Keltner deserves better than a throw-away line about DiMag

Phil Jackman

December 18, 1991|By Phil Jackman

Reading time, two minutes: Something's definitely amiss when the obituary of a fine ballplayer such as Ken Keltner -- .276 average, 163 home runs, 852 RBIs over 13 years -- goes out over the Associated Press wire thusly: "Ken Keltner, the Cleveland Indians third baseman who made two outstanding backhand plays to stop Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak, etc."

Keltner, while the Indians were winning a pennant in a playoff and capturing the World Series in 1948, hit .297 with 31 homers and 119 RBIs. He was 75 and died of an apparent heart attack in Milwaukee.

* One of the more tiresome cliches in sports is when a coach or manager says, "We're playing 'em one at a time." Wish that was the way it was in boxing.

The reason George Foreman took on such a stiff (Jimmy Ellis) on a recent HBO show is he's marking time for his next big money strike. Other name fighters are doing likewise, working deals beyond their next bouts, so they line up sure wins.

Foreman has another $5 million bout with HBO and he's looking for one more crack at the heavyweight title so you know the opponent probably won't know how to assume a boxing stance.

* Next season's NFL 18-week regular season starts Labor Day weekend and doesn't wrap up until the weekend after New Year's Day.

* Seriously now, did you expect Ralph Sampson to have racked up 22 points after a dozen games in a Bullets uniform?

* If Rollie Fingers makes it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and there's a good chance, casual fan visitors to Cooperstown might have problems figuring out why. Fingers won-lost record is 114-118.

* Definition of what the expression "what goes around comes around" means: The NFC West being represented in the playoffs by the Saints and Falcons, not the 49ers and Rams.

* Definition of a cheap shot: Home Team Sports hockey announcer Jeff Rimer expressing surprise disgruntled Pittsburgh Penguins weren't wearing dollar signs on their uniforms instead of numbers while passing on the fact Don Beaupre and Kelly Miller of the Washington Capitals have been pestering to renegotiate contracts all season.

* The Professional Spring Football League -- tickets are still available for the opener of the Washington Marauders Feb. 29 -- is very proud of the fact its average salary of $45,000 will be higher than that of the WLAF. Small wonder. The PSFL is playing a 16-game schedule, the WLAF 10.

* When the Pittsburgh Steelers list 24,170 no-shows for a game in Three Rivers it becomes more and more apparent that maybe it would be best if Chuck Noll slipped out the back door.

* You can call Dexter Manley's departure from football a retirement, but after testing positive for drugs four times (at least) and other shenanigans it gives the word a bad name.

* Just think, on the same day Georgetown was edging UDC by 50 points and Ohio State was nipping Howard by 61, a highly competitive and interesting game could have been going on between the victors.

* Mark Duffner's record at Holy Cross the last six season is something: 60-5. No wonder Maryland's interested in him. But the strength of the 11-0 Crusaders' schedule this year was such that Pacific (5-7), Colorado State (3-8) and Cincinnati (4-7), 81-0 loser to Penn State, were among the 117 Division I teams rated ahead of them.

* You can get a 50 percent discount on tickets to the LPGA Championship at the Bethesda Country Club next May until Jan. 31 by calling (202) 337-GOLF.

* New England Patriots owner Victor Kiam is living proof of the expression "Too soon old and too late smart." Forced into a low profile after last year's fiasco with woman reporter Lisa Olson and in the process of losing his team because of financial problems, Kiam went out and hired Sam Jankovich of Miami to run the Pats and the 1-15 disorganization is a respectable 6-9.

* While the Mets across time have moved continents and spent zillions to improve, the Yankees have maintained the status quo while laying the biggest ticket price increase in the history of the franchise on the fans. Yo, the Orioles are already one spot up in the standings without so much as a fiery pep talk from owner Eli Jacobs.

* Reading about John Hilliard of Oakland Mills score 29 points (all in the second half) as his team was winning after being down 16 with five minutes to play, reminded of the first time I saw Skip Wise play. He was a junior, Dunbar was trailing Loyola starting the last period and Wise scored 16 points in four minutes to leave everyone dumbfounded.

* Usually nondescript Miami, new to Big East hoops, starts its conference schedule on the road against UConn, St. John's, Seton Hall and Syracuse, all in a nine-day span. And get this, it requested same.

* I feel like a heel but I've got to go with my heart. Give me Ric Flair over Hulk Hogan for the WWF heavyweight title belt Dec. 26 (2 p.m.) at the Capital Centre. The semi-windup ain't bad either: Legion of Doom taking on the Natural Disasters for the tag team crown.

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