№34: Frank Ramsey Player Spotlight | Birthday Week | Playmobil BTTF DeLorean DMC-12 set | Apple AirPods Pro | John F. Walker | George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead [1985] | G.I. Joe Retro Figures

September 5, 2021

Welcome to the tedi.substack.com weekly newsletter! At the end of each week1, this newsletter will touch on any number of entertaining, informative, or (possibly) useful topics.

There is a lot of unpack for Week #34 starting with a deep dive into the playing and (brief) coaching career of the late Frank Ramsey (†). Other sections include: My Birthday Week, Playmobil’s Back to the Future DeLorean DMC-12 set, Apple AirPods Pro, Marvel Legends’ John F. Walker, George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead [1985], and Hasbro’s 2021 G.I. Joe Retro Figure line.

For more, skip to your section of interest.


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The concept behind my Player Spotlight segment was inspired by the writings of the late Zander Hollander (Sportswriter, archivist, and author of the ever informative The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball) wherein he would write short and insightful entries on—then 20 something—NBA teams and their players for that particular season. With over 30 years of basketball knowledge under my belt, I decided to come up with my own short, free flowing, and non-linear/viewpoint narrative on a featured player. 

Frank Ramsey

Born Frank Vernon Ramsey, Jr. (†) (July 13, 1931 – July 8, 2018) in Corydon, Kentucky. The 6’3” Frank Ramsey was a two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at the University of Kentucky. As a sophomore, Ramsey would go on to help the Adolph Rupp (†) coached Wildcats to the 1951 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with a 68–58 win over Kansas State University. The following year, a point shaving scandal—involving four other players—forced the University of Kentucky to forfeit its 1952-1953 season. In 1953, Ramsey and fellow seniors Cliff Hagan and Lou Tsioropoulos (†) graduated from Kentucky and proceeded to join the NBA Draft.

During his time as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats baseball team, Frank Ramsey earned All-SEC honors as an outfielder in 1951, 1952, and 1954.

The 1953 NBA Draft and return to Kentucky

In the 1953 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics would go on to select all three Kentucky Wildcats: Frank Ramsey (1st round | 5th overall), Cliff Hagan (3rd round | 21st overall), and Lou Tsioropoulos (7th round | 57th overall). But instead of joining the Celtics for the upcoming 1953-1954 season, Ramsey, Hagan, and Tsioropoulos opted to return to Kentucky University for another year. As graduate students, the trio lead the Wildcats to a 25-0 regular season. But with NCAA rules (at that time) prohibited graduate students from participating in post-season play, the Wildcats decided to preserve their perfect season and declined their invitation to participating in the NCAA tournament.

During his time at Kentucky (1951, 1952, and 1954), Frank Ramsey would go on to average 14.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over 91 career games.

Suiting up for Boston and serving in the U.S. Military

At the conclusion of his rookie campaign with the Boston Celtics in 1954-1955, Frank Ramsey would serve in the U.S. Military and miss the 1955-1956 season. Upon his return to the Celtics (1956-1957), Boston would reach the NBA Finals for the very first time in franchise history. Facing off against the St. Louis Hawks, the series would go down as one for the ages—a Celtics’ 125-123 double-overtime win in Game 7. With the 4-3 series win, the Boston Celtics were crowned the 1957 NBA champions. Ramsey’s first as a player.

In 1957-1958, Frank Ramsey had his best statistical season as a member of the Boston Celtics averaging career highs in points (16.5 ppg), rebounds (7.3 rpg), and minutes (29.7) over 69 games. The Celtics would make it back to the NBA Finals in a rematch with the St. Louis Hawks. But an ankle injury to center Bill Russell in Game 3 and the dominating play of power forward/center Bob Pettit in Game 6 clinched the title for the Hawks.

From 1958-1959 until his retirement in 1963-1964, Frank Ramsey would continue to play an integral part in the Boston Celtics dynasty— a run of seven consecutive NBA titles to that point. Utilized by Celtics head coach Arnold “Red” Auerbach (†) as the first man off the bench to spell either Bob Cousy or Bill Sharman (†), the 6’3” swingman would excel in this unofficial sixth man role by consistently providing a spark for the C’s second unit. Pundits considered Ramsey to be the NBA’s first-ever sixth man.

In his nine-year career with Boston, Frank Ramsey averaged 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists over 623 career games.

Coaching career

At the end of the 1965-1966 NBA season, Arnold “Red” Auerbach (†) had singled out Frank Ramsey as his choice to succeed him as head coach of the Boston Celtics2. However, Ramsey declined the offer and opted instead to move his family back to Madisonville, Kentucky where he would raise his three young children, be with his ailing father (Frank Sr.), and manage his successful nursing home business.

