- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Jazz Pianist Ramsey Lewis was advised by his astrologer not to attend the Cubs' home opener, but Lewis decided to go anyway. So on the way to Wrigley Field he was involved in an automobile accident, after he got there somebody lifted his wallet and, finally, reaching for a foul ball he suffered a jammed finger. At least he now knows he's got a good astrologer.
"If he had been the first man to walk on the moon, it would have been all over," claims Tom Brookshier, a former roommate of Apollo 13 Astronaut John Swigert at the University of Colorado, where both played football Brookshier at wingback and Swigert (No. 62, below) at guard. "He would have left those big prints of his up there and, God Almighty, the Russians would have given up." Brookshier, who went on to play defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles, adds, "He had no natural ability, none. But he never made a mistake, and he never got hurt. He never backed away. He always negatized his man." Brookshier, amazed that the Air Force allowed Swigert to pass his physical, recalls: "He had to learn to cup his arches. He spent hours cupping his arches. If he walked across the shower room he left footprints that scared you. They didn't look human." Despite his funny-looking prints, Swigert had the right spirit even then. Brookshier remembers a ride in an old Piper Cub. "He took his hand off the stick and let us blow around like a leaf. I almost expired, but he laughed like hell. He loved it."
Willie Mays hit that 600th homer last fall, but "600 Day" was held this spring, at Candlestick Park, and Horace Stoneham gave Willie a golf cart with his number on it. "I wonder," Willie said in his acceptance speech, "if Mr. Stoneham is trying to tell me something?"
You can add Mudcat Grant to the growing list of singers done in by our national anthem. Mudcat was chosen to sing it before the A's home opener against Milwaukee, only to be accused afterward by teammate Reggie Jackson of mispronouncing some of the words, to say nothing of singing them off-key. Mudcat brushed this off by observing, "Man, you have no appreciation of music," but Jackson, backed by an A's kangaroo court, made a second charge stick. Grant had publicly embarrassed the team, Jackson said, by reneging on a promise to have three lovely ladies accompany him in The Star-Spangled Banner. Mudcat pleaded that it wasn't his fault, somebody had forgotten to leave the lovely ladies' tickets at the press gate, but he was found guilty as charged and fined $1.
"When I was 17 I began working at the racetrack for the paper—that's just how, as a young kid, you get started." This particular young kid happens to have been Jerry Rubin, of the Chicago Seven, who did get started at the Cincinnati Post & Times-Star doing sports statistics and occasional assignments. His big story is generally considered to have been a piece on Claude Osteen, breaking the news of the pitcher's signing with the Reds. "I just remember him," says Osteen, "as an everyday, normal sports reporter." Rubin stuck with the Fourth Estate for four years. "When I went to college I was still interested, I still wanted to be a newspaperman," he says. "What happened is that I was invited to do straight reporting, and it was sort of like a life decision. I just decided that people working on newspapers were really bored with their work. There was no freedom, you couldn't really be an artist." So Rubin split and went into another line of—ah—work, but he still drops in at the Post from time to time. Editor Joe Quinn recalled him last week with affection. "He kind of grows on you," he said, adding, however, "Of course, plenty of people around here don't think things arc so great. But they don't all go out and grow hair."
Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt received a letter from conservation-minded students at Reno High protesting the design upon the state's great seal. This depicts, among other things, a chuffing locomotive and a factory, both belching black smoke into the presumably pure skies of Nevada, with a legend that reads "All For Our Country." The students felt that "All" really ought not to include air pollutants, but Laxalt says temperately, "While the desire for clean air is universal, changing the history of the boom days of Nevada's famed Comstock Lode as portrayed on the state's great seal will not accomplish this. In fact, I would rather have it remain as it is, as a permanent reminder from the past of what we must do to control air pollution in the future."
Comedian Jackie Mason, one of the group of show-business people that has announced its interest in purchasing the Jets, explained his own feelings at some length in a recent interview. "I don't consider myself the world's greatest expert on football," he was quoted as saying. "I don't want power over anyone. But I would love to be able to go to a game where no one would tell me where to sit, and where I didn't have to worry about getting a ticket. And I would love to see every game for nothing. To me that's very important."