Packers vanquish Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Bobby Wick's B-day!
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the Pittsburgh Steelers, seven can wait.
They were denied their record seventh Super Bowl title when the Green Bay Packers rode Aaron Rodgers' rocket arm and three defensive turnovers to a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday.
In returning the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Green Bay, where the former Packers coach who bears its name carved his legend, the Packers overcame the toughest playoff route possible. They won three road games in the NFC playoffs and became the first team to win as a playoff sixth seed since the Steelers in 2005.
The Packers faced one more obstacle in this game, too. They held off the Steelers after losing star cornerback Charles Woodson with a broken collarbone in the second quarter. That resilience was typical for a team that ended the regular season with 15 players on injured reserve.
"It was the great resolve of our football team," said Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who beat his hometown team for his first Super Bowl championship. "We had some adversity, lost some guys to injury and we had some rough plays there. In the third quarter, we had penalties, but our guys just kept fighting."
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The Marinette Warriors
As the Wickman’s Warriors Global Empire continues to expand, great stories and items continue to roll in. I’ll let Brandon Menor from our northern outpost tell this one:
Mr. Ladd: Let me tell you something about myself. First off, my name is Brandon Menor and I'm a 16-year old kid from Marinette,Wisconsin. As you probably know, that's part of Bob Wickman country here in northeast Wisconsin. I got to know Bob in a pretty cool way. Bob comes back to Marinette in the winters to throw in the gym at Marinette Middle School in the mornings. Last January, I asked my baseball coach that catches for him if I could show up and meet him. I showed up with my catcher's glove (I catch on the high school team) and he greeted me with a huge smile, shook my hand, and said, "Bob Wickman." I could only smile back and say my name.Then he started to play catch with Greg Reinhard. Greg's a 23-year old pitcher from Marinette that got drafted by the Devil Rays in the 6th round in 2005. After they were loose, Bob turned to me and said,"Hey Brandon,why don't you catch for me." I was shocked. I got down and caught for him and it was easily the coolest thing I've ever done. Here I am, a 15-year old, catching for a major league all-star and I caught for Greg, too. From that morning on,Bob Wickman was the greatest baseball player ever to me. I got to do that for the rest of the month until he left for Spring Training and I'll get to do it again when they start in January.
I think the Wickman's Warriors website is so cool. I actually like it enough to name our baseball team after it. We have a team in Marinette that goes to Appleton every other Sunday to play baseball in the winter and I had to think of a name for it. Since Bob's my favorite baseball player and I know him personally,I decided to name our team after you're website (I hope that's ok).
So we're the Wickman's Warriors baseball team out of Marinette,Wisconsin and we think it'd be pretty awesome to have Wickman's Warriors tee shirts to wear when we play. We’d really like some shirts to wear to spread the Warriors pride. We would all pay $26 and get on the roster, so I was hoping it would be possible for the Wickman's Warrior's team to dress in style. I promise the Wickman’s Warriors team will always be on top.
Well, true to his word, Brandon’s Marinette Warriors won the first half and are currently at the first half break (as of Jan. 1st). Bobby Wick and the Warriors club picked up the tab for their shirts and he and Brandon begin throwing in the next week or so. Updates to follow…J.Ladd 1/1/07
On a Mission
Warriors member Judy Miller of Rocky River was born in Bob Wickman's home town of Wausaukee. When she returned home for a visit in August, she graciously hauled a huge box of donated items from Local 26 with her to pass out to Bobby's friends and family. Bob's good friend and hunting partner Jesse Delfosse (below with Judy) will make sure everyone in town that doesn't have a Warriors shirt already will get one. The Club's banner, which has seen many an Indians game, will hang in the town's diner as a tribute to Wausaukee's most famous son.
Federal Inspectors suspect foul
play in the case of the Wisconsin quarter variations, and a disgruntled Cheese-head may be to blame.
The special interest group
Wickman’s Warriors lobbied furiously to have Cleveland Indian’s closer
extraordinaire Bob Wickman represent Wisconsin on the quarter, but the Federal
Coin Agency chose the more visually stunning and vibrant cowhead-corncob-block
of cheese collage instead. “We decided to go for the gusto,” said FCA
spokesman John Rocker.
Jesse Delfosse of McAllister, Wisconsin was taken into custody for questioning concerning the fiasco. Witnesses heard the part-time U.S. Mint worker and Local 26 fanatic muttering to himself as the Feds escorted him from the facilities in shackles.
