1. Mike Fish has what I suppose is an expose on Bobby Lowder here, but most of the material in the article is old news to SEC fans. It was amusing to remember that Lowder spearheaded the effort to fire Tommy Tuberville in 2003 and thus failed to show the presumed good judgment that amassed his fortunes, although on the other hand, would the 2004 Tigers have gone unbeaten anyway with a Gang of Six offense? What? Auburn had Bobby Petrino before? With that same personnel? And they didn't run roughshod over the backwards SEC? You mean this whole "Gang of Six" theory is bullshit?
2. LD grinds his annual axe that Dale Murphy isn't in the Hall of Fame. As much as I agree with him that Murph was the lone bright spot in seven years of appallingly bad baseball, I'm of the opinion that Murph's stats dropped off too quickly for him to be a legitimate Hall of Famer, which is not to say that there aren't players in the Hall with inferior credentials, but one mistake doesn't justify another and I like baseball's selectivity when it comes to the Hall. Murph had six great years, but just as there is something to be said for being the best at your position for a given time period, there's also something to be said for longevity. LD cites the low trade value that Murph had by the time the team decided to trade him; that trade value would have been significantly better and the roster would have been more talented at the start of the 90s when the pitching staff came around if Murph wouldn't have gone in the tank in 1988.
One argument that LD didn't make in his Murphy/Puckett comparison that should be mentioned: Puckett's batting average was better, but Murph's on-base percentage was better during the height of his career and that's a more relevant stat, especially because it doesn't penalize Murph for having Dion James and Oddibe MacDowell as his table-setters. Murph had a .417 OBP and 115 walks in his monster 1987 season; Puckett never had an OBP higher than .379 or more than 57 walks in a season. During Murphy's six-year run, his OPS was at least 142% of the league average in five out of those six years; Puckett reached that level only once in his career. LD makes a good point that Puckett's glaucoma actually helped his cause, partially by making him a sympathetic figure (everyone remembers him crying with a patch over one eye at his retirement ceremony) and partially by allowing him to avoid the decline phase of his career. If Murphy would have had some sort of sympathetic incident that cut short his career in about 1988, he'd probably be in the Hall.
One other factor that helped Puckett: he looked like a Teddy Bear. Writers had to like him by appearance because he was this roly-poly guy who, despite his unathletic appearance, was a great player. Sportswriters can relate to tubby guys, which is probably why they love David Wells so much. Murphy looked like the prototypical athlete, so his feats were less surprising or relatable.