lost the title to Duke who played 1 more conference game.

In 1969, they won the Atlantic Coast Conference title. Then they made the mistake of leaving the ACC in 1972, and this independent status hurt them. In 1984, their "Black Magic" team (so named for their all-black uniforms) won their 1st 9 games and rose to as high as Number 2 in the polls, but a loss away to Navy and another to Oklahoma State in the Gator Bowl dropped them to 10-2 and Number 11 in the final poll.

In 1992, they joined the Southeastern Conference. It took them until 2010 to win the SEC East Division and advance to the SEC Championship Game -- and Auburbn slaughtered them.

They reached their 1st bowl game on New Year's Day 1946, losing the Gator Bowl to Wake Forest. They lost their 1st 8 bowl appearances, a record. Finally, on January 2, 1995, they won the Carquest Bowl at whatever the Miami Dolphins' stadium was named that year. Since then, they've won the 2001, 2002 and 2013 Outback Bowls; the 2006 Liberty Bowl, the 2012 and 2014 Capital One Bowls, and the 2014 Independence Bowl. But they've still never appeared in one of the big bowls that were traditionally played on New Year's Day: The Rose, the Orange, the Sugar, the Cotton, or the Fiesta.

Only 2 Gamecock players are in the College Football Hall of Fame. Running back George Rogers won the 1980 Heisman Trophy, and that's why the street on the north side of Williams-Brice Stadium is named for him. Receiver Sterling Sharpe played for them from 1983 to 1987. (His brother Shannon Sharpe went to Savannah State in Georgia.)

The Gamecocks retired Rogers' Number 38 and Sharpe's Number 2, as well as the 37 of 1951 running back Steve Wadiak and the 56 of 1964 center Mike Johnson. Rogers was a Pro Bowler for the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Redskins, and was a member of the 'Skins team that won Super Bowl XXII. There is now a movement to get a statue for him, for outside the stadium.
Hopefully, they'll choose a pose less awkward than this one.

Clemson is far more successful, and not just recently. They had undefeated seasons in 1900, 1906, 1948 and 1950. They surprised people by winning the National Championship in 1981 -- and then surprising no one by getting busted for recruiting violations the next season.

In 2015, they got all the way to the National Championship Game, but lost a thriller to Alabama. In 2016, they got back, and this time, they won a thriller over Ohio State, for their 2nd National Championship.
They won the title in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1900, 1902, 1903 and 1906; and in the Southern Conference in 1940 and 1948. Despite the admittance of such schools as Florida State, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, no school has won more Atlantic Coast Conference football titles than Clemson's 16: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 2011, 2015 and 2016. Total: 22 league titles. They also won the ACC Atlantic Division in 2009, but lost the ACC Championship Game.

But Clemson only has 3 players in the College Football Hall of Fame: 1939 halfback Banks McFadden, 1981 linebacker Jeff Davis, and 1982 safety Terry Kinard. The last 2 both played on the 1981 title team. They've got more head coaches in the Hall: John Heisman (yes, the man for whom the Trophy was named, he coached there 1900-03), Jess Neely (1931-39), Frank Howard (1940-69), and, newly-elected, Danny Ford (1978-89).

Actually, the most famous Clemson football personality may be a defensive tackle who followed them: William Perry, a man so big and full of food he was nicknamed The Refrigerator. As a rookie in the 1985 season, his tackling, and his running with the ball and blocking in close-to-the-goal situations helped the Chicago Bears win the Super Bowl, and made him a national folk hero, and not just for fat people. His brother Michael Dean Perry also played for Clemson, and had a decent career with the Cleveland Browns.
Clemson has 3 retired numbers: The 66 of McFadden, the 4 of 1978 quarterback Steve Fuller (Jim McMahon's backup and Fridge Perry's teammate on the '85 Bears), and the 28 of 2009 running back C.J. Spiller. McFadden's number wasn't retired so much for his playing as for his service as an assistant coach and an administrator at the school.

South Carolina, as you might guess, has rivalries with neighboring North Carolina and Georgia. Clemson has rivalries with North Carolina State, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida State. But their biggest rivalries are with each other. They've played each other since 1896, and every year since 1909. Clemson leads 68-42-4, having won the last 3, although South Carolina won the 5 before that.

Starting in 1980, they played for the Hardee's Trophy, named for the Carolina-based burger chain. In 2015, it was replaced with the Palmetto Trophy.
Stuff. The Bignon Gameday Center, at the northeast corner of Williams-Brice Stadium, is the main team store. You can also check out the University Bookstore at 1400 Greene Street. Clemson doesn't have a big team store at Memorial Stadium. Their Bookstore is at 720 McMillan Road, on the main campus, a few blocks east of the stadium.

In 2009, Fritz P. Hamer and John Daye published A History of College Football in South Carolina: Glory on the Gridiron. It's easily the best volume covering either school, although it doesn't have Clemson's more recent title.

During the Game. I've been to South Carolina, and most people there, black and white alike, are reasonably friendly. But I haven't been to a football game there. As usual, the best advice I can give you is stick with whichever is the home team.

South Carolina had a tradition of cockfighting going back to colonial times, and so the University's teams are called the Gamecocks. Of course, this has led to the word "COCKS" being posted on caps, shirts, bumper stickers, etc. A dormant railroad track near the stadium has had cabooses set up in garnet and white, and is known as the Cockaboose Railroad. One side of the stadium will shout, "GAME!" and then the other, "COCKS!" and repeat.

Since 1969, what's known as the Fighting Gamecock Logo has graced their helmets, with a rooster inside a block C. Sometimes, the helmet is black; sometimes, white; sometimes, garnet red. Sometimes, the jerseys have "CAROLINA" above the front uniform numbers; sometimes, "GAMECOCKS."
Sir Big Spur, the live Gamecock mascot

Since 1983, the players have entered to the tune of Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" -- known to some of you as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and to some of you as the song that began every Elvis Presley concert from 1969 to 1977. This was a tradition started by Joe Morrison, the 1959-72 Giants running back who became South Carolina head coach in 1983, and died in office in 1989. There are 2 mascots: A costumed mascot named Cocky, and a live mascot named Sir Big Spur.
Anybody that fat shouldn't be so cocky.
He's almost as fat as Refrigerator Perry.

When South Carolina score, a rooster's crow is played over the loudspeakers. The Mighty Sound of the Southeast band plays the fight songs "Go Carolina" and "USC Fight Song." When the band plays "Louie, Louie," the fans jump up and down. Shock absorbers were put in, so that the upper deck can sway but not collapse. Still, Joe Morrison said, "If it ain't swayin', we ain't playin'." That became a bumper sticker slogan that is still seen all over the State. At the end of every game, win or lose, the band plays the Alma Mater and "Amazing Grace."

In 1939, Clemson head coach Jess Neely and athletic director Rupert Fike founded the IPTAY Scholarship Fund, to help fund the football program. "IPTAY" stood for "I Pay Ten A Year," meaning $10 -- about $175 in today's money. The IPTAY Center, the team training facility, now stands in the northwest corner of Memorial Stadium. However, after the 1981 National Championship dissolved into the 1982 scandal, it was joked that IPTAY stood for "I Pay Ten Athletes Yearly."

In 1966, Samuel C. Jones, a Clemson graduate, Class of 1919, had a gift for coach Frank Howard, saying, "Here's a rock from Death Valley, California to Death Valley, South Carolina." At first, Howard didn't think it was a big deal, and used it as a doorstop. Soon, he told IPTAY executive director Gene Willimon, "Take this rock and throw it over the fence, or out in the ditch, do something with it, but get it out of my office!"

And so, just as Charles Darwin was not a Social Darwinist, and Karl Marx has been said to not be a Marxist, Howard's Rock was something that Frank Howard wanted nothing to do with. But Willimon put it on a pedestal at the top of the hill that the team ran down in the east end zone to enter the field. on September 24, 1966, they opened the season by touching the rock on the way down, and beat the University of Virginia.

A tradition was accidentally born. Howard told the players, "Give me 110 percent, or keep your filthy hands off my rock!" The players touched the rock before every game through 2012, and then ran down the hill while the band plays "Tiger Rag" (a.k.a. "Hold That Tiger"!) in what Brent Musberger called "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football."
But things began to happen. Before the 1992 South Carolina-Clemson game, the rock was vandalized. Now, Clemson ROTC cadets guard the rock for 24 hours prior to every game -- home or away. In 2013, it was vandalized again, and was put in a protective case: Players can now only touch the case, not the rock itself. It doesn't seem to have affected their performance, as they've won a National Championship (and nearly another) since.
Clemson has a great team, but horrible uniforms. White paw prints on orange helmets are bad enough. Sometimes they wear all orange. Sometimes they wear all purple. Sometimes they mix it up, and it's actually worse. Never has a team looked so bad while playing so good.
"Running Down the Hill" in all orange.
It's not even an orange that matches the entryway.