“It just ain’t right”, grumbled Delfosse. “That should be Wickman’s big head on that quarter ‘stead of that dumb cow…”
Delfosse is also a “person of interest” in the case of the $26 bill, which has flooded the state of Wisconsin and is rapidly replacing the twenty.
Cheezers too lame to design state quarter!
Wisconsin quarter in danger of becoming first coin with nothing on it.
In an effort to help bale out our friendly but dull neighbors to the north (after all, they did give us Wick), the Warriors Club announces it’s brand new 2004 summer contest:
“Design the Wisconsin Quarter Contest”
Pick your favorite design from the 4 finalists below and vote. Remember, the Cheeseheads are running out of time--the coin is set to come out at the end of the year. Don’t wait! Vote today!
McAllister Gang made its annual trek to Cleveland for the Labor Day Weekend to
visit with their favorite homeboy Wick. Led by Jesse James Delfosse, the boys
caught up with Wick and myself at Jacobs Field just as a fresh batch of
Wickman’s Warriors tee shirts arrived Saturday afternoon.
with their new 2004 Warriors gear hot off the presses and complimentary bleacher
seats from #26, the Cheezers got to see Bobby pitch the ninth in Saturday’s
6-1 loss to the Anaheim Angels. Having not pitched in a week, Bobby came in with
the Tribe down 5-1 to get some work in. He gave up a lead-off triple just out of
the reach of a diving Coco Crisp, gave up a run on a base hit, then got out of
trouble on a double play ball and a ground out.
ESPN game was a real heartbreaker as Jake Westbrook’s gem was lost as Ronnie
Belliard was thrown out at the plate on a miraculous play that would have tied
the game in the eighth. Final score: Angels 2, Indians 1.
Even though they saw two losses, the guys didn’t seem to care and enjoyed their yearly trip to the big city and the time they spent with Wick. After watching him pitch in a rehab appearance at AA Akron a year ago, none of us could complain about seeing a healthy Bob Wickman play in a Big League game at the Jake. Maybe, with a lot of luck, we can all get together again for more fun next year. Where Bobby Wick is concerned, I’ve learned to never say never.
J. Ladd 9-6-04
Editor in chief
It’s been more than 10 years since Bob Wickman has
been on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.
The Cleveland Indians relief pitcher and only Warhawk to
play major league baseball had his No. 20 jersey retired last Wednesday at
Prucha Field before the Warhawks hosted Oshkosh. Wickman helped lead
Whitewater’s 1989 team to a fifth-place finish in the NCAA Division III
Wickman underwent ligament construction on his right
elbow (Tommy John surgery) in December. That gave him time to be honored by his
former college. “Everything is going good,” Wickman said about
his rehabilitation. “We’re pretty much done with therapy. Now it’s just
building strength and throwing.”
Wickman played Whitewater baseball from 1988-90 as a
pitcher and designated hitter. The Chicago White Sox picked Wickman in the
second round of the amateur draft after his junior year.
“Three years and two months from the time he threw his
last pitch in Whitewater he was pitching in Yankee Stadium,” said Whitewater
baseball coach Jim Miller in front fans who battled rain to see the ceremony.
After making his major league debut as a New York
Yankee, Wickman played for the Milwaukee Brewers (1996-2000). He was named the
Brewers’ Most Valuable Player in 1999 and later was traded to Cleveland (2000)
in a multi-player deal that brought Richie Sexson to Milwaukee.
Wickman spoke to the crowd about his memories on and off
the field. He also expressed his appreciation for Miller, who is retiring this
season after 17 years of coaching the Warhawks. “It was great
that I had a chance to get back and congratulate him on all his honors that he
accomplished,” Wickman said.
Wickman left Whitewater with records for career
strikeouts and innings pitched. He is 59-45 with 156 saves and a 3.68 ERA in his
career. Wickman noticed a few changes around the city, especially the Kachel
Fieldhouse adjacent to Prucha Field. “It’s a beautiful
fieldhouse,” Wickman said.
Fred is shipwrecked.
(a true story as told by Dick Enstad)
Fred finally decides to take a vacation. He books himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeds to have the time of his life - until the boat sank. He found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other
people, no supplies... Nothing. Only bananas and coconuts.
After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to him. In disbelief, he asks her, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"
"I rowed over from the other side of
the island," she says. "I landed here when my cruise ship sank."
"Amazing," he says. "You were really lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you."
"Oh, this?" replies the woman. "I made the rowboat out of raw material found on the island. I whittled the oars from gum tree branches; I wove the bottom from palm branches; and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."
"But ... but ... that's impossible," stutters Fred. "You had no tools or hardware. How did you manage?"
