Lebow at core of Big Apple success

October 13, 1994|By PHIL JACKMAN

Reading Time: Two Minutes.

Fred Lebow, who died last weekend after a battle royale with cancer, didn't do all the work at the New York City Marathon. No man could do that in six lifetimes. But he was the heart, soul, guts and desire of what, arguably, has become the best sporting day in the City That Never Cleans Up.

Starting literally from scratch, a four-loop romp around Central Park, in 1970, Fred, with his con, his energy and his ability to get things done, outdid P. T. Barnum while nurturing this masterpiece. Imagine getting the city to close off main arteries in five boroughs, cordon off bridges and Central Park. Lebow was the gent who got an array of political administrations to realize the value of such a venture.

Someone once said if they ran a marathon every day in the Big Apple it would be the most exciting and friendly city in the world. One unassuming but persuasive man did it all with his drive, determination and vision, giving of himself totally. What a legacy.

* The ACC had a big week out of conference, didn't it? Clemson got smashed by Georgia, 40-14, North Carolina State was leveled by Louisville, 35-14, and Florida State fell to Miami, 34-20. Top-ranked North Carolina lost in soccer to Massachusetts to boot.

* It has been several days since the rumor hit the streets, but it usually takes that long to confirm that ex-champ Leon Spinks will indeed be appearing on a boxing card. Bingo, Leon, 41 and allegedly possessed of a 26-14 record, is slated to meet ring immortal Mark Machine on a Washington Convention Center card Oct. 22. Strangely, he's the headliner atop bouts featuring Shamba Mitchell, Darryl Tyson, Keith Holmes and other good, serious fighters. It wasn't too long ago Spinks' home ring was a makeshift square set up in the parking lot outside a suburban Detroit bar.

* Here are the latest grid rankings from the infamous computer of the New York Times: Kansas State is tops (it plays Nebraska Saturday), followed by Penn State, Colorado, Nebraska and Florida State. Florida is seventh, Utah No. 10, Duke 13th and Notre Dame doesn't make the top 25.

The computer ranks teams according to scores with emphasis on who won and by what margin and against what quality of opposition (determined by record and scores against other teams). A dart would be quicker and more accurate.

* Oh-oh, drums along the Severn. Things are sufficiently bad with Navy giving up 50 points every week that Mids are trying to leave the games despite being chained to the seats and the coaches are catching what-for from all directions. Lafayette's coming to town this week will ease some of the pressure.

* Quickies: The team currently ranked No. 1 in the USA Today schoolboy football poll, Bishop Amat of La Puente (Calif.), is where Andy Etchebarren went to school and starred at fullback. . . . The guy who won the Georgetown Classic 10K in D.C. the other day in 30:44 is George Trautmann, a many-times All-American for the Hoyas and a 1988 Olympic team member who has been battling injuries for the past three years. . . . Golden State and Charlotte play exhibition games in Paris, Spain and Italy next week, NBA player agreement negotiators willing. . . . USA Hockey announced a 20-man Junior Select squad for an international tourney in Germany next month, and they're all playing junior hockey in the United States, no collegians. Then the Olympic team ends up mostly collegiate . . . Less than three months until the Baltimore Thunder kicks off its indoor lacrosse campaign at the Arena.

* We can all find out what a "casket match" is tomorrow (8 p.m.) at the Glass Menagerie on Baltimore Street when The Undertaker and Yokozuna meet in same. In the co-featured World Wrestling Federation title scrap, longtime partners Bret "The Hit Man" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart collide.

* The Flying Dutchmen of Hofstra figure to bring an undefeated streak of 13 games and an offensive line weighing 270-250-270-280-275 into their home match against Towson State Oct. 29. The backups go 260-275-270-275-300, suggesting the school has access to a large tract of grazing land on Long Island.

* From the what goes around comes around department: Holy Cross, which plundered the Patriot League when Mark "Run It Up" Duffner coached scholarship players there, is 0-5 and outscored 214-50 and isn't into its league schedule yet.

* No, golf analyst Gary McCord didn't slip into a coma when he got the bum's rush from the CBS telecast of the Masters. He recently captained a team of amateurs to the top spot in the gross division of the Scramble National Championship, the world's largest tournament with a field of 1,500 players from 48 states.

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