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Simply Getting to Meet on Time Is Highest Hurdle for Track Star

Tonie Campbell, scheduled to compete in the 110-meter high hurdles in the New York Games last Saturday afternoon, boarded a bus in Rovereto, Italy, at 5 that morning. The bus took him to Verona, where he caught a plane to Rome. In Rome, he caught a 10:45 a.m. flight to New York, arriving at 2:30 p.m. During the flight, he changed into his track clothes.

A car met him at JFK airport and took him to Columbia University, scene of the meet. He arrived at 3:45 p.m. and competed at 5 p.m. He then took a cab back to JFK, where his TWA flight had laid over. He re-boarded the plane at 7 p.m. and took off for home, arriving at LAX at 9:30 p.m.

And how did all of this travel affect his performance?

He ran second to two-time Olympic champion Roger Kingdom in 13.24 seconds. It was his fastest time of the year.

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Add Kingdom: Asked about the exodus of athletes to Europe to compete, he told Newsday: “You can have meets here the quality of those in Europe. It can be done tomorrow. It’s a matter of who’s willing to sponsor it. Like the Jack In The Box meet in L.A. (Aug. 6.) They’re offering $500,000 for a record in the long jump. Man, I want to long jump.”

“He was drooling,” said Newsday.

Trivia time: Name the only Angel to hit home runs in the club’s three home parks--Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium.

Six-shooter: Sports Illustrated reported that the Montreal Expos have added Antonio Alfonseca, a 16-year-old pitcher with six fingers on each hand, to their Dominican Republic organization.

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Said one reporter: “You’ve heard of the split-fingered fastball? This kid has a six-fingered fastball.”

Said another: “He’s going to be twice as good as Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown.”

Defense rests: Is Johnny Bench the greatest catcher ever? Maybe all around, he is, but former big league outfielder Art Shamsky, who played with Jerry Grote on the Miracle Mets, told Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News: “I played with Johnny Bench when he first came up. I played against him later on. I played against a lot of catchers, and I believe Jerry Grote was the best defensive catcher I’ve ever seen.”

Add Grote: New York traded him to the Dodgers, with whom he played as a backup on the National League championship teams of 1977 and ’78. He then retired but returned in 1981.

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He said: “Two years ago, I retired from baseball to be closer to my family. Last October, my wife left me.”

Humanitarian: How can a manager insult an umpire without talking to him? When a gang of Montreal Expos advanced on an umpire while Gene Mauch was managing, he told them, “The first guy who lays a hand on this blind, old man is fined 50 bucks.”

Now-it-can-be told Dept.: Said Lee Trevino, reflecting on his U.S. Open win in 1968, his first victory: “You know what my greatest enjoyment was? I was in the scorer’s tent when Arnold Palmer came in. He had been placed in the final threesome because of television. My greatest enjoyment was meeting Arnold Palmer. That was a bigger thrill, at that moment, than winning.”

Trivia answer: Bob (Buck) Rodgers, now managing the Montreal Expos. He hit two homers at Wrigley Field, two at Dodger Stadium and seven at Anaheim Stadium.

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Quotebook: Angel reliever Greg Minton, on going to arbitration while with the San Francisco Giants: “I knew I was in trouble when the arbitrator asked what we meant by such symbols as IP, BB and ERA.”


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