St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on August 20, 1990 · Page 10
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 10

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Monday, August 20, 1990
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3 AUG 20 1990 2C SPORTS ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 1990 MORNING BRIEFING The question we're asking is: "Why?" Card news (cont.): Ever wonder how hockey great WAYNE GRETZKY could live around the net? Well, Upper Deck cards has the answer. A Wayner promo card lists his height as 5 feet, making Gretzky the shortest player to ever play the game and no doubt giving hope to the Blues' CLIFF RONNING, who is only slightly taller than that. diet" REEVES can't explain the debacle. "It's beyond me how we can play so well for 18 weeks and then play so poorly in the last one," he said. . .. .,r But Reeves Isn't putting a lot of attention on this" rematch. . -. w . "We have to look at a lot of people and try to Improve . . . That's much more important than the game against the 49ers," he said. ,C; i c g ? It may be only a preseason game to Reeves, but not ' to some Broncos players: aok; "I'm kind of excited about it," tight end CLARENCE KAY said. "It seems more like a regular-season game, playing them on Monday night" t vr , Running back STEVE SEWELL said he believes the team is "looking for revenge." "We want to show everyone we're as good as they are," he added. ,, . QUOTEUNQUOTE 1 "I never took the fact that we've never beaten the Cardinals personal." ,,i;a1 MIKE DITKA, after Chicago's 17-9 victory Saturday W.v night lifted his record against the Big Red to 1-8.' J 1 '3 Compiled by Bob Rose Post-Dispatch Assistant Sports Editor ' News flash: JOE DiMAGGIO's record has been broken. No, we're not talking about his 56-game hitting streak. We're talking about his appearance fee for autograph sessions. The Yankee Clipper's fee of $45,000 per session has been topped by JOSE CANSECO of the Oakland Athletics, who now is getting $50,000 per session. Of course, Canseco probably is worth every penny of the fee. Take, for example, the way he dealt with some overzealous fans in Baltimore. "I don't mess with scum," he yelled as he boarded a team bus. "Don't come near me." Unless, of course, the price is right. Card news (cont.): While we are on the subject of sports collectors, we are reminded of one of the ultimate get-a-life card sets to have crossed our desk. "Big League Bass Cards bring trading cards to bass fishing!!" screamed the headline on a press release for trading cards of bass fishermen. Yep, these cards are complete with color pictures of the anglers on the front and career highlights and biographical information on the back. . As the press release for this product says: " 'What will you trade for a LARRY NIXON? A HANK PARKER? ... A GUIDO HIBDON?' That's what bass fishermen of all ages will be asking one another." Guido Hibdon? ; V A CkLy; wL. I mm 1 1 And while we're on short subjects, it was 39 years ago Saturday when EDDIE GAEDEL, a 43-inch, 65-pounder, pinch-hit for FRANK SAUCIER of the Browns. Gaedel, wearing No. yit was walked on four pitches by pitcher BOB CAIN of the Detroit Tigers and then was taken out for a pinch-runner, St. Louisan JIM DELSING. The stunt, conceived by Browns owner BILL VEECK, was legal but later outlawed. Exhibition football games (which the National Football League likes to call preseason) usually battle bowling as the most boring television sport But you might want to make an exception and tune in to tonight's game between Denver and San Francisco. One thing is for certain. The game should be more exciting than the last time the teams met. The 49ers won that one 55-10 in last season's Super Bore. To this day, Denver coach DAN "I'm watching my POST PUZZLER ;-YoPina Ted Simmons caught 1 ,440 games for the Cardinals..., more than any other player. Who caught the -second- v most games as a Cardinal? (Answer Tuesday) ' ii SUNDAY'S POST PUZZLER: Who was tefancinna-$ Reds' last Cy Young Award winner? -y ANSWER: The Reds never have had one. -- t f ei'rffir" : Eye On The Ball: Boston s TONY PENA gives J a few batting tips to his son ANTONIO. The k elder Pena was no doubt teaching his son how r to ground out with runners in scoring position. SPORTS SHORTS LEM lirMllw fSlQ Champion Happy Managing In Minors '4 """Ni i r vt I 1U . By Mike Eisenbath Of the Post-Dispatch Statf SPRINGFIELD, 111. A pleasant evening in July at Robin Roberts Field, home of the Class A Springfield Cardinals, finds the home team taking batting practice. Just kids, many ' of them. Some hardly out of college. A couple not far removed from high school. ; The batting practice pitcher goes about the job leisurely. "All right, pick 'em up," he shouts when his small supply of baseballs is depleted. If Keith Champion didn't give instructions to his players now and then, you never would know he was in charge. You'd never know he was the manager. Granite City-native Champion is 30, not much older than some of the players in the Midwest League. Yet he already has managed for three years in the Cardinals' system. He might be one of the game's more promising manage .V wfe j V V " mi mi iii i ... . .. . i,4 rt ij Experience Pays: LARRY MILBOURNt