Around the table in Grand Junction, Colo., everyone waited silently while 8-year-old Zack Barnett pondered the Trivial Pursuit question "Who wrote The Defense Never Rests?" The adults knew the answer was F. Lee Bailey, but they meticulously avoided giving the youngster any hints.
Finally, Zack shrugged. "The Denver Broncos?" he guessed.
They used to name streets after Presidents. Now they name Presidents to All-America teams. At least, Stephen Ambrose has. A University of New Orleans history professor who has written a two-volume biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ambrose recently picked an all-Presidential team that had George Washington at quarterback ("You can't ignore the mighty arm, capable of throwing a pass across the Rappahannock. Also, he's the only man who has the absolute, unqualified respect of all the others. They'd follow him anywhere. Never one to panic, he'd be a master of the two-minute drill"); Abraham Lincoln at tight end ("He had everything. He was big, rawboned, fast, loved physical contact. A solid, all-around athlete specializing in wrestling, the best possible training for playing tight end. Well over six feet, he makes an excellent target"); and Harry Truman at inside linebacker (" Truman has the pugnacious quality necessary...as well as another vital asset, his association with the policy of containment").
Not all of Ambrose's comments are laudatory. Of Jimmy Carter at the other inside linebacker post in his 4-4-3 setup Ambrose says (somewhat gratuitously, he admits), "I wanted to put [Carter] somewhere, and here is where he'll do the least harm." Of cornerbacks Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge: " Hoover was always on the defensive, so at least he's used to it. Coolidge liked to fish." And of safety Warren G. Harding: "A good safety knows how to steal a pass now and then. Harding is the best President we ever had at stealing."
Barely a month after beating the San Diego Padres in the World Series, the Detroit Tigers have been hit with the loss of pitching coach Roger Craig and batting coach Gates Brown, both of whom have resigned.
What's all this? Trouble in paradise? Well, partly. Brown, a longtime Detroit favorite (he was the pinch-hitting hero of the Tigers' 1968 world championship team), quit in anger because the Tigers refused to give him a substantial raise. Brown supposedly wanted $50,000; the Tigers offered $42,500. The Tigers' figure represented a 7�% increase, the standard raise the club was giving all non-playing personnel. Because Detroit led the majors in home runs and RBIs, Brown felt his contributions deserved a bigger salute than that. Management didn't agree and, in effect, told Brown to take it or leave it. He left it.
As for Craig, he said in spring training that this would probably be his last year, that he wanted to pack it in and rejoin his wife, children and grandchildren in Southern California. In July he notified the club that his mind was made up: He'd retire at the end of the season.
Although the Tigers tried to dissuade him (whether they sweetened the pot for him is not known, but Craig's salary—pitching coaches are usually well paid—was higher than Brown's), last week Craig made it official. Rumors persist that he may yet unretire and sign with the Padres—he was San Diego's pitching coach for seven seasons and its manager in 1978 and '79—since he could live at home. In any case, Craig wouldn't mind seeing an old friend from San Diego take his place in Detroit. He's Norm Sherry, who was dropped as Padres pitching coach after the San Diego starters did so poorly against Detroit in the Series.