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DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
Howard Wood, a 6'7", 225-pound forward who played for the Wisconsin Flyers in the Continental Basketball Association last year, recently signed on with the world champion 76ers. Last week he took part in the 76ers' annual outing at the Bala Golf Club near Philadelphia. It was only the third time in Wood's life that he had played golf. When he came to the 137-yard par-3 6th hole, he chose his club, a five-iron.
Wood hit the ball way over the green. The ball looked as if it would go for another hundred yards, except that the clubhouse behind the green blocked the way. An abashed Wood turned away. "I thought the ball was going through a window," he says.
The ball bounced off the clubhouse and took a couple of hops back toward the green. Wood's partner, Leo Rautins, the 76ers' No. 1 draft pick out of Syracuse, suddenly screamed, "Oh, God, Howard! It's going in!"
Wood turned. The ball rolled 30 yards down an embankment and trickled into the cup for a hole in one. As a player known for his bank shots, Wood showed he could employ his specialty on the course as well as the court.
Former Catcher Tim McCarver, now a broadcaster for the Mets, tells this story about Junior Ortiz, a rookie catcher for that New York team who speaks mainly Spanish. During a road trip, Ortiz was trying to do a crossword puzzle in English. One clue was "Clenched hand." The answer was four letters long. Ortiz had already determined that the second letter was an i, but he couldn't figure out the full word. Tom Seaver, who had been watching Ortiz work on the puzzle, began to act out the answer in pantomime. As if giving a sign, Seaver clenched his fingers together and made a fist.
Asked Ortiz: "Pitchout?"