- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 12, 2003

Am I seeing things, or did Warren Sapp just run right through the Sunday Column? (During my stretching exercises, too.)

• • •

I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth this week between LaVar Arrington and Sapp. We haven’t had much pregame woofing around here since Dexter Manley was threatening to ring Danny White’s clock.

• • •

Elena Slough, the oldest living American, died last week at 114 (or maybe 115). Slough lived through 22 presidents, seven U.S. wars and one New Orleans Saints playoff victory.

• • •

So I’m reading about Rush Limbaugh heading to drug rehab, and I’m thinking: Gee, maybe ESPN just had him in the wrong vehicle. Maybe it should have given him a part on “Playmakers.”

• • •

Speaking of Our Favorite Sports Network, have you been following the voting on ESPN.com for the best uniform in sports? The eight finalists are the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Celtics, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Chargers (powder blue throwbacks), University of Michigan football and University of North Carolina basketball. A respectable group, to be sure, but I still don’t see how you could leave out the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders.

• • •

Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie was being interviewed after the game last Sunday when he suddenly found himself surrounded by several southpaw scribblers. “Wow!” he said. “How many of you guys are lefties?” Four pens were raised. “I’m a lefty,” he went on. “So was Michelangelo, you know. And Leonardo da Vinci and Marilyn Monroe.” Not to mention Philly’s own Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), Ronald “the Gipper” Reagan and two of the four Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

• • •

The Top 3 Lefty Quarterbacks of All Time (one man’s opinion):

1. Steve Young.

2. Ken Stabler.

3. Boomer Esiason.

Pre-1960: Frankie Albert.

Honorable mention: Keanu Reeves in “The Replacements.”

• • •

Rich Tandler, author of “The Redskins from A to Z,” passes along this information (which, um, obviously is not to be used for betting purposes):

“The Redskins haven’t fared too badly against defending Super Bowl champions [such as the Bucs], going 12-12 against such teams since the game’s inception. Only three times, though, have the Redskins beaten a Super Bowl champ from outside their own division. In 1974, Sonny Jurgensen led a memorable comeback as the Redskins beat the Dolphins 20-17. Then, following the 1986 season, Washington shuffled into Chicago for a playoff game and snuffed out what was supposed to be a pending Bear dynasty, winning 27-13. Finally, three years ago, they knocked off the Rams in St. Louis on ‘Monday Night Football,’ 33-20. Overall, they’re 3-6 outside the division and 9-6 vs. title holders from the NFC East.”

• • •

Trial by fire: The Redskins are just the seventh team since 1970 to play in five straight games decided by three points or less. And here’s an encouraging note: Five of the other six made the playoffs, with three advancing to the Super Bowl (the 49ers in ‘81 and ‘88 and the Titans in ‘99).

• • •

I don’t know why everybody’s so worried about a Super Bowl in Washington or New York. Given the current rate of global warming, by 2008 the NFC East will be the NFC South.

• • •

Quote of the Week: “The current explanation [for the failure of the Red Sox to win the World Series since 1918] is the Curse of the Bambino, which supposedly changed the fortunes of both teams when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. A more likely problem, at least until recently, is that the Red Sox were the last team in the big leagues to hire black players. Call it the ‘Curse of the Albino.’”

— Jim Bouton in a guest column for the Boston Globe

• • •

In another guest column in the Globe, the former Yankees pitcher reminisced about the pre-Steinbrenner era in New York. “CBS owned the Yankees in those days,” he wrote. “I remember they tried to save money by washing the practice balls to keep them white.”

• • •

On the subject of the Bambino’s curse, the Sunday Column wishes to point out that the Babe wasn’t the only great player the Red Sox traded to the Yankees during the benighted ownership of Harry Frazee. A quick perusal of “The Baseball Trade Register” revealed that from 1919 to 1930, the Sox sent seven pitchers to the Yanks who would be 20-game winners for them, three of whom became Hall of Famers (Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock and Red Ruffing). In return, the Yankees gave up precious little — except cash in some instances to help Frazee pay his debts. Some of the players Boston handed New York during this stretch:

July 29, 1919 P Carl Mays for P Allen Russell, P Bob McGraw and $40,000.

Mays won 53 games for the Yankees the next two seasons, leading the league in wins in ‘21.

Dec. 15, 1920 P Waite Hoyt and C Wally Schang (among others) for C Muddy Ruel, 2B Del Pratt, OF Sammy Vick and P Hank Thormahlen.

Hoyt, who had a losing career record at the time, went 157-98 as a Yank and recorded six World Series wins. Schang hit .316 and .319 the next two years.

Dec. 20, 1921 SS Everett Scott, P Joe Bush and P Sad Sam Jones for SS Roger Peckinpaugh, P Jack Quinn, P Rip Collins and P Bill Piercy.

Bush went 26-11 for the Yankees in ‘22, and Jones went 21-8 in ‘23. Scott, meanwhile, went on to play in 1,307 consecutive games, which was the record until Lou Gehrig came along.

Jan. 3, 1923 P George Pipgras and OF Harvey Hendrick for C Al DeVormer and cash.

Pipgras topped the AL with 24 victories in ‘28 and was 3-0 in three World Series starts.

Jan. 30, 1923 P Herb Pennock for OF Camp Skinner, IF Norm McMillan, P George Murray and $50,000.

Pennock posted a 162-90 mark as a Yankee, including two 20-win seasons. In Series play, he was a perfect 5-0.

May 6, 1930 P Red Ruffing for OF Cedric Durst and $50,000.

Ruffing is an amazing story. His career record was 39-96 — that’s right, 39-96 — when the Red Sox dealt him. In New York, though, he won 15 or more games in 11 of the next 12 seasons, going 231-124 overall, and was 7-2 in the Series.

To recap: The aformentioned seven pitchers won 852 games for the Yankees — plus 22 more in the World Series. As for Frazee, counting the Ruth swap he pocketed $324,000 in New York money and received another $300,000 as a loan.

Curse of the Bambino, indeed. It was Harry Frazee who made the Yankees.

• • •

The Yanks did trade one notable player to the Sox in that period — a pitcher named Lefty O’Doul in 1922. O’Doul washed out in Boston, reinvented himself as an outfielder in the Pacific Coast League and later won two National League batting titles (the first with the Phillies, the second with the Dodgers). His lifetime average in the bigs: .349.

• • •

And finally …

Jan Stephenson, the former LPGA pinup, says in the November issue of Golf Magazine that the women’s tour simply must “promote sex appeal. It’s a fact of life. The people who watch are predominantly male, and they won’t keep watching if the girls aren’t beautiful. That’s not just the LPGA Tour, either. In Australia, the highest-rated television event is the women’s surf championship. Why is that?

“Everyone wants to skirt it, but it’s true. … The women are not the best players — the men are. The women are not the best athletes — the men are. Whether we like it or not, we have to promote sex, because sex sells. I think you have to shock.”

By “shock,” let’s hope she doesn’t mean Laura Davies in a thong.

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