Al on Al


A transcript of a small portion of a two-hour interview aired on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area Thursday night with Al Davis, conducted by Raiders play-by-play announcer and “Chronicle Live” host Greg Papa:

Papa: Let me be one of the first to wish you Happy Birthday.

Davis: Well, it will be happy when we win. But it’s a milestone, obviously, 80, and usually at this time of the year, every fifth, from 75, 80, I’ve held a nice party in Las Vegas but I felt this year, predicated on the economy, that we would just whittle it down to a few friends for dinner, and hold off because we didn’t want to flaunt when everyone else is having trouble financially and I thought it was best to do it that way. But in any event, thank you very much.

Papa: My wife and I were thrilled to be at your 75th, and it was a tremendous function and you showed a lot of generosity to us and to those closest to you. Let’s start at the beginning, we’re going to tell the story of one of the most fascinating lives not only in the history of professional football but all of American sport, July 4, 1929, Brockton, Mass., the home of Rocky Mariciano, the great champion, and you, sir. How old were you when you moved from Brockton, to Brooklyn?

Davis: We came to Brooklyn, New York, when, when I was 5 years old, and my dad was a manufacturer. He was an entrepreneur, he manufactured raincoats, and he was in real estate, and he was moving the raincoat business, in those days, to the south, because of the course of labor, and things like that. Some of the factories stopped in Baltimore, some stopped in North Carolina. But, my mother felt that we ought to stop a little further north, so we chose Brooklyn, New York. The memories are great, I lived there until I was about 16. My dad had a home in Long Beach, Long Island, and we were moving from Brooklyn to Long Beach, to Brooklyn, to Long Beach, but by the time I was ready to go to college, which I was about 17 years old. I had already committed to move to Long Beach, and so I went on to college.

Papa: Tell me about Brooklyn in those days. You mentioned some of the names to me, the great Don McMahon, who later pitched in the major leagues, with the Atlanta Braves, was a childhood friend of yours, and the Torre family, I think you were closer to Frank than Joe, and some of the people, before you got to Erasmus Hall, even that you knew growing up in Brooklyn.

Davis: Well, let me make a point to you. Brooklyn was a very diverse place. We had all the ethnic groups that you could possibly think of. It was great street learning. And right next to my house, there was a park called Lincoln Terrace Park. And it was a tough park. It really was. Whoever played in that park, you had to be a survivor. I can only tell you the story, and I did the eulogy of Sugar Ray Robinson, when he died, in Los Angeles, and one of the other eulogists, one of the other persons who spoke, was Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson and Don King were there. And we talking. And I told Mike, who was about 20 years younger than I am, `Mike, I played in Lincoln Terrace Park, and I tell you what, it was tough.’ And he said, `What do you mean you played in Lincoln Terrace?’ And I said, `I used to play there, every day and night, unless I went to practice . . . ‘

Papa: Baseball, basketball, football?

Davis: Baseball, basketball and football, and I said, `I owned that park, Mike.’ And he turned to Don King and said, `This guy is an S-O-B, he’s a tough S-O-B.’ If he can come out alive out of that park, he must be a tough S-O-B. I remember it so vividly, my public school, my junior high school was called Winthrop Junior High School. We had to march when we were in school to our classes. We had to wear a white shirt and a red tie. And anyone who went to Winthrop will remember that. And then, we were being recruited to go to high schools, and I went to Erasmus Hall High School, with the idea of playing basketball. That was the dream, to play for Al Badain, at Erasmus Hall High School. And the memories are great, I made a lot of friends. Yes, as you mentioned, a guy, McMahon, wa son the baseball team, I wish he were alive today. We used to laugh like all heck. The Torre brothers were big, they played for Madison, and Joe, I think, played for Brooklyn Prep. And there are so many great ones who went to Erasmus. Let me start with Bob Tisch, who owned the Giants. Jerry Reinsdorf, who owned the White Sox and the Chicago Bulls. Sam Rutigliano, who coached the Cleveland Browns. Sid Luckman, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Barbra Streisand, you have to fill Barbara in because she probably is the No. 1 celebrity from that school. And Lanie Kazan, we just had a litany of great performers, great people.

Papa: You mentioned you played for the great Al Badain, on the basketball team, and you played all the sports, but football, was the one, and you stated when you were 18, you felt you had a deep understanding of the game of football. Why do you feel that you saw football better than the other sports.

