He made educated wager

Times Staff Writer

Dan Cook, legendary sports columnist for the San Antonio Express-News who also was a longtime sports anchor for KENS-TV in San Antonio, died last week at age 81 after a long illness.

He is credited by Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations with coming up with the phrase “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” He uttered it on television in 1978 and later said he had used the phrase two years earlier in a column.

One of Cook’s closest friends was another Texas legend, former Dallas Morning News columnist Blackie Sherrod.


One of Sherrod’s favorite stories about Cook came about when the two of them were covering the Kentucky Derby. Sherrod said before the race, a friend of theirs approached Cook, an avid bettor, and asked him about one of his daughters. The friend wanted to know where Cook planned to send her to college.

“It all depends on who wins this race,” Cook said.

Trivia time

Who is the only person to be a major league manager and an NFL head coach?

Cold shot

Alex Rodriguez’s wife filed for divorce Monday and a lawyer representing Cynthia Rodriguez said her husband’s association with Madonna was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” even though Madonna has denied any romantic involvement.

Meanwhile, the tabloids and late-night talk show hosts are having a field day.

Jay Leno, making jokes about the hot weather, Monday night said, “It was so hot, Madonna called A-Rod’s wife just to get the cold shoulder.”

At least it was a cool idea

Jim “Mouth” Purol, the Anaheim stuntman who plans to sit in every seat at the Rose Bowl to raise money for a charity, began the task Monday and plans to finish it by Friday. He goes for about 12 hours at a stretch, then sleeps on a cot in a locker room.

Jess Waiters, Rose Bowl assistant general manager, said late Tuesday Purol was about one-third through the 92,522 seats.

“With this warm weather,” Waiters said, “he’s finding out what a hot seat is all about.”

Not the first

Steve Kelley, a Denver radio and television personality, sat in all 75,123 seats at Mile High Stadium in October 1981 for charity and then did the same thing at Invesco Field in September 2001.


Kelley’s other feats for charity have included washing 10,000 windows on a Denver skyscraper, swimming 101 miles, going 41 miles on a pogo stick and attempting to top the world record of 26 miles for crawling on hands and knees.

It took Kelley four days to sit in all the seats at Mile High. He says he slept only 11 hours during that stretch, and laid down wherever he stopped. It took him five days to sit in approximately the same number of seats at Invesco.

“Mile High was easier because it had about 90% bench seats and you could slide,” Kelley said. “It was a lot more up and down at Invesco. I feel for the guy at the Rose Bowl. He’s finding out just how monotonous and repetitive it is.”

Kelley didn’t have to deal with heat, but said, “I had to deal with everything else Denver can throw at you -- rain, snow, sleet and freezing temperatures.” That was during his Mile High seat feat.

And in 2001?

“It wasn’t as bad,” he said, “except for a day-and-half downpour.”

Trivia answer

Hugo Bezdek managed the Pittsburgh Pirates from the middle of the 1917 season through 1919 and became the Cleveland Rams’ first coach in 1937 after the team joined the NFL. The Rams, who moved to Los Angeles in 1946, fired Bezdek three games into the 1938 season. The Rams were 1-13 during his tenure.

And finally

The average American walks about 900 miles a year, according to a Harvard study. And the average American drinks 22 gallons of alcohol a year, the American Medical Assn. says.


Concludes Jack Finarelli of “This means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon. Kind of makes you proud to be an American.”