"Oh, no problem," replies the woman. "On the South side of the island, there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."
Fred is stunned.
"Let's row over to my place," she says.
After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As Fred looks onto shore, he nearly falls out of the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, he can only stare ahead, dumbstruck.
As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like to have a drink?"
"No, no thank you," he says, still dazed. "Can't take any more coconut juice."
"It's not coconut juice," the woman replies. "I built a still. How about a Pina Colada?"
Trying to hide his continued amazement, he accepts, and they sit down on her hand-woven couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable.
Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom."
No longer questioning anything, Fred goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, is a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow-ground edge are fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism. "WOW! This woman is amazing," he muses, "what next?"
When he returns, she greets him wearing 'nothing but vines' strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.
"Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for a really long time. I know you've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months. You know..."
She stares into his eyes. He can't believe what he's hearing!
"You mean ...", he swallows excitedly, "We can watch the Packer game from here?"
How old are you, P.K.?
PK: 34. Pretty sure.
WJ: Don’t you know?
PK: Well, funny thing. The state of Wisconsin didn’t start printing birth certificates with ink until 1971, which is also the year they first installed safety devices on compressors. Mine’s a charcoal rendering of the state seal (a badger clutching two corncobs with potato clusters) with the lettering in #2 pencil. It’s smudged in places but I’m pretty sure I was born in 1969.
WJ: What about your actual birth date?
PK: That’s blurry, too. Looks like February 29th or 30th.
WJ: Can you send a picture of yourself so the folks reading this know what you look like?...
Whoa!...Shoulda asked for a return envelope.
What does the “K” stand for?
The kitchen’s in the Central (west) Zone, so by the time I got my sammich and
my house is on a slab, so later this summer my brother Gilbert K. Ledbeddor…
WJ: Have you lived in McAllister all your life?
PK: Yep. Only left the county once. My father took me down to Madison when I was 5 for the State Soybean Festival. I don’t remember much except him pulling my right arm away from a mechanical bean press.
WJ: Wisconsin looks kinda goofy on the map. What’s with that top part?
PK: Glad you asked, Junior. Family folklore has it that my great, great, great grandfather Wilbert K. Ledbeddor…
WJ: What’s the “K” stand for?
WJ: I had to ask.
PK: … who was the first badger trapper that settled up here, sold that corner of the state to some Michigan fur traders for 11 beaver pelts, 3 pounds of jerked beef and half a bag of chewin’ tobacco. Would have been a real steal but legend has it they welched on the tobacky.
WJ: What’s a badger? Are they hard to trap?
PK: It’s like big, mean rat that’s not very bright. You can pretty much just walk up to one and whack him with a board.
WJ: How’d you like watchin’ Bob Wickman’s tremendous year at closer last year? He saved 20 games with a torn-up elbow. Dude was on fire, wasn’t he?
PK: Well, actually I missed all his saves for most the season.
WJ: You missed it?! Don’t you have a TV or what?
PK: Oh yeah, we’ve had radio, TV, and electricity for a few years now.
WJ: Then what happened?
PK: Well, odd thing. I found out in September that the line that separates the Eastern Standard Time zone and the Central Time zone runs smack-dab through the middle of my farmhouse. Now, I like to clean up the dishes and churn the butter in the kitchen and listen to the first 8 innings of the Tribe games on the radio, then go into the living room and catch the 9th on TV. The game is so fast paced that I get too nervous if I watch the whole thing.
WJ: Why’d it take you all season to find out?
PK: Well, I heard all this talk about contraction, I just figured they went to 8 inning games.
WJ: What’s the K stand…wait, never mind. Don’t tell me.
WJ: I said don’t tell me.
PK: Sorry. He’s gonna come over with his tractor and pull the whole house about 20 yards eastwards.
WJ: Why not put the TV in the kitchen, Einstein?
WJ: What occupies your time during the summer months up there?
PK: Once the corn is in the ground there’s not much to do but watch it grow. I use the time wisely to practice up for the huge corn-shucking contest held every September 23rd.
WJ: Why September 23rd?
PK: Babe the Blue Ox’s birthday (traditional).
WJ: How good are you?
PK: Well, I’m not one to brag, but I was State Corn-shuckin’ Champ for 9 years running, from 1993- 2001.
WJ: What happened last year?
PK: I was the victim of a freak accident, Junior. A week before the big day I accidentally got my right hand caught in a …
WJ: Heeeere we go…
PK: …pneumatic cream corn masher.