s years in the majors help him in the minors. rial prospects. To Champion, that doesn't matter a lot. "There's no glamour to what I do," he said. "The only glamour is that I don't have to work a real job for a living." "I could do this until I die," Champion said. "As long as I can pay my phone bill and the rent and put gas in my car, then I can't imagine needing to do anything else." A vmmcr fan annrnnhflc fhamninn Cards Start Milbpurne On Managerial Ladder, H f Gtoas,iniM P. on By Mike Eisenbath Of the Post-Dispatch Staff ,,1(jin .eexoT ts opsouT Blocker Wrests WBC Title From Starling Compiled by Cathie Burnes Beebe Of the Post-Dispatch Staff ,; Maurice Blocker, taking advantage of a 5-inch height advantage and a 2-inch margin in reach over Marlon Starling, wrested away the champion's World Boxing Council welterweight title on a majority decision Sunday in Reno, Nev. "nt'.'Last time I went in to fight for the belt. This time I came to take the belt," Blocker said. Judges Miguel Donate of Puerto Rico and Lynn Carter of New Jersey scored the fight 115-113 for ' Blocker while Judge Chuck Giampa of Las Vegas saw it even at 114. The Associated Press scored it 115-113 for Blocker. Daniels Wins On Unanimous Decision St. Louisan Carl Daniels improved his pro record to 20-0 with a six-round unanimous decision over Daniel Sclarendi in a World Boxing Council welterweight bout. The bout was on the undercard for the Starling-Blocker fight. " All three judges scored the bout 60-54 for Daniels. , Sclarendi, of Buenos Aires, is 15-4-3. - "Carl controlled the fight," said Daniels' manager, Jim Howell. "But Sclarendi turned into a survivor and quit trying to win after about the third round that's the way it appeared in our corner. It made it tougher for Carl." Ruddock Victorious On KO Third-ranked heavyweight contender Razor Ruddock overwhelmed Kimmuel Odum and stopped his less-experienced opponent with a knockout in the third round of a scheduled 10-round bout in Atlantic City, N.J. Ruddock, 24-1-1 with 18 knockouts, floored Odum (13-4) with a right uppercut and a left hook to the head with two seconds remaining in the round. BASEBALL Cuba Wins World Title Designated hitter Orestes Kindelan started a six-run eighth inning with a solo homer, and Cuba went on to defeat Nicaragua 1 1-5 for the world baseball championship. The home run, Kindelan's third in two games, broke a 5-5 tie. The Cubans were unbeaten in 10 games, scoring 139 runs while allowing only 18. HOCKEY ; . : ' Sabres Give Meehan New Contract - Buffalo Sabres general manager Gerry Meehan has come to terms on a new, multiyear contract the Buffalo .News reported.,; ' The newspaper said it has learned Meehan has agreed to a contract that could cover the next three -, years and pay him as much as $400,000 a season at its conclusion.--' ,-; Phoenix Out Of NHL Picture A private group of Phoenix investors has officially -Withdrawn its application for one of two National Hockey League expansion franchises expected to be award-, ed in December. ; ' .. " BASKETBALL . Yugoslavia Pounds Soviets For Crown Yugoslavia, living up to its role as favorite, won its third World Basketball Championship with a 92-75 victory over the Soviet Union in-Buenos Aires. Drazen Petrovic, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers, led Yugoslavia with 20 points. Mills To Leave Denver Up in arms: KHALID SKAH of Morocco raises his arms in triumph after winning the 3,000-meter run in the German Grand Prix. His time was 7 minutes 37.1 1 seconds. Denver Nuggets forward Terry Mills has signed a two-year contract with the Paok basketball club of Salonika, Greece, and will leave today, his attorney said. Bob Woolf said Mills got a seven-figure contract, but declined to specify the amount. HORSE RACING Personal Business Wins By Nose Personal Business, ridden by Chris Antley, beat Buy The Firm by a nose to win the $1 17,000 John A. Morris Handicap and give owner Ogden Mills Phipps a sweep -of the weekend stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Jockey Wins 5,000th Race Jockey Earlie Fires became the 11th jockey to win 5,000 races by taking Tex's Zing to victory in the ninth race at Arlington International Racecourse. "This 5,000th win is for me," Fires said. "When I won the 4,000th, I started thinking of five." TRACK AND FIELD Burrell Shines In Cologne Meet Leroy Burrell won the 100 meters and led the Santa Monica Track Club to victory in the 4x1 00-meter relay at a Grand Prix track and field meet in Cologne, West Germany. Burrell had a winning time of 10.15 seconds in the 100 meters. Burrell then joined with Mark Witherspoon, Floyd Heard and Carl Lewis on the relay team that finished in 38.49 seconds, just .66 seconds off the world mark set in 1984. RUNNING Italian Wins Falmouth Race Italian Salvatore Bettiol won the Falmouth Road . Race, beating his nearest competitor by just a second for the closest finish in the event's 18-year history. Bettiol ran the 7.1-mile course in 32 minutes 55 seconds, edging Ed Eyestone of Bountiful, Utah. Aurora Counha of Portugal won the women's division in 36:39. FOOTBALL ' Concordia To Have A Season Students in the western Missouri town of Concordia will play football this season after all. The team's status had been in doubt after