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Lasorda Takes a Good Hit

When Tom Lasorda was pitching for Schenectady of the Canadian-American League in 1948, the manager was Lee Riley, father of Laker Coach Pat Riley.

In a Dodgers Magazine story by Lisa Bowman, Lasorda tells this one: “We were playing Gloversville, and I’ve got ‘em beat, 2-1, and it’s in the top of the ninth inning. As I go out to pitch, Riley, who was coaching third, came to the mound, picked up the ball to hand it to me and he says to me, ‘You’re in good shape. You’ve got three left-handed hitters in a row.’ And I was a left-handed pitcher, which meant things should be easy.

“First left-hander doubles. Next left-hander triples. Next left-hander doubles. And now they’re winning, 3-2. And he comes to take me out, and as he starts to take the ball from my hand, he looks at me and he says, ‘Know why I couldn’t hit in the major leagues?’ I thought that was a very unusual question, but I said, ‘No, Skip. No, why?’ And he said, ‘Because I couldn’t hit left-handed pitchers. But if you’d been there, I’d have been a star.’ ”

For What It’s Worth: Under Billy Martin, the New York Yankees had a winning percentage of .588. Under Lou Piniella, they’re .529.

Add Yankees: Dick Williams, the deposed Seattle Mariners manager, told the Hartford Courant he had talked with George Steinbrenner but said: “It wasn’t about managing. They have all the managers they’ll ever need. They keep recycling them, which is good, I guess. They have managers on the bench, in the front office. They have managers up in the TV booth, too, don’t they?”

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Trivia Time: What do American League All-Star starters Dave Winfield of the New York Yankees, Paul Molitor of the Milwaukee Brewers and Terry Steinbach of the Oakland Athletics have in common? (Answer below.)

Claire Smith of the Hartford Courant, after listing such names as Don Mattingly, Eddie Murray, Will Clark, Mark McGwire, Andres Galarraga, Kent Hrbek, Keith Hernandez, Wally Joyner, Glenn Davis and Gerald Perry, said: “These players have created an overload of talent perhaps never seen at first base.”

Try 1934. That year, the first basemen included Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Bill Terry, Dolph Camilli, Hal Trosky, Zeke Bonura, Charlie Grimm, Jim Bottomley and Rip Collins.

Who do you like?

Wait a Minute: Mike Tyson now is telling the world he didn’t mean he was retiring for good when he made the announcement, but that he just needed to take some time off.

Here’s how he ended his original statement: “I know people will think I’ll come back. Kevin Rooney and Don King think that. They think I can’t stay retired. But I can do it.”

45 Years Ago Today: On July 13, 1943, in the first All-Star game played at night, Bobby Doerr hit a three-run homer to lead the American League to a 5-3 victory at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park. The National League hitting star was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Vince DiMaggio, who went 3 for 3, with a homer, triple and single.

Ever wonder how Satchel Paige got his nickname? Writes Will Grimsley of the Associated Press: “Getting out of reform school at 16, Paige got a job at a Mobile train station, where he ingeniously devised, with a pole and ropes, a means of carrying 10 to 20 bags at a time. ‘There goes Leroy--looking like a satchel tree,’ a friend remarked.”

The name stuck.

Trivia Answer: All three went to the University of Minnesota.

Quotebook

U.S. hurdler Kim McKenzie, claiming the Iron Curtain women are too strong after she finished down the track in a meet in Europe: “Up against them I look like Olive Oyl against Bluto.”


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