In 1988, Florida State, then ranked Number 10, traveled to Number 3 Clemson, and came away with a victory in Death Valley, on a trick play that Bobby Bowden drew up, called the "puntrooskie." As is tradition with Florida State, they then cut out a piece of the field, and took it back to their practice field's "Sod Cemetery," where other pieces of field from road upsets are "buried."

Clemson coach Danny Ford didn't like that, so when Clemson returned the favor the next season, beating the Seminoles in Tallahassee, he cut a piece of Doak Campbell Stadium sod out, and started Clemson's Victory Graveyard at their practice facility, one-upping FSU by having actual headstones instead of just plaques to mark the "graves."
Apparently, neutral-site wins count, too.

Clemson has 2 guys in Tiger suit mascots: The Tiger, who wears Number 0; and The Cub, a smaller guy who wears Number 1/2. Presumably, they're meant to be father and son, but they're both current students.
After the Game. There isn't much to eat near Memorial Stadium. You'll probably have to go downtown. At South Carolina, there are more options. Across from the northwest corner of the stadium, there's 2 Fat 2 Fly Stuffed Chickens, at 905 Bluff Road. To the south, there's a Bojangles at 1130 Bluff Road, and a Waffle House at 1210 Bluff Road.

If your visit to South Carolina is during the European soccer season, your choices are limited. In Columbia, it's the British Bulldog Pub. At Clemson, you'd have to go to Spartanburg, to Mother's.

Sidelights. Aside from the Gamecocks and the Tigers, the most popular sports in South Carolina are NASCAR (it's the home of Darlington Raceway) and golf (especially when you get to the Atlantic Coast, with Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island).

The Charlotte Knights began playing Class AAA baseball in Fort Mill, South Carolina in 1989, before moving to downtown Charlotte in 2014. Now, there are 4 minor-league baseball teams in the State, all in Class A: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League, and 3 teams in the South Atlantic League, the Columbia Fireflies, the Charleston RiverDogs and the Greenville Drive.

There's also 2 minor-league hockey teams, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and the North Charleston-based South Carolina Stingrays. The Charleston Battery are one of the best-supported teams in minor-league soccer.

As you might guess, the most popular NFL team in South Carolina is the Carolina Panthers, whose Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte is just 12 miles from the State Line. But, probably due to TV exposure in the 1970s and '80s, and to the Carolinas not having a team until 1995, there's a lot of Dallas Cowboy, Pittsburgh Steeler and Washington Redskin fans in the State, and a little spillover of Atlanta Falcon fans from Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves dominate baseball fandom, although the fact that both the Yankees and the Mets have had farm teams in the State has led to their having a presence in Palmetto State baseball fandom. The Raleigh-based Carolina Hurricanes are easily the most popular NHL team. And once you get away from the Charlotte area, there aren't many Hornets fans in the State. Neither Columbia nor Clemson is close enough to have many Hornets fans or many Atlanta Hawks fans. It's pretty much the Los Angeles Lakers, and whatever team LeBron James is playing for now.

The State's favorite son in sports was Joseph Jefferson Jackson, a.k.a. Shoeless Joe. He is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park in his hometown of Greenville.

Historic sites in the State include the State House, the South Carolina Military Museum, and pretty much the entire City of Charleston, including Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.

South Carolina may have produced a President: Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in the Waxhaw region that straddles the Carolina State Line, but no one is really sure on which side, as there is no birth record. If he was born on the South side, then that's 1 for South Carolina, 2 for North Carolina; otherwise, he joins James Polk and Andrew Johnson as Tar Heel-born Presidents.

Jackson's political teammate, then rival, John C. Calhoun remains the defining politician in the State's history, even more than Strom Thurmond. His house on the former Fort Hill Plantation, with his son-in-law Thomas Clemson's university built around it, is now the John C. Calhoun Mansion and Library -- one of the few Vice Presidents to have anything like a "Presidential Library."

While the bench scene from Forrest Gump was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, most of the movie was filmed in Beaufort, South Carolina. The 1993 college football film The Program was filmed on the South Carolina campus, including at Williams-Brice Stadium. A scene from the 1998 college football-themed film The Waterboy was also filmed there.


South Carolina is a State with issues. One is that it's "a drinking State with a football problem." That problem will get settled, at least until next Fall, when the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers clash this Saturday night.

Top 10 Athletes From North Carolina

Note: The dates on the flag are as follows: May 20, 1775: The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, in which Mecklenburg County, including present-day Charlotte, declared independence from Britain, for all the authority that had; April 12, 1776: The Halifax Resolves, called by the Provincial Congress of North Carolina, recommending independence, and helping pave the way for the nationwide Declaration on July 4.

November 21, 1788: North Carolina becomes the 12th State to ratify the Constitution of the United States.

Top 10 Athletes From North Carolina

Honorable mention to Buck Leonard of Rocky Mount. He may have been the best baseball player from the state, but without definitive Major League statistics, we can't be sure. But he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and was 1 of 5 players who played all or mainly in the Negro Leagues who was named to The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Baseball Players. (The others were Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston.)

Honorable Mention to Julia Shea of Raleigh. The North Carolina State runner was awarded the 1979-80 Honda-Broderick Cup as female collegiate athlete of the year. She later served on the Raleigh City Council.

Honorable Mention to Megan Hodge of Durham. The Penn State volleyball player was awarded the Honda-Broderick Cup for the 2009-10 schoolyear, and won a Silver Medal with the U.S. team at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Honorable Mention to Tracey Bates of Raleigh, a member of the U.S. team that won the 1st Women's World Cup in 1991. Now using her married name of Tracey Leone, she is one of the most highly-regarded coaches in U.S. women's soccer.

Honorable Mention to Wes Ferrell of Greensboro. He went 193-128 as a major league pitcher, was a 2-time All-Star (and it would have been more if the All-Star Game had begun earlier than 1933), pitched a no-hitter in 1931, and hit more home runs than any other pitcher in baseball history: 37. (Babe Ruth, of course, did not stay a pitcher.)

Both the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox have elected him to their team Halls of Fame. Unfortunately, the closest he ever came to a Pennant was with the 1938 Yankees, and he was injured and unable to pitch in the World Series.

Honorable Mention to Rick Ferrell of Greensboro. An 8-time All-Star, including in the 1st 6 All-Star Games, Rick batted .281 in his career, and retired as the major leagues' all-time leader in games caught, 1,918. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on that basis, although there are people who believe that the wrong Ferrell brother was elected. The closest he came to a Pennant was just missing with the 1945 Washington Senators.

Honorable Mention to Jim Beatty of Charlotte. On February 10, 1962, at the Los Angeles Invitational at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, he became the 1st man to break the 4-minute mile indoors: 3 minutes, 58.9 seconds. He never won an Olympic medal, though.

Honorable Mention to Charlie Justice of Asheville. Until Lawrence Taylor (who I included on the Virginia version of this list), "Choo-Choo" was the greatest football player the University of North Carolina ever had, so nicknamed because he reminded a teammate of a runaway train. He finished 2nd in the Heisman Trophy voting twice, to Doak Walker of Southern Methodist in 1948 and to Leon Hart of Notre Dame in 1949. North Carolina retired his Number 22.

Injuries cut short his professional career with the Washington Redskins, but he was nonetheless named to their 70th Anniversary 70 Greatest Redskins in 2002, a year before his death.

Honorable Mention to Charlie Sanders of Richlands. The Hall of Fame tight end had his Number 88 retired by the Detroit Lions.

Honorable Mention to Carl Eller of Winston-Salem. The Hall of Fame tight end was a National Champion teammate of Bobby Bell at the University of Minnesota, and opposed him for the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. He was elected to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor.

Honorable Mention to Dwight Clark of Charlotte. The 2-time Pro Bowler put the San Francisco 49ers into their 1st Super Bowl with "The Catch" off a Joe Montana pass to win the 1981 NFC Championship Game. He helped the 49ers win Super Bowls XVI and XIX, and they retired his Number 87.

Honorable Mention to Madison Bumgarner of Hickory. "MadBum" is only 28, but is already 104-76 in his major league pitching career. A 4-time All-Star, he has helped the San Francisco Giants win the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series. Given a minimum of 25 innings pitched, he holds the record for lowest career World Series ERA (0.25), and lowest career postseason road ERA (0.50). He is also the only pitcher ever to hit 2 grand slams.

