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Death of a Salesman: Big John, Lions, and more

One of the delights of Thursday’s at Al’s Barbershop was eating Big John’s 7-Up cakes. He was a local baker who used his mom’s recipe to make some of the best 7-Up cakes around.

He baked cakes for people on Detroit’s west side. And dropped off huge slices of tender deliciousness at Al’s and other west side barber shops for $3 a slice. Unfortunately, we will never get to taste Big John’s treats again.

Big John and his wife recently died two weeks apart because of Covid-19.

Big John worried about getting the Covid-19 shot. What was in it? Was it safe? He read about the Tuskegee Experiment in Alabama, where the government falsely told black sharecroppers they’d receive free medical treatment to combat “bad blood.” Instead, they received given placebos while the government studied the long-term effects on black males with syphilis.

Big John and his wife Agnes did not trust the shots. So they refused to get the two injections that would protect them from Covid.

Please protect yourself.

**Some of the Lions’ best players saw what fans refuse to see. You cannot win in a Lions uniform no matter who you are. The team had wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders under its wing for a combined 19 years and won just one playoff game.

Both left in their prime.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford never won a playoff game during 12 years under center. And after all of that, he finally asked for a trade. Some of the Lions’ woes were his fault. But I feel that if Stafford had a chance to play for any other team in the NFC North that he would have multiple playoff victories.

Only one man is walking the face of this Earth who can claim he won a playoff game for the Lions in the Ford era. His name is Eric Kramer. He’s an undrafted free agent that helped in guiding the Lions to an easy playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys in 1991.

Stafford is a better quarterback than Kramer. The difference between the two is clear, though. Kramer had a better team, and a more stable coaching staff. And he had the chance to play with one of the greatest running backs of all time, Barry Sanders.

***No one asked me, but I recommend that the University of Michigan not remove Fielding Yost’s name from the ice arena. A university committee made the recommendation after it learned that Yost, as Michigan’s football coach, refused to play a black player Willis Ward against Georgia Tech, a southern school that refused to play teams with black players on their roster.

That was a long time ago—a different time with a different mentality. I was not too fond of the thinking back then. However, I do not believe Yost was any different than most white people back then. Although unfortunate, he made the decision in order to appease fans who would want to see the game and for the almighty dollar.

****The NBA is so much more exciting with fans. That was evident during the New York Knicks playoff games against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden. MSG is not one of my favorite buildings, but the place becomes electric when the bass-filled organ plays at top volume, and the New Yorkers are at full blast. It is worth checking out sometimes.

******I enjoy my visits to the Woodward Sports Network, but the one thing we will disagree on is when Joey and Stick say “we” when talking about the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings. I call them “they” because I am not part of the organization, and sports teams do not care about you other than trying to get you to purchase tickets, buy uniforms and shell out eight bucks for a beer.

******Michigan State’s over/under for football wins, according to Vegas bookmakers, is 4.

For the University of Michigan, they set the over/under at 8. Bet the over for State and the under for Michigan.

Are those good bets?

Follow Foster on Twitter at TerryFosterDet

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