Sparky, What Was the Fuss? Spikes Aren't Made for Walkin'

When Sparky Anderson, suffering from exhaustion, was sent home to Thousand Oaks to rest, he presumably was tired of losing games in the American League East. Dave George of the Palm Beach (Fla.) Daily News offers another reason.

"It wasn't the Yankees who sent Sparky packing. It was Wockenfuss the Terrible. Wockenfuss the Vincible. Wockenfuss, the rag-armed manager of the Toledo Mud Hens.

"Losing a harmless exhibition game to Class-AAA Toledo might not have been the last straw if not for the horrible image of 40-year-old John Wockenfuss on the mound, mowing down Detroit hitters with what amounted to batting practice meatballs. In 12 major league seasons, he caught and played first base, but never pitched. Yet on this torturous night in Toledo, Wockenfuss was the winner.

"Detroit insiders say Sparky's decline began in earnest that night. Within days he was unable to sleep. Tremors took hold of his hands. Doctors sent Anderson home a week later to rest, play golf and basically make the world go away.

"Napoleon had his Waterloo. Sparky had his Wockenfuss."

Wait a minute: Said St. Louis Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog: "The Dodgers can't score like they did without Pedro Guerrero in the lineup."

When Guerrero went on the disabled list June 5 last year, the Dodgers had a winning percentage of .580. In his absence, the percentage was .600 until he returned July 29. When he was traded to St. Louis on Aug. 16, the percentage was .561. From there to the end of the season it was .660.

Trivia time: What distinction does Cy Young hold in World Series history?

Not so Strange: Curtis Strange, with his second U.S. Open victory, made another two-time winner, Hale Irwin, look good.

Last year, when others were trying to decide whether Seve Ballesteros or Greg Norman, or some other foreigner was the best golfer on the planet, Irwin said after Strange won the Memorial: "Curtis is the best player in the world today."

Add Memorial: Each year, host Jack Nicklaus honors one of the golfing greats, and he invited Ben Hogan to be next year's honoree. Hogan turned him down.

The Chicago Sun-Times quoted Hogan as saying from Ft. Worth: "I told them I don't travel anymore. I thanked them for the invitation, but I asked them to please put it off until I was dead if they want a memorial. I don't want to be memorialized."

It's all in the hands: While others were arguing whether the Boston Celtics needed another strong man up front or a shooting guard to replace Danny Ainge next season, Kevin McHale told the Boston Globe:

"I keep telling people this league has changed in the last few years, but nobody's listening. The game belongs to the teams with the great ballhandlers. L.A. has the best there is in Magic Johnson. Look what Chicago has done since they put the ball in Michael Jordan's hands. Detroit has one of the best backcourts in the league with Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.

"The teams that had great years are the ones that had guards who could penetrate, break down the defense and then move the ball around to the right people. I'd love to see us get that kind of player."

Trivia answer: Pitching for Boston of the American League, he lost the first game in World Series history to Pittsburgh, 7-3. He came back to win two games and Boston won the best-of-nine series, five games to three.

Quotebook: Johan Kriek, 31, after beating Michael Chang, 17, in a grass-court tournament in the Netherlands, asked if they had met before: "We played once before in the juniors. I was in the under-18s and he was in the under-2s."

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