He was named Most Valuable Player of both the National League Championship Series and the World Series in 2014, winning Game 7 with 5 innings of scoreless relief on 2 days' rest. Sports Illustrated named him their Sportsperson of the Year. He could well rise up this list.

Honorable Mention to Darren Holmes of Asheville. The relief pitcher reached the postseason with the 1995 Colorado Rockies, the 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks, the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals and the 2002 and '03 Atlanta Braves. He won only 1 Pennant, but that 1 is why he's here: He was a member of the 1998 World Champion Yankees. He is now the pitching coach of the Colorado Rockies.

Dishonorable Mention to Christopher Trotman "Trot" Nixon of Durham. With his Boston Red Sox teammates, he was named one of Sports Illustrated's 2004 Sportspeople of the Year. But we know members of that team cheated. He may have been one of them.

And you could make a damn good basketball team out of the guys from North Carolina who didn't make this list. Sam Jones of Laurinburg, a 5-time All-Star and a 10-time NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics, who retired his Number 24. Walt Bellmany of New Bern, a 4-time All-Star. Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell of Kinston, 1981 (Finals MVP) and 1984 NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics, who retired his Number 31. Bob McAdoo of Greensboro, 1975 NBA MVP and 1982 and 1985 NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bobby Jones of Charlotte, 1983 NBA Champion with the Philadelphia 76ers, who retired his Number 24. Dominique Wilkins of Washington, Number 21 retired by the Atlanta Hawks. And Meadowlark Lemon, perhaps the most famous of all the Harlem Globetrotters. All of those are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Also Lou Hudson of Greensboro, Number 23 retired by the Hawks. Phil Ford of Rocky Mount, Number 12 retired by North Carolina. Buck Williams of Rocky Mount, Number 52 retired by the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. Brad Daugherty of Black Mountain, Number 43 retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers. John Lucas of Durham, All-American at Maryland, 1976 ACC Athlete of the Year, helped the Houston Rockets reach the 1986 NBA Finals. (His son, John Lucas III, grew up in Houston while his father played there, and would thus qualify for Texas.)

Richard Petty and the Dale Earnhardts were auto racers, and auto racing is not a sport, therefore they are disqualified from this discussion.

10. Gaylord Perry of Williamston. Or should that be "Dishonorable Mention"? He claimed to use the spitball, but was he full of spit, or full of something else? Despite publishing a memoir titled Me and the Spitter while still in the middle of his career, he wasn't caught throwing an illegal pitch until his 21st season in the major leagues.

A 5-time All-Star, he became the 1st man ever to win the Cy Young Award in both Leagues, in the American League with the 1972 Cleveland Indians, and in the National League with the 1978 San Diego Padres, which also, at the time, made him the oldest pitcher ever to win the Cy. He pitched a no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants in 1968.

In spite of his long career, long enough to win 314 games and strike out 3,534 batters, he only reached the postseason 3 times: The World Series as a rookie with the 1962 Giants, the NL Championship Series with the 1971 Giants, and the ALCS with the 1980 Yankees. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Giants retired his Number 36, and both the Giants and the Indians elected him to their team Halls of Fame.

Honorable Mention to Jim Perry of Williamston. Gaylord's lefthanded older brother won 215 games in the majors, giving them 529 wins, more than any brother combination before them, and only Phil and Joe Niekro have surpassed them.

Jim was a 3-time All-Star, won the 1965 AL Pennant with the Minnesota Twins and the 1975 AL Western Division title with the Oakland Athletics (his final season), and, with the 1970 Twins, won the Cy Young Award, making Gaylord's award in 1972 the 1st, and still only, time any of the major awards (also including the Most Valuable Player and the Rookie of the Year) have been won by 2 brothers. Both brothers are still alive: Jim just turned 82, and Gaylord is 79.

9. Enos Slaughter of Roxboro. A 10-time All-Star, he helped the St. Louis Cardinals win 4 National League Pennants in 6 years, including winning the 1942, '44 and '46 World Series. In Game 7 of the '46 Series, he made the most famous baserunning move in baseball history, scoring from 1st base on a single by Harry Walker (who did, to be fair, advance to 2nd with the play at the plate) to score the go-ahead run in the 8th inning. It became known as Slaughter's Sprint and The Mad Dash.

He said he didn't purposely spike Jackson Robinson in 1947. He did later get along with black teammates. He helped the Yankees win the 1956 and 1958 World Series. His lifetime batting average was an even .300. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Cardinals retired his Number 9 (he wore 17 with the Yankees) and dedicated a statue of him outside Busch Stadium.

8. David Thompson of Shelby. Before there was Luke of Star Wars, Thompson was such an aerial basketball artist that he was called the Skywalker. He led the North Carolina State team that ended the UCLA dynasty in the 1974 NCAA Semifinal, then beat Al McGuire's Marquette in the Final, to get N.C. State its 1st National Championship. He was National Player of the Year in 1975, and was a 3-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. That last achievement is something that no UNC or Duke player can claim.

He then went to the Denver Nuggets, leading them to the Finals in the ABA's last season, enough to get him named the league's last Rookie of the Year and to the ABA All-Time Team. They went into the NBA, where he was named a 4-time All-Star. On the last day of the 1978 regular season, he scored 73 points, at the time a record for any player other than Wilt Chamberlain.

Injuries and drugs would cut his career short. After getting clean, he got involved in youth programs. He became such a role model that no less than Michael Jordan asked him to give his induction speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Thompson was inducted himself in 1996. His Number 44 is the only one retired by N.C. State. Dan Issel was already wearing 44 on the Nuggets, so Thompson wore 33, and the Nuggets retired that number for him.

7. Hoyt Wilhelm of Cornelius. In his 1st major league at-bat, with the 1952 New York Giants, he hit a home run. In his 2nd, he hit a triple. He never hit another home run or another triple in a career that lasted until 1972. He didn't need to: He was the 1st man elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the basis of relief pitching.

He did start some games, including pitching a no-hitter against the Yankees for the Baltimore Orioles in 1958. He remains the last pitcher to pitch a complete-game no-hitter against the Yankees. (It took 6 pitchers to finish a no-hitter against them for the Houston Astros in 2003.) He went 143-122 for his career.

But he gained his fame in relief, with a knuckleball that drove hitters (and his own catchers and managers) crazy. He made 8 All-Star Teams, helped the Giants win the World Series in 1954, and the Atlanta Braves win the 1st-ever National League Western Division title in 1969. He broke Cy Young's career record for most games pitched, 906, with the 1967 Chicago White Sox. With the 1970 Braves, he became the 1st pitcher to appear in 1,000 games, raising the record to 1,070. (Today, there are 16 pitchers to appear in 1,000 games, with Jesse Orosco leading with 1,252.)

He was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. His 2.52 career ERA is the lowest of any pitcher in the post-1920 Lively Ball Era. No team has retired his number, and he didn't always wear Number 49, but that number became so identified with him that other knuckleballers took it up, including Tim Wakefield, and Tom Candiotti, who played Wilhelm in the film 61* (though he wore 15, as Wilhelm did with the Orioles).

6. Luke Appling of High Point. A 7-time All-Star, he batted .388 in 1936, the highest average for a shortstop in the 20th Century. He won the American League battle title that year, and again in 1943. He batted .310 for his career, and had 2,749 hits, though only 45 were home runs. Oddly, he is often given credit (as is the later slugger Ralph Kiner) for coming up with the saying, "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, singles hitters drive Fords."

But he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Chicago White Sox retired his Number 4 and dedicated a statue of him at Guaranteed Rate Field.

5. Sonny Jurgensen of Wilmington. Funny how, with all the great basketball players who have gone to Duke University, the school's greatest athlete from the State that they're actually in is a football player.

Christian Adolph Jurgensen III was not only a quarterback at Duke, but a fine defensive back, and led them to the 1954 ACC title and a win over Nebraska in the 1955 Orange Bowl. He became Norm Van Brocklin's backup on the Philadelphia Eagles, winning the 1960 NFL Championship. Van Brocklin retired, and Sonny became the starter in 1961, making the 1st of 5 Pro Bowl teams, leading the NFL in passing yards 5 times and in touchdown passes twice.

But in 1964, the Eagles named Joe Kuharich as head coach. Kuharich was a massive prude, and Sonny liked the nightlife, so he traded Sonny to the Washington Redskins for their starting quarterback of the time, Norm Snead. This trade was so dumb! How dumb was it? Over the rest of the decade, the Eagles floundered, while the Redskins got better, eventually becoming the team (albeit quarterbacked by Billy Kilmer, with Sonny as an aging backup) that won the 1972 NFC Championship.

