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His Swing Still Worth a Million Bucks or So

Times Staff Writer

The bat Babe Ruth used to hit his first home run at Yankee Stadium, on April 18, 1923, highlights a baseball memorabilia sale to be held at Sotheby’s in New York on Dec. 2. Experts say the bat could go for more than $1 million.

An exhibition of the memorabilia will be on display at Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills on Friday and Saturday before being shipped to New York.

Maybe Frank McCourt should take a look. For one thing, the Dodgers could use a good bat. For another, a Dodger championship ring -- Pee Wee Reese’s from 1955 -- is included in the exhibit.

Trivia time: What is the record sale price for a baseball memorabilia item?

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Here we ‘Zo again: New Jersey Net center Alonzo Mourning, who had a kidney transplant last December, started his first NBA game since 2002 Tuesday night, when the Nets beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 64-60.

“To tell you the truth, I had my heart set on the sixth man award,” Mourning said.

Appropriate number: The Indiana Pacers’ Ron Artest, who changed his jersey number to 91 this season in honor of Dennis Rodman, says he wants to wear as many numbers as possible during his career.

Artest sat out the Pacers’ last two games because of disciplinary reasons, prompting reader Bill Littlejohn to suggest Artest try No. 5 -- in honor of Johnny Bench.

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Inappropriate number: A typo in the BellSouth phone book for the Charlotte Bobcats was discovered recently, the Charlotte Observer reported. The phone number listed for the ticket office of the NBA expansion team referred callers to an adult chat line.

Cy Old Award: “What do you call two old geezers -- Houston’s Roger Clemens, 42, and Arizona’s Randy Johnson, 41 -- who finished 1-2 in the balloting for the National League’s Cy Young Award?” wrote Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times.

“The Boys of Gummer.”

T.O. may get KO’d: Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, on Terrell Owens mimicking tough-guy Ray Lewis’ celebration dance: “If he ever plays Lewis again, he’ll be the player to be maimed later.”

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Looking back: On this day in 1911, Carlisle Indian School of Carlisle, Pa., led by Jim Thorpe, beat nationally ranked Harvard, 18-15. Thorpe kicked four field goals and an extra point.

Trivia answer: The ball Mark McGwire hit for his 70th home run in 1998, which set a single-season record at the time, sold for $3.05 million at auction. Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball of 2001, which topped McGwire’s record, was auctioned in June 2003 for $517,500.

And finally: Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach, quoted by Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, said, “I don’t know who I want to strangle most, the offense or the defense. Weak mentality, weak playing, weak coaching ... the whole thing burns me up.”

And his team won -- 42-17, over Baylor.

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.


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