He Didn’t Know Who It Was, but Turned the Other Cheek

Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers keeps adding the milestones. Not only did he get the 5,500th strikeout of his career last week, but he received his second career visit on the mound from a stripper.

Ryan was pitching against the Seattle Mariners at Arlington Stadium when he noticed a stirring in the crowd. Then he noticed the reason: a woman racing toward him from right field.

“When I saw her, I assumed it was Morganna,” Ryan said, referring to the so-called “Kissing Bandit” of baseball. “As soon as she got in the infield, I knew it wasn’t her.”

As you might expect, Ryan knows Morganna when he sees Morganna, having had a visit from her when he was pitching for the Houston Astros. And indeed this woman would later identify herself to authorities as Kathy Stathopoulous, aka Toppsy Curvey.


She gave the smiling, sheepish Ryan a kiss on the right cheek, then ran off toward the Rangers’ dugout.

“She sounded like she had a Northern accent,” Ryan said.

And what did she say?

“Nothing really substantial.”


Add Ryan: A matter that is of some substance is Ryan’s condition. The 44-year-old right-hander twice went on the disabled list this season because of shoulder problems.

But he pitched well in the final weeks of the season, a positive note for Ryan to carry into 1992.

“In my mind, it’s important to finish strong,” Ryan said. “It gives you a better outlook toward the winter and the upcoming season. You have no question marks. I had some doubt in ’75 when I had (elbow) surgery in September. You spend the winter wondering if you’re going to come back.”

Trivia time: Who was Ryan’s 5,500th strikeout victim?

Help wanted: Brooklyn College, which plays football on the Division III level, canceled its 1991 season two days before its opening game. The reason: not enough players. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Kingsmen never had more than 30 players show up for a preseason practice.

Fish story: Greg LeMond, three-time winner of the Tour de France, is a fishing enthusiast. So he could not resist an invitation to check out a lake on an estate he was visiting while competing in the recent Fat Tire mountain bike race in Hayward, Wis.

Following the instructions of the estate’s caretaker, who pointed out a spot where the smallmouth bass were supposed to be biting, LeMond caught a trophy-sized four-pound smallmouth using a four-pound tippet lead line.

Bob Kurtz of the Fishing Hall of Fame reports that the catch will be certified as a world record when LeMond completes an official application.


Yes, LeMond also won the bike race.

You won’t see it at Cannes, but . . . : The recently-released film “Necessary Roughness,” a fable about a college football program that returns from the NCAA’s “death penalty” with a band of misfits, was shot on location in Denton, Tex., on the University of North Texas campus.

North Texas football Coach Dennis Parker plays a prison guard. Several hundred students were hired as extras, and about a dozen students helped with production.

A “laugh-a-quarter film” is how one reviewer, Steve Wulf of Sports Illustrated, described “Necessary Roughness.”

The folks in Denton aren’t taking offense, however.

“Nobody ever tried to fool us into thinking this was going to be great art,” said Susan Wilson of the North Texas public affairs office, “but it has been a lot of fun.”

Trivia answer: Tino Martinez, Seattle first baseman.

Quotebook: Eugene McCarthy, 1968 presidential candidate: “Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to know the game and stupid enough to think is is important.”