Best deal Fred Claire never made was the one that would have sent Kirk Gibson to Oakland or Detroit for a fifth starter. Gibson has been a major contributor to the Dodgers’ resurgence, and Jim Neidlinger wouldn’t have gotten a chance to pitch if the trade had been made. . . .
Dodger fans, take heart: On Aug. 24, 1964, the St. Louis Cardinals were 11 games out of first place. They won the National League pennant and the World Series. . . .
How much did Nolan Ryan mean at the gate Tuesday night at Anaheim Stadium? The Angel-Texas game drew 37,692. The night before, the same teams drew 23,915. . . .
Of Ryan’s 270 losses, 49 have come when his team has been shut out. In other words, he has pitched for some pretty lousy-hitting clubs. . . .
When is the last time you saw an appeal that a runner missed a bag or tagged up too early upheld? . . .
The Metrodome in Minneapolis is the only present-day major league ballpark where a no-hitter hasn’t been pitched, but the more surprising statistic is that one was never thrown at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. . . .
Most so-called bad-ball hitters are really bad-ball swingers. . . .
Jack Benny would have appreciated the job Dave Parker is doing at 39. . . .
It has been a long time since the Dodgers have produced a power hitter, but their next could be Henry Rodriguez, the 22-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who has hit 28 home runs for San Antonio in the Texas League. . . .
Strange that, in the year of the no-hitter, no pitcher has thrown more than four shutouts. . . .
Key matchup Friday night at the Meadowlands: The experienced Syracuse offensive line against the inexperienced USC defense. . . .
When is KMPC going to stop playing those commercials for UCLA season tickets that pump Bret Johnson? . . .
Bruce Walker, a true freshman from Dominguez High School who has impressed the Bruins’ coaching staff, has been shifted from outside linebacker to defensive end. . . .
I hope Cal State Long Beach won’t be caught looking ahead to Utah State Saturday at Clemson. . . .
Preseason No. 1 Miami will play in the West three times this season--Sept. 8 at Brigham Young, Sept. 15 at California and Dec. 1 at San Diego State. . . .
USC’s Todd Marinovich and Arizona State’s Paul Justin are getting all the ink, but Oregon’s Bill Musgrave is the returning Pacific 10 quarterback who passed for the most yardage and threw the most touchdown passes last season. . . .
By lasting until the Raiders’ cut to 60, Lyle Alzado, a 41-year-old defensive linemen who was named comeback player of the year in 1982, did better than anybody should have expected. . . .
The NFL won’t be quite the same this season without Cliff Stoudt sitting on somebody’s bench. . . .
Andre Agassi at least is colorful, which is more than you can say about most tennis players. . . .
Until Tuesday, I thought Alexander Volkov was a basketball player. . . .
Something tells me Ivan Lendl’s hat won’t catch on in fashion circles. . . .
The men should play the best-of-three sets, instead of five, at the U.S. Open until the quarterfinal round. . . .
The most startling revelation in that Sports Illustrated piece by disgruntled former Notre Dame lineman Steve Huffman is that Barry Switzer devoured a half-eaten brownie that was on the kitchen table in the Huffman household when the then-Oklahoma coach was there on a recruiting trip. . . .
Look-alikes: Brett Butler and Dick Vermeil. . . .
Jim Young, who will retire at the end of this season, has done one of the best college coaching jobs in the country with Army. . . .
Arena Football, which averaged 9,578 fans a game this season, will expand to Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, next year. . . .
ABC has wanted to televise a George Foreman bout, but his asking price to fight a tomato can is too high. . . .
It’s no big deal that Sugar Ray Leonard relinquished his World Boxing Council super-middleweight championship. That division is a phony invented by the fight organizations so they could reap more title-bout sanctioning fees. . . .
NBA teams are putting some deals and signings on hold until Sept. 10, when the salary cap may be raised again. . . .
Quote of the week from umpire Joe West: “As of today, umpires are not breaking up any more fights. If they want to fight, let them kill each other.” . . .
ESPN’s Fred Edelstein says the Raiders are negotiating to get out of the Los Angeles Coliseum. Actually, they’re negotiating to get into it.