Stan Hochman: If you feel lost and gloomy, wandering in some thick, dark forest, trudging in circles, Bernie Parent wants to lead you out of that forest and into the sunshine. And no, he is not selling you a compass or a GPS. Or maybe he is.
JOHNNY CALLISON stood there, shivering, at first base. Ghostly pale, kitten-weak, Callison was safe on a pinch-hit single. This was late September 1964 with the Phillies gagging through that nightmarish 10-game losing streak.
Stan Hochman: Your Philadelphia 76ers have virtually no chance of winning the NBA championship this year. Precisely, it's 0.9 percent. Yo, you wouldn't take 100-to-1, betting with your brother-in-law's money.
GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON played wicket with the troops at Valley Forge in early May 1778. Wicket involved a bat and a ball and a manicured path from the pitcher to the hitter, the sort of landscaping you saw back in the day in bygone ballyards, before AstroTurf, before high-def scoreboards, before $126 million contracts.
THOSE VIOLET eyes. Those sparkling violet eyes. That's what I remember most about my lunch with Elizabeth Taylor in that hotel dining room in Puerto Vallarta.
Stan Hochman: Joe Hand remembers the ferocious left hook Joe Frazier hit Muhammad Ali with in the 15th round. It is 40 years to the day and Hand has vivid memories of what he calls "the greatest sporting event of all time."
Stan Hochman: On May 19, 1983, Leonard Tose fired his general manager and good friend, Jim Murray, and gave the job to his daughter, Susan. In her new book, "Briefcase Essentials," she recalls being called the "Wicked Witch of the Vet."
Stan Hochman: Sean Patrick Griffin, a professor of criminal justice at Penn State Abington, has written "Gaming the Game," a fascinating book about Jimmy Battista and his role in the Tim Donaghy NBA scandal.
YOU WILL LIKE "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. It's about an Olympic distance runner named Louie Zamperini who becomes an Air Force bombardier on a rickety B-24. Crash-lands in the Pacific, scrambles onto a life raft, the start of a grim nightmare, bedeviled by ruthless sharks, most of them human.
Stan Hochman: I'm the guy who nicknamed that 1983 Phillies team "The Wheeze Kids" and it stuck. Yo, lightning might strike again 27 years later. I want the best starting rotation in baseball called "The Un-four-gettables."
THE NO-HIT pool starts Opening Night. You put up a buck, write your name on a ticket stub. Roy Halladay pitches a no-no that night, the rightfield ballgirl draws a name out of the basket and shazam, you win 60 percent of the pool, maybe $3,000.
ON THE DAY after he whipped Sonny Liston in Miami, Cassius Clay told a gaggle of white sports writers that he was joining the Nation of Islam and changing his name. They grumbled and told him he was demeaning the heavyweight championship of the world. He looked 'em in the eye and said, "I don't have to be what you want me to be!"
Stan Hochman: Before the wrecking ball reduces the Spectrum to rubble, may I please have my raincoat back? It's black, London Fog. Some NCAA flunkie swiped it on March 28, 1992. You've got your Spectrum memories and I've got mine.
Marathon: Prince Will I Am, Giant Oak, Eldaafer
Juvenile Fillies Turf: WINTER MEMORIES, New Normal, Kathmanblu
Filly & Mare Sprint: Rightly So, Informed Decision, Dubai Majesty
Stan Hochman: I'm here to tell you that Charlie Manuel is the best Phillies manager in the last 50 years. Maybe forever! Been here 6 years, in the playoffs the last 4, in the World Series twice. Won it once.
Stan Hochman is a sports columnist for the Daily News.