Quick Takes


          My L.A. friends look after me. Pat Ross, Jules Rothman and Neil and Diane Kessler all made sure I received the magnificent L.A. Times Sports Commemorative Edition of March 30. It is truly a collector’s item. It covers 125 years of sports in L.A. with detailed stories and great pictures. I love it, and I love L.A.


          When told recently that his approval rating was just 33%, President Bush replied, “I plan to turn that number around.” Jay Leno.


          Maybe President Bush should have stayed on with the Texas Rangers. At least with the Rangers, he could have remained very inconspicuous, just like the team.


          It takes some people a bit longer to attain "the really big score." So was the case with Phil Mickelson, but he’s made up for lost time. I greatly respect his staying power when he was struggling.   


Marv Levy, general manager of the Buffalo Bills, is a brilliant historian. (See my feature article of 1-26 of this year on Levy).  When he coached that team, he was preparing his players for the AFC Championship Game against the Dolphins in Miami in 1992 . He told his Bills that champions can win at home or away. He pointed out the fact that the Germans suffered a major defeat during World War II in their attempt to travel to and take control of Stalingrad (Russia). Stated Levy, “The reason Hitler lost the war was that he couldn’t win the big game on the road.”  Had I been a player on the Bills listening to this pre-game, I’d have found it absolutely hilarious, but Levy’s speech apparently didn’t hurt……………Buffalo hammered Miami, 29-10..............on the road.


I recently had the pleasure of meeting Robert Hubbard, Marketing Supervisor of Sam’s Club. It seems Robert’s brother, Hermond, had been in the Milwaukee Braves organization as a centerfielder. He hit .321 for Eau Claire of the Northern League in 1961, and was due to be called up to the Braves roster for the 1962 season. However, he passed away before that 1962 season began. He was 22. Robert gave me many newspaper articles about his brother. Hermond Hubbard had all the necessary tools to be a star in the major leagues. Robert, it was a pleasure meeting you, and thanks for all the information you subsequently gave me regarding Hermond. 


Story of the Week



I could fill pages with Yogi Berra classics, but I’ve elected to spread them through my weekly articles in the Quick Take section. I gave Yogi this week off.


          Betsy Cronkite. 1986. When told that her husband, Walter, would like to die on a 70-foot yacht with an 18-year-old mistress at his side. “He’s more likely to die on an 18-foot yacht with a 70-year-old mistress.”

          Magic Johnson. 1986. On how well he and teammate James Worthy work together on the court. “It’s almost like we have ESPN.”

          Freddie Patek. 1971. Kansas City Royals 5’-4” infielder on being the shortest player in the major leagues. “It’s much better than being the shortest player in the minor leagues.”

          John McKay. 1980. Tampa Bay Bucs coach when asked what he thought of his team’s execution following a loss to Cleveland. “I think it’s a good idea.”

          Caldwell Jones. 1987. Portland Trail Blazers center, when asked to name his favorite seafood. “Saltwater taffy.”

          Beano Cook. 1981. CBS spokesman, after commissioner Bowie Kuhn gave the 52 former Iranian hostages lifetime major league baseball passes. “Haven’t they suffered enough?”

          Bum Phillips. 1988. Ex-NFL coach, on how he was spending his retirement. “I ain’t doin’ a damn thing, and I don’t start ‘til noon.”

          Craig Stadler. 1991. PGA tour golfer, when asked how he is putting now compared with 1982 when he won the Masters. “More.”

          Vin Scully. 1991. Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster. “Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day. Aren’t we all?!”

Billy Tubbs. 1979. Oklahoma’s basketball coach. “This year we plan to run and shoot. Next year we plan to run and score.”

          Dan Quisenberry. 1980. Kansas City Royals reliever on what happens when his sinker isn’t working. “The batter still hits a grounder. But in this case, the first bounce is 400 feet away.”

          William ‘The Frig’ Perry. 1981. Clemson’s (not yet Chicago’s) 6’-3” and 325-pound lineman, talking about his childhood. “When I was little I was big.”

          Casey Stengel. 1966. New York Mets manager, evaluating his former team’s top pitcher. “Best thing wrong with Jack Fisher is nothing.”

          Steve Largent. 1987. Seattle Seahawks All-Pro wide receiver, when asked which one of his records he will treasure most when he retires. “The Beatles’ White Album.”

          Pat Williams. 1985. General manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, when his kids asked him if they could go in the ocean. “There’s no room in the water for you right now. Wait ‘til Charles Barkley gets out.”

          Torrin Polk. 1991. University of Houston receiver praising his coach, John Jenkins. “He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings.”


Last Week’s Trivia


          Charles Haley, defensive end, is the only player in Super Bowl history to sport five of those championship rings as a player. He won two with San Francisco and three with Dallas. He was as great a pass-rusher as any I’ve ever seen. (Thanks to Cedrick Campbell for his e-mail. He knew Charles Haley at James Madison U., and advised me that Haley was an absolutely great college player. Not a surprise!) 


Trivia Question of the Week


          The 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers (the same Tigers that beat the Cardinals in the World Series, damn it!) had two future Hall-of-Famers on that team. One, of course, was Al Kaline. Name the other. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.