Saturday, February 21, 2004
Milan 1954 remembered
A look back at 'The Miracle Men of Milan'
By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer
As with all great stories, the story of "The Miracle Men of Milan" has not diminished one iota in the past 50 years.
"After 50 years, and all of the publicity and the movie, 'Hoosiers,' I think it might stick around a little while," says Bobby Plump, 67, flashing the same ear-to-ear grin he had as an 18-year-old after sinking "The Shot" that sunk giant Muncie Central on March 13, 1954, in the Indiana State High School Basketball Championship.
"Milan - 1954" was ultimate tale of the underdog, a 161-student school beating a 2,200-enrollment school, the sports equivalent of David slaying Goliath.
Milan's miracle arguably out-miracles even the "Miracle on Ice," the shocking hockey victory over the Soviet Union by United States' collegians at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.That upset is celebrated in the new movie, "Miracle."
It is why the basketball tale made nationally famous in the still popular movie "Hoosiers" (1986) will never die -- even though many of the high school students here are sick of hearing it...the flame-keeper for a Milan Museum is struggling to make the project happen...and efforts to revitalize the tiny town of 1,900by attracting a major industry to town have so far failed.
Today, the Milan Indians play the Muncie Central Bearcats at the Muncie Fieldhouse in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN Classic. It is yet another golden nugget that occasionally pops up, 50 years after the gold rush.
Reporter John Erardi and photographer Michael Keating went in search of more
such nuggets one Saturday two weeks ago. Here is what they found.
A story about a different kind of gold rush. A story about one town's struggle to again overcome tremendous odds -- this time not to create a legend, but to live up to it. A story of why "Milan 1954" continues to have such a grip on so many of us.
MILAN: THE LEGACY OF '54
2nd-ranked Crusaders topple No. 1 Lancers
Lancers' offense cools without Orr
Hard-fought win clinches GMC title for Hamilton
Thomas is named McDonald's All-American
Friday's other games
Football: Tripleheader on schedule for Paul Brown Stadium
Swimming: St. X wins team title; Browning pulls upset
Wrestling: No surprises here - Moeller puts 11 into semis
Prep sports results, schedules
BENGALS / NFL
Lewis hints starting QB job will be Palmer's
Dillon's home remains with Cincinnati - for now
Fitzgerald never doubted he could play with the big guys
REDS / BASEBALL
Mattox wants to earn his place on Reds' 25-man roster
Hudson hopeful he can pitch
Robinson ready to give Expos a few more good years
Cardinals make Pujols member of $100M club
Bracket Buster does mid-majors no favors
Tipoff Page notebook
Catching up with ... Cheryl Cook
MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Time for some payback
Muskies put 5-game winning streak on line
Auburn's Ellis knows UK still team to beat
RedHawks on roll, with flaws and all
Van Breda Kolff claims wrongful dismissal
UC wins without suspended Merrill
Newman wins pole again at 'The Rock'
Earnhardt grows weary of queries about dad
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
NBA: New Jersey wins now coming by the dozen
Daly's 10-under within striking distance of lead
Siler, Warren win finals at Olympic Team Trials
ON THE AIR
Talk radio becomes part of nation's male fabric
Sports on TV, radio