A lot of fathers might envy Ken Griffey Sr. for being the only man to play on a major league team with his son, but not far from Seattle, in the Puget Sound division of the 25-and-over Men's Senior Baseball League, 63-year-old centerfielder Jerry Thornton has tripled Griffey's feat. Jerry and his three sons play for the Red Sox in that league, and with Jeff, 39, at catcher, J.B., 36, at second and Jon, 33, at shortstop, it's all Thorntons up the middle. Each of the four batted more than .300 last season, and on Father's Day this year, with Jerry's wife, Darlene, and 10 of their grandchildren on hand, Jeff, J.B. and Jon contributed four hits in a 10-2 Red Sox win. Dad's going hitless may not have been an accident. "Darlene keeps warning me not to show the boys up," Jerry says.
A Few More on Ice
When the NHL announced plans last week to expand from 26 to 30 teams by the 2000-01 season, it raised predictable cries that the league was over-extending itself and diluting a talent pool already thinned by the addition of five teams in the past six years. The fear is that with so many teams having only a few highly skilled players, more clubs will rely on the mind-numbing neutral-zone trap that has become so popular in recent years. With an emphasis on cautious play and team execution rather than individual ability, the trap enables a less-talented club—including, of course, an expansion team—to stay in the game with a better one.
But despite the naysayers' concerns, the NHL's decision to add teams in Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Ohio, and St. Paul is a good one. The NHL could expand to 50 teams and still provide the best hockey of any league in the world. And while expansion teams may indeed use some form of a trap, they won't necessarily employ the stultifying mid-ice holdups popularized by the New Jersey Devils when they won the Stanley Cup in 1995; that's because hockey coaches are famous imitators, and this year's playoff semifinals included four teams not dependent upon the trap—the Colorado Avalanche, the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The NHL is wise to tap as many new markets as possible. Hockey is a vastly better sport live than on television, and while purists may well detect a decline in play, fans will still be getting a high-quality game. "I think we can expect to see the NHL expand even to Europe," says Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman. "When the league first expanded to 12 teams in 1968, I figured that was a lot. Now look at us."
While we applaud the comprehensive local sports coverage provided by The Times of Trenton, N.J., we can't help but wonder about the editorial judgment shown in Sunday's edition. Above a four-column story on a Lower Bucks County (Pa.) American Legion League baseball game and the reasons for its long delay in getting under way, the paper ran this headline:
NORTHAMPTON OUTLASTS NEWTOWN; UMPIRE SHERRARD FOUND DEAD
Nicaragua's No. 1 Export
Dennis Martinez struck out the first three batters he faced and beat the Detroit Tigers in his big league debut for the Baltimore Orioles in 1976. He pitched a perfect game for the Montreal Expos in the summer of '91. And in the '95 playoffs he defeated the Seattle Mariners to put the Cleveland Indians in the World Series for the first time in 41 years. But Martinez says that of all his triumphs, the lone game he won this season, his last in the big leagues, meant the most: On April 14, pitching for the Mariners, he beat the Indians with six innings of one-run ball. "I showed everybody that I could still do it," says Martinez, 42, who announced his retirement last week. "I met the challenge."