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Earnhardt Sends Invitation to Mansell to Come On Down

Stock car driver Dale Earnhardt, the Winston Cup points leader, met Nigel Mansell, the reigning Formula One champion and current Indy car leader, recently at Michigan International Speedway.

Earnhardt was there to drive in an International Race of Champions event, while Mansell, whose salary of about $5 million is considerably less than he made in Formula One, won the Marlboro 500 Indy car race.

The two chatted for several minutes before Earnhardt said, “Hey, Nigel, why don’t you take another pay cut and come race with us next season?”

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A valve job: The Butte Copper Kings of the rookie Pioneer League have had several rainouts and one “hail out.” And a game against Idaho Falls was hosed out.

“Somebody deliberately flooded the field,” said Bob Larkins, Copper King general manager. He said a hose was turned on at night at Alumni Coliseum, and by the time it was noticed the next morning, the field was a quagmire.

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Trivia time: How many seasons did Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson play in the major leagues?

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Return to sender: When Bob Hope turned 90, one birthday present was a basket of 90 golf balls from the Valencia Country Club, where Hope is an honorary member. Each was inscribed: “Happy 90th Bob.”

In his note of thanks to Ken Kikuchi, Valencia general manager, Hope wrote: ". . . now when I hit one in the water, the fish will know who to send it back to.”

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Incentive clause: Boston catcher Tony Pena was ribbing Worcester, Mass., sportswriter Bill Ballou about the length of his hair when Ballou told Pena he could cut his hair as soon as Pena--who had only one home run this season--hit another one.

Pena got one a few days later and gave the writer a haircut in the Red Sox clubhouse.

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Real concern: Fly, the Sporting News’ irreverent voice of the fan, worries about the NBC deal to televise the Atlanta Olympics:

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“Hey, without a TripleCast, where will Fly tune in for the rhythmic gymnastics and team handball results at 3 in the morning?”

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More Fly-specks: Of the Angels’ release of Scott Sanderson, Fly wrote:

“The key number on Scott Sanderson’s pink slip with the Halos was not 37 (years old), 7 (wins), 11 (losses) or 4.46 (ERA in 21 starts). The key number was $225,000, which is what the Cowboy (Gene Autry) would’ve had to pull out of the ol’ saddlebag if Sanderson had reached 200 innings or 30 starts. What’s the new saying? Money talks and moderately expensive, ineffective veterans walk.”

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Trivia answer: One, in 1959. A second baseman, he batted .218 with no homers and 34 RBIs with the Phillies.

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Quotebook: Pro golfer and avid fisherman Mike Hulbert on the birth of his son, who weighed in at 8 pounds 3 ounces: “He’s just perfect for mounting.”

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