- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2001

SPORTS PEOPLE

The death of longtime Washington area newsman Bucky Summers of cancer last week in Houston brought to mind a wonderful story.

It happened in the '70s at a time when Summers was assistant sports editor of the Washington Star and heavily involved in athletics in Frederick, Md., his hometown. A scorekeeper for George Washington University's baseball team phoned in the news that the Colonials had beaten an opponent by something like 4-3.

Summers immediately called Doug Gould, GW's sports information director, and asked whether he had been at the game. When Gould said no, Bucky barked, "Well, your scorekeeper said the score was 4-3, and it wasn't it was 22-0. I guess he didn't want to embarrass the other team, so he lied. We can't have people doing things like that."

Gould replied, "Bucky, how do you know the score was 22-0? How could you possibly know that?"

Said Summers: "Because I was the home plate umpire."

Bucky will be missed by a lot of sporting folks in these parts.

Steadman gets his due

Another departed newspaper friend, John Steadman, richly deserves his recent selection as winner of the 2001 Red Smith Award for major contributions to sports journalism. Steadman's family will accept his award during the Associated Press Sports Editors convention in Baltimore later this month.

Thirty-four former winners and past presidents of the APSE participate in the balloting. "It's as big an award as one can get," said Dave Smith, sports editor of the Dallas Morning News. "John was the eyes and conscience of Baltimore for more than 50 years. He believed what he wrote, and his columns reflected that passion."

Steadman, who wrote deeply personal copy about Baltimore and its sports figures for a half-century, did his last column for the Sun only weeks before his death from cancer Jan. 1 at 73. Most of his career was spent, however, as sports editor and columnist for the now defunct Baltimore News-Post and Baltimore News American.

One Steadman story that bears repeating: In December 1958, he picked the Baltimore Colts to beat the New York Giants 23-17 in the NFL title game the next day. A copy editor, noting that pro kickers almost never miss extra points, wanted to change the score to 24-17 but was unable to reach Steadman, who was en route to New York, before deadline. So the odd prediction stood.

The next day, the Colts won the title in the first sudden-death playoff game ever meaning that there was no extra-point attempt. The game has been called the greatest ever played, and of course the memorable final score was Colts 23, Giants 17.

Faldo update

Pro golfer Nick Faldo will have to devise another (presumably equally outrageous) scheme for his marriage to Swiss public relations executive Valerie Bercher on July 28. His plan to build a temple of love as the site of his third wedding in England was summarily rejected by his unromantic local council.

The $70,000 temple was to have ascended on the five-acre grounds of Faldo's property in Old Windsor, west of the city. But the Royal Borough of Windsor and Berkshire said the 13-foot-by-26-foot temple would have clashed with the 18th century mansion.

Too bad, Nicky baby. Life is full of disappointments particularly when you're trying to make a living against the likes of Tiger Woods.

The moose is loose

Moose, as in Mike Mussina or (for old-timers) Bill Skowron, is a fairly common sports nickname. But when a couple of real moose meandered onto the site of a Little League game in Worcester, Mass., nobody wanted to play. The animals were followed by state and environmental police packing rifles and tranquilizer darts.

"I was helping coach my son's team, and I heard a rustle in the bushes near the third-base line," Philip Cawley said. "I looked, and at first I thought it was a horse, then it turned and I saw its head in profile. It seemed to be trying to find a way over the fence."

The game was called, of course, particularly since one moose evaded its pursuers and lived to, er, butt in another day.

Eminently quotable

Boston Celtics forward Antoine Walker, a pickup game opponent, on why Michael Jordan might play next season: "He's not out of shape, not at all. He can come back. He's looking real good. Whether or not he's coming back, I don't know that. I don't really ask him what he's doing. We just play." …

Wayne Gretzky, on what advice he has given Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ray Bourque about retiring: "I told him not to let anyone tell him he should retire and to make the decision himself. Raymond was one of the best players in the playoffs, played 30 minutes a game. If he wants to retire, good for him. But if he wants to play another year, he should." …

Milwaukee Brewers manager Davey Lopes, on interleague play: "I think the novelty has worn off it only works in certain cities. It doesn't do us much good. I'm not a purist necessarily, but I just don't like it." …

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling, on the battle wife Shonda is waging against melanoma: "What I've gone through mentally to try to be good at this game just doesn't even step on the scale with what she goes to bed with at night mentally."

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