Author: Richard Pufall

Richard J. Pufall is a veteran sports journalist who spent 15 years at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, serving as deputy sports editor and executive editor of Packer Plus. He also worked as a sports editor, reporter and columnist for The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Racine Journal-Times.

In the early years of the 20th century he was the revered, adopted son of northern Wisconsin. Specifically, he was an icon to the tribal members of the Bad River Reservation, just east of Ashland. He was Charles Albert “Chief” Bender, a Major League Baseball player who pitched his way into the Hall of Fame. Chief Bender’s Upbringing:  Long before the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953, Chief Bender gave our little corner of the upper Midwest a rooting interest in big-league baseball.Carole Kraft was just 11 when Bender passed away in 1954. But he was more than…

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Several days have passed since the Josh Hader trade bombshell was dropped on Wisconsin. And yet, the sun rises, the beer and the brats still taste good at the ballpark, and the Brewers continue to battle the Cardinals for control of the NL Central. Everything Is Status Quo? Business as usual? Maybe not. But as usual, the business must continue, without Hader, the lanky lefty, who was the National League’s Reliever of the Year in three of the last four seasons.This is not to minimize the loss of Hader, perhaps the best closer in the game. This isn’t to understate…

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Jim Taylor lost his status as the Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading rusher to Ahman Green, the NFL schedule makers, and Ray “Scooter” McLean.  Taylor finished his brilliant nine-year Hall of Fame career as a Packer, playing on four NFL championship teams, including the first Super Bowl.His Packer rushing record of 8,207 yards stood unchallenged for 43 years until 2009, when Green Bay re-signed Ahman Green to return to the Packers after two years with the Houston Texans. Ahman Green In Green Bay:  Green had been a sensational running back with the Packers, rushing for 8,162 yards from 2000 to…

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Fans of the Milwaukee Brewers don’t pack American Family Field to see big, brawny Rowdy Tellez lay down a bunt. In fact, it’s a rare occurrence when a Brewer or any major leaguer drops a bunt into the mix.  Tellez has emerged as the Brewers’ most dependable big bopper and RBI man. Bunt? Forget it! Swing for the fence, big man! A sacrifice bunt on the five-year, big-league resume of Tellez is more than rare, it is nonexistent. Milwaukee used to bunt themselves to wins It’s doubtful that Manager Craig Counsell will ever ask the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Tellez to sacrifice…

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The minds of old sportswriters tend to fuzz up when trying to recall their favorite player interviews, now long buried in time. But Ray Nitschke … well, he was unforgettable. Related: The top 10 Green Bay Packers of all timeIt was the spring of 1978 and a young sportswriter was in Green Bay to cover the Packers in the NFL Draft. This would be the draft of James Lofton, and the Packers wisely selected the brilliant wide receiver from Stanford with their No. 1 pick. Lofton was, perhaps, the only good thing to emerge from a dismal decade of Packers football.But…

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Pitch counts? That phrase was just an unspoken part of baseball’s vocabulary in the 1960s. Unlike today, pitchers of that era and decades before were expected to finish what they started. No matter how many pitches it took.  That was classically illustrated on July 2, 1963, at Candlestick Park when two future Hall of Famers locked in a 16-inning pitching duel that underscores how much the game – Major League style – has changed.Today, if a pitcher survives the first five innings, it is considered a “quality start.”  When a starter nears 100 pitches he is typically pulled from the…

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