SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
November 24, 1980
PRIORITIESA four-member committee has been named to find a chancellor to head the University of Nevada. A 17-member committee is meanwhile searching for a new athletic director for the university's Las Vegas campus.
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November 24, 1980


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2) The Portland (Ore.) Marathon on Oct. 26, in which a motorcycle policeman escorting the runners made a wrong turn and was followed by the first 25 participants, who ran an extra seven-tenths of a mile as a result. One of the errant runners, Lionel Ortega, doubled back to win the race but in a time obviously far slower—2:28:21—than he would've clocked had he stayed on course.

3) The Marine Corps Marathon on Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C., in which the entire field of 6,500 inadvertently took shortcuts at several points, with the result that everyone ran three-tenths of a mile shy of the regulation distance of 26 miles, 385 yards. One shortcut came about when a press vehicle turned off the course and the runners mistakenly followed. According to one witness, it didn't help that a Marine sentry, who had an arrow pinned on his chest indicating the direction in which the runners should go, was turned the wrong way. Michael Hurd won in an apparent course record of 2:16:55, but then it was ruled that, to make up for the shortcuts, all elapsed times had to be multiplied by 1.01163. Under this formula, Hurd's adjusted time was 2:18:31, which was 24 seconds slower than the course record.


As manager of the Boston Red Sox, Don Zimmer feuded with a number of his players, including pitchers Rick Wise, Ferguson Jenkins and Bill Lee. In 1978, after the Sox unloaded Wise to Cleveland and Jenkins to Texas, Zimmer told reporters he was grateful "we don't have anybody like Rick Wise and Fergie Jenkins, who cried all the time, got the hell beat out of them and blamed me." Zimmer's players and former players frequently replied in kind. When Lee, then still with Boston, characterized Zimmer as a "gerbil," Jenkins, safely in Texas, piped up, saying the manager reminded him of a buffalo. How so? "Because," said Fergie, "a buffalo is the dumbest animal on earth." Jenkins also lambasted Zimmer as "a short, fat man who knows nothing about baseball." Zimmer issued one-third of a denial; he said he did, too, know something about baseball.

Zimmer was fired by the Red Sox in October and last week, upon being hired to manage the Rangers, was reunited with Jenkins. That created an awkward situation, although probably no more of one than when Ronald Reagan tapped as his running mate George Bush, who had accused Reagan of practicing "voodoo economics." If Bush can pitch for Reagan, Jenkins can probably do the same for Zimmer, especially because, as the Ranger righthander bravely insisted last week, "Zimmy and I have patched it up."


Seattle Seahawk Coach Jack Patera doesn't cotton to media folk. He tends to dismiss their questions with clipped answers, and his approach to the traditional postgame press conference borders on outright hostility. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's John Owen describes the scene: "When Patera confronts some 30 newsmen after a Seahawk home game, he glowers as though facing a team of jackasses and waits with thinly disguised ill humor for the first one to bray."

Not surprisingly, writers and broadcasters appear to be intimidated by Patera, witness his press conference following a game in the Kingdome two weeks ago in which the Seahawks blew a 13-point lead and lost to Kansas City 31-30. Arriving for the interview session, Patera stared out at the assembled reporters and snarled, "Go ahead." He was greeted by stark silence and timorous expressions. "That's it," he said, exiting. One newsman clocked a tape of the four-word press conference and found that it lasted 7 seconds.

Notes from the violent world of pro team sports... Boston Bruin Defenseman Ray Bourque, last season's NHL Rookie of the Year, suffered a broken jaw last week in a fight with the Detroit Red Wings' Dennis Polonich and will be sidelined for at least four weeks. Just another refutation of the oft-heard claim by the NHL that "nobody can get hurt in a hockey fight" ...The NBA, which earned high marks in curbing violence when Commissioner Larry O'Brien leveled a big fine and suspension against Kermit Washington for punching Rudy Tomjanovich in 1977, deserves somewhat lower grades for its handling of a recent altercation between Denver's Dave Robisch and New York's Marvin Webster. Holding that Robisch started the scuffle with "a forearm or a fist" but that Webster "overreacted" in punching Robisch, Deputy Commissioner Simon Gourdine last week fined them $1,000 and $2,000, respectively, whereupon Knick President Mike Burke declared, "We're behind Marvin. We would like to pay the fine if permissible." Burke was understandably puzzled as to why Robisch got off with a lesser penalty after having started the fight. Nevertheless, if clubs pay players' fines—a practice supposedly ruled out by the NBA—how can such fines be a deterrent against fighting?... NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, who had earlier fined Chicago Bear Defensive Back Doug Plank $1,000 for spearing Tampa Bay's Jimmie Giles, fined Bear Defensive End Mike Hartenstine a like amount for spearing the Eagles' Ron Jaworski. Good for Pete, but some NFL-watchers were wondering 1) why no penalties were called on either Plank or Hartenstine during the games in question, and 2) why the NFL is even less vigilant about spearing by offensive players, late hits and crackback blocks, all of which are also illegal and dangerous but tend to be winked at by both referees and Rozelle's office.... Would that Rozelle and the other commissioners heeded the characteristically sensitive musings of the Bears' Alan Page, who had this to say recently about brutality on the playing field: "It makes me think about not only my own value system, in that I'm out there, a part of it, but also of the values of a society that comes to watch it. It's almost like boxing. Grown men just pounding on each other. It's interesting that we as a society should stop dogfighting and cock-fighting. Yet with human beings, not only do we allow it, we promote it...."

George Brett may not be a Phillie fan, but he has grown fond of a certain filly—a seven-month-old weanling show horse named Funquest Siri. Brett bought the horse, a Morgan, two months ago and last week showed her at the American Royal (yes, he was a Royal at the Royal) Horse Show in Kansas City. Clifford Stice, a Morgan trainer who helped Brett select the horse, guided Funquest Siri into the show ring as the "leader," while Brett entered after the horse as the "trailer." Funquest Siri placed fifth in a field of nine, but her owner clearly stole the show. By special dispensation from American Royal officials, the handler's number Brett wore on his back was 390—representing his 1980 batting average.

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