Friday was the fourth of July. It was also Al Davis' Birthday. Most Raiders fans know this fact because it's easy to remember when the most independent figure in all of sports was born on the day we celebrate our nation's independence.
Al Davis would have been 85-years-old Friday. Several of those who knew him best shared some memories of him. Fond ones, of course, as would be expected when someone this influential passes, we are reminded more and more of that which is missing without them.
Long time Los Angeles Times beat writer, Sam Farmer, posted this picture showing Al Davis having some laughs with Farmer and some other Raiders beat reporters.
It wasn't always serious with Al Davis. We Raiders beat writers did have some laughs with him sometimes. pic.twitter.com/OaZJ0vGHiQ— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) July 4, 2014
Seeing this, I was reminded about accounts of how Al Davis would captivate groups of NFL types at the annual owners meetings telling stories only someone with his extensive NFL history could tell. Some of those stories would go back several decades and he would tell them as if they happened yesterday.
Another NFL storyteller is Gil Brandt. The once longtime Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel, and current Sirius XM NFL radio host, was having a moment and remembered his friend, Al Davis.
Al Davis would have been 85 today. I miss our morning phone calls.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) July 5, 2014
Here, the Pro Football Hall of Fame honors one of their own.
Just win baby! Class of 1992 enshrinee and former @RAIDERS owner Al Davis was born OTD in 1929. pic.twitter.com/lR4GMpFGjk— Pro Football HOF (@ProFootballHOF) July 4, 2014
Former Raiders quarterback, David Humm, remembered Al Davis' birthday bashes, which he always held in Las Vegas with a whole host of former Raiders players. Here is an excerpt from an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal in which Humm recalls some of what went down at Al's birthday bash.
Davis, who was born on the Fourth of July, loved Las Vegas so much he would hold his birthday parties here almost every year.
Humm, who was cut three times by Davis and re-signed three times, recalled Davis' 75th birthday party when Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gorme performed. Lou Rawls entertained at Davis' 80th.
The Raiders' Hall of Fame owner died Oct. 8, 2011. He would been 85 today.
Invitees to Davis' birthday parties would follow "the same game-day schedule as if it were a regular Sunday," said Humm.
The itinerary, said Humm, included the words "chapel (men only) and we all gathered. Mr. Davis got up and said, ‘I'd like to introduce each one of you and tell you what each meant to the Raiders.' And after he went through the whole room he said, ‘I'd like each of you to tell your feelings of what the Raiders have meant to you.'
"After the last player spoke, you could hear a pin fall on the carpet," said Humm.
It seems each year when on the fourth of July, a few more stories and memories of Al Davis crop up. It is a fitting way to honor Al and keep his memory alive.
The Raiders also had a tribute piece on the official site:
On what would have been his 85th birthday, we honor and pay tribute to Al Davis. http://t.co/PJexnjvPp6 pic.twitter.com/EtKeGAy2a6— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) July 4, 2014