In 1970-1971, Frank Ramsey replaced Alex Groza3 as head coach of the American Basketball Association (ABA) Kentucky Colonels. Despite a 32-35 record, Ramsey guided the Colonels to the 1971 ABA Finals where he would see a familiar face—former Celtics teammate Bill Sharman (†), the head coach of the Utah Stars. The 1971 ABA Finals would eventually go the distance with the Stars winning in seven games. The following season the Colonels replaced Ramsey with Joe Mullaney (†).

Personal Notes:

On May 3, 1954, the University of Kentucky honored Frank Ramsey (#30), Cliff Hagan (#6), Lou Tsioropoulos (†) (#16), Billy Evans (#42) (†), Gayle Rose (#20) (†), and Phil “Cookie” Grawemeyer (#44) (†) in a joint jersey retirement ceremony.

Between the jersey joint retirement ceremony of Ed Macauley (†) and Bob Cousy (Honored on October 16, 1963) and that of Tom Heinsohn (†) (Honored on October 15, 1966), Frank Ramsey’s #23 jersey was retired to the rafters of the Boston Garden.4 Ramsey was also among 39 players that were named into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. He is among 180 players, coaches and contributors that were inducted as part of the founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (November 17, 2006).

With co-inductees, Everett “Grey Fox” Case (†) (Coach), Alva Duer (†) (Contributor), Clarence Gaines (†) (Coach), Hal Greer (†) (Player), Slater Martin (†) (Player), and Willis Reed (Player), Ramsey entered the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Frank Ramsey passed on July 8, 2018—5 days shy of what would have been his 87th birthday.

Birthday Week (August 27 to August 31, 2021)

My birthday gift to myself: Playmobil’s Back to the Future DeLorean (Item Number: 70317) and Back to the Future Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown [2-pack] (Item Number: 70459) (August 29, 2021)

A good eight years or so before the 35th Anniversary of Back to the Future (1985), the license to produce movie related toys and projects grew exponentially. Every manufacture seemed to have their own version of the DeLorean DMC-12 (Matchbox immediately comes to mind). Then Lego came out with an interactive toy wherein you could literally put Marty McFly in the driver’s seat (2013). By 2016, Back to the future had gone BIG with a 1/6 scale of Marty, Doc Brown, and their very own DeLorean DMC-12 (2016)!

By late October 2020, NECA had put out their own line of Back to the Future 7-inch ultimate action figures that had different versions of Marty, Doc, and the movie’s chief antagonist—Biff Tannen. They had all of these little accessories and if it were not for a NECA product shortage here in Manila, I would have probably gotten the whole set.

Then I heard about this…

Playmobil’s Back to the Future DeLorean! Not as small and basic as it’s Matchbox counterparts. Not as fragile as it’s Lego competitor. Most of all, not as delicate and expensive as big brother Hot Toys. Playmobil—stealing a page from Goldilocks—seemed to be just right.

Given the popularity of this Playmobil product, I figured that I would never ever see one in the wild. Then I happened to see two sets on the shelf of my local Toys R’ Us last week—in a section of the store that I never go to. I just stared at it for awhile and then turned towards an attendant that was standing a few feet away from me.

“Do you guys also have the Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown [2-pack]?” I asked.

In my mind, IF they did have it, it would be a sign to pull the trigger and get the whole set. On occasions like these, it always helps to have an upcoming birthday to justify the expense.

After some rummaging, the attendant was able to find the last 2-pack5. I then proceeded to take the photo that you see below then made my way to the counter.

Product details:

In addition to the DeLorean DMC-126, the Playmobil’s Back to the Future DeLorean set (Item Number: 70317) comes with a 1985 version of Marty McFly (with skateboard and Handycam), Dr. Emmett Brown (with tool bag, DeLorean remote, and stopwatch.), and Einstein the dog. Other accessories include: the flux capacitor, dashboard time travel indicator, lightning rod flux capacitor attachment, and a plutonium carrying case with three removable plutonium isotopes.

While the Back to the Future Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown [2-pack] (Item Number: 70459) features a 1955 version of Marty McFly (with electric guitar) that is ready to jam to Johnny B. Goode as well as a 1955 version of Doc Brown with a 1985 “Save the Clock Tower” flyer.

Playmobil’s Back to the Future DeLorean is the winner of the 2021 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY).

Apple AirPods Pro (2019) + Catalyst Waterproof & Drop proof AirPods Pro Case (August 30, 2021)

Since purchasing the Apple AirPods Pro last Monday, I’ve been able to use them for two sessions with my patients. This early, I can say that the noise cancelling feature really makes a big difference. I am also looking forward to my audio book listening experience in the coming days and weeks.

