Don't look now, sports fans, but the "Mayor of Glen Burnie," the incomparable Charlie Eckman, is out there battlin' again.
Eckman, the longtime Baltimore sports broadcaster who once coached and played in the National Basketball Association, is recovering nicely from knee surgery.
The youthful 69-year-old still is receiving therapy, but is getting around with a cane after being on the 30-day disabled list.
"I'm doing well, coming along fine," said Eckman, a 43-year resident of Glen Burnie. "You'll see me around again now that I've got this cane."
Eckman is peddling a bicycle about five minutes a day as part of his therapy, and his bad wheels are improving. Believe me, to use his words, Eckman "is not ready to call a cab."
The only man to ever coachand referee an NBA All-Star Game, Eckman is not sure if he's going to get back into radio and is considering becoming a consultant at Delaware Park. He also will continue to run the World Series of Handicapping at Penn National.
Eckman founded the very successful World Series of Handicapping and is arguably the eastern area's most knowledgeable race track authority.
Eckman is really anxious to get going again after being sidelined.
"It's driving me crazy sitting arounddoing nothing," he said.
I would have to say that for a guy who has done as much as Charlie over the years and for a guy who was constantly on the go, it's been hell for him just sitting around, waiting for those wheels to start churning again.
Eckman who refereed in the NBA predecessor, the old Basketball Association of America back in1947, later blew his whistle in the NBA and coached the Fort Wayne Pistons (now Detroit Pistons) three years and also reffed in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Along the way, he played baseball, basketball and soccer at City College in Baltimore, scouted for a couple of major league baseball clubs, and later became Baltimore's top and most recognizable sportscaster with his unique style.
The guy has done it all in sports and helped scores of people along the way, not to mention several charities. He always has been a champion of the little guy, and that brings us to today's first big "Q."
Why isn't Charlie Eckman in the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame?
How much do you think Eckman appreciated the thoughtful basket of fruit he received while in the hospital from Baltimore Orioles general manager Roland Hemond?
* Don't you know you can forget about buying a ticket at the door Saturday night when top-ranked Dunbar of Baltimore (13-1) comes calling on No. 2-ranked Annapolis (10-0)? The big high school hoop game is sold out.
* How could Glen Burnie's junior varsity boys basketball team beat South River, 101-34, last week? Isn't that nice?
*Have you heard about the Kazmarek Insurance unlimited men's basketball team that is 8-0 and planning to play in a state tournament in Ocean City in April?
Did you know that Annapolis coach John Brady coaches Kazmarek and has them running and gunning like his high school Panthers to the tune of nearly 100 points a game? They had a 110-pointgame recently, which is incredible for recreation hoops.
"It's the best amateur team I've ever seen," said Brady, who just sits and watches the guys fly up and down the floor. "My job is to pick up the tab when we go out after the games."
The team is like a who's who of former local high school standouts.
Catch this roster: Kevin Carter (St. Mary's and Loyola grad who got a tryout with the Bullets); Ricky Moreland (Washington Bullets PR director who once was drafted bythe Bullets out of UMBC); Steve Foley (Annapolis and Loyola College); Dan Ruland (Annapolis, James Madison and later played a couple of years in Europe); Dean Albany (Brooklyn Park and CCB); Jimmy Savage (Loyola High); Curt Keller (Archbishop Curley, Washington College and time in Europe); plus four former Andover High All-County players.
The Andover grads on the unlimited powerhouse include the Spurriers, Scott and Wayne; Joe Hall and Neil Burns. Rounding out the team are Doc Reed, who keeps stats and is team physician, and sponsor George Kazmarek, who racks up the balls and is in charge of the water bottlesduring timeouts.
Doc and Kaz get to make a layup when the team isup by 30 or more.
Kaz, Reed and Brady have been with the team since it started more than 20 years ago. They play Sundays at Marley Junior High, and Brady said, "Everybody on this team plays except me."
* Did you know that former Northeast High star basketball players John McKinley (All-County 1987) and Uwone Jackson (All-County 1985) are playing together at Glenville State (W.Va.), a National Associationof Intercollegiate Athletics school?
* Are you Northeast hoop fans aware that every time senior Steve Strauss dishes off an assist he adds to his career school record? Strauss started this week with 187.The old record was 163 by 1988 grad George Henson.
Do you think that Strauss, who currently has 62 assists this season, will break Jackson's school record of 117 assists set in the 1985 campaign?
* How about the year being had by 6-foot-3 Northeast center Kevin Mursch, who is averaging 10.7 points and 10.3 boards a game?
* This question came from two disturbed Severna Park parents who called the 24-Hour Sportsline, 647-2499: "Why does the Severna Park's boys basketball team practice two nights a week from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.?"
*Did you know that Andre Foreman, who scored 42 points and grabbed 10boards Monday night in leading Salisbury State to a 121-92 romp overFrostburg State, is the son of a very proud Annapolis High administrator John Foreman, the former Chesapeake High coach?
* Did you know that Dennis Edwards of Annapolis is the leading scorer at 33.4 points a game in the Maryland,D.C.and Virginia area? * You didn't really think they were going to put a AAA minor-league baseball club in Annapolis, did you?