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Zora Zorich, 59, lived in a very different world from Allen's. Her home was a four-room apartment at 81st and Burn-ham in one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods. She dined on food stamps, not presidential china; she heard gunshots outside her home, not the lapping of waves. Yet she cherished her world just as much as Allen did his. "I love it here," she said, sitting behind her heavily locked doors. Behind those doors, she raised Chris alone, reading to him, pushing him in his studies, encouraging him to aim for the stars.
Behind those doors is where Chris found her, the day after the Orange Bowl, in which Notre Dame lost to Colorado 10-9. The news of her death brought to mind a catfish supper in her apartment last June. In the middle of the dinner conversation, Zora laughed, threw her arms around Chris's huge neck and said, "I love this boy so much." Chris hugged her back, very hard, and said, "What an inspiration you are."
OLD ACHES AND PAINS
Baseball also suffered a loss last week when Hall of Fame shortstop Luke Appling, 83, died during emergency surgery in Cumming, Ga. Known as Old Aches and Pains because of his penchant for complaining about his health, Appling hurt opponents far more than they hurt him. In his 20 years with the Chicago White Sox—his one and only team—Appling averaged .310, stroked 2,749 hits and won two batting titles (.388 in 1936, .328 in '43). He was also a fine fielder with extraordinary range.
During his career, Appling the hypochondriac claimed he had insomnia, gout, fallen arches, dizzy spells, seasickness, torn leg tendons, a sore throat, a stiff neck, a throbbing kneecap and astigmatism. When, after nine straight seasons of batting .300 or more, Appling hit .262 in 1942, he blamed his falloff on the fact that he had been completely healthy all season.
In '64 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and in '69 Chicago writers voted him the greatest player in the history of the White Sox. Oddly enough, the biggest moment of Appling's career may have come 32 years after he retired. During the first Cracker Jack old-timers' game, in Washington, D.C., in 1982, the 75-year-old Appling homered off 61-year-old Hall of Famer Warren Spahn and became a national sensation. "The home run gets more attention than any hit I ever had," he said not long ago. "It's pretty amazing."
In recent years, he served as a minor league hitting instructor for the Atlanta Braves. On New Year's Day, Appling retired from that job, and two days later, he died.
"Luke made me appreciate the game," said Dale Murphy, the two-time MVP outfielder who was traded to the Phillies last summer after 17 years in the Braves' organization. "To see a man his age jumping around.... I'm thankful to I have known him. I can still hear him telling me to keep my front elbow down."
BOYS OF WINTER
Last week, near his ranch in Baker, Ore., Oakland A's third baseman Carney Lansford hurt his left knee and right shoulder when he tried to jump from his snowmobile as it headed toward a barbed-wire fence at more than 50 mph. Lansford's misfortune, which may cost him much of the next season, is reminiscent of the skiing accident that befell Jim Lonborg, the Red Sox pitcher, following his 1967 Cy Young Award season.