This week, more than ever, Renaldo Nehemiah could be wondering why he ever gave up hurdling to play pro football.
Runner's World published a list of track earnings that would indicate Nehemiah, who still holds the world record in the high hurdles, cost himself maybe $500,000 last year by switching sports. Then the San Francisco 49ers drafted Mississippi Valley receiver Jerry Rice, further clouding Nehemiah's future with the team.
Following is the Runner's World list of 10 highest-paid runners: Carl Lewis, $783,000; Edwin Moses, $617,000; Bill Rodgers, $520,000; Joan Benoit, $402,000; Alberto Salazar, $360,000; Mary Decker Slaney, $355,000; Frank Shorter, $278,000; Rod Dixon, $234,000; Evelyn Ashford, $221,000; Steve Scott, $194,000.
Nehemiah's salary with the 49ers is believed to be $190,000. That doesn't quite make the above list. All of which recalls the words of Brian Oldfield when the one-time professional shotputter was trying to regain his Olympic eligibility.
"Hey," he said, "I just want a condo, a Mercedes--be like the other amateurs."
Would-you-believe-it dept.: Former all-NBA guard Dave Bing told Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune that when he went to Syracuse they talked him out of majoring in business administration because they didn't feel he could carry the load.
Today, at age 41, Bing is the president and sole owner of the Bing Steel Co. in Detroit. He estimates sales will reach about $40 million this year.
Trivia Time: Who holds the New York Yankees' club record for highest batting average in a season? (Answer below.)
Mickey Mantle, who threw out the first ball at last month's season opener in Yankee Stadium, told Milton Richman of UPI: "People have no idea how happy I am to be back in baseball. Walking out from the Yankee dugout to the mound and hearing all those people cheering gave me a feeling I could never describe. I had goose bumps all over. They didn't have a microphone out there so I couldn't say anything. I would've said I'd give anything in the world if it could only be 1951 again and I was coming into Yankee Stadium for the first time as a 19-year-old Okie."
Only-in-New York-dept.: According to John Jeansonne of Newsday, New York Giants Coach Bill Parcells was telling the media about No. 1 draft choice George Adams of Kentucky when he said, "Adams has run a 4.6 on grass."
Said a wise guy in the rear: "What's he run on coke?"
Billy Martin, after the New York Yankees returned home from Texas, told Helene Elliott of Newsday that the club has to be more aggressive on the bases.
"Next spring, I'm going to have all our minor league managers there to teach the same way so everyone in the organization will do the same thing."
Next spring? Whatever happens, Martin already has clinched one award: He's the Optimist of the Year.
Add Yankees: Yogi Berra, showing no bitterness as he cleaned out his office at Yankee Stadium, said: "I just hope we start drawing some fans and winning some games. You win, you draw. You lose, you become a scout."
Trivia Answer: Babe Ruth, with an average of .393 in 1923. That didn't take the batting title, however. Harry Heilmann of Detroit was the winner at .403. In 1924, the following year, Ruth won his only batting title with an average of .378.
Mickey Mantle, scoffing at suggestions that Rickey Henderson will be the "next Mickey Mantle" in center field: "He doesn't strike out like I did."