A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 27, 2015
“It’s unlucky to be behind at the end of a game”

"It’s unlucky to be behind at the end of a game” is a classic sports remark that’s both obvious and funny.  Michigan State University football coach Duffy Daugherty (1915-1987) was credited with the line in June 1958. “It’s Unlucky to Be Behind at the End of the Game” and Other Great Sports Retorts was used in 1983 as the title of a book about sports quotations.


Wikipedia: Duffy Daugherty
Hugh Duffy Daugherty (September 8, 1915 – September 25, 1987) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Michigan State University from 1954 to 1972, where he compiled a career record of 109–69–5. Duffy’s 1965 and 1966 teams won national championships. Duffy’s tenure of 19 seasons at the helm of the Michigan State Spartans football team is the longest of any head coach in the program’s history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

26 June 1958, Anniston (AL) Star, “After the Whistle” by Paul Cox, pg. 14-A, col. 1:
Duffy, unlike most college coaches, is not superstitious. However, he does have one qualm.

“It’s bad luck to be behind at the end of the game,” he quips.

12 July 1958, Stars and Stripes (Europe), “Daugherty Imparts Grid Philosophy at USAFE Clinic” by Jack Ellis, pg. 21, col. 4:
His only superstition is that it is bad luck to be behind in the score at the end of the game.

1 September 1962, Marshall (MI) Evening Chronicle, “Daugherty Aims At Coveted Big Ten Title” (UPI), pg. 6, col. 2:
Daugherty isn’t taking any chances on the Spartans, despite their high ratings in most preseason polls. He’s superstitious, saying it’s unlucky to be “behind at the end of a game.”

19 September 1963, Algona (IA) Upper Des Moines, “Odds and Ends” by Russ Waller, pg. 1, col. 1:
Another Daugherty gem: “My only feeling about superstition is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of a game.”

Google Books
The American Legion Magazine
Volumes 74-75
1963
Pg. 52:
When Michigan State’s Duffy Daugherty ("My only feeling about superstition is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of a game") heard a hissing radiator one day, he turned to a friend.

Google Books
A Speaker’s Treasury for Educators, Convocation Speakers, Baccalaureate Speakers, Commencement Speakers, PTA Officers, School Board Members, and Others
By Herbert Victor Prochnow
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House
1973
Pg. 147:
Unlucky
Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State football coach: “My only feeling about superstition is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of a game.”

10 May 1977, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Crusaders, Comets to Meet for the Title,” pt. 2, pg. 6, col. 2:
Commenting on what some refer to as his lucky comebacks, (Comets coach Don—ed.) Musselman says, “I like to tell my kids what Bill Russell used to say. It’s only unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.”

Google Books
“It’s Unlucky to Be Behind at the End of the Game” and Other Great Sports Retorts
By Dick Crouser
New York, NY: Quill
1983
Pg. 32:
When he was coaching at Michigan State, Duffy Daugherty had only one hang-up. “My only feeling about superstition,” said Duffy, “is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of a game.”

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My only feeling about superstition is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of the game. ~Duffy Daugherty
11:01 AM - 24 Oct 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, October 27, 2015 • Permalink