All Ripken Has to Do Is Play, but This Streak Defies Odds

Move over Cal Ripken Jr. There's a new consecutive-game leader. And who's to say that his feat isn't more impressive than the ones amassed by Ripken or Lou Gehrig?

By managing the New York Yankees in Tuesday night's game against the Oakland Athletics, Buck Showalter set a new standard for consecutive games managed under owner George Steinbrenner. It was Showalter's 472nd consecutive game as Yankee manager, surpassing the 471 in a row managed by Billy Martin.

Yogi Berra, who was fired 16 games into the 1985 season by Steinbrenner and has refused ever since to set foot in Yankee Stadium, says his old boss has mellowed.

"He's had patience, so far," Berra told the New York Times. "Before, he didn't."

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Add Yankees: Although Showalter has surpassed Martin in consecutive games managed, he still trails him by a huge margin in total games as Yankee manager. Martin, who had five tours of duty as the Yankee skipper, managed the team for 941 games.

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Last add Yankees: Ralph Houk began his second stint as Yankee manager in 1966 and lasted 1,265 games before being fired. Who ended his streak? Steinbrenner, naturally, 162 games into his reign as Yankee owner.

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Trivia time: Since 1954, the Dodgers have had two managers, Walt Alston and Tom Lasorda. How many managerial changes have the Yankees made over that span?

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Signing policies: When it comes to signing autographs at the College World Series, some players just don't get it.

One player was complaining that, when it came to attending a pre-tournament autograph session, he had better things to do.

Overhearing the player, a team representative told him, "Hey, just think about this. Five years from now, you'll probably be an insurance agent and nobody will want your autograph."

The player stopped complaining and started signing.

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Divine inspiration: Jody Berry, former professional boxer and entertainer and current Beverly Hills philanthropist, once wrote a sports column for the old Los Angeles Free Press. Among the items in the '70s was his take on athletes and religion in general, and George Foreman in particular.

Wrote Berry: "As George Foreman sat in his dressing room getting ready to do battle with Jimmy Young, he had a vision--a vision of Jesus Christ. . . . George didn't say what Jesus told him, but he went into the ring that night and fought the dirtiest fight I've ever seen."

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G'day, Lance: Leigh Montville in Sports Illustrated had this comment on UCLA softball pitcher Tanya Harding: "The jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial have been sequestered almost twice as long as she was a student."

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Trivia Answer: 24.

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Quotebook: Philadelphia Phillie reliever Norm Charlton after a line drive hit him in the head: "It's lucky it didn't hit me in a worse area."

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