Stubborn Persistence Pays Off as Pranksters Make Get-Aweigh

It was a covert operation worthy of any of the armed services, detailed in its planning, daring in its execution.

A group of 17 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen staged a daylight raid into the heart of enemy territory at West Point, N.Y., and came away with four mules used as Army mascots.

The Midshipmen spent almost a year planning the caper, said Shawn Callahan of Baldwin, N.Y., who led the assault on the U.S. Military Academy.

Callahan and other midshipmen, posing as tourists, visited the West Point clinic where the mules were kept and took photographs and made diagrams of the building.

"We went up there and said: 'Hey, are these the Army mules?' They told us more than we needed to know," Callahan said.

The Middies came back in Army uniforms, went to the clinic and told the guard they were there to deliver feed.

Ten minutes later, the mules were loaded onto a truck for a trip to Annapolis, Md., to be part of pregame festivities.

Maj. Jim Peterson, a spokesman for the U.S. Military Academy, confirmed that the mules were taken, but predicted the prank would backfire at game time.

Wrong again: Navy 24, Army 3.

Trivia time: To combat the manpower shortage in professional sports during World War II, two Pennsylvania rivals in the NFL put aside their differences in 1943 so they could continue to field a team. What was the team?

Alphabet soup, update: At 18, Lloyd Daniels was called the Best Basketball Player to Come Out of New York Since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar so often, he could have worn it as a sign.

At 24, he is playing for the Greensboro, N.C., Gators in the Global Basketball Assn.

In between, he has been arrested and shot in separate drug-related incidents and has played in the PSAL (Public School Athletic League of New York), CCCAA (California Community College Athletic Assn., at Mt. San Antonio), USBL (United States Basketball League), CBA (Continental Basketball Assn.) and GBA, not to mention N.Z. (New Zealand). The Best, etc., has yet to play in an organization that can stand on its initials, NCAA or NBA.

All too familiar: Golfer Louis Brown, 28, from Georgia, was at even par after 11 holes in the third round of the Johnnie Walker Classic at The Lakes course in Sydney, Australia.

He was six over par after 12 holes.

Brown's tee shot went into bushes, giving him an unplayable lie. He dropped into a bad lie, where he was hitting three. The shot went back into the same bush.

Another drop, and this time a higher lofted club, hitting five. But a sandy lie beat him again, the ball going into a different bush.

This time, he was able to take a penalty drop within two club lengths of the ball, but had to swing his club through the bushes to make contact.

His seventh shot bounced about 75 yards. He then chipped on and two-putted for his 10.

No mention was made of his desire for the tournament sponsor's product before teeing off on 13.

How Swede it isn't: The America's Cup challengers were practicing off Pt. Loma Tuesday when a strange but vaguely familiar boat showed up. All hull identification was masked over, but its mainsail identified it as "SWE 19," for Sweden.

A crew list identified the blond-wigged helmsman as "Claus Conner." By the start, the tape was peeled away to reveal "USA 11"--Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes, which was ordered off the course by the race committee and then allowed to continue with the approval of Italy's Il Moro di Venezia and two boats from Australia.

Trivia answer: The depleted Philadelphia and Pittsburgh franchises combined as the Phil-Pitt Steagles and had a 5-4-1 record before disbanding at the end of the season.

Quotebook: Darryl Strawberry, on the New York Mets' signings of Bobby Bonilla and Eddie Murray: "They finally got around to replacing me. All it took was two quality players and close to $40 million."

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