Peterson: Pandemic sparks interest in past

One of the things the current pandemic has done is to ignite an interest in the past.

With practically nothing going on in the sports world, we’ve all gotten used to watching feats of years gone past.

There’s been plenty of hockey, basketball and baseball games of yesteryear shown on the major networks.

It’s been nice to watch the final game of the 1968 World Series as the Detroit Tigers, behind Mickey Lolich, beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

And it was equally enjoyable to see the “Miracle on Ice” upset by the United States over Russia in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Mike Ludlum at WLUC-TV has also done a great job of showing highlights of U.P. teams winning big games, mostly in championship games.

There’s been the 2005 state championship by the Houghton High girls basketball team; the 1997 Class D football state championship by the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes.

And one of the several (six at last count) state hockey championships captured by the Calumet Copper Kings in 1997.

But the one WLUC highlight that caught my eye was the 1969 state basketball title taken by Marquette Bishop Baraga.

The Royals went into the tournament that season with a modest 8-10 record. But they beat Detroit St. Martin DePorres in the championship game.

Before they got to East Lansing, Bishop Baraga had to face a favored Baraga squad in the regional finals.

The Vikings that season were one of the coach Carl “Cookie” Johnson’s finest. They were led by all-state guard Gary Moberg and had good size.

As fate would have it, Moberg came down with a case of the flu and was severely hampered in the title game.

Another BHS starter was lost early with a sprained ankle, and Bishop Baraga ended up winning a close game.

Moberg, a 22-point scorer in the regular season, managed just nine points in the game.

I ran into a Bishop Baraga player from that team while were both serving in the military in 1971. I couldn’t help but ask him about the game.

“They (Baraga) were better than we were,” he said. “It was just our year (the school closed the next season). It was fate, I guess.”

And fate often has the last laugh.


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