Sonny Jurgensen had the highest career "quarterback rating" of any player before the 1978 rule changes that opened up the passing game: 82.6. Vince Lombardi, who coached the Redskins in the last season of his life, 1969, said, "If we would have had Sonny Jurgensen in Green Bay, we'd never have lost a game." And this is a man who had Bart Starr, the only man to quarterback 5 NFL Championship teams without cheating.

Sonny also threw more touchdown passes in the 1960s than any other quarterback -- more than Starr, more than Johnny Unitas, more than Joe Namath. Guess which quarterback threw more interceptions in the 1960s than any other. Did I telegraph the punch enough? It was Norm Snead. And Joe Kuharich traded Sonny for Norm.

(The Eagles haven't won a title since 1960. Are they under the Curse of Sonny, for this trade? Or are they under the Curse of the Dutchman, for not naming Van Brocklin head coach after his 1960 retirement as a player, giving the job first to Nick Skorich and then to Kuharich? What could they have done with Van Brocklin coaching and Jurgensen quarterbacking? We'll never know.)

Sonny was named to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team, the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame and the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame. He and Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff formed a beloved broadcasting team for the Redskins.

The Redskins don't officially retire numbers (Sammy Baugh's 33 is the lone exception), but Jurgensen's Number 9 has only been given out once since he retired after the 1974 season. That was in 2002, by new head coach Steve Spurrier, to one of his former University of Florida quarterbacks, Shane Matthews. He also gave Number 7, worn by Joe Theismann, to another of his Florida quarterbacks, Danny Wuerffel. Redskin fans were so angry that, before the regular season started, he switched Wuerffel to 17 (no outcry over getting Kilmer's number) and Matthews to 6. At 83, Sonny remains that beloved in the Potomac Valley.

4. Jim "Catfish" Hunter of Hertford. An 8-time All-Star, he reached 7 postseasons, winning the World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1972, 1973 and 1974, and the Yankees in 1977 and 1978, also winning a Pennant with the '76 Yankees and a Division title with the '71 A's.

He pitched a perfect game with the A's in 1968, and won the American League Cy Young Award in 1974. There are 4 pitchers who won 200 major league games before their 31st birthday: Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and Catfish Hunter. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury cut his career short, and he ended just 224-166. But he was still elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the A's retired his Number 27. (The Yankees gave him Number 29, and have not retired it, or given him a Plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. They should.)

His status as the man who opened baseball's free agent era isn't really a factor here, but it did help him earn a status as 1 of 2 professional athletes -- imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is the other -- to have had a song written about him by Bob Dylan: "Catfish, million-dollar man, nobody can throw a ball like Catfish can." I cite the song even though it has him striking out his once-and-future teammate, my favorite athlete of all time, Reggie Jackson.

3. Bobby Bell of Shelby. It's hard to imagine a guy that big, especially back then, as a quarterback, but he was one in high school. He went to the University of Minnesota, and helped them win the National Championship as a center and a defensive tackle in 1960 and 1962. He won the 1962 Outland Trophy as "the nation's outstanding interior lineman."

With the Kansas City Chiefs, he was moved to linebacker. His coach, Hank Stram, said, "He could play all 22 positions on the field, and play them well." He was a 9-time All-Star, 6 times in the AFL and 3 in the NFL. He helped them win the 1966 and 1969 AFL Championships at Super Bowl IV. He was the 1st linebacker to return 6 interceptions for touchdowns, and only Derrick Brooks has matched that feat.

Minnesota and the Chiefs both retired Number 78 for him. He was named to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, the AFL All-Time Team, the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, The Sporting News' 1999 list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, and the NFL Network's 2010 list of the 100 Greatest Players.

2. James Worthy of Gastonia. "Big Game James" was the leader of the North Carolina team that won the 1982 National Championship. A 7-time All-Star, he won the 1985, 1987 and 1988 NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, and won the Bill Russell Award as Finals MVP in 1988.

His Number 52 was retired by North Carolina, and his Number 42 was retired by the Lakers. (Their Number 52 was being worn by, and was eventually retired for, Jamaal Wilkes.) He was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA's 50th Anniversary 50 Greatest Players.

He is not the most famous member of that '82 Tar Heel team, but after seeing Space Jam and Worthy's turn as a Klingon captain on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I can say with confidence that Worthy is the best actor to have played on that team.

1. Michael Jordan of Wilmington. No, he's not the greatest basketball player who ever lived. That's Wilt Chamberlain, as I'll explain when I do this for Pennsylvania in a few days. But he did define an era of basketball.
He hit the shot that gave North Carolina the winning margin in the 1982 National Championship Game, as a freshman. He was National Player of the Year in 1984, giving up his senior year to turn pro.

At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, he was a member of the best amateur basketball team that has ever been assembled. When the International Olympic Committee allowed professionals starting in 1992 in Barcelona, he was the centerpiece of the U.S. "Dream Team" that may have been the best team ever assembled, under any circumstances, in any sport. (It was so good, that year's college player of the year, Christian Laettner, was the 12th man, and is the only one not yet in the Basketball Hall of Fame.)

He played 15 seasons in the NBA, and was a 14-time All-Star -- the only time not making it was in 1994-95, when he ended the 1st of his 3 "retirements" too late to qualify for the All-Star Game. He won the 1985 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 5 NBA MVP awards, 3 All-Star Game MVP awards, and 6 Bill Russell Awards as MVP of the NBA Finals. Whether he deserved all 6 of those is debatable, but the fact is that he got into 6 NBA Finals, won them all, and none of them got to a Game 7.

His Number 23 was retired by North Carolina and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls dedicated a statue of him outside the United Center. In 1991, Sports Illustrated named him its Sportsman of the Year. He was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary 50 Greatest Players before his 34th birthday. Of course, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

True, he never won a title without Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen. And he got all the calls. And he made a fool of himself coming out of his 2nd retirement to play for the Washington Wizards. And, so far, he has been a busy as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. And his personal life turned out to be messy. And the contrast between his "Republicans buy sneakers, too" copout in 1990 and LeBron James' "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt and tweet calling Donald Trump "U bum" should not be forgotten.

Nobody's perfect. Not even Michael Jordan. But for millions of people who never saw Wilt, Russell, Oscar, Clyde, Kareem, Dr. J, or young Magic, he still is basketball.

Monday, November 20, 2017

How to Go to a Football Game In Virginia

This coming Friday night, the University of Virginia, a.k.a. UVa, will play their arch-rivals, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a.k.a. Virginia Tech, in football, at UVa's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. The rivalry is nicknamed the Commonwealth Cup, for the trophy given to the winner.

Before You Go. Virginia is in the South. If this were Summer or early Autumn, heat might be an issue. But this will be Thanksgiving Weekend, so the weather won't be appreciably different from New York and New Jersey. It's predicted to be in the mid-50s on Friday afternoon, but the low 30s on Friday night. Bring a Winter jacket.

Virginia is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to adjust your timepieces. Despite Virginia being a former Confederate State, you will not have to bring a passport or change your money.

Tickets. UVa has been averaging 38,000 fans in a 61,500-seat stadium the last few years. But we're talking about the UVa-VT rivalry, so expect a sellout. The entire lower bowl will be $75, but most games are a lot cheaper: $58 on the sidelines, $43 in the end zone. In the upper deck, it will be $75 on the sidelines and $65 in the end zones, usually $43 and $23.

In contrast, Tech usually gets over 60,000 in their 65,632-seat stadium. So getting tickets for them will be tougher. For today's game against Pitt, right before kickoff, all they had left was $7 seats on StubHub.

Getting There. This will be Thanksgiving weekend. Due to demand, the amount of seats available and the prices you could expect to pay will not be as usual.

From Midtown Manhattan, it's 343 miles to Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, and 491 miles to Lane Stadium in Blacksburg. It's in that tricky range: Too close to fly, but too far to get there any other way. I wouldn't recommend flying, as neither Charlottesville nor Blacksburg is big enough to have a major airport with nonstop flights.

If you want to take Amtrak to either city, you'll have to go down the previous day -- in this case, Thanksgiving Day. Round-trip fare to Charlottesville is $196. The station is at 810 W. Main Street. To Blacksburg, however, you'll have to get off at Roanoke and switch to a bus, which will take an hour and 10 minutes. And, for some reason, the fare is almost double what it is to Charlottesville: $369. But it will drop you off at Tech's Squires Student Center, 291 Alumni Mall.