Davis: Well, I really don’t know that I saw it better. It interested me more. When I was 18, I was already in college. I went to college when I was 17 years old. At Erasmus, we ran a single wing. At Syracuse we ran a single wing and then Ben Schwartzwalder came and we ran a single wing, unbalanced line, and I just understand that there was more to it than running the football. There was a passing game. And I saw it, and I believed it, and a lot of people, I can remember Luke LaPorte, was one of our teammates, we were taking a class in football in the summer, and Luke came over to me after the class and looked at some passes that I had put up on the blackboard for coach Schwartzwalder’s assistant coaches, who were coaching the class to see, and he said, `Can you run that in high school?’ And I said, `High school? You can run this in pro football.’

Note: The rest of the interview is expected to be shown in the coming weeks. The first portion was aired in advance of Davis’ 80th birthday on the Fourth of July.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • OAKlifer

    Frantz Joseph

  • OAKlifer

    is my uncle

  • jhill

    Difference between Odom and Ariza situation is that the Lakers wanted Artest, plain and simple. They didn’t even offer Ariza a contract. They went straight after Artest, as they should have.

    Odom will be back. No way Portland outbids us. The Lakers actaully want to sign him.

  • OAKlifer

    Al’s favorite LB other than Sam “we Know who”

  • OAKlifer

    Odom will be back. No way Portland outbids us. The Lakers actaully want to sign him.

    LMAO @ THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    two words for you LaMarcus Aldridge why would Portland even try to bid for this goon we are looking at a vet swingman or 2 spoat not another Starting PF/SF to back up our STUDS!!!! lol @THIS

  • SnB Defense

    jhill Says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 9:56 am
    BJ Raji and Ron Brace? Are u still on that SnB?

    Because there is a rumor that the BACKUP DT is on the block, we should have used a 1st or 2nd rd pick on that position?


    Can we at least wait until we hear that one of the starters at that position in on the block?
    LOL!!!! Noticed how you inconspicuously left of Jasper Brinkley’s name. Not to excited about having an UFA TE from Boise State and another UFA from Florida Atlantic as competition for Kirk Morrison?


  • SnB Defense

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    who needs these guys when you can have Matt Shaughnessy, Stryker Sulak & Frantz Joseph?

    come on S&B.

    wake up and smell the fire burning on top of Al Davis’ 80 candle b-day cake!

  • SnB Defense

    jhill Says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    My answer to that is he is still on the roster despite the “deadline” passing. Just someone trying to make some news during a dead week. My opinion hasn’t changed. I give the guy props for showing up in shape this year, and hope he contributes as a BACKUP DT. If we can trade him to upgrade the team, I’m all for that too.
    Of all the guys to drive a rumor about is an overpaid backup DT from the worst run defense in the NFL? The Raiders are shopping him around.

    Unfortunately, I don’t agree with it at this point. Might as well keep him around to complete a 4 DT rotation. Although Boschetti has ties to Cable going back to UCLA

  • Oaklifer,

    How does it feel that Turkeylugooly chose Toronto over Portland?

  • jhill

    I was just responding to the DT issue you asked me about SnB.

    I wouldn’t have had a problem with Brinkley, or any other MLB. I don’t think those UDFA’s are Morrison’s competition, I think it is Ricky Brown who will unseat him.

  • jhill

    Well they beat the JRuss angles to death …

    Anyone who knows Raider fans know that Terdell is the next biggest target. Look how many hits that story got, LOL!

    It’s not that hard SnB. The “deadline” for his roster bonus has come and gone. Did they make some calls and see what they could get? Maybe they did. So what happened, couldn’t get the 2nd rd pick Al was asking for? If Board is unhappy with the guy, why didn’t they just cut him and save the $?

  • OAKlifer

    Dakota Says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    How does it feel that Turkeylugooly chose Toronto over Portland?


    Loved every minute of it Two words for that Rudy Fernandaz…..We have a Great young team that I would hate to see a Hedo or Lamar “candyman” Odem come to disrupt our young players Chemistry and Playing time IMO Fernandaz > Hedo…….Remember Sac town Remember Orlando this guy dosnt win he just shoots…….Rudy was mad we courted him we already traded Sergio then Started Courting Hedo we Almost had the Spanish Armada All over again!!!!LOL I thin p-town needs a vet point gaurd or even a TY lawson type!!1 JUST SAY NO TO HUGE CONTRATS AND OL AZZ MEN!!!!!LOL

  • jhill

    Odom would start for Portland, Oak!

    Stop trippin!

    He is a SF, and a better player than Turkoglu.

