A few years ago, I wrote a story about Alan Miller and his streak of consecutive Iron Bowls attended.
Alan’s dad, the late Dowling Miller, went to his first in 1949, one year after the Auburn-Alabama series resumed in 1948.
Alan, an Auburn fan, went to his first Iron Bowl in 1974. The father-son streak ended at 29 with the 2002 game. Dowling passed away in 2004.
Alan’s personal streak remains intact (45 and counting), and now he’s got one going with his son, Hamil, who attended his first Iron Bowl in 2009.
I bring all this up because of the death last Thursday of Decatur’s Al Jones.
Jones, who was 93, was the last living member of the the Iron Bowl Perfect Attendance Club, a group that had about 50 or 60 members when it was formed by Oakley Melton of Montgomery.
The club included people who attended every Iron Bowl beginning in 1948. They would get together at times, usually at the Iron Bowl, and bond because of their shared experiences.
Those bonds and friendships tightened over the years as the membership dwindled.
My interest in the group started when my good friend in Montgomery, Jim Melton, told me about his uncle Oakley’s group. I wrote about it in The Montgomery Advertiser and also had Oakley on my sports radio show.
When Oakley died, his streak ended at 63. I included all of this – including the mention of Al Jones and his streak – in the stories I wrote about the Millers’ streak in both the Advertiser and Arab Tribune.
Turns out, Jones was an old golfing buddy of Tribune publisher Ed Reed. The two reconnected after the stories ran.
Jones attended 70 straight Iron Bowls, his last in 2017.
My friend Jim Melton, like Alan Miller, has a pretty gaudy streak of his own going on. He’s been to 52 straight Iron Bowls, a number he thinks might rank second among folks in Montgomery.
Still, he has his own streak in perspective.
“I’ve got to make it to age 70 just to tie Oakley at 63, then 78 to tie (Jones),” he said.
“That’ll never happen.”
In its story about Al Jones’ death, The Decatur Daily recounted Jones’ reaction to the “Kick Six” game in 2013 when Auburn returned a missed field goal for a game-winning TD in the final second of the game.
Naturally, Jones didn’t like it and the bad memory didn’t fade very quickly.
Asked about it two years later by a reporter tracking his attendance record, he was blunt.
“I still hate that damn Kick Six,” Jones said.
• I guess if the Mets can hire an 82-year-old pitching coaching, anything’s possible.
Former USC & LA Rams coach John Robinson, 83, has joined LSU’s staff as senior consultant to Ed Orgeron.
• Tickets to Zion Williamson’s Summer League opener Friday have an average purchase price of $97.13 – nearly $30 more than a ticket to the Astros-Angels ($67.83) game, the MLB’s top game that day.