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While we’re on the subject, the Sunday Column couldn’t be happier for Ponce de Jones (aka Chipper), the Braves’ .417-hitting third baseman. After all, if he were doing that in the pre-testing days, we’d be taunting him with renditions of “Take Me Out to the BALCO Game.”


For the record, Jones is batting .359 since turning 35 last April. Before that, he was a .305 hitter.


But don’t tell Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens about it. It’ll just give ‘em more ammunition.


Recommended reading: Steve Marantz’s just-published book on the 1986 Sugar Ray Leonard-Marvin Hagler bout, “Sorcery at Caesars” ($19.95, Inkwater Press).

(Can it really have been that long ago?)

It was Hagler’s last fight and Leonard’s last great one, and Marantz, erstwhile boxing writer for the Boston Globe, tells the tale in refreshingly understated fashion. No need for hyperbole with these two champions. Steve pulls no punches, either, dealing forthrightly with the drug and marital issues the boxers faced.


One of my favorite passages:

While the bout was being negotiated, Hagler was hiding out at his mountain getaway in New Hampshire — a place that had no telephone (Marvin preferring “Garbo-like seclusion”).

“When he needed to be consulted,” Marantz writes, “[Manager] Pat Petronelli called Hagler’s neighbor, who relayed the question and called back with an answer.”

Unbeknownst to Hagler’s people, the neighbor “had to run up a mountain to do it,” Marvin’s attorney, Morris Goldings, told Marantz. One day, after he’d had to deliver two or three messages, he told Petronelli, “I hope this is the last question — I’m getting exhausted.”

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