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No Such Thing as a Cheap Publicity Stunt These Days

Promoter Al Franken figured it would be a good publicity stunt to have the Rocket Man from the 1984 Olympics “jump” against Larry Myricks and Mike Powell in the $500,000 World Record Long Jump Challenge Aug. 6 in the Jack in the Box Meet at UCLA.

Franken figured money wouldn’t be a problem. “I reckoned there couldn’t be much demand for a Rocket Man,” he said.

Wrong. The Rocket Man wanted $11,400.

Franken: “Does anyone have another publicity stunt?”

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Over his head: Announcer Gary Bender asked Akeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets if there was any sport he had not mastered.

“I can’t swim,” Olajuwon said.

Said Bender: “Well, neither can I.”

“Yeah,” Olajuwon said, “but I can wade out a lot farther than you.”

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Trivia time: Who was the New York Yankee player that Manager Yogi Berra fined for playing a harmonica on the team bus after a loss?

Sitting pretty: Former National League batting champion Harry (The Hat) Walker, who managed at Pittsburgh, Houston and St. Louis, worked in the front office at St. Louis and coached at Alabama Birmingham, has retired at 72 to a 50-acre estate in Leeds, Ala., where all he has to do is check the mail.

Walker is drawing five pensions. He has his major league pension, plus two from Alabama Birmingham, one from the Cardinals and Social Security.

On the spot: After his Hall of Fame induction next Sunday, Carl Yastrzemski said he will join another Boston Hall of Famer, Ted Williams, on a fishing cruise.

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“Ted’s one of the great fisherman in the world,” Yaz told Joe Gergen of Newsday. “If I catch anything, that’s fine. But he’s a perfectionist. I remember Bobby Doerr telling me he went tarpon fishing with Ted once in the Florida Keys. And he had to quit after a few hours, the pressure was too great. Ted wants you to catch something so bad he won’t let up.”

Trivia answer: Phil Linz. Note: He revealed last week that Hohner harmonicas paid him $5,000 to use his name in an advertisement.

Add Linz: Wrote Steve Jacobson of Newsday: “Linz is best remembered for his irrepressible nature. During a German measles outbreak one spring, he said, ‘I don’t get German measles. I’m German. I give them.’ ”

During trade rumors one winter, he issued this ultimatum: “Play me or keep me.”

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More Linz: He said he has a 13-year-old son who is showing promise. “I tell him I wasn’t that good. He knows, he has my baseball cards.

“I did a card show in Queens last summer and drew 11 people.”

Quotebook: George Brett of the Kansas City Royals, asked if he’s bothered by questions about Bo Jackson: “When someone comes up to me, they’re either going to ask me why I’m batting .230 or about Bo. I’d rather talk about him.”


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