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It Was Doubleday, He Said, Who Gave Us the Doubleplay

Historians have branded as myth stories that Abner Doubleday invented baseball, although a specially formed committee in 1907 determined that Doubleday, a Civil War general, founded the game in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1839.

The committee arrived at its conclusion largely on the testimony of one Albert Graves, a former resident of Cooperstown who served under Doubleday in the Civil War.

Writes Jim Shea of the Hartford Courant: “Graves--who at age 75 married a 33-year-old woman, poisoned her when he was 90, and died in an insane asylum when he was 92--told the committee he remembered Doubleday explaining the game to a bunch of kids playing marbles in front of the local tailor shop.”

Good question: Said Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson when told that Michigan Gov. James J. Blanchard had proclaimed Sept. 10 as “Sparky Anderson Day” in the state: “How do you get a day out of a year like this?”

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Hit tunes: Vince Lascheid, the organist at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, tries to fit the song to the name when a batter comes to the plate. Examples:

Al Nipper--"Jaws.”

Vance Law--"Dragnet.”

Joe Magrane--"The Alka-Seltzer Song.”

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Cris Carpenter--"If I Had a Hammer.”

Greg Booker--"The Gambler.”

Howard Johnson--"A Small Hotel.”

John Tudor--"Teach Me Tonight.”

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Mariano Duncan--"The Mr. Donut Theme.”

The organist said he hasn’t been able to find anything for Dickie Thon and welcomes suggestions.

Trivia time: Who was the only fighter to go the distance against Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano.

Now-it-can-be-told dept.: When the Baltimore Orioles went to New York for a series against the Yankees, infielder Randy Milligan, formerly of the New York Mets, told the Boston Globe: “I used to be afraid of New York, but that was when I was watching a lot of Starsky and Hutch.”

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Numbers game: When Rickey Henderson reported to the Oakland Athletics, he requested No. 24, the number he wore with the Yankees. The number belonged to Ron Hassey, who said he wouldn’t part with it--except for a price.

“After a few weeks of negotiations,” wrote Marty Noble of Newsday, “they arrived at a price--$2,500 worth of equipment from a stereo and appliance company with whom Henderson has an endorsement contract.”

Hassey now wears No. 27.

Trivia answer: Ezzard Charles.

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Quotebook: Reliever Mitch Williams, on why he’s glad the Texas Rangers traded him to the Chicago Cubs: “Some of my relatives thought a Texas Ranger was a cop.”


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