Keeping Hall of Famer Jackson would've changed Oriole picture

Phil Jackman

January 07, 1993|By Phil Jackman

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For the record, the Baseball Hall of Fame's newest member, Reggie Jackson, was traded to the Orioles along with Ken Holtzman and minor-league pitcher Bill Van Bommell on April 2, 1976, with Oakland getting Don Baylor, Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell in return. It took Reggie more than a month to report.

Free agency was just coming in and no one, labor or management, had any idea how the new system would work out. Consequently, late in that season, Jackson said that if the O's signed either Bobby Grich or Wayne Garland, players threatening to test the market, he would approve a four-year, $800,000 contract and stay here.

Four weeks after free agency became law, Reggie signed a five-year, $3 million pact with the Yankees and the rest, as they say, is history. But think if he had stuck around.

* There's a rumor making the rounds that the sequel to the movie "Major League" will be shot at Camden Yards this season . . . probably over the Orioles' dead body.

* Hey, the Washington Bullets won a game on the road . . . that should be good for at least a week off for the players.

* Reason No. 473 why one should not take fan voting seriously: While finishing eighth and 10th, respectively, among the Wales Conference defensemen in the NHL All-Star voting, the Washington Caps' Kevin Hatcher out-polled teammate Al Iafrate by 25 percent while having a typically inconsistent season as opposed to Big Al's banner campaign.

* You can believe Madison Square Garden sold all the ringside tickets for the heavyweight title fight between Riddick Bowe and Michael Dokes next month if you want, but chances are it's a publicity gimmick to get fans thinking there's a great clamoring for this undeniable mismatch.

* After averaging a dozen victories in seven of the last nine seasons and making it to the playoffs that many times, it's quite apparent Mike Ditka didn't get zapped by the Chicago Bears because of his coaching ability.

Problem with Mike is, when things aren't going well, he fouls the air with management, the media and even his players. Ironically, the cover of the Bears' media guide this year had nine shots of Mike on it, which did wonders for his endorsement portfolio.

* The Flyers don't figure to look like the cellar dwellers in the Patrick Division when the Capitals visit Philadelphia tonight. They were struggling along with just one win in their previous eight games at Christmas when coach Bill Dineen suggested some of the boys take a look in the mirror, and most didn't like what they saw. What followed was a treacherous five-game road trip that concluded Sunday with just one setback.

* With his next win in Detroit, ex-Caps coach Bryan Murray moves into fifth place on the all-time NHL victory list with 443, and there are still those around who say he can't coach because "he doesn't motivate his players." What foolishness.

* It would be cruel and inhuman punishment to suggest that Larry Holmes quit boxing at the tender age of 43. But just because this grandfather chooses to continue in the ring is certainly no reason why fight fans should be subjected to his efforts on the tube.

USA Network did the Holmes-"Big Foot" Martin scrap Tuesday night, and it looked like an over-the-hill, big-as-a-house (a svelte 238) clincher taking on a guy who has now lost 11 of his past 12 bouts. Larry somehow figures the unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 99-92) against a punching bag sets him up for another big fight. Thing is, he's probably right.

* Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams certainly didn't let any cats out of the bag the other night when, after losing to Georgia Tech, 85-75, he revealed: "When you're down 17 points at halftime against a good team, it's tough to come back."

* Considering during the past four years only about 50 percent of the college football underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft got selected, one wonders why so many are so eager to flee the campus. This doesn't include first-rounders like Garrison Hearst, Jerome Bettis, Marvin Jones, Drew Bledsoe and a couple of defensive backs, of course.

* Denzel Washington, who will get an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Malcolm X, started his acting career by walking off the campus of Fordham University and right into an audition for the TV movie "Wilma," as in Rudolph. The award-winning chronicler of the Olympics Bud Greenspan was the writer-director of the show, and he said Washington's tape sold him immediately.

* At the midway mark of the hockey season, it appears the seemingly unapproachable record for futility the Washington Capitals achieved in their inaugural season will be shattered by the ostentatious Ottawa Senators. The Caps' 8-67-5 in 1974-75 could end up looking positively gaudy if you project Ottawa's present record of 3-36-3 (0-20-0 on the road) over the route.

* How ironic that as he moves within four of posting his 1,000 coaching victory, DeMatha legend Morgan Wootten's team loses to Good Counsel High after winning the previous 47 games between the schools.

* Best indication that the late Sal "The Barber" Maglie was as tough a competitor as he was a terrific pitcher concerns the time he was pitching a championship game in the Mexican League. Emotions were running high, and Sal had received any number of death threats as he took the mound . . . with a gun in his back pocket for protection.

He was asked how much of an effect a gun would have against about 10,000 people rushing from the stands seeking his blood and he replied, "Well, at least I would have got six of them."

He won the game, too.

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