Steve Bisheff, now a sports columnist for the Orange County Register and author of two books, reflected this week on 40 years in the business.
“Call me lucky,’’ he said. “To have been there for so many significant events, to have had a front row seat all those years, to have watched so many wonderful games and spectacular athletes.
“My first event was a high school game for the old Santa Monica Evening Outlook. It seems like just the other day.’’
The Evening Outlook became The Outlook and then went out of business in 1998. By then, Bisheff was well along in his career. He wrote for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and San Diego Tribune before joining The Register. The subjects of his books have been John Wooden and the 2002 World Series champion Angels.
We watched a lot of events together. I am a little older but we came along at approximately the same time and I preceeded him at The Outlook.
On the day of Super Bowl 1, when Bisheff married Marsha Rose, I was his best man.
“Quite a few people in the sports business were invited to the wedding and the date did cause a conflict,’’ he recalls. “But the wedding date was set before the Super Bowl date was announced. Some people had transistor radios to their ears during the ceremony.’’
It all turned out well. The Super Bowl has become one of the world’s biggest sports events and the Bisheffs remain happily married, and now have three grown children.
In recognition of his 40 years, Bisheff picked his 40 favorite events. The Angels’ World Series victory is No. 1, followed by Wooden’s last game in 1975 and Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run for the 1988 Dodgers.
Rounding out the top five are USC’s 21-20 football victory over UCLA in 1987 and the Lakers’ three consecutive championships when Shaq and Kobe worked together.
The second five: Mary Decker and Zola Budd colliding in the 1984 Olympics, Magic Johnson over Larry Bird in the 1979 NCAA basketball championship game, Kellen Winslow’s starring role in the Chargers’ overtime win in Miami after blowing a 24-0 lead, the fight when Mike Tyson bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear, and a Kentucky Derby win by Winning Colors, only the third filly Derby champion in 114 years.
’’The crowded airports, the battle for interview space in locker rooms, the dogged deadlines often combine to make it more difficult than most people want to believe,” said Bisheff. “But would I do it all over again?“In a minute.’’