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TRUE BELIEVERS of the Sunday afternoon art of football will glory in the book "Pro Football Chronicle," authored by Washington newspapermen Dan Daly and Bob O'Donnell. Among the myriad tidbits is this one: By 1925, Jim Thorpe was so tattered and torn, the New York Giants paid him $200 per half, figuring that's about all he would last.
* Speaking of tattered and torn bodies, it's about time for Pam Shriver to return to the tennis wars. She will test the shoulder that has had her on the sidelines for months for the first time at the Virginia Slims of New England stop in Worcester, Mass., beginning Monday.
* A moment of silence please for one of the great ones: Tomorrow is the 43rd anniversary of the death of Man o' War.
* Jim McKay, who will effect another one of those almost spiritual openings for the New York City Marathon on ABC Sunday morning (10:30), says one of the most memorable things about the assignment is the crowds: "New York is supposed to have the coldest and most callous people in the world. But they're out there treating complete strangers like long-lost friends and cheering them on with great enthusiasm."
* Announcement that Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors are going to play TeamTennis next year reminds that Jimbo played in the summer league for the never-to-be-forgotten Baltimore Banners in 1976. His deal was $3,000 per match. When thousands somehow saw fit not to make their way to the then Civic Center, owner Gerry Klauber prayed hourly that Connors wouldn't show up too often.
tTC * Listen to today's schedule for Mary Lou Retton, top performer in the Revco Gymnastics '90 Tour of Champions Sunday (2 p.m.) at the Arena: After making appearances at four radio and two TV stations in Washington this morning, she'll hit Sinai Hospital here at 1:30, WBAL Radio at 3, Channel 11 at 4, Channel 13 at 5 and BWI at 6:30 for a flight to Pittsburgh to do the same thing there tomorrow.
* With no debates to worry about, Gov. Schaefer has found time to serve as celebrity detonator at the Blast-K.C. game Saturday night. The results of the name-the-mascot contest will be announced and Rough and Ready Rufus sounds good to me.
* Big doings dead ahead (pun intended) for the Bullets. They open up in Miami Friday (Ch. 20, 8 p.m.), then hustle home to the Cap Centre Saturday for a visit by Michael Jordan and Chicago (HTS, 7:30 p.m.). If you show up early enough, perhaps you can start for Wes Unseld's beleaguered bunch.
* Uh, George, where you been? Navy's football coach George Chaump says, "For some reason we've fallen on hard times. We've got to get some things done, like recruiting good athletes to come to the Naval Academy."
With each game package highlight, some dubious sportscaster will say something like, "Another bad day for Alton Grizzard at quarterback." When, in actuality, Navy's offensive line is a joke and poor Alton is under siege on nearly every play.
* A youngster named Alexander Mronz had a heckuva run in the recent Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon (France): A survivor of a tough qualifying tourney, he won three straight three-set matches in the main draw, including a win over No. 1 seed Aaron Krickstein. The fairy tale vanished when he lost to Mats Wilander in the semis, the Swede's best showing since he started his comeback.
* Ed Hale is mulling the idea of boxing shows becoming part of the Du Burns Arena scene when the Boston Street edifice opens next year.
* After jumping three places in the AP poll whilst taking a week off, Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards said, "I'm trying to figure how we can schedule more byes."
* The Bullets' motto emblazoned across all correspondence is "We've Got A Few Scores To Settle." Considering the current makeup of the squad, it may be a while. Bernard King played 39 minutes in a game ending the Bullets' preseason slate. Tell you anything?
* There's a line in the movie "The Big Chill" in which Jeff Goldblum says, "Aw come on, Big Blue, you don't fold until the fourth quarter," as a gathering watches a Michigan-Ohio State game on the tube. Prophetic. The Wolverines have lost three games (by just six points), all while giving up a long touchdown drive in the closing moments.