Riggs’ Toughest Hustle Was Doubly Scary

Bobby Riggs, king of the hustlers, was hard-pressed when asked to rate the best of his hustles, but he didn’t hesitate when asked his toughest.

“Evel Knievel bet me $25,000 I couldn’t ride a motorcycle 600-some miles from Las Vegas to Twin Falls, Ida., where he was attempting to jump across Snake River Canyon,” Riggs told the Milwaukee Journal. “I almost got killed on that thing. I didn’t even know how the brakes worked. When it was over, my hands were frozen numb for a month.

“But that wasn’t the whole story. When I saw him jump, I said to myself, ‘Oh, my God, he hasn’t paid me my $25,000. What if he doesn’t make it?’ And he almost didn’t. That was a bigger scare than my ride on the motorcycle.”


Said Robert Reid of the Charlotte Hornets, when he first saw teammate Kurt Rambis in one of the team’s designer uniforms: “It was like a construction worker putting on his tuxedo to go watch Pavarotti.”

Add Hornets: Said assistant coach Ed Badger, former coach at the University of Cincinnati, when asked the difference between college and pro coaching: “In college, when I called a timeout, at least I knew I was the highest-paid guy in the huddle.”

Would-you-believe-it Dept.: Carl Yastrzemski’s father, Carl Sr., still works daily at inside maintenance at MassPort, Boston Harbor. He’s 72.

“That’s why he’s in better shape than all of us,” says Yaz.

Carl Sr. was a promising infielder but had to say home during the Depression to work on the family farm in Long Island. The year before Yaz signed, he and his dad played together on a semipro club. Yaz hit .440. His dad hit .460. He was 44.

A reader had this to say about Art Modell in a letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “It’s hard to believe one man could fire Paul Brown, trade Paul Warfield, fire Sam Rutigliano and let Marty Schottenheimer get away all in one lifetime.”

Trivia Time: Who did the Cleveland Browns get in return when they traded Paul Warfield? (Answer to follow.)

Said Indiana basketball Coach Bob Knight, after the 71-70 upset of Michigan, which had feasted on a series of creampuffs in pre-conference games: “We had the snot knocked out of us early. We know what it means to lose big against good teams. But getting beat by a good team tells us what we need to do to beat those teams. That’s really important.”

Said Patrik Sjoberg of Sweden when asked what he would be if not a world champion high jumper: “A full-time playboy.”

Or Do You Give a Hoot?: Anyone notice that when Jerry Berndt left Rice to become the head football coach at Temple he was going from one team of Owls to another?

Trivia Answer: Warfield was traded in 1970 to the Miami Dolphins for a No. 1 draft choice, with which the Browns drafted Purdue quarterback Mike Phipps. The following year, the Dolphins made it to the first of three straight Super Bowls.


Merv Lopes, coach of the Chaminade basketball team in Honolulu: “When the going gets tough, the tough go fishing.”