SI Vault
May 11, 1998
Kentucky Basketball Hit-and-Run Offense
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 11, 1998


View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue


Take heed, Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, owner of the American League's best batting average (.442) at the end of April. You, too, Rockies outfielder Dante Bichette, who entered May hitting a National League-leading .420. Few things are as uncertain as the glory of an April day. Here's a look at this decade's first-month average leaders (all right, this season began on March 31) and how they finished. For many, clearly, the cruelest months were still ahead.


AL Fast Starter

Final Avg./Final Rank

NL Fast Starter

Final Avg./Final Rank


Bip Roberts .395


Larry Walker .456



Marty Cordova .403


Wally Joyner .407



Paul O'Neill .448


Ellis Burks .413



John Olerud .450


Barry Bonds .431



Roberto Alomar .382


John Kruk .407



Edgar Martinez .412


Craig Biggio .359



Tony Pena .403


Mariano Duncan .408



Kentucky Basketball
Hit-and-Run Offense

John Heckler, a resident of Lexington, Ky., and a lifelong Kentucky basketball fan, is a little perturbed. His truck, a 1993 Toyota pickup, was nearly totaled. And in March's NCAA title game, the Wildcats beat Utah—the team that in an understandable change of heart, he was rooting for. "I'll never support Kentucky again," says Heckler,
35, the manager of a retail store. "The players think they can do whatever they want around here, like they own the town just because they're athletes. It never bothered me. But no more, I'm done."

On the night of Sept. 16, 1997, Heckler was driving on a Lexington street when he saw a pair of headlights coming straight toward him. Seconds later a car crashed into Heckler's truck on the driver's side, came to a momentary stop, then sped off. Within hours, police investigators had concluded that the car belonged to the godfather of Wayne Turner, the Wildcats' starting point guard, and that Turner likely had been the driver of the car or a passenger in it. Yet the police didn't arrest Turner, who has since admitted he was at the wheel. It was not until April 14 that Turner was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving without proof of insurance. Says Heckler, whose truck suffered $8,000 worth of damage, "It's favoritism at its best."

Or worst. The county attorney's office admits it delayed prosecuting the case so that Kentucky would be at full strength for its title run. "It was our feeling that Wayne Turner wasn't going anywhere," says Jack Miller, first assistant to the county attorney. "We knew who he was, and there was no reason to disrupt the basketball season with that type of charge."

Turner was not a newcomer to Fayette County's Athletic Vehicular Overlookage program. In April 1997 he was cited for speeding and driving without a license. A summons was issued in June after Turner skipped a court appearance, but prosecutors, who could have arrested him, took no action. Last Thursday, Turner pleaded guilty to the speeding charge and paid $90 in fines and court fees; he will not be prosecuted for missing the court date. In the hit-and-run case, Turner pleaded guilty on April 21 to a reduced charge of failure to file an accident report, and admitted that he lied to police and filed a false stolen-vehicle report. He was ordered to pay $97.50 in fines and court costs. Meanwhile, Heckler faces a $400-per-year hike in his insurance premiums.

A University of Kentucky spokesman said that neither Turner nor coach Tubby Smith would comment.

"I always thought that hit-and-run was a pretty serious offense," says Heckler. "If I had been in a small car, I'd probably be dead. But that didn't matter here. It's how things work—the star walks away, and the victim suffers. He should be in jail right now. Instead, the guy's probably signing autographs somewhere."

Jordan Memoirs
What About The Binding?

Crown Publishers has announced that Michael Jordan's as-yet-untitled "career retrospective in images and words" is due out in November. A company press release says that it took 10 months to produce the "heavyweight, premium brightness [paper] stock with exceptional retained ink gloss" on which the book will be printed. Once the special stock, Rare Air Pub Gloss Text, was developed, it then became "vital" to "marry" this Michael Jordan of paper with the best inking process available. That led to consultation with a company known for its "proprietary color technology" which will turn out "a unique finished product that will feature upward of 19 colors, unparalleled ink density and crisp resolution."

The R and D for these projects was overseen by Rare Air, Ltd., the Jordan-owned company that's packaging the book for Crown. Rare air, we might add, also describes the press release.

Continue Story
1 2 3