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Saturday, December 31, 2011
Ex-pitcher Dick Clark makes All-New Year's Team


Our resolutions for 2012 are simple at first: Get you to read the All-New Year's team. The best part: You don't have to stake out a space for hours or make any more promises.

Dave Ball: This ball falls on quarterbacks, not down a cable in Manhattan. The Tennessee Titans' defensive end has fashioned a nice career for himself after bouncing around a bit (Chargers, Jets) in his first couple of NFL seasons. He's now a regular in Nashville.

Dick Clark: What's Dec. 31 without America's Oldest Teenager? Or at least a namesake. Our guy was a Minor League pitcher with two unaffiliated teams in the 1940s, and he passed away, curiously enough, on Jan. 1, 2001.

Lou Lombardo: Unlike Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo, who welcomed in the New Year on CBS for two decades and did it until the age of 76, Lou Lombardo had his career highlight as a teenager. (A real one, not the honorary title bestowed on the aforementioned Dick Clark.) He made the first of his two MLB appearances for the New York Giants on Sept. 22, 1948 -- while he was still 19. Lombardo was actually an experienced professional at this point, having started at age 15 and he worked nearly 600 innings.

Elvis "Toast" Patterson: There are theoretically two reasons a defensive back might be known as "Toast." One is because his excellence compels fans to lift glasses in his honor. That would be the most fitting one for this list because of the traditional champagne sip at midnight on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, that's not the reference for Mr. Patterson, who was affixed to the nickname because he couldn't consistently affix himself to wide receivers during a 10-year NFL career in the 1980s and 1990s. He was Toast for his propensity to get burned.

Damion Square: If the junior defensive lineman makes a big sack or two for Alabama in the BCS national championship game, maybe they'll carve out a portion of the hallowed turf outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium and name it Damion Square. Right next to the Nick Saban statue would be nice. That way, Crimson Tide fans would have their own place to congregate to ring in the new year right there in T-Town.