  • OAKlifer

    “when Healthy” the Blazers will be the team to beat!!!…..lol

  • OAKlifer

    Nicolas Batum
    Channing Frye
    Travis Outlaw
    Martell Webster

    along with Rudy, Bayless, and some times Aldridge ALL play the “forward” postion and IMO Batum a rookie who earned a starting role and Outlaw coming off the bench we have one of the best combos in the leauge…you forget J-hill we went from 41-41 two a fourth seed in the playyoffs and would have beat Houston if we had taken that first game @ home and didnt hafe to play the refs babying YAOwers…imo we are good add some vet presence at the point and WATCH THE FU@K out LA here we come!!!! I know bro its a scary thing but WE BELIVE HERE IN THE “other” TOWN.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    These fish did not get away. LOL

    Roy Letson tells the Detroit Free Press their heavy catch of walleye may have caused the boat to go under. Letson says the men had their limit, 20 walleye in their coolers.

    After their 19′ boat capsized, the men clung to the hull for nearly a day before being rescued.

    News 11 was there Friday night when the fishermen were brought into Bolles Harbor, just north of Luna Pier.
    Letson tells the Free Press “Maybe we had too much weight on the front of the boat, we had our fish up there. We were all done, coming in. It was real fun, we were having a good time.”

    The first wave hit, drenching the front of the boat. Then the second. And the third. The boat capsized — and took their radios and safety equipment underwater. He pulled himself onto the hull, what became the men’s floating island through Thursday night’s darkness.

  • OAKlifer

    ohhh yeah almost forgot Drafted a couple “F”‘s as well
    Victor Claver
    Jeff Pendergraph
    Aquired Shavlik Randolph in a trade…..

    I think we will be ok….

    and last but not least lets not forget about Reaf LaFrentz….just a little joke…lol

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Follow up, they admitted tripling the limit each and the front was way overloaded. Emptied the tanks while waiting for rescue.

  • Raider50

    LOL. If Al Davis smokes weed…I thought I couldn’t love the Raiders anymore than I already do.

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • Richochet

    priesttj Says:
    July 5th, 2009 at 7:32 pm
    Memo to Richochet; you seem t think the owners of any sport have indivdual fans in mind when they make decisions. But if any owner ever took into account the fans he is Al Davis as well as some others that I can think of. There was no other reason to come back to Oakland other than what he experienced here with the crowd, which he stated on his return. Oakland had the least amount pof money or potential in terms revenue streams. He had LA all to himself. Not to mention that Baltimore was very interested as well as other communities. In truth Oakland was the least attractive. So why did he come back? Since money was definitely not 1st on the list it must of have had at least a little to do with the crowd.

    But everyone knows Al Davis NEVER speaks the truth. Why do you think they came back?
    Al came back for ONE REASON..and one reason only.
    LA Coliseum was a total bust. Horrible place. A cavern. Fans in the front row were still 30 yards from the sidelines. Sellouts were almost non-existent, even during the playoffs. Al came back because he was desperate, and looked the fool in LA. Irwandale wasn’t going to happen. Baltimore wssn’t interested in Al or the Raiders.
    As far as screwing the fans?
    No one comes close to Al.
    Ex: After ’02, when Alameda wanted to throw a parade for the Raiders? Al refused.
    They then wanted to have a fan appreciation day. Al informed all of the players there were NOT allowed to attend. Hot Dog Jerry Rice went ballistic, as he loves the spotlight, yet Al refused.
    Hell, look at how many of YOU RAIDER FANS that state “Al owns the team. He can screw over everyone if he wants”.

    Because he does.
    Owns the team.
    And screws over the fans.

    Ok..riddle me this..when Al decides to stupidly fire and hire coaches, before any program gets up to par, who suffers, besides the won/loss?
    The fans.
    Benching a Marcus Allen, while hurting the team, all because he didn’t kiss Al’s butt? Hurt the team AND the fans.
    Holding back league tickets that were slated for the fans during the ’02 SUPER BOWL? Royally screwed over the fans.

    Al cares about Al, not you. Or any other Raider fan…Al.

  • Richochet

    Raider O Says:
    July 5th, 2009 at 10:23 pm
    We will be in the top 5 In rushing, and in the top 15 in passing!!!

    The defense will improve, due to the fact that it can’t get worse!

    You’re dreaming.
    Raiders were dead LAST in passing last year.
    Russell continues to have trouble hitting water from a boat. You still have squat at WR. Adding Bey, who’s knock is he can’t hold onto the ball, and now he can’t even run routes.
    Not to mention your O line is questionable.
    17th in rushing
    31 in passing.

    Just call em like I see em

  • priesttj Says:
    July 3rd, 2009 at 10:13 am

    “What do you guy’s expect from an 80 year old man?”

    For him to retire.