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This Catcher Didn’t Hit a ‘Tater, He Threw One to Third Instead

These are exciting times in baseball, but for those not involved in divisional races, they can be lonely times.

Take Sept. 22, 1966, when a record-low crowd of 413 showed up at Yankee Stadium to watch the Chicago White Sox win, 4-1. Yankee TV announcer Red Barber had the cameras scan the site and lost his job because of it.

Autumn in New York doesn’t have a pennant race this year. The big sports stories are the New York Giants and the U.S. Open, starring 39-year-old Jimmy Connors.

“Speaking for myself, this is no fun,” Yankee catcher Matt Nokes said. “We had a lot of high expectations at one point this season, but we couldn’t make it this far. You try to play with intensity and concentrate. . . . But it’s hard.”

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Players at all levels have found ways to deal with the end of a season. Consider Dave Bresnahan, a catcher with double-A Williamsport.

In a game against Reading on Sept. 1, 1987, Bresnahan tried to pick runner Rick Rudblad off third base with a potato. When the potato sailed into left field, Rudblad raced home and Bresnahan tagged him with the real ball. The umpire, however, ruled the runner safe and Bresnahan was charged with an error.

Bresnahan, hitting .149, was released by the Phillies on Sept. 2. But for one day, he was the most popular baseball player in Idaho.

Trivia Time: On this date in 1970, Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs asked to be kept out of the lineup, snapping his National League record of 1,117 consecutive games played. Who would later break that record?

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Spiraling salaries: The average salary for starting NFL quarterbacks in 1990 was about $1.4 million, and that figure is sure to go up when all the figures for this season are available. The average for all quarterbacks, including third-stringers, was $815,000, which is nearly half a million more than the $356,000 average for all NFL players in 1990.

Bo motivates Joe: Joe Stillman, a 10-year-old who suffered brain damage in a traffic accident near his home in Oakdale, Calif., got the best therapy he could imagine--a telephone call from his hero, Bo Jackson.

Rehabilitation therapists at a Fresno hospital used the boy’s interest in Jackson to motivate the boy, but said the grin on his face showed that a call from Bo was the best therapy.

“He was a real nice guy,” Joe said. “We talked a little about baseball and getting out of here. We talked for four minutes. He told me to behave and be good.”

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Greater is good: The greater the tournament, the greater golfer Mark Brooks plays. Brook won the third tournament of his career and his second of the season Sunday with a one-stroke victory in the Greater Milwaukee Open.

Brooks’ previous victories were in the Greater Hartford Open in 1988 and the Greater Greensboro Open last April.

Hitched: Milwaukee Buck center Danny Schayes and Olympic diver Wendy Lucero were married at Beaver Creek Chapel over the weekend.

Schayes, who played eight seasons for the Denver Nuggets before being traded to Milwaukee last season, met Lucero three years ago at an organ-donor charity function.

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NBA players Blair Rasmussen, Todd Lichti and Mark Eaton were among the 175 guests who jammed the wood-beamed chapel.

Trivia answer: Steve Garvey, with the San Diego Padres, in 1983.

Quotebook: Wimbledon champion Michael Stich, on the lack of attention he is receiving on his free days during the U.S. Open in New York: “In America, it is good, especially here. Nobody is too much interested. You can walk out on the streets and just go shopping. I mean, you are just one of 10 million persons here.”


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