WJ: OK that’s it… Break! Lunch break…
Don’t miss the spellbinding interview conclusion on the next Wickman’s Warriors!!!
Anyhow, The kitchen’s in the Central (west) Zone, so by the time I got my sammich andbuttermilk and sat down by the TV in the living room which is in the Eastern Zone, the game was over and Green Acres was on.
my house is on a slab, so later this summer my brother Gilbert K. Ledbeddor…
It is rare in sports to find a player that went to a lower division college and later succeeded at a high level in professional sports. That’s what makes this story so special for Bob Wickman and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Wickman attended this NCAA Division III University from 1987 to 1990, playing baseball for the Warhawks. Pitching was his strong suit and his arm caught the attention of the Chicago White Sox who drafted him in 1990. After a trade to the New York Yankees, he made his first major league start late in the 1992 season for baseball’s most storied franchise. He became the first UW- Whitewater baseball product to make it all the way to the major league level, a mark that still stands today. Twelve former Warhawks have signed pro contracts but only Wickman has major league experience.
Over the course of his first two seasons he also made MLB history by starting his career with a 14-1 record, tying legendary Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford for the best start since 1950.
Wickman’s dream of making it to the “Bigs” got even better the day he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1996. The Abrams, Wisconsin native was back home doing what he loved most, playing baseball.
Warhawks baseball coach Jim Miller remembers going to see Wickman pitch for the first time in Milwaukee. “I’m at old County Stadium and I just couldn’t believe I was here watching one of our own kids at this level!”
Wickman made the transition from a set-up man to closer in Milwaukee. He flourished out of the bullpen with a team record 37 saves in 1999.
Wickman’s stint with the Brewers was sweet but also short. The struggling club did not need an elite closer out of the bullpen so they traded him to the pennant-contending Cleveland Indians in 2000, only weeks after he was named to his first MLB All-Star team.
At UW-Whitewater, Wickman had single season personal bests of: A 6-4 win/loss record in 1989, 67 innings pitched in 1989 and 63 strikeouts in 1990. He also earned all-conference in 1990.
In Wickman’s final season at UW-Whitewater, his receiver at catcher was current Warhawk assistant John Vodenlich. Wickman also makes special mention in his MLB bio with the Indians that the person he most respects outside of baseball is his brother Bill, who was an All-American in 1989 while the two were Warhawk teammates.
UW-Whitewater will honor Bob
Wickman this spring by retiring his jersey #20.
WJ: Still there, P.K.?
PK: ‘bout time Junior, you had me on hold for 3 weeks now.
WJ: Sorry. Hope I
didn’t keep you from anything important.
PK: Naw, there’s gobs of corn to shuck around here.
P.K. doesn’t realize this is a collect call!
WJ: OK, you were
talking about the summers up there in Wisconsin.
PK: Yeah, besides tending the corn I have to write my articles as freelance reporter for Wickman’s Warriors.
WJ: How long can
PK: Most of the summer. I don’t have one of those new-fangled computers like all you young folk do. All I got is an old Smith-Corona ribbon typewriter. Every time I spell something wrong I have to get a new sheet of paper and start over. Plus I’m typin’ with just half a finger so it takes me twice as long as a normal person.
WJ: The winters are long and cold up in your part of
the country. What do you do up there for excitement?
PK: I do some ice fishin’, a little badger-whacking and watch the Packers on Sundays.
the way, nice job the Pack did against the Falcons in the playoffs last year.
PK: Yeah, man. They looked sillier than the Browns losing to Pittsburgh.
WJ: Hey, watch it!
WJ: What kind of
music do you like?
PK: Heavy metal.
PK: Oh yeah. I really wanted to catch Metallica on their world tour last summer, but for some reason they skipped McAllister.
WJ: Any pets?
PK: I had a Shetland pony named Ranger, but he up and died on me a year or so back so now I just keep goldfish.
WJ: I’m sorry to hear that. That must have been
hard on you.
PK: Yeah…You can’t flush a pony.
What’s your favorite movie?
PK: Forest Gump. By the way, Warner Brothers studios called me recently about the sequel. They want me to do a screen test to play that little kid when he grows up. I hope I don’t have to run.
WJ: Well, I better
get going. I’ve got practice tonight. I have to continue working on pitching
out of bases loaded one -out jams.
PK: Don’t forget to study hard at school and practice, practice, practice.
TELEPHONE OPERATOR: “Mr. Ledbeddor? That will be $26,983 for the collect call from Cleveland. Would you like to pay by credit card or insert quarters? Are you there Mr. Ledbeddor?… Mr. Ledbeddor?… Hello?