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Bud Grant Is Up to His Old Tricks With Vikings

One day last week, a police car pulled up to the edge of the Minnesota Viking practice field. A moment later, Coach Bud Grant walked over to running back Ted Brown.

“The police want to see you. They want to see you right away,” Grant said.

Brown, still in uniform, walked over to the police and was frisked. Then he was taken away.

A few minutes later, Brown was back, much chagrined. He had become the latest victim of a prank by Grant, the notorious practical joker.

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They call him Ice Eyes, but Bud Grant still knows how to keep a team loose. A year ago, the Vikings were trying to survive the torture drills of former Marine Les Steckel. Now, they were laughing again.

Does it work? Well, three days later, Ted Brown scored the winning touchdown against the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers.

Pete Rose calls Ty Cobb the greatest hitter in baseball history, but he told Ira Berkow of the New York Times: “I think the best baseball player that ever lived was Babe Ruth--for hitting, for pitching, for fielding, and I understand that he was so popular he actually saved franchises.

“When he came into a city, even teams that were dying at the gate filled up the stands. He may just have saved baseball altogether. And when he walked into a room--it’s the same with Joe DiMaggio--you don’t have to turn on the light switch. Those guys light up a room by just walking in.”

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Add Rose: Asked who the best pitcher he ever faced was, he said: “Probably Juan Marichal, who had so many different pitches and speeds. And I had good luck against him. The hardest thrower was Sandy Koufax. I think the most competitive were Jim Bunning and Bob Gibson.”

USC fans are protesting a recent trivia item in which Alabama was called the national college football champion of 1978. Actually, the Crimson Tide shared honors with USC. Alabama won the AP poll and USC the UPI poll.

John Robinson still maintains that USC should have swept the polls because it beat Alabama that year. The Trojans won, 24-14, at Birmingham.

Headline in the Chicago Sun-Times last Friday: “Illinois Deserves to Be Rated No. 1.”

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Well, that didn’t last long.

Phil Niekro of the New York Yankees won his first game on May 13, 1965. That same day, in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, Jose Rijo was born. Last Sunday, when Niekro won his 299th game, beating the Oakland A’s, the losing pitcher was Rijo.

Quotebook

Roy Eisenhardt, president of the Oakland A’s, responding to reports that the team will move to Denver: “It was untrue today, it was untrue yesterday and it will be untrue tomorrow. And it will probably be untrue forever.”

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