Strange, but it was NL that first proposed DH

Phil Jackman

June 05, 1991|By Phil Jackman

Reading time, two minutes: Next time one of those uppity National League types (and were tired of seeing weak-hitting pitchers come to bat. The American League wouldn't go along, so pitchers hit (and put spectators to sleep) for 45 more years.

This tidbit is one of the many fascinating facts contained in "The Baseball Chronology," an epic undertaking edited by Jim Charlton. Also, it was on Aug. 31, 1957, that legendary Orioles minor-league flame-thrower Steve Dalkowski turned in one of his classic efforts for Kingsport (Appalachian League): 24 strikeouts, 18 walks, four hit batsmen, six wild pitches (consecutively). He lost, 9-8.

* Amy Alcott, one of the favorites in the Mazda LPGA Championship at Bethesda Country Club June 24-30, is looking for her 30th tour victory, which means automatic induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame. Amy has won five "majors," including the Nabisco Dinah Shore tourney earlier this year.

* Somehow, the 50th anniversary of the stirring heavyweight duel between Joe Louis and Buddy Baer, contested at the old Griffith Stadium in Washington before 24,000 on May 23, 1941, slipped our notice a couple of weeks ago. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Baer knocked Louis through the ropes early, then Joe dropped his foe three times in the sixth round, the last time at the bell. Baer's manager screamed the punch was illegal, refused to leave the ring and referee Arthur Donovan (Fatso's father) disqualified Baer.

* There's been a lot of stories about pro athletes and fans having run-ins lately and it would come as no surprise if something similar visited the pristine surroundings of the PGA Tour fairways soon. Kemper Open winner Billy Andrade and runner-up Jeff Sluman ran into mild heckling during Sunday's final round at Avenel and spoke about it.

"Most of it goes in one ear and out the other," said Andrade. "In fact, if I wasn't playing, I'd probably be out here yelling, too. I think we all understand that golf has changed with the [corporate] tents, the huge crowds, the 90-degree weather and selling alcohol and all. . .

"Tell you one thing that stinks, though. Some guy opened a beer just as I was putting. I know some are out here to have a good time and don't know a lot about the game, but they should respect the players and the other spectators."

* Hey, let's hear it for Chris Chattin. The ex-Maryland distance runner dipped under 2:20 by 11 seconds and finished 10th in the Stockholm Marathon (first American).

* The Montreal Gazette did not send its hockey writer to the Stanley Cup showdown, no doubt because it was an all-American final (Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota).

* Brad Gilbert certainly made a scintillating showing at the World Team Cup competition won by Sweden. He lost all three singles matches and the strong doubles team of Rick Leach and Jim Pugh bowed twice. Conversely, Aaron Krickstein was 3-0.

* Might not be a bad idea if one of the Orioles coaches was assigned the task of monitoring what's being said on the fTC Channel 2 telecast of Birds games by Jon Miller and Jim Palmer from time to time. The broadcasters jumped on how grossly out of position Joe Orsulak was playing leftfield in Fenway Park against the Red Sox and, bingo, the Beaners capitalized on the mistake posthaste.

* These words of wisdom from Sparky Anderson are directed at those taking the imminent demise of Memorial Stadium so seriously: "I am 1,000 degrees against tradition. Why would you want a dump for a home when you can have something really nice and new?"

In Detroit, the Tigers are in the process of trying to ease out of the city and away from venerable Tiger Stadium, so you know where Sparky's coming from.

* Now that all the lyricists have had their say regarding Jimmy Connors' four-set effort against Michael Chang at the French Open, this minority report: Ol' Jimbo found a winning shot, point, game and set and flat-out quit. He has always insisted he'd have to be carried off the court, but there was no stretcher to be seen.

* Navy's home football slate of Ball State, William & Mary, Bowling Green, Air Force, Delaware and Wake Forest certainly doesn't remind one of the fabled Tests of Hercules.

* A bunch of sports fans were discussing records that figure to withstand the test of time -- Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, etc. -- when golfer Greg Norman came up with a pretty good nominee: "How about Byron Nelson winning 11 straight tournaments back in 1945? No chance anyone will ever approach that."

From March through the first week of August, Nelson maintained a 68.3 scoring average, won $30,000 in prize money and was unbeaten. He won 18 tournaments that season.

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