Greyhound doesn't go to Blacksburg. Their round-trip fare to Charlottesville is $272, but it can drop to $179 with advanced purchase. The address is 310 W. Main Street, just 3 blocks east of the Amtrak station.

If you drive down to Charlottesville, take the New Jersey Turnpike all the way down to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, then the Delaware Turnpike and the JFK Highway in Maryland, through Baltimore and to the Capital Beltway around Washington. Take Exit 49A onto Interstate 66. You won't get many kicks on this Route 66, though. Take Exit 43A to U.S. 29, which will go into Charlottesville.

Either way, you should spend about an hour and a half in New Jersey, 20 minutes in Delaware, an hour and 40 minutes in Maryland, and 2 hours in Virginia. That's about 4 and a half hours. Throw in a couple of rest stops, and it's about 6 hours.

The drive to Blacksburg is a bit different, as you'll bypass not just Philadelphia, but Baltimore and D.C. Take Interstate 78 West across New Jersey to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There, switch to Interstate 81 South through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and into Virginia. Take Exit 118 to U.S. Route 460 North, turn right on Southgate Drive, and that will take you to the campus.

If you do it right, you should spend an hour and 15 minutes in New Jersey, 2 hours and 45 minutes in Pennsylvania, 15 minutes in Maryland, half an hour in West Virginia, and nearly 4 hours in Virginia. That's 8 hours and 45 minutes. Counting rest stops, it should be around 11 hours.

Once In the State. Today home to about 8.4 million people -- a little less than New York City, and a little less than New Jersey -- Virginia was settled by the English in the early 17th Century, but the plan for it was first filed in the late 16th Century, when the monarch was Queen Elizabeth I, who never married, and was thus known as the Virgin Queen. (We will probably never know for sure, unless some 400-year-old letters are found and can be authenticated. It's not like there were the portrait equivalent of sex tapes in those days.)
And yet, there's that slogan again, in use since 1968
and contradicting the State's very name.

The 1st settlement was in Jamestown in 1607, and it badly struggled, because the plague that nearly wiped out the Native tribes hadn't yet come. By the time the Pilgrims arrived at what's now Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, it had devastated what's now the Northeastern U.S.
Virginia was the largest of the 13 colonies that became the 1st 13 States, and its contribution to America's founding era is incalculable: George Washington, Patrick Henry, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason.

In fact, the reason Jefferson became more revered than Massachusetts' John Adams boils down to the fact that Adams told Jefferson he should write the Declaration of Independence, for 3 reasons: He thought a Virginian should write it, based on the colony's moves toward independence to that point; he knew that Jefferson was considerably more popular; and he said that Jefferson could write 10 times better (an exaggeration, but he was better).

Like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Kentucky, they officially call themselves not a "State," but a "Commonwealth": "The Commonwealth of Virginia." What's the difference? Officially, none: The federal government recognizes these 4 as "States," just as it does with the 46 that call themselves "States." Why do these 4 thus use "Commonwealth"? The story I heard is that the word seemed to suggest anti-monarchist sentiment. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Virginia were all among the Original 13, and Kentucky was essentially broken off from Virginia to become the 15th State.

Thus, there is both a Virginia State University, a "historically black" school in Petersburg; and a Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond. A nickname for Virginia is "The Old Dominion," and there's an Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

Unfortunately, Virginia was also a slave State, and its capital, Richmond -- with a State House designed by the architectural mind of Jefferson -- became the capital of the Confederate States of America. And Virginia's contributions to the CSA were staggering: Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart, Thomas "Tex" Rosser, Jubal Early, George Pickett, "Prince" John Magruder, A.P. Hill, Joseph Johnston. Indeed, the city of Williamsburg was both a hotbed of activity in the American Revolution period and the site of a Civil War battle.
The State House in Richmond

The 10th State to ratify the Constitution, on June 25, 1788, Virginia didn't secede from the Union until April 17, 1861, 5 days after the attack on Fort Sumter, and they almost didn't: In no other Southern State was the vote as close. It is 1 of 4 States to have been both 1 of the Original 13 and 1 of the Seceding 11, the others being Georgia and both Carolinas.

General Ulysses S. Grant finally broke the Confederate lines outside Richmond on April 2, 1865, burned the capital, and finally got Lee to surrender on April 9, at Appomattox. On January 26, 1870, Virginia was readmitted to the Union. Lee lived long enough to see that happen.

Virginia has not had the same reputation for vicious racism as, say, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Arkansas. And, thanks to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. taking on people getting more affordable housing, the State has voted Democratic in each of the last 3 Presidential elections (after doing so only once between 1964 and 2008, and that was for a Southerner, Jimmy Carter in 1976).

And Charlottesville, a.k.a. C-ville, founded in 1762, named for the wife of King George III, home of 49,000 people and the University of Virginia, founded by Jefferson in 1819, is generally considered to be a liberal city. Which made the neo-Confederate and neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville this past August 12 so jarring.

Blacksburg, a.k.a. The 'Burg, is another matter. Founded in 1798, named for local landowner Samuel Black, home of 42,000 people and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a.k.a. Virginia Tech, founded in 1872, is within the Shenandoah Mountains, the Appalachian range that forms the spine of the State. It is country, and it is unmistakably Southern. But it doesn't have a bigoted reputation.

But it is best known for a tragic event: On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old Korean immigrant and Tech student, shot 49 people, killing 32 of them, before killing himself. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in American history. In the last 2 years, it has been surpassed by the shootings in Orlando and Las Vegas. The community rallied around the victims' families, and the Yankees even played a fundraising Spring Training game on campus in 2008.

ZIP Codes for Virginia start with the digits 220 to 246. For Charlottesville, 228 and 229. For Blacksburg and the Roanoke area, 240 to 243. The Area Code for Charlottesville is 434, and for Blacksburg 540. The State sales tax is 4.3 percent.

Prominent newspapers include the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Norfolk-based Virginian-Pilot, the Williamsburg-based Virginia Gazette, the Charlottesville Daily Progress, and, including the Blacksburg area, the Roanoke Times.

Charlottesville's address dividers are Main Street for North and South, and 1st Street for East and West. Charlottesville Area Transit runs buses, with a single fare being 75 cents and a 24-hour pass being a bargain at $1.50. From Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Washington, D.C. is 116 miles to the east, Richmond is 77 miles to the southeast, Colonial Williamsburg is 127 miles to the southeast, Norfolk is 169 miles to the southeast, and Virginia Beach is 183 miles to the southeast.
The Rotunda, designed by
University of Virginia founder Thomas Jefferson

Blacksburg's streets don't really run north-south or east-west, but on diagonals. Nevertheless, they use the designations on street names. Main Street divides addresses into East and West, and Roanoke Street into North and South. Blacksburg Transit runs buses, with 90 percent of its riders being Tech students and faculty. A single fare is 50 cents.
Burruss Hall, fronted by the memorial
to the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre

From Lane Stadium, Washington, D.C. is 270 miles to the northeast, Richmond is 203 miles to the east, Colonial Williamsburg is 255 miles to the east, Norfolk is 279 miles to the east, Virginia Beach is 312 miles to the east, and Charlotte, North Carolina is 174 miles to the south. The distance between Charlottesville and Blacksburg is 150 miles.

Going In. The official address of Scott Stadium is 1815 Stadium Road, about 2 miles west of downtown Charlottesville. Bus T goes to the stadium. If you drive in, parking is $10.
It opened in 1931 with a capacity of 22,000, rising to 26,500 in 1964, 42,073 in 1980, and 61,500 in 2000. The stadium is a horseshoe, open at the northwest, with the field running northwest-to-southeast. The field was switched to Astroturf in 1974, and back to real grass in 1995. The stadium has also hosted the NCAA soccer and lacrosse Final Fours, and Virginia has fine programs in both.
The colonnade and grass berm at the north end

The full name is the Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium. That's a mouthful. Frederic Scott was a university rector. Harrison funded the restoration of the grass field. And Smith's donation allowed the 2000 expansion.
The official address of Lane Stadium is 185 Beamer Way, just to the west of downtown Blacksburg. Parking is a whopping $40. The field runs north-to-south, and has always been natural grass. The design is similar to the "two big dams facing each other" design also used at Wake Forest and Indiana in the 1960s.
"The Terrordome" opened in 1965 with 35,050 seats, and was expanded to 52,500 in 1980 and its current 66,233 in 2004. It was named for Edward Hudson Lane, a local furniture magnate and a Tech graduate who headed an educational foundation project that helped fund the construction. In 1992, the playing surface was named Worsham Field, for Wes and Janet Worsham, who gave $1 million to the school.
Technically (if you'll pardon the play on words), Virginia Tech had the highest attendance ever for a college football game, although officially it was a neutral site game: The Pilot Flying J Battle of Bristol. The City of Bristol straddles the State Line between Virginia and Tennessee, and on September 10, 2016, the Bristol Motor Speedway, on the Tennessee side, about halfway between Blacksburg and Knoxville, hosted a game between Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee.

