SI Vault
Edited by Craig Neff
January 20, 1986
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January 20, 1986


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When it comes to offbeat training methods, we haven't heard of one yet to match the dogged workouts once performed by Joe Buchanan, a junior guard for the University of California-Irvine basketball team. In his days as a prep All-America at O'Dea High in Seattle, Buchanan would go out to the school track with his older brother, Jim, and three dogs: two Dobermans, Brutus and Amin, owned by a cousin and a neighbor, and the Buchanans' own family pet, Laddie, a combination German shepherd-collie. Jim would line his brother up on the track, send him off on a run—and then sic the three dogs on him. "If you got tired you couldn't stop," says Joe Buchanan.

The workouts consisted of runs as long as a mile. Jim Buchanan had trained the dogs to snap at his brother's heels and to bite him if he stopped running; to liven the chase, he often dipped the heels of his brother's shoes in a soupy bowl of Gravy Train. Jim would call the animals off as soon as his brother had completed the necessary distance, and Joe claims the dogs never actually bit him. "It's just as good as putting a tire around you and dragging a sled," Joe says. "You should put a gorgeous female in front of you if it'll motivate you."

Following her appointment two weeks ago as dean of Columbia Law School, Barbara Aronstein Black, the first woman ever to head an Ivy League law school, was asked what title she would next like to add to her r�sum�. "Good golfer," she replied. Black, 52, is by her own account a "passionate and terrible" golfer and an all-around sports aficionado. According to The New York Times, Black, who grew up watching the New York Giants baseball team, actually got mildly annoyed when someone questioned her knowledge of the national pastime. "Come on," she said. "If you can read a statute, you can read a box score."


Baseball owners, adamant in their refusal to bid for free agents this off-season (SI, Dec. 9, 1985), had reason to celebrate last week when every big-name free agent chose to re-sign with his 1985 team. Contract terms were comparatively modest. For instance, Detroit's Kirk Gibson, who had sought a five-year, $8 million deal, settled for just three years and slightly more than $4 million.

The free agents apparently feared they might receive no serious offers whatsoever if they waited beyond Wednesday's midnight deadline, after which they couldn't have signed with their '85 teams until May 1. Gibson, honeymooning in New Zealand, made his decision by taking out a New Zealand 20-cent piece and flipping it—heads he would sign, tails he wouldn't. But when the coin came up tails, Gibson decided to make it two out of three. The next two flips showed heads. He called his agent just minutes before midnight with his decision to sign.

Donald Fehr, executive director of the Players Association, continued to suggest that the lack of interest by other clubs in free agents like Gibson was the result of collusion among the owners, a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. Fehr said he planned an investigation because "there does not appear to be a free market operating." But one man's collusion is another's encounter group. As Yankee owner George Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News, "This is a reawakening of owners, and if anyone deserves credit here, it's the commissioner, Peter Ueberroth, who got us together on numerous occasions—always with four lawyers in the room to guard against anything that might be construed as collusion—and made us tell each other how stupid we'd been in the past."


The January issue of Hoof Beats, a harness racing magazine, tells the story of a horse breeder who desperately needed a mare's colostrum (her first milk) one day last fall to feed the newborn foal of a mare unable to give milk. After several frantic phone calls, the breeder located a veterinarian who kept an emergency supply of the milk in his freezer.

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