only 17 players reported Aug. 8 to the first day of practice. Larry Milbourne wants a career a ifprft base-' ball manager. He says his background as an 1 1-season player in the big leagues means more1 on his resume than the fact that he is black. ' v And he says the Cardinals didn't hire him to r ' ' manage their rookie-league team in Peoria, Ariz., with the color of his skin in mind. : " " ' "I think you need to look at a person's qualifications and that's it," Milbourne said. "I know Teddy Simmons is not the kind of person who looks at color." . . - .; Milbourne played in the big leagues from 1974 to '84, mostly as a utility infielder. He wore six different major-league uniforms, played 989 games and had a .254 batting average. Not impressive? Try telling that to his players. . '. They undoubtedly were spellbound recently when he told them of his greatest baseball thrill: driving in the winning run for the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the 1981 World Series. 7, " r - "Burt Hooton was the pitcher for the Dodgers, j -J three-and-two count, knuckle-curve that he got up T and I punched down the left-field line," Milbourne recalled. 1 ; Who did he drive home? "That was nine years " ago," he said. "I can't remember everything."; Milbourne is remembering enough from the managers for whom he played in the big leagues, such as Darrell Johnson, Preston Gomez and Billy Martin. "Most managers in the big leagues, including the successful ones, didn't play every day when they ? ; '. were players," Milbourne said. "They sat on theX M bench and watched what the manager did. That's how they learned." Milbourne was third-base coach for the New York Mets' Kingsport team when it won the Appalachian League title in 1988, but the Mets didn't renew his contract, "because they didn't think I knew whether; I wanted to manage or coach," he said. ' t " ! ! Milbourne and his wife, Connie, sent resumes to all : the big-league teams after that. Simmons, the Cardi-. nals' director of player development, called Milbourne just before the beginning of spring training ; 1989 and asked him to coach in Arizona. ; f "Since the big fuss about baseball needing to hire minorities a few years ago, I don't know how many more there are in it," Milbourne said, "But I know , this organization is interested in what a guy can do, not what he looks like." ci cnampion near the Springfield dugout. "Can I have a ball?" the boy asks. He already holds a dirty, used ball , with a couple of big-league-hopeful autographs. . , A nice, clean baseball would look much better, the boy thinks. Champion thinks the same thing. "Sorry," Champion tells the boy. "We don't have enough to give any away." Life in the minor leagues can be like playing little brother. Everything is a hand-me-down from the big-league team. This is the only pro baseball life Champion has known. Worn-down spikes, little padding in the glove and prayers that the bats don't break. His smile says he loves it. "I never played beyond Class A ball, but I still have two World Series rings," Champion said. "When the Cardinals do well, we all benefit. We're all in the same boat. "I want to move up. And if I could go to St. Louis to coach someday, that would be great. But I want to enjoy what I'm doing now and do my job here right now." Not long ago, Champion was on the other end of this minor-league schtick. He had an All-America senior season at Southwest Missouri State University and signed with the Cardinals as a non-drafted catcher. Champion could catch. He could hit a little. But without power, his hopes of advancing through the system died quickly. He climbed as high as St. Petersburg in the Class A Florida State League, just a notch above the Midwest League. He saw the end coming in 1983. Tom Pagnozzi was the catcher at Springfield and broke his wrist. The Cardinals demoted Champion to fill Pagnozzi's spot. "They sent me here for 10 days," Champion said, "and it turned into two months. After that year, I decided I wasn't going to the big leagues. That's the day you have to get out "I wanted to stay in the game, though, and about the middle of the '84 season Lee Thomas said, 'I'm going to make you a coach.' " Champion never had coached, but he fell right into the job. His father, Babe Champion, might have had something to do with that. Not that Babe had groomed Keith for a baseball career or pushed him toward that field. In fact, Keith had seemed more proficient at graphic arts, his major at Southwest Missouri, than at baseball on the pro level. He was working in the art department for Cable News Network when Thomas offered a job as a coach. Babe felt as proud of that as anything else Keith had done. But his example had made an impression on Keith. "Dad was my biggest influence," Keith said. "He was my high school coach at Granite City South and my American Legion coach. He taught the game in and out, but he also made it fun. You didn't dread going to the ballpark." Babe Champion, 57, retired from teaching last year. He scouted for numerous big-league teams for many years, played fast-pitch Softball well into his 30s and still officiates college football games. "I've been around some kind of organized baseball for almost 50 years," he said. "The boys always saw how I've like