The Guinness Book of World Records only counted tickets scanned, 130,045, which exceeded all previous records, including Tennessee's games at 109,061-seat Neyland Stadium, Michigan's at 115,109-seat Michigan Stadium, and the 123,000 at the old Soldier Field in Chicago for Notre Dame's 1927 win over USC. But the total number of tickets sold was 156,990, in a stadium that supposedly seats 162,000.

Food. Unlike many of these rivalry games for which I've done 2-in-1 posts, the 2 Virginia schools have very detailed concessions information.

At Scott Stadium, Virginia serves hot dogs at stands outside Sections 105, 109, 117, 123, 127, 311, 315, 321, 503, 505, 509, 511, 514, 517, 520, 523, 526, 529, 531, 534, 535 and 537; barbecue sandwiches at 105, 109, 123, 127, 311, 321, 505, 509, 514, 517, 523, 526, 531 and 535; nachos at 105, 109, 123, 127, 311, 315, 321, 505, 509, 511, 514, 517, 520, 523, 526, 529, 531 and 534; Chick-Fil-A at 108 and 126; chicken tenders at 110, 123, 313, 317 and 520; French fry stands at 110, 123 and 520; hamburgers at 313, 317, 511 and 529; bratwursts at 313, 511 and 529; Italian sausages at 313, 317, 511 and 529; Papa John's pizza at 313, 319 and 519; salads at 315; Philly-style cheesesteaks at 317 and 520; turkey legs at 318 and 519; Buffalo chicken cheesesteaks at 520; and Mexican food on the Pergola Plaza behind the colonnade in the north end.

Drinks and desserts? Dippin' Dots at 101, 122 and 131; shaved ice (snow cones) at 105, 109, 123, 127, 313 and 321; lemonade at 106, 127 and 521; Ben & Jerry's ice cream at 108 and 521; funnel cakes and kettle corn at 110; and Sweets and Treats at 123.

At Lane Stadium, you can find Bavarian Pretzels at 1, 6, 104 and 504; Minute Maid Lemonade at 1, 8, 14, 21, 507 and J; Hethwood Market Sno Cones at 2; Papa John's pizza at 2, 5, 13, 19, 20 and 503; HokieFit health-food at 2, 7 and 33; Hethwood Market Kettle Corn at 2 and 19; Hokie Smokin' BBQ at 9 and 102; Hethwood Market Cheesesteaks at 102; VT Dairy Club Milkshakes at 14; and Smokin' Hokie Legs at 501 and 510.

If you're a Rutgers fan, you might appreciate the sale of turkey legs, but, as you'll see in "During the Game," this item may be more appropriate for UVa fans to eat than for VT.

Team History Displays. For most of the 20th Century, this would have been a sorry sight, as both schools were rather lackluster. In other sports, they'd done well; in football, not so much. By the 1980s, both had begun to turn it around.

Virginia won the Championship of the long-defunct South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SAIAA) in 1908. They didn't win another title until 1989, when they shared the Atlantic Coast Conference title with Duke. They won another Co-Championship in 1995, sharing with Florida State.

They didn't play in their 1st bowl game until New Year's Eve 1984, when they beat Purdue to win the Peach Bowl. They've also won the 1987 All-American Bowl, the 1994 Independence Bowl, the 1995 Peach Bowl, the 2002 and 2003 Continental Tire Bowl, the 2005 Music City Bowl. But they've only been to 1 major bowl, losing the 1991 Sugar Bowl 23-22 to Tennessee.

They've retired 6 numbers: 35, 1942 running back "Bullet" Bill Dudley; 97, 1949 running back Gene Edmonds (killed in a car crash driving home from a loss to Tulane despite his own touchdown); 48, 1951 guard Bill Palumbo; 24, 1968 running back Frank Quayle; 73, 1985 offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski; and 12, 1990 quarterback Shawn Moore, who got them into that '91 Sugar Bowl.

The UVa athletic department also has retired jerseys without the numbers thereon being retired, which "honors Virginia players who have significantly impacted the program." Among these honorees are the Barber twins, whose senior year was 1996: Cornerback Ronde, who won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and running back Tiki, whose 10,449 rushing yards in 10 seasons with the Giants remains a New York record. (Curtis Martin rushed for 14,101 yards, but 10,302 of those were with the Jets, making it a club record but not a Tri-State Area record.)

This honor was also bestowed on, among others, 1990 receiver Herman Moore, who starred with the Detroit Lions before wrapping his career up with the Giants in 2002; 1999 running back Thomas Jones, who rushed for over 10,000 yards in a career that included the 2007, '08 and '09 seasons with the Jets; 2004 tight end Heath Miller, who won 2 Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers; and 2007 defensive end Chris Long, now with the Philadelphia Eagles after winning last season's Super Bowl with the New England Patriots.

Dudley, Palumbo, Dombrowski and 1952 defensive end Tom Scott are in the College Football hall of Fame. So is George Welsh, who coached Virginia during its greatest era, 1982 to 2000, after coaching Navy, and before that serving as one of Joe Paterno's assistants at Penn State. So is Earle "Greasy" Neale, who coached at UVa in the 1920s after playing both baseball and football professionally, before coaching the Philadelphia Eagles to their 1948 and '49 NFL Championships. Dudley, Neale, and 1956 defensive tackle Henry Jordan are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

As for Tech, they've won 10 Conference Championships: The South Atlantic Conference in 1916 and 1918; the Southern Conference in 1963; the Big East in 1995, 1996 and 1999; and the ACC in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010. They've won the ACC Coastal Division, but lost the ACC Championships Game, in 2005, 2011 and 2016. They've also won the Lambert Trophy, annually awarded to "the best college football team in the East," in 1995 and 1999. (UVa has never won it.)
Their 1st bowl game was the 1947 Sun Bowl, losing to the University of Cincinnati. They've won the 1995 Sugar Bowl, the 2009 Orange Bowl, the 1986 and 2009 Peach Bowls, the 1993 and 2015 Independence Bowls, the 1998 Music City Bowl, the 2000 Gator Bowl, the 2002 San Francisco Bowl, the 2006 Gator Bowl, the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl (beating Rutgers in Orlando), the 2014 Military Bowl, and the 2016 Belk Bowl. (They've also lost, among major bowl games, the 1996, 2008 and 2011 Orange Bowls; and the 2000, 2005 and 2012 Sugar Bowls.)

Tech's greatest player was defensive end Bruce Smith, winner of the 1984 Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman. As Dennis Hopper would have said in one of his Nike commercials, You know what Bruce Smith did in the NFL? Bad things, man! I mean, bad things!

In 1999, Virginia Tech came to Rutgers with their much-hyped lefthanded-throwing, crazy-running quarterback Michael Vick. He lit RU's defense up like a pinball machine. But I was more impressed with the defense that head coach Frank Beamer built, led by defensive end Corey Moore. I'd never seen an amateur defense that was so fast. Tech won 58-20, and took the Number 5 ranking they had in that game and got it up to Number 2 and a date with Number 1 Florida State in the Sugar Bowl for the National Championship -- but the Seminoles gave them a taste of their own medicine, winning 46-29.

Moore didn't last long in the pros, only playing in 2000, for the Buffalo Bills. Vick was luckier, at first, getting the Atlanta Falcons to the 2004 NFC Championship Game, before his extracurricular activities back in the Norfolk area came to light. Talk about "bad things"... Smith is in the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. His Number 78 and Moore's Number 56 have been retired. Vick, who wore 7 in Blacksburg and Atlanta, has not yet received any of those honors.

They've also raised a banner honoring former coach Frank Beamer's 25 years at the school, and named the street to the west of Lane Stadium Beamer Way.
Clearly, Virginia and Virginia Tech are each other's biggest rivals, playing for the Commonwealth Cup. They've been playing each other since 1895, but annually only since 1970, and the Cup wasn't first awarded until 1996, making it one of the newer major trophies. Tech has won 13 straight times and 17 of the last 18, to take a 56-37-5 lead in the series.
J.C. Coleman with the 2014 Commonwealth Cup

UVa no longer plays Maryland due to the Terrapins' 2014 shift from the ACC to the Big Ten. The 2 schools still compete for talent from the Washington, D.C. area. Maryland leads the series 44-32-2. UVa does still play what's known as "The South's Oldest Rivalry," with North Carolina. It goes back to 1892, as does what Southeastern Conference fans consider the South's oldest rivalry, Georgia and Auburn; and they've played every year since 1919. Virginia won this year to break UNC's 7-game winning streak, but the Tar Heels still lead 63-55-4.

