We don't mean to be spoilsports, but one of Los Angeles Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda's favorite comedy routines may have a flawed premise. The subject of this bit of business is the seemingly onesided 1974 minor league trade in which the Dodgers sent reliever Bruce Ellingsen to Cleveland for Pedro Guerrero, then an 18-year-old outfielder. Ellingsen lasted just half a season with the Indians and was out of baseball by 1976, while Guerrero is a two-time All-Star and, at least until suffering a slump this season, the Dodgers' batting star. Nevertheless, Lasorda likes to keep listeners off balance by questioning whether Guerrero really is more valuable than Ellingsen, "Ask Byron Jutovsky who he likes better, Guerrero or Ellingsen," he deadpans.
Byron Jutovsky? He's head of a Los Angeles liquor wholesale firm that employs Ellingsen as its sales manager, and since he's more interested in selling his company's wares than in winning baseball games, he does indeed prefer Ellingsen over Guerrero. But Lasorda seems to have forgotten something. During the off-season, Guerrero makes commercials in his native Dominican Republic for Presidente beer, so he may hold his own with Ellingsen even when it comes to selling alcoholic beverages.
BLOCK THAT PUN
Steve Kornacki of the Ann Arbor ( Mich.) News looks forward to the day when Louis Lipps, a wide receiver from Southern Mississippi who was picked in the first round of this year's NFL draft by the Steelers, gets free and scores a game-winning touchdown to beat Jackie Shipp, an Oklahoma linebacker who was a first-round selection of the Dolphins. Then, says Kornacki, newspapers around the country can run the headline LOOSE LIPPS SINKS SHIPP.
It's kind of fun to note a fiduciary maneuver that occurred the other day in that most amateur of American college sports, rugby. Rugby isn't an NCAA sport, and teams representing various colleges are club teams, informal associations of interested athletes. There is a national championship; this year's was held early in May at Monterey, Calif., with the final four consisting of Colorado, Long Beach State, Miami University ( Ohio) and Harvard. Yes, Harvard. And Harvard won, by gosh, reminding old (well, very old) Crimson alumni of the Can tabs' glory days on the football gridiron back in the early decades of the century.
But the money, yes. It seems that after the Harvards won the Eastern playoffs at Cambridge, Mass., they realized they needed about $10,000 to cover the expenses of the trip to Monterey, and they didn't have the cash. And there were no funds in Harvard's athletic budget for the unofficial rugby team. No problem. At a less sophisticated school, the $10,000 might have been raised by raffles, rallies, contributions, cake sales and so on. Not at Harvard. Club leaders—probably future kings of Wall Street—merely borrowed the 10 thou from the university, with team members signing personal notes for amounts up to $2,000. Simple matter of finance, old boy.
FITTING TROPHIES FROM A PIONEER MARATHONER
After they finished one-two-three in the Women's Olympic Marathon Trial and qualified for the first women's Olympic marathon (SI, May 21), Joan Benoit, Julie Brown and Julie Isphording were each presented with a 12-inch bronze figurine of a woman running, an award of special significance to women marathoners because it was sculpted by Roberta Gibb. In 1966 Gibb, now 41 and a Rockport, Mass. lawyer, became the first woman to run in, and to complete, the Boston Marathon—six years before women were officially allowed in the race.
She had begun distance running in 1960, when she was a 17-year-old Massachusetts schoolgirl in love with a Tufts cross-country runner named Bill Bingay, whom she later married (they have since divorced). "I didn't want anyone to see me run," she says now, "so we ran in the woods. It made me feel wild...free." There were no women's running shoes on the market then, so she wore white-leather Red Cross nurses' shoes. In the summer of 1965, after running 40 miles one day and 25 the next, chasing after a three-day, 100-mile equestrian event in Vermont, Gibb decided she would tackle Boston. She had been studying sculpture in Boston but was in California the following winter about to begin classes in philosophy, math and pre-med at the University of California in San Diego when she mailed in her entry application. It was returned with a note saying that women were not only ineligible for the marathon, but that they were also physiologically incapable of running the distance.
"I decided then I had to run," Gibb says, "with or without an official number."