- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2007

Call me crazy, but Barry Bonds’ final All-Star vote total — 2,325,391 — looks awfully familiar.

Anybody remember how many votes Ralph Nader got in the 2000 presidential election?

You laugh (hopefully), but their figures were fairly close.

Nader, candidate for the Green Party: 2,883,105.

Bonds, candidate for the Greenie Party: 2,325,391.

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Maybe there should be a runoff.

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News item: An attorney who admitted leaking Bonds’ grand jury testimony to the media asked a federal judge for leniency, noting that President Bush commuted “Scooter” Libby’s prison sentence for a comparable crime.

Comment: And let’s not forget, Your Honor, that steroids, too, are weapons of mass destruction.

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According to a study by a University of Colorado research team, the average career for a position player in Major League Baseball is 5.6 years.

Pitchers, it seems, were excluded from the study because of (a.) their career volatility, (b.) a higher injury rate and (c.) Roger Clemens’ insistence on coming out of retirement every season, which screws up the numbers.

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The study also revealed that at any point in a player’s career, the chance of his career ending is at least 11 percent.

Good news for the growing legions of Julio Lugo Haters in Boston.

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I haven’t studied it or anything, but I’d be willing to bet that at any point in a player’s career, there’s an 11 percent chance he’ll readjust his cup.

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Elsewhere in baseball, the Mets designated Julio Franco for assignment less than six weeks shy of his 49th birthday. If no other club trades for Franco or claims him off waivers, I’m told, he has to go into a home.

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The Royals’ Tony Pena Jr. a free swinger if there ever was one, has now gone over 200 plate appearances without drawing a walk. Pena is what you’d call a throwback — a throwback to the days when games were just two hours long.

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The kid is so walk-averse, apparently, that he couldn’t even finish reading “Ball Four.”

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Has it dawned on anyone that he might just have forgotten the “take” sign?

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A temper tantrum directed at umpire Ed Hickox has resulted in a lengthy suspension for Padres pitcher David Wells. Not only will Wells miss seven games, he’ll also miss seven post-game buffets.

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The Sunday Column bids adieu to Bucko Kilroy, erstwhile NFL tough guy and one of the pioneers of scouting, who died last week at 86. Kilroy, fans of a certain age may recall, spent several years in the 1960s as the Redskins’ director of player personnel; in ‘64, his most memorable draft, he selected future Hall of Famers with his first two picks — Charley Taylor and Paul Krause.

The next year, even though the team had traded most of its top choices, Kilroy came away with Jerry Smith (ninth round) and Chris Hanburger (18th). Pretty darn good.

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Around this time, the Redskins hired a part-time scout named Tony Razzano, who would later become famous as the 49ers’ talent chief. “That’s when I heard about ‘The Black Beauty,’ this big old rented car that [Redskins coach-GM] Bill McPeak and Bucko Kilroy … used on what I still think was the first scouting trip in the NFL,” Tony says in “Razzano: Secrets of an NFL Scout.” “They left Washington, D.C., toward Oklahoma and Texas in this old car that was acting up all the time. They had the whole trip mapped out. Scouting on the road had begun.”

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During his playing days with the Eagles, Kilroy, a cement block of a two-way lineman, was one of those Whatever Means Necessary types — and made no apologies for it. As he put it, “We were raised to love your God, respect your elders and fear no son-of-a-[gun] that walks. That’s why we won World War II.” (Not that he didn’t have his admirers. After he roughed up some Chicago Cardinals in the ‘47 title game, one sideline observer, middleweight boxing champ Tony Zale, was quoted as saying, “That Kilroy seems to punch pretty good.”)

It was, indeed, a different era. Unless such roughhousing resulted in an actual dead body, the league was inclined to look the other way. When Bucko came under fire, for instance, for breaking the nose and jaw of the Steelers’ Dale Dodrill in ‘51, commissioner Bert Bell sniffed, “There are 300 big boys playing in this league, and somebody is bound to get bruised. I also noticed while reviewing the game that one of the Eagles got a busted cheek, too. I suppose that was an accident?”

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In 1966, Kilroy suddenly left the Redskins for a job with the Cowboys. There’s an interesting story behind that.

A decade earlier, Life magazine had published an expose, “Savagery on Sunday,” and singled out Kilroy as the “toughest” of the NFL’s “bad men.” Bucko and teammate Wayne Robinson, similarly labeled in the story, proceeded to sue Time Inc. for libel, and a jury awarded each $11,600.

But here’s the interesting part: In the trial, it came out that one of the consultants on the article was Otto Graham, the Browns’ legendary quarterback.

Eight years later, Kilroy was just wrapping up the ‘66 draft when the Redskins fired McPeak and hired a new coach-GM — Graham. Soon enough, Bucko was scouting for Dallas (though it was in New England that he really made a name for himself).

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Turning to college football, Oklahoma must give up its eight wins from the 2005 season and get by on fewer scholarships this year and next because of NCAA violations.

The school, naturally, is appealing — and understandably so. The Sooners’ punishment, after all, is much harsher than the one “Scooter” Libby received.

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You have to feel for Kansas State, Baylor and Texas A&M;, all of whom finished 5-6 in ‘05 with losses to OU. I mean, if it hadn’t been for the hanky panky in Norman, they could have been — trumpets, please — bowl eligible!

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Well, Fort Worth Bowl eligible, anyway.

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And finally …

Did you see Tony Stewart was steamed at teammate Denny Hamlin after getting into a crash with him last Saturday?

Memo to Joe Gibbs: Obviously, Tony and Denny need to do some bonding. But after what happened to LaRon Landry, I’d advise against suggesting a Friendly Game of Paintball.

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