Due to conference commitments, Virginia vs. West Virginia, which would seem like a natural rivalry, has rarely been played, and not since the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl. Virginia Tech had a strong rivalry with West Virginia, for the Black Diamond Trophy, but until this season's Tech victory at the Washington Redskins' stadium in Landover, Maryland, they hadn't played since 2005, and aren't scheduled to do so again until 2021. Tech has won the last 3 meetings, and 13 of the last 18 (going back to 1989), but the Mountaineers still have a 28-23-1 lead.

Stuff. Virginia has Cavalier Team Shops on each side of Scott Stadium, outside Sections 108 on the East stand and 126 on the West. The University of Virginia Bookstore is at 400 Emmet Street South, about a 10-minute walk northeast of the stadium and a 5-minute walk west of the Rotunda.

Lane Stadium doesn't have an official team store. The Tech Bookstore is about a 5-minute walk north of the stadium, at 115 Kent Street.

There aren't many books about either program. In 2008, Jerry Ratcliffe published the coffee-table book University of Virginia Football Vault. In 2001, Fitzgerald Francis published Greatest Moments in Virginia Tech Football History. While it's way out of date (1995), Roland Lazenby and Doug Doughty published Hoos 'N' Hokies, the Rivlary: 100 Years of Virginia Tech-Virginia Football.

Each school came out with a DVD in 2008: The Cavs released Wahoowa: The History of Virginia Cavalier Football, and the Hokies released The Legends of Virginia Tech.  

During the Game. Ordinarily, your safety would not be an issue. Neither UVa nor VT fans are known for getting rough. Tech fans can get very loud, making Lane Stadium one of the most intimidating home-field advantages in college football. But they won't start fights. But seeing as how they're playing each other, my usual advice for attending a rivalry game stands: Stick with the home team, and you'll probably be all right.

Both teams have rather odd nicknames. The official UVa mascot name comes from the original Virginia Cavaliers, named for the Royalists in the English Civil War of 1642-49, and who maintained their loyalty to the House of Stuart during the 11-year Cromwell Protectorate and the 28-year Stuart Restoration. Which makes it rather odd that the Cavalier would become the mascot of a University founded by the author of the Declaration of Independence, which faults both the British Parliament and King George III.
So what's a 'Hoo? It's short for Wahoo. What's a Wahoo? It has nothing to do with Chief Wahoo, the politically incorrect mascot of baseball's Cleveland Indians. In the 1890s, students at Washington & Lee University (named for George and Robert E.) in Lexington, Virginia, were quoted at a baseball game between the schools as calling UVa fans "a rowdy bunch of wahoos." The name stuck: "Wahooah" became the school's cheer, and "Wahoos" or "'Hoos" an unofficial nickname.

During the 1980s, UVa introduced a mascot called The 'Hoo, and it got booed off the field. So they've stuck to their Cavalier mascots: A guy in a big foam costume, and a costumed rider.
A few minutes prior to kickoff, on the Scott Stadium videoboard, The Adventures of Cavman is played. In this computer generated skit, the mascot of the opposing team is causing trouble on the Grounds of UVa, and the Cavalier slays him, then rides to the stadium via the Grounds. After the skit is over, the live Cavalier rides onto the field accompanied by orange and blue fireworks.
So what's a Hokie? In 1896, the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College changed its name to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and student Oscar M. Stull made up a new cheer to celebrate, claiming "Hoki" (as he spelled it, with the E added later) was just something he made up as an attention-getter:

Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hy!
Tech, Tech, V.P.I.!
Solah-Rex, Solah-Rah!
Polytech Vir-gin-i-a!
Ray Rah, V.P.I.!
Team! Team! Team!

This cheer is followed by the approximation of a turkey's "gobbling" sound, since the teams were previously called the Fighting Gobblers. The Gobblers name is still around, though not as popular as the Hokies name. The mascot is known as HokieBird (one word), and, as was done for Mariano Rivera when he came out of the Yankee bullpen, the Tech band plays "Enter Sandman" by Metallica as the Bird leads the players onto the field. He also has a weight bench, and bench-presses his barbell once for every point the team has scored -- a variation on cheerleaders' push-ups.
Wild turkeys can fly. As WKRP in Cincinnati taught us,
farm-grown turkeys can't fly. The HokieBird can't fly,
but don't tell Tech fans that.

The Cavalier Marching Band plays the UVA alma mater, "The Good Old Song" (or "The Good Ole Song"), to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne"; and the fight song, "The Cavalier Song," which was written in 1923, with lyrics by Lawerence H. Lee Jr., and music by Fulton Lewis Jr., both students at the time. Regrettably, in the 1940s and '50s, Lewis went on to become perhaps the original Rush Limbaugh, a strident, deceitful, bigoted right-wing radio talk-show host. Tech's band, The Marching Virginians, plays the fight song "Tech Triumph."

After the Game. If you're looking for a postgame meal coming out of Scott Stadium, you will run into difficulty. About a 10-minute walk south of the stadium, Maury Avenue and Jefferson Park Avenue have a few places, Durty Nelly's Pub-Wayside Deli (2 joints in 1), at 2200 Jefferson Park Avenue. 

After a game at Lane Stadium may be an even more difficult search. A few minutes' walk to the northwest is West End Market, at 720 Washington Street SW; and Deet's Place, a cafe that's part of Dietrick Convenience Store, on Ag-Quad Lane, across fro the preceding. In each case, other than that, your best bet may be to head back to the respective downtowns.

If you're a fan of a European soccer team, you're probably out of luck in both Charlottesville and Blacksburg. You'd be better off going to Gus' Bar & Grill in Richmond, or to one of the many such places in and around D.C. -- which might work, if your team is playing on Sunday instead of Saturday.

Sidelights. UVa opened the 14,593-seat John Paul Jones Arena in 2006. It is not named for the hot-blooded Scot who was the founding father of the U.S. Navy, but for a 1948 graduate of UVa's law school, the father of Paul Tudor Jones, a billionaire who donated $35 million toward its construction. Nevertheless, Paul is a big fan of the Admiral, and also donated paintings of him, and Jones' motto "I have not yet begun to fight!" is inscribed in the building's concrete. 295 Massie Road, to the north of the main campus.
It was built across the street from the previous home of Cavalier basketball, the 8,457-seat University Hall, which opened in 1965, with a design similar to those of the West Virginia Coliseum and Georgia Tech's Alexander Coliseum/McCamish Pavilion.
The Cavs have won Conference Championships in the regular season in 1922, 1981, 1982,1 983, 1995, 2007, 2014 and 2015; won the Conference Tournament in 1976 and 2014; and reached the NCAA Final Four in 1981 and 1984.

Notable players include Wally Walker (1976, 1979 NBA Champion Seattle SuperSonics), Marc Iavaroni (1978, 1983 NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers), Ralph Sampson (1983 NCAA Player of the Year, 1986 NBA Western Conference Champion Houston Rockets and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame), Rick Carlisle (1984, 1986 NBA Championship as a Boston Celtics player and 2004 NBA Championship as coach of the Detroit Pistons) and Olden Polynice (1987, 14 years in the NBA).

Tech opened the VPI Coliseum in 1962. In 1977, it was renamed Cassell Coliseum for Stuart K. Cassell, Tech's business manager, who had recently died. It seats 10,052. 675 Washington Street SW, just to the northwest of Lane Stadium.
Blacksburg has a few museums, most notably the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation, at 204 Draper Road SW, downtown. Charlottesville has the Fralin Museum of Art, owned by the University, at 155 Rugby Road; and the Virginia Discovery Museum, at 524 E. Main Street. Both are downtown. Of course, Charlottesville's most notable museums are Presidential, which I'll get to later.

The Washington Redskins are easily the most popular NFL team among Virginians, partly due to their proximity to D.C., but also partly because the 'Skins have long had their training camp, Redskin Park, in the State, near Dulles International Airport. Nevertheless, Virginia's western Panhandle, like most of West Virginia, prefers the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The most popular NHL team in the State is easily the Washington Capitals. But baseball and NBA fans are mixed, tending to favor which teams are winning at the moment. Television exposure to their success makes most of Virginia susceptible to the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Braves. It's not until you approach the Virginia portion of the Capital Beltway that you get a strong presence of fans of the Washington Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Wizards.

