While the operation of off-track betting parlors hasn't been decided, Maryland racing would do well to utilize Charlie Eckman, who knows the racing game from all aspects, as an on-site manager. Imagine what his personality would do for business. Joe De Francis ought to consider the possibilities.
* If you're passing through Valle Crucis, N.C., pause at the Valle Peddler, an antique shop, to say hello to Jean and Billy Klaus (he's the ex-Oriole). . . His friends are distressed to learn of the death of Larry Cooper, former Poly, St. Paul's and Maryland athlete who played on Bear Bryant's first college-coached team. . . Paul "Knobby" Harris, a one-time Oriole and later ice hockey coach at Mount St. Joe, took time from his law practice to visit six religious shrines in Europe and, while there, filmed and produced a personal cassette.
* A quote from the past that still hurts: When Leroy "Satchel" Paige heard the St. Louis Browns were transferring here in 1954, he remarked, "Man, I'd rather go anywhere than come to Baltimore."
* Dave Howell, a production director at Washington's WRC, continues to compile the all-time list of former minor-league Orioles and just the other day added Ray Prim, who pitched one game for the team in 1931 and then, 14 years later, appeared in the World Series with the Chicago Cubs. . . Gordon Beard, former Associated Press sports editor for Maryland, expects soon to be discharged from a hospital stay that started in February. . . Entertainer Jerry Reed wonders, "How did they measure hail before golf balls?"
* The Nielsen ratings of this year's All-Star Game drew the lowest TV audience in history, going back to 1967. . . Sculptor Susan Luery produced a bronze statue of Babe Ruth, entitled "Baltimore's Babe" by associate Barry Finglass, depicting him as an Oriole in 1914, that will be on display at the Babe Ruth Museum.
* Alan "The Horse" Ameche, the Colts fullback who scored the team's most celebrated touchdown, has been voted posthumously into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame and his widow, Yvone, made an incredible acceptance speech.
* Donnie Hammond, the Frederick native who made such a good showing in the British Open, said the fondest memories of his childhood were watching the Colts practice at Western Maryland College and then going to the adjoining golf course to play nine holes with his father. . . Grand Ole Opry star Bill Anderson says the new downtown ballpark is the "best I've ever seen," but New York Yankees infielder Charlie Hayes' professional evaluation refers to the infield as the "worst" in the major leagues.
* Baltimorean George Thomas, once an outstanding pitching prospect with the Philadelphia Phils, showed up with a Mike Mussina-type knuckle curve that was devastating but was told to discard it because it would hurt his arm. . . Tom Condon, the attorney/agent now negotiating with commissioner Paul Tagliabue relative to a settlement of the court case between the NFL and its players association, studied for his law degree at the University of Baltimore. . . John "Rocky" Thornton, who managed John Unitas' Golden Arm Restaurant, has moved to Chattanooga to join Bill Markham, former WMAR personality, in operation of the Prime Time Diner.
* Terry Dean, community service coordinator of United Fund of Central Maryland, has 39 canceled checks as souvenirs of the 1961 Colts, which they left behind after moving from their old Howard Street office. . . Notre Dame's Lou Holtz is to be applauded for saying, "I try to spend the school's money like it's my own," which is contrary to the way so many other football coaches operate.
* The New York Mets are reacting to David Cohn making 166 pitches in a game, but it seems Tommy Byrne, the former New York Yankee from Baltimore, used to log that many by the fifth inning. . . Erick Anderson, a Kansas City Chiefs draftee and grandson of the late Bob Nowaskey, Colts end/linebacker, was the first Michigan player in more than 100 years of football to lead the team in tackles four straight years.
* Poly product Bruce French, 65 and living at Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Fla., still plays ice hockey, in season, of course. . . Hari Lymon, who won the Hyman "Lefty" Stern Memorial Scholarship at City College, is bound for Johns Hopkins University. . . Lenny Moore, Tom Matte, Alex Hawkins, Archie Manning, John "Boog" Powell, Don McCauley, Jim O'Brien and Gary Williams, the Maryland basketball coach, are among early entrants in the benefit golf fund-raiser, according to Andy Taylor. It's to be held Aug. 25 at Turf Valley by the National Drive To Cure Paralysis. . . You're getting to be a "young old-timer" if you remember when Keith Molesworth played second base for the Orioles in baseball and then was a halfback for the Chicago Bears when the football season opened.