Tim Finchem, who replaced Dean Beman as PGA Tour commissioner, is not a well-known figure in golf, so Golf Digest revealed some intriguing background items about the man who moved up from being the tour’s deputy commissioner:
He was an assistant manager in the paint department for Sears.
He lost an election for prosecuting attorney in Virginia Beach, Va., when the local newspapers mentioned his 14 speeding tickets in 12 years.
He worked as national staff director for the 1980 Carter-Mondale and 1984 Mondale-Ferraro presidential tickets.
Trivia time: What do David Letterman, Pancho Carter, Oscar Robertson, Steve McQueen and Benjamin Harrison have in common?
Remarkable: If he can maintain it, Bret Saberhagen’s strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10.4 to 1 would be the best by far for any starter since 1900. Saberhagen has struck out 125 and walked 12. Ferguson Jenkins holds the full-season record of 7.1 to 1, set in 1971.
Persistence pays off: Bobby Ross couldn’t entice David Griggs the first time around, but nine years later, he finally got his man.
The San Diego Chargers’ coach remembers sitting in the living room at the home of Griggs, doing his best to sell him on the University of Maryland. It was 1985, and Ross was coach of the Terrapins. Griggs was coming off a senior season at Pennsauken, N.J., High in which he was an All-American at defensive end and tight end.
Ultimately, Griggs decided to play at Virginia. Ross lost the recruiting battle, but in March, the Chargers signed Griggs, an unrestricted free-agent linebacker from the Miami Dolphins, to a two-year contract worth $1.8 million.
The road ref: Former ABA and NBA star Dan Issel, commenting on the late Earl Strom: “If I had to play the game of my life on the road, I’d like Earl Strom to be one of the refs. He was not a homer.”
Statistician Harvey Pollack of the Philadelphia 76ers confirms that with visiting teams having won 42.9% of games Strom worked, compared with 30% of games worked by the rest of the officials in the NBA.
The union man: From the Village Voice of New York: “Baseball has nothing to fear but Fehr itself.”
Maybe he was hungry: Johan le Roux has been banned from the South African Rugby Union for biting another player’s ear.
The union’s president, Louis Luyt, said there was a clause in the organization’s constitution that allowed for a player to be banned for life if he tarnished the game.
“He has brought South African rugby into complete disrepute,” Luyt said. “The man who does that does not play rugby in South Africa again.”
Unbelievable: The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed a star on the upper deck in left-center field at Three Rivers Stadium signifying where Frank Thomas’ 519-foot home run landed during the All-Star hitting contest. The star is about 80 feet to the right of the longest homer hit in a game.
Trivia answer: All are from Indianapolis.
Quotebook: Hall of Fame golfer Gary Player, on fellow South African Ernie Els: “He has the best golf swing I’ve seen since Sam Snead.”