Despite the Redskins' camp being in Virginia, and attempts to build new stadiums in the D.C. suburbs for a proposed MLB team (which eventually became the Nationals, but in Washington) and D.C. United (which also built a new stadium in the District), Virginia still has no major-league teams within its borders.

In minor-league baseball, the Triple-A International League has the Norfolk Tides (formerly the Tidewater Tides, a Mets farm team from 1969 to 2006 and for the Orioles ever since); the Double-A Eastern League has the Richmond Flying Squirrels (who replaced the former Triple-A team, the Richmond Braves); the Class A Carolina League has the Potomac Nationals (in Woodbridge, replacing the former Yankee farm team, the Prince William Cannons), the Lynchburg Hillcats and the Salem Red Sox; and the Rookie League-classed Appalachian League has the Bluefield Blue Jays, the Bristol Pirates, the Danville Braves, all in southern Virginia or the western Panhandle.

The closest team to Charlottesville is Lynchburg (slightly closer than Richmond), and the closest to Blacksburg is Salem. 

Minor-league basketball has the Lynchburg Titans. Minor-league hockey has the Norfolk Admirals and the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. Minor-league soccer has the Richmond Kickers, the Hampton Roads Piranhas and the Northern Virginia Royals. But the Kickers and the Piranhas also have women's teams.

The Beatles never played in Virginia. Elvis Presley did. He played in Norfolk, at the Municipal Auditorium, on May 15 and September 11 and 12, 1955, and February 12, 1956; and at the Scope arena on July 20, 1975. He also played in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area in Newport News at the Paramount Theater on February 13, 1956. And he played in Hampton Roads at the Hampton Roads Coliseum on April 9, 1972, March 11, 1974, and July 31 and August 1, 1976.

He played in Richmond at the Mosque Theater on May 16 and November 29, 1955, on February 5, March 22, and June 30, 1956; at the Richmond Theater on September 18 and 19, 1955; and at the Richmond Coliseum on April 10, 1972, March 12 and 18, 1974, and June 29, 1976. He played in Roanoke at the American League Auditorium on May 18 and September 15, 1955; and at the Roanoke Civic Center on April 11, 1972, March 10, 1974, and August 2, 1976. He played in Danville at the Fairgrounds on September 20, 1955.

Virginia has so much history, it's hard to keep track. The 1st permanent European settlement in America was by Spain in St. Augustine, Florida on September 8, 1565, but the 1st English-speaking one was at Jamestown, Virginia on May 14, 1607. "Historic Jamestowne" is at 1368 Colonial Parkway. Colonial Williamsburg, the restored site of the former colonial capital, is at 101 Visitor Center Drive in Williamsburg, 10 miles to the northeast of Jamestown. Yorktown Battlefield, where the Revolution did not end, but victory in its war was all but secured on October 19, 1781, is at 1000 Colonial Parkway, 13 miles to the east of Williamsburg.

Both Virginia and Ohio claim to be "The Mother of Presidents." Virginia has 8 Presidential birthplaces, Ohio 7; but in terms of their political affiliation, Ohio leads 6-5, and, with the "election" of Donald Trump, New York tops them all with 7.

Presidential Birthplaces in Virginia: George Washington, house recreated, 1732 Popes Creek Road, Colonial Beach, 73 miles south of D.C.; Thomas Jefferson, house burned and never rebuilt, site at an unnamed road at around 2401 Richmond Road in Shadwell, near Charlottesville; James Madison, Belle Grove Plantion, house recreated, 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, 86 miles west of D.C.; James Monroe, house in ruins, 4460 James Monroe Highway, Colonial Beach, 9 miles northwest of Washington's Birthplace; William Henry Harrison, Berkeley Plantation (a mansion, not a log cabin as his 1840 campaign songs would have you believe), 12602 Harrison Landing Road, Charles City, 23 miles southeast of Richmond; John Tyler, Greenway Plantation, 10900 John Tyler Memorial Highway, 7 miles east of Berkeley Plantation; Zachary Taylor, probably (it's not certain) at Hare Forest Farm, 8369 Hare Forest Road, Orange, 33 miles northeast of Charlottesville; and Woodrow Wilson, at a parsonage that's been converted into his Presidential Library and Museum, 20 N. Coalter Street, Staunton (and that's pronounced STAN-ton, not STAWN-ton).

Harrison is now more identified with Ohio and Indiana, Taylor with Kentucky, and Wilson with South Carolina and Georgia, where he grew up with his traveling preacher father, and New Jersey, where he was President of Princeton University and then Governor. The other 5 are inextricably linked with Virginia.

George Washington's home of Mount Vernon, the very reason the national capital is now across the Potomac River, is still a working farm, and now has a George Washington Presidential Library. 3200 Mount Vernon Highway, 18 miles south of downtown Washington. Bus service is available.

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is at 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, 4 miles southeast of downtown Charlottesville. No bus service, and it's a bit too far to walk, especially since it will be uphill: Having an affinity for Italian things (food, wine, music, literature, and at least one girlfriend after his wife died), Jefferson named the home he built for the Italian word for "little mountain." There are taxi companies in Charlottesville, but they charge about $20. Each way.
James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland is about 3 miles south of Monticello, at 2050 James Monroe Parkway. And James Madison's Montpelier is about 28 miles northeast of Monticello (and Jefferson often stayed there on his way to and from D.C.), at 13425 Visitors Center Road in Orange, which is also about 10 miles southwest of Taylor's alleged birthplace.

John Tyler, hated by the Democrats because he joined the Whig ticket in 1840, and hated by the Whigs because he wouldn't let Secretary of State Daniel Webster tell him what to do after becoming President following William Henry Harrison's death in 1841, didn't run for re-election in 1844, because he knew he couldn't get either party's nomination. He said he felt like an outlaw, so he named his plantation after the Nottinghamshire home of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest. 14501 John Tyler Memorial Highway in Charles City, about 4 miles east of the Greenway Plantation where he was born.

Richmond is heavy on the Confederate stuff, which is unfortunate, but it was the Confederate capital. The Capitol building that Jefferson designed opened in 1792, and succeeded Alabama's State House as the Confederate Capitol building on May 30, 1861. 1000 Bank Street. The Governor's Mansion is right across the street. The White House of the Confederacy, now the American Civil War Museum, is at 1201 E. Clay Street. All are downtown, and all were spared in the burning of Richmond.

About a mile west of downtown, on the James River, is Hollywood Cemetery. There are 3 Presidents buried here: James Monroe, John Tyler, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. 412 S. Cherry Street.

The most important place in Virginia since Jefferson's 1826 death is the site of the Confederate surrender on April 9, 1865: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. 111 National Park Drive. 60 miles south of Charlottesville, 111 miles east of Blacksburg, 94 miles west of Richmond, and 192 miles southwest of Washington.

The tallest building in Virginia is nowhere near Charlottesville or Blacksburg -- or Washington, and isn't all that close to Richmond, either. It's the 508-foot Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, 4535 Commerce Street, 9 miles west of the Boardwalk.

Television shows set in Virginia often have military or other governmental settings. JAG often used the Norfolk naval base and the Marine Corps headquarters at Quantico, and its spinoff NCIS still does. Major Dad also moved from the Oceanside, California based to Quantico after 1 season. The FBI is also HQ'ed at Quantico, and so the TV series Criminal Minds, Homeland and Quantico are set there, and The X-Files had several episodes set there.

Also set in Virginia have been The Waltons (fictitious Jefferson County is based on Schuyler in Nelson County), the Cosby Show spinoff A Different World (Cliff and Claire Huxtable's alma mater, Hillman College, is definitely in Virginia, and hints suggest the Norfolk area), the cartoon Doug (the setting of Bluffington is said to be based on Richmond), The Vampire Diaries (in fictional Mystic Falls).

Movies set in Virginia have often used colonial (such as the story of Pocahontas), Revolutionary, Civil War or present-day FBI settings. Two recent sports-themed films set there have been Remember the Titans (in the Washington suburb of Alexandria) and Secretariat (the eponymous horse was born at The Meadow, a farm in Ashland, outside Richmond). And bridging the gap between TV shows and movies is the iconic 1977 miniseries Roots, with the Reynolds plantation near Fredericksburg.


The State of Virginia has more history than perhaps any other. The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech have done their part to add to it. Their "Commonwealth Cup" rivalry has become a part of it.