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One Fowl Out, Many More to Go

Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post reported that Kevin Koch, the man who dressed as a Parrot and served as a mascot for the Pittsburgh Pirates, had quit the job after six years, citing personal reasons. He is 31.

“Alas, feather fatigue,” wrote Kornheiser. “A brilliant career over at 31. Being a parrot is obviously a young man’s game. How many crackers can a man eat? By the way, do mascots have sex?”

Kornheiser then suggested that we have too many birds in sports as it is.

“Orioles. Blue Jays. Hawks. Seahawks. Jayhawks. Falcons. Eagles. Cardinals. Gamecocks. Penguins. Gobblers. Owls. Red Wings. Mud Hens. Fighting Blue Hens.

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“Larry. Doug. Averitt.

“Birdie Tebbetts. Otis Birdsong. Byrd Stadium.

“John David Crow. Robin Yount. Frank and Brooks. Mark Fidrych. Ron Cey. Nestor Chylak. Craig Swan. Goose Gossage. Kristy Pigeon. Rory Sparrow. Michael Gross. Ducky Medwick. Ted Hendricks. Joe Don Looney. Ken Harrelson. Mo Siegel. Rick Partridge. Tris Speaker. Art Fowler. Mack Herron. Phil Regan. Elvis Peacock. John Hummer. Joey Jay. Sonny Dove. Jose Cardenal. Dave Nightingale. Chick Hearn. Harthorne Wingo. Connie Hawkins.

“Come to think of it, we have too many mascots. The Chicken was great when he started, but he must be pushing 40 by now.

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“Will he know when it’s time to go to that big oven in the sky, or will The Chicken pathetically molt away in the parking lot of a Taco Bell in La Jolla?”

Trivia Time: In the item above, why are the names of Michael Gross, Ken Harrelson, Ted Hendricks, Tris Speaker and Phil Regan included? (Answer below.)

On-second-thought dept.: Former Fremont High star Eric Davis was hitting some monumental homers for Cincinnati early in the season and fellow outfielder Dave Parker told Jerome Holtzman of the Chicago Tribune he wasn’t surprised.

“He hit 10 home runs last year, and not one of them was under 400 feet,” Parker said. “He hits them as far as anybody.”

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“As far as Willie Stargell?” asked Holtzman.

“Nobody, will ever hit a ball as far as Stargell,” Parker said “Not in this life.”

Note: Davis is now at Denver trying to rediscover his home run swing.

Add Stargell: New York Yankee pitcher Phil Niekro, recalling his days at Atlanta, told Michael Martinez of the New York Times about a game against Pittsburgh in which he found himself facing Stargell with two out in the ninth inning and the Braves leading, 3-1.

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The Pirates had two men on base, and when Niekro fell behind Stargell 3-and-1 on the count, Braves Manager Eddie Mathews came to the mound.

Niekro: “I knew I couldn’t afford to walk Willie with Bob Robertson on deck. Eddie came out and said the same thing. A walk would bring the tying run to the plate. He said, ‘Take your chances and give him something down the middle. He’s not God. What’s he gonna do, hit one out?’

“Well, he hit it into the upper deck. When I got to the dugout, I said to Eddie, ‘I’m not so sure he isn’t.’ ”

Trivia Answer: Because of their nicknames. Michael (The Albatross) Gross, Ken (Hawk) Harrelson, Ted (The Mad Stork) Hendricks, Tris (The Grey Eagle) Speaker, and Phil (The Vulture) Regan.

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Note: Others who could qualify for the flock are Goose Goslin, Chick Hafey, Robin Roberts, Lon (The Arkansas Hummingbird) Warneke, and, of course, Tom (The Flamingo) Brennan.

Quotebook

Arnold Palmer, told after Sunday’s win that his 1985 earnings on the seniors tour were $97,450: “That’s much better than I ever thought I’d be able to do at my age. I think things will be great--until Jack Nicklaus is eligible.”


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