Although the littlest Taiwanese have gotten the most ink, their fellow islanders competing in the two older divisions of Little League have better records. Taiwan has won every World Series it has entered in the Little League's Senior division for 13- to 15-year-olds and in the so-called Big League division for ages 16 through 18. In the Senior tournament now under way at Gary, Ind. they are favored to win for the fifth time. Taiwan is also even money to take a third straight World Series in Big League competition at Fort Lauderdale this week. Two years ago at Lauderdale the Taiwanese shut out all four opponents, giving up a total of six honest hits and one fluky blooper. Last year they allowed three hits, shutting out three rivals and beating San Antonio 2-1 in the championship game.
Because their records are the sort that would make even a dry manager like Walter Alston salivate, why are there no Taiwanese on major league rosters, or at least down on the farm somewhere? Well, in the spring of 1975 the Cincinnati Reds did sign Catcher Lee Lai-fa and Pitcher Kao Ying-chieh, who were battery mates in four shutouts at Lauderdale two years ago. The contracts include sweet bonus money, but no one knows when Lee or Kao will see a cent of it. They are now in college but dare not leave because if they do they will lose their student deferment; they are of draft age and have not fulfilled their required two-year military service.
OPEN AND SHUT CASE
Because people tend to get emotional about animals, when a mongrel German shepherd owned by Emily Robbins of Rockland, Maine was brought before District Judge Paul MacDonald on charges of viciousness, he instructed the witnesses, pro and con, to wait in separate rooms. Before they had all left the courtroom, the accused dog, lying peaceably at its mistress' feet in a hall, bit assistant prosecutor Paul Eggert as he passed by. Judge MacDonald straightway ruled out further testimony and ordered that the dog thereafter be leashed.
The third-place New York Mets are not nearly as bad as they were in the sad, mad years under Casey Stengel. But Casey's ghost seemed to be in the park when the Mets last played the Phillies. New York Manager Joe Frazier walked by the rival dugout and asked Philly Coach Billy DeMars, "Underwood going today? Right?"
As Bruce Keidan of the Philadelphia Inquirer recalls the rest of the exchange, Coach DeMars assured Frazier that Underwood was starting for Philly.
"He's a righthander, isn't he?" Frazier asked.
"No, he's left-handed," Demars replied, wondering where Frazier's mind was, because Underwood had faced the Mets just five days earlier.
In Stengel's day, of course, the confusion was worse. Joe Pignatano, once a reserve catcher and now a Met coach, remembers an exchange with Stengel after being traded to the Mets by San Francisco midway in his last active year. In his first week in a Met uniform, the bullpen phone rang and Stengel barked at him, "Tell Blanchard to come to the dugout."
"Blanchard?" Pignatano replied. "He's with the Yankees. You want me to send across the river for him?"