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Morning Briefing : It Worked Very Well for Harwell

In a column on baseball deals, Ken Tingley of the Oneonta (N.Y.) Daily Star said the most unusual transaction he can remember took place between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the minor league Atlanta Crackers.

Tingley: “The general manager of the Crackers was Earl Mann, an innovative baseball entrepreneur who was not one to let an opportunity slip away.

“During the summer of 1948, Branch Rickey of the Dodgers came to Mann with a need. Unfortunately, it was not one of Mann’s players he was after, it was his radio announcer.

“Red Barber, the official voice of the Dodgers, was ill, and Rickey wanted a talented replacement. He asked Mann permission to talk to a young Ernie Harwell.

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“Mann said no. Rickey persisted.

“Mann worked a deal. The Crackers were in desperate need of a catcher. So Mann got Rickey to send him Cliff Dapper, his best catcher from the Dodger farm team in Montreal, in exchange for Harwell.

“Dapper’s major league career would last 17 at-bats. Harwell is still announcing in the big leagues. In fact, he’s in the Hall of Fame.”

Just Asking: If the Atlanta Braves sign Phil Niekro, who currently is pitching batting practice with the team, what uniform number would they give him? The No. 35 he previously wore with the Braves has been officially retired by the club.

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The toughest pitcher for Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees to hit? “John Candelaria,” he told Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post: “I haven’t got a clue to him yet.”

Add Mattingly: Said Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver, comparing him to Stan Musial: “He doesn’t look like Musial, but he hits like him. Musial was the best at adjusting once the ball left the pitcher’s hand. He’d hit the pitcher’s pitch. Williams was the best at making them throw him his pitch. He didn’t believe in adjusting. If it wasn’t what he wanted, he knew enough to walk to first base. That’s why he hit .406.”

Trivia Time: What do Denny Crum, Doug DeCinces and Mark Harmon have in common?

The Final Word: Said Onix Concepcion after being released by the Kansas City Royals Wednesday: “Right now I feel like if a guy like Buddy Biancalana can beat me out of a job at shortstop, then I should play no more.”

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When Pepperdine basketball Coach Jim Harrick was being considered for the Colorado job, he told Kevin Widlic of the Denver Post: “It’s a very interesting job in a lot of ways, but I’ve already got the best of two worlds. I come to Malibu to go to work.”

She’s the LPGA’s No. 1 glamour girl, so how is it that Jan Stephenson wears slacks, even in hot weather?

“Frankly,” she says, “I have lousy legs. They’re too skinny.”

From Rich Kelley, 7-foot forward for the Sacramento Kings: “The face of the league is really changing. When I first came into the league, Tom Burleson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the only guys taller than me. Now, I’m not sure if I’m even in the top 20. I spent all last year as a forward. That idea would have been ludicrous 11 years ago.”

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Trivia Answer: All three attended Pierce College.

Quotebook

Harvard basketball Coach Peter Roby, on the university’s strict admission standards: “If I ask a kid how he did on the boards and he says, ‘Eight a game,’ I know he’s not coming here.”


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