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Durocher Got Point Across at West Point

The subject was Leo Durocher, and publicist Lee Solters recalled an exhibition game the New York Giants played at West Point, N.Y.

Durocher was coaching at first base, and a noisy cadet was all over him. “Hey, Durocher,” he bellowed, “how did a little squirt like you get into the major leagues?”

“My congressman appointed me,” said Durocher.

If it’s any consolation to Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, there have been worse World Series performances.

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Gil Hodges went 0 for 21 in 1952. Dave Winfield in 1981 and Mike Schmidt in 1983 each settled for 1 single. Babe Ruth hit .118 in 1922 without a homer.

Ted Williams, in his only Series, hit .200, all singles, in 1946. Meanwhile, a 20-year-old St. Louis catcher tied a Series record by getting 4 hits in a game.

That was Joe Garagiola.

Trivia Time: Who is the only man to coach a National Football League championship team and play in a World Series? (Answer below.)

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From Cincinnati Reds reliever John Franco , not carried away by the fact that he led the National League in saves: “Outside of Cincinnati, I’m just another short, chubby Italian walking down the street.”

From the UPI story on the Boston Celtics’ 113-85 win over the Yugoslavian national team in Madrid: “The game was surrounded by a festive atmosphere that included a small but noisy group of green-clad Celtics fans and other bits of Americana including the dancing and other courtside antics of The Chicken (‘El Pollo’) and the scantily clad Memphis State cheerleaders, who drew incredulous stares from the Yugoslavian players.”

Houston Coach Jerry Glanville, on Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, whom the Oilers face today: “Boomer is fun to watch and coach against. He’s something special. When you play against him, it’s like living on the edge for 60 minutes. I’d love to have him. I’d keep Warren Moon at quarterback and play Boomer at safety.”

Tommy John told Fred McMane of UPI about a game he pitched for the Dodgers when he was getting knocked around and there was activity in the bullpen.

McMane: “He expected to be removed when Tom Lasorda arrived on the mound. Instead, according to John, Lasorda put it this way: ‘I could bring in a relief pitcher, but I’m looking right into the eyes of the greatest ground-ball pitcher in history. Why would I bring in a relief pitcher when I have the greatest ground-ball pitcher in history right here on the mound? Now get a double play.’

“John, fortified by the praise, threw a pitch with nothing on it that was hit on a line right at the shortstop, who turned it into a double play.”

Trivia Answer: Earle (Greasy) Neale. He coached the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL championships in 1948 and 1949. He played for Cincinnati as an outfielder in the 1919 World Series, batting .357 against the Chicago White Sox. That was the Black Sox series.

Quotebook

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Lionel Hollins, on former Portland Trail Blazers teammate Maurice Lucas: “To Luke, basketball was a contact sport. All con and no tact.”


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