Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

He's proud of this inside job

A fastball that approached 100 mph coupled with glaring eyes and a Fu Manchu mustache made Goose Gossage one of the most intimidating pitchers of his time, but he said Tuesday that he intentionally hit batters with a pitch only three times.

The batters were Ron Gant, Al Bumbry and Andres Galarraga.

"They had it coming," Gossage said.

Well, maybe not Galarraga, who was on a hot streak in 1988 when Gossage played for the Chicago Cubs and manager Don Zimmer warned his staff not to let "The Big Cat" beat them.

Galarraga came to bat against Gossage with runners on second and third in the eighth inning.

"I'm thinking back to the meeting before the game," Gossage said with an impish grin. "I was in my delivery when I thought, 'I'm not taking any chances.' Boom!"

"I saved four pitches and drilled him as good as I can drill them. Right in the ribcage. You could hear the air go out. It was beautiful."

Trivia time

Gossage will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July, becoming only the fifth relief pitcher to be so honored. Who are the other four?

Looking back

On this date in 1973, Nolan Ryan of the California Angels pitched the first of his record seven no-hitters, beating the Kansas City Royals, 3-0. Two months later he added No. 2.

A second thought

At the Preakness draw Wednesday, Mike Iavarone, co-owner of Big Brown, was asked if he had heard from a lot of people since the horse's impressive Kentucky Derby win. He said that he had, and that maybe the strangest call came from a psychic.

"She said Big Brown was going to run second in the Preakness," Iavarone said. "So I said, 'OK, then give me the winner.' "

No Brooklyn Bridge?

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post was skeptical about some items up for bidding in an auction of game-used equipment from Yankee Stadium.

Among the items available was batter's box dirt from opening day 2005.

"Call me cynical, but the dirt looks suspiciously similar to 2006 opening-day batter's box dirt," Mushnick wrote.

Another item: Ian Kennedy's Yankees locker room nameplate.

"How a locker nameplate was used in a game escapes us," Mushnick wrote, before reminding readers that the auction house is the same one that once sold a 2006 game-used Carl Pavano cap.

"Pavano didn't throw a big league pitch in 2006," Mushnick wrote. "Hey, that makes the letter of authenticity more valuable than the cap!"

Spiked drinks

Marc J. Spears of the Boston Globe uncovered a theory that Boston-area nightclub owner Patrick Lyons might have played a role in the Boston Celtics' 34-point blowout victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

"The Hawks stayed at the Liberty Hotel May 3 in Cambridge before playing the Celtics," Spears wrote. "A league source said Lyons, who operates the Alibi Lounge in the hotel, instructed his bar staff to give anyone affiliated with the Hawks a double shot in any alcoholic beverage they ordered."

The Cleveland Cavaliers may want to consider sticking to Pepsi and 7-Up if they stay at that hotel this weekend.

Trivia answer

Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley and Bruce Sutter.

And finally

Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez was channeling Yogi Berra after he hit the 498th home run of his career Monday.

"I know I have two more to go, but I ain't counting," he said.


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