- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 19, 2002

Just to put your mind at ease, the Sunday Column is 100 percent ephedrine-free.

Storing baseballs in humidors is that part of the major-leagues' anti-tobacco campaign?

I see that Pony, the athletic shoe company, plans to put Pete Rose in magazine ads and on billboards, in hopes of improving his Hall of Fame chances.
Hopefully, people won't confuse the ads with the ones Sketchers footwear is running featuring Robert Downey Jr.

Upon learning that Cubs reliever Antonio Alfonseca has six fingers, my 11-year-old asked, "Does that mean he has four toes?"

Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron sure can squeeze a lot into one inning. Earlier this month he hit two home runs in the first inning against the White Sox en route to a record-tying four-homer game. And the other night he had a grand slam, a single and two stolen bases in the seventh inning against the Blue Jays.
Which got me wondering: Who are some of the other One-Inning Wonders in major-league history? A partial listing:
Gene Stephens, Red Sox The only player since 1900 to get three hits an inning, stroking a double and two singles in the seventh against the Tigers in 1953.
Gil Coan, Senators The last guy to hit two triples in an inning April 21, 1951 at Griffith Stadium against the Yankees (also in the seventh).
Dick Stuart, Red Sox A notoriously inept fielder (thus his nickname, "Dr. Strangeglove"), Stuart is one of just three American League first basemen to record three assists in an inning. In the first inning against the Yanks in '63, he handled three grounders without a mishap, tossing to pitcher Bob Heffner for the outs. The Fenway Park crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Brady Anderson, Orioles Got hit by a pitch twice in the first inning against the Rangers in '99, an American League record.
Chuck Finley, Angels/Indians Finley has whiffed four batters in an inning three times (twice with California in '99 and again with Cleveland in '00). No other pitcher has done it more than once. (Nolan Ryan, interestingly enough, never did it.)
Len Nunamaker, Yankees Threw out three would-be base stealers in the second inning against the Tigers in 1914, a feat that hasn't been duplicated since.
And let's not forget the granddaddy of them all
Fernando Tatis, Cardinals It's hard to decide which is more amazing, Tatis belting two grand slams in the third inning against the Dodgers a big-league first or the fact that Chan Ho Park gave up both of them.

Some of our older readers might remember Coan, who played outfield for the Nats from 1946 to '53. Gil could really run; indeed, he had more triples (44) in his career than homers (39).
But he wasn't quite as fast as another Senator in that period, George Case. In 1946, after Case had been sold to Cleveland, Washington sportswriters arranged a race between them before a game. "[They] seemed to think he could take me," Case told Donald Honig in "Baseball Between the Lines" and promised George $1,000 for his efforts.
Just before the race was to start," he said, "somebody came over to me and said, 'George, step over to the boxes for a minute. Somebody there wants to shake hands with you.'
"I was concentrating so intensely on what I was going to have to do that I didn't look up until I reached the box-seat railing. Well, I'll be darned if it wasn't General Eisenhower, standing up with that big grin and his hand stretched out.
"I found out later he'd come up from Virginia especially for the race. Well, we gave him a good one. Gil Coan was very fast, but I beat him. It was a darn good promotion and pulled a lot of people into the ball park including General Eisenhower."

Coming soon to a bookstore near you:
1. "Coach 'Em Up: The Steve Spurrier Story," by Bill Chastain (Albion Press).
2. "Quotable Spurrier: The Nerve, Verve and Victorious Words of and About Steve Spurrier, America's Most Scrutinized Football Coach," by Gene Frenette (publisher to be determined).

Heard a funny Spurrier joke on TV the other night. After Steve decided against letting Danny Wuerffel wear Joe Theismann's No.7 and assigned him No.17 instead the guy who does the "news" on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" cracked, "Long-time Spurrier critics noted that he is running up numbers even on uniforms."

Wuerffel is still wearing a pretty famous number, by the way. Hall of Fame tackle Turk Edwards, you might recall, was No.17 as were Billy Kilmer and Doug Williams.

And Danny, from what I've seen, can throw the ball much better than Turk did.

Redskins kicker Brett Conway found a lump of Irish sod in his locker one day last week when he showed up for work. It was a gift from Casey Husband, the team's director of publications, who just returned from a trip to the motherland.
"I just went out in the country and took a chunk," Casey says. "People do it all the time. You just leave some money [where the missing grass is]."
In the Old Country, of course, Brett would probably be known as MacConaway.

Refrigerator Perry is going to box Manute Bol? Now that oughta be something to see. Fridge will throw an overhand right, and the referee will warn him for a low blow.

A belated adieu to wrestling champ Lou Thesz, who died recently at the age of 86. Thesz was a true ring legend, winning the National Wrestling Alliance title six times and reigning more than 12 years (by one count). In later life, he lived for about a decade in Norfolk, right on the Chesapeake Bay.
Thesz fought 'em all Gorgeous George, Buddy Rogers, you name it. He even took on Bronko Nagurski and Leo Nomellini, a couple of Pro Football Hall of Famers who moonlighted as wrestlers.
"[Nomellini] was the only football player who actually knew how to wrestle," Thesz once said. "He was a super athlete and very quick for a man of his size. [Nagurski] was not a wrestler. Those were what you called `business' matches."

Another interesting Thesz opponent was "Jersey" Joe Walcott, who he beat in a boxer-vs.-wrestler match in Memphis, Tenn., in 1963. Such matches weren't uncommon back then. Archie Moore, for instance, KO'd a couple of wrestlers Ray Shire in '56 and "Iron" Mike DiBiase in '63.

I love the title of Thesz's autobiography: "Hooker."
(A hooker, in wrestling parlance, is a master in the art of applying a debilitating hold.)

Washington was a popular stop on the wrestling tour back then. Bert Sugar, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro Wrestling" (but better known for his boxing writings), was first exposed to the sport here in D.C. in the '40s. "He recalls listening to a morning talk show," the Village Voice reports, "when the host said a sports question was coming up. 'All I remember is, the answer was 'Jim Thorpe,' and I won two tickets to a wrestling bout.' The match featured boxing champ Primo Carnera and Georgeous George at the Uline Arena downtown. But Sugar didn't have a way to get there on a school night, so he invited his mother.
"'Mom thinks Primo Carnera is still the heavyweight champion,' he recalls, 'So she gets her furs out of storage. She gets a limousine and we go to this bout and I'm in heaven.' The god of the moment was Gorgeous George, a college-trained wrestler who wore long blond hair and a fur-trimmed robe. 'When I saw him enter the ring with a valet spraying the corners with a flip can, I just thought it was wonderful. This was showmanship. This was every-girl's-got-to-have-a-gimmick!'"

Uline Arena (located at 3rd and M streets) was also where Joe Louis, deeply in debt to the IRS, made his wrestling debut in 1956. Louis, whose career as a grappler was short-lived, defeated 320-pound "Cowboy" Rocky Lee. The referee of the bout was none other than Walcott (another financially troubled soul).

News item: Career criminal sentenced to 30 years in prison for selling bogus Masters tournament badges.
Comment: That's almost as long as it takes Nick Faldo to play a round there.

And finally, did you read that St. Leon-Rot Golf Club, where Tiger Woods is defending his Deutsche Bank-SAP Open title this weekend, has changed 16 of its holes since last year? No response yet from racism watchdog Charles Barkley, so the Germans must have cleared it with him first.


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