People are often shocked to learn how poorly old-time athletes were paid compared to today's millionaires, but Baltimore's Nick Kropfelder may have the all-time story about penury in the old days.
Kropfelder, a former soccer great who was installed in the State of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame at Martin's West yesterday, remembers a Sunday in the 1940s when he scored two goals and led the Philadelphia Nationals to victory over New York in the top pro soccer league in the country.
Said Kropfelder: "After the game, the owner slipped me an envelope containing three big ones -- three $1 bills. That wasn't a bonus. It was my salary."
* Hawk O'Brien, of the Oldtimers Soccer Association, says the next soccer player to be selected to the Maryland Hall of Fame should be the late Charley Ernst. The only other soccer players in the Hall are Larry Surock, Buzzy Budnitz and Millard Lang. Lang and Budnitz also were chosen for lacrosse.
* Moose Haas, the pitcher who came out of Franklin High and won 100 games in the big leagues, was sick at his home in Arizona and had to miss his Hall of Fame induction. To me the most amazing statistic about Haas, pointed out by his high school coach, Carl Allender, is that Moose gave up only one run in three years at Franklin -- and that on a throwing error.
* Marvin "The Human Eraser" Webster, also admitted to our Hall of Fame yesterday, is still Morgan State's all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. Webster will soon attend Bible College in Oklahoma.
* Baltimore's Denise Cahill is one of the biggest fans of U.S. Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan in the current Olympics -- and with good reason. Cahill was Kerrigan's coach when both lived in Boston. The Cahill family was out in force yesterday to honor the late ice dancer, Lois Waring McGean, who is the first skater ever elected to the Maryland Hall of Fame.
* Fight promoter Stu Satosky says the eight-round semi-windup between Les Johnson and Willie Gallawango on his card tomorrow night at the Pikesville Armory "could be a main event with no problem at all."
Johnson, 22, from Rockville, is 14-1 as a pro and has sold 200 tickets for the show. Gallawango (15-1) is a crowd pleaser.
What I don't get about tomorrow's show is having a title bout (Vincent Pettway vs. Gilbert Baptist for the U.S. Boxing Association championship) in the 1,700-seat Pikesville Armory. Explains Satosky: "I wanted to hold this in the Towson Center March 15, but the International Boxing Federation gave us a Feb. 25 deadline. Pikesville is all that was available."
* The Bullets, with another Arena sellout yesterday for their loss to Atlanta, have sold out all three of their Baltimore games this season. There's a message there, though not necessarily one saying Abe Pollin erred when he moved the team from here to Washington. The Bullets are fresh here. Their perennial mediocrity or worse really tests Capital Centre fans.
* The hot speedboat racer in Maryland these days is Chester's Tom Baker. Alton Pierson says a lot of Eastern Shoremen are eager for Baker to take delivery on a new Grand Prix boat that will do between 180-190 mph. Baker will race it at Detroit the first week in June.