There was this one time when my uncle gave me really good advice on investing in protective cases. He said, “You mean to tell me that you are willing to spend so much on a new (gadget), but not on a case to protect your investment?”

Hasbro Marvel Legends Series: Captain America: John F. Walker (August 31, 2021)

I remember reading an article online that talked about a time in the late 1980’s when Marvel Comics wanted to shake things up with their core characters: Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and The Invincible Iron Man.

For the Hulk, they made him smart and revisited his original grey color. As for Spider-Man, an alien costume gave him an all-black look at a terrible cost. While Tony Stark went to war with those who may have stolen his technology and in the process fired Iron Man (himself) as his personal bodyguard. Hey! It was the 80’s!

This brings us back full circle to Captain America where the plan was to turn him into a more brutal and Punisher-like version of the Cap that we all grew to love. But writer Mark Gruenwald (†) would have nothing of it and that is why we have John F. Walker—A strength augmented individual who takes up the costume and shield of Captain America. As the new Captain America, Walker snaps when his parents are murdered by the right-wing terrorist group known as the Watchdogs. John F. Walker attempts to keep it together until he comes face-to-face with Steve Rogers. I’ll leave it on that note just in case you haven’t read this particular storyline yet.

It was a storyline that lasted 28 issues (Captain America #327 to #354). The period also coincided with the time that I started following and collecting comics. Back in those days, we only got 12 issues a year. Which meant a lot or re-reading. Thirty years later, I still remember this story by heart.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)

When I found out that they were going to make John F. Walker a part of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series, I was generally interested. I probably would have been more excited if the show featured Steve Rogers instead of Sam Wilson or Bucky Barnes.

As a rule with figures that come with alternate heads, I believe in sourcing out another body so that I can have two figures instead of one. Over time, the practice of swapping heads can also lead to the neck joint getting loose.

But given the wealth of comic book history at their disposal, I think that Marvel did a good job. At the very least, we (the consumers) now have our very own John F. Walker figures to add to our respective collections.

Movie of the Week: George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead [1985] (August 31, 2021)

I remember watching this movie in different segments over the years but never in its entirety. Today was the day! Glad to have finally seen it with my family. The side commentary was priceless! Especially in the scenes involving the high strung as Captain Henry Rhodes (Joseph Pilato).

According to my brother who is big Romero fan, Director George A. Romero was not able to secure the budget that he wanted for this movie. It also didn’t do too well in the box office but managed to gain a cult following years letter.

If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re missing out.

No longer A Real American Hero: Hasbro releases a G.I. Joe (Retro Carded) Snake Eyes [3 3/4″ Figure] (August 29, 2021)

To be honest, I didn’t even know that they were going to come out with another 3 3/4 G.I. Joe line until I saw these two Cobra vehicles in Toys R’ Us in Glorietta 1 last August 5, 2021.

I really didn’t think much of it until I saw the single card action figures more than three weeks later. It’s a same that this retro G.I. Joe line was not complete faithful to the original 1982 3 3/4 line. Gone is the familiar “A Real American Hero” tag line underneath the G.I. Joe logo. Lama Hama’s classic file card descriptions have also given way to one too many translations.

I’m probably not going to pick any of these up. ■


About

Tedi Gustilo Villasor, Ph.D. is a former columnist for Baby Magazine (Philippines) as well as a past contributor to NBA.com/Philippines. His other works include the indie comic books Lindol and OBIsessions.

Click here for more information on his work as a psychologist.

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1

Unless something exciting comes up that necessitates an additional entry.

2

When Ramsey passed on the head coaching offer, Auerbach approached Bob Cousy who also declined as he was not comfortable coaching his former teammates. Auerbach then reached out to Tommy Heinsohn (†), but Heinsohn felt he would not be able handle the ill-tempered Bill Russell. Ultimately, Bill Russell was named playing-coach of the Boston Celtics for the 1966-1967 season.

3

Who succeeded head coach Gene Rhodes after the first 15 games into the 1970-1971. Alex Groza would go on to coach only two games for the Kentucky Colonels before Ramsey assumed the post.

4

Despite extensive research, I can’t seem to find any source that gives the date of Frank Ramsey’s jersey retirement ceremony.

5

It turns out that only three Playmobil DeLorean vehicle sets and two Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown 2-packs were delivered to the store. They have tried to reorder but have not received another allocation since.

6

The Playmobil DeLorean DMC-12 can also be configured to “flight mode,” when all four of its wheels are folded by 90 degrees.

7

Again, only if something of interest comes up which would require an additional post.