- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2002

Veteran sportscaster Bob Wolff, now sports director and anchor for Long Island's News 12 cable channel, recalled a significant interview with Ted Williams in August 1956, when Wolff was a play-by-play man for the original Washington Senators.
On the Red Sox's previous visit to Griffith Stadium, Williams had declined to be interviewed by his friend Wolff on the "Dugout Chatter" pregame show because, "I'm not in the mood." Ever resourceful, Wolff told Williams, "Let's make a deal. The next time you come to town, you'll go on the air with me if you're hitting .340 or you have 20 home runs.
"Deal," Teddy Ballgame said.
Boston's next trip to D.C. came right after the infamous incident when Williams appeared to spit at booing fans at Fenway Park. Ted was fined $5,000 by the Red Sox and refused all interviews until, that is, Wolff reminded him of their agreement.
"OK," Williams said. "When do you want to do it?"
Wolff gave the Thumper an out. "You know, Ted, if you come on, I'll have to ask you about the spitting, or I'll look foolish as a reporter, and if you feel you can't handle it "
Williams shrugged. "A deal's a deal."
So the interview was done, and Williams discussed the spitting incident honestly and apologetically at a time when no other media could get to him. No wonder Wolff, who did Senators games on radio and TV from 1946 to 1960, has a spot in the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Incidentally, the film of the interview was preserved and will be shown on the MSG cable network next Monday.

Guess who's missing?
News item: Boston Celtics greats Bob Cousy and Tommy Heinsohn and fellow NBA stars Patrick Ewing and Julius Erving head the first class of inductees into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in North Kingstown, R.I.
Comment: Fine and dandy, but where's Red Auerbach? I guess winning nine NBA titles is no big deal now that Phil Jackson has equaled the Redhead's haul?

Raspberries I
A hoot or two to the usually reliable Sports Business Journal for identifying Washington's old baseball facility as "Griffith Park" rather than Griffith Stadium in a recent photo caption.
Fortunately, the newspaper did not have occasion to mention RFK Field, FedEx Stadium or Camden Park.
The photo showed nearly empty stands at Griffith for a 1954 weekday afternoon game against the Philadelphia Athletics that drew an intimate gathering of 460. Washington lawyer Phil Hochberg, a former PA announcer for the Washington Senators and Redskins, sent along a note identifying the Nats' batter as Mickey Vernon, baserunner as Pete Runnels and first-base coach as Clyde Milan.

Madden turns dull
Apparently, famed football analyst John Madden leads a rather dull life out of season. Madden told this unscintillating tale of what he called a "mishap" backstage at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
"I'm coming out of the restroom," Madden said, "and the next guy [sic] in line was one of the most beautiful women in the world, Brooke Shields. She goes in and I thought, 'Sheesh, I didn't put the seat down.' Later I apologized and she didn't know for what."
All we can say is, somebody go find Pat Summerall, because Big John obviously is no solo act.

Raspberries II
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office recently exhibited sports memorabilia involved in a loan-sharking operation, the New York Post reported. Included was a right-hander's baseball glove supposedly belonging to Babe Ruth but as every knowledgeable student of baseball knows, the Bambino was left-handed all the way.
"We never said he played with it," said a spinning spokesman for DA Charles Hynes. "The [memorabilia] just said that he owned it and he signed it."
Yeah, right.
Actually, Ruth probably wouldn't want to be associated with Brooklyn in any way. His final season in uniform was as a largely (pun intended) figurehead coach with the Dodgers in 1938 an experience notable because he got into a fistfight with hotheaded shortstop Leo Durocher.

Honoring Johnny U.
Baltimore's Ravens Stadium will be enhanced sometime this fall by the dedication of a 14-foot high statue of Johnny Unitas, who stands shoulder to shoulder with Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken as the most prominent pro athletes in Charm City's history.
There's only one thing wrong, of course: The statue should be gracing the home stadium of the Baltimore Colts, for whom Unitas threw footballs as well as any quarterback in history,
Contributors have tossed in more than $200,000 to complete the project honoring No.19. The statue, which will be cast in more than 200,000 pounds of bronze, was designed by sculptor Fred Kail of Lutherville, Md.

A lucky giveaway
Did you notice who gave away the bride last weekend in Atlanta when Jimmy Jackson of the Miami Heat wed a woman named Shawnee Sims?
Here are several helpful hints: He was a former heavyweight champion who served time for rape, once bit Evander Holyfield's ears in a bout and couldn't beat Lennox Lewis.
I don't know if Sims will be lucky in love, but there isn't much doubt that she was lucky to be given away hopefully, far away by Mike Tyson. As far as details are concerned, we don't want to know.

Eminently quotable
Los Angeles city councilwoman Janice Hahn, on the fact that 7-foot-1, 350-pound L.A. Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal has been designated a second-class reserve officer by the police department of the Port of Los Angeles: "He can now ride as a second man in a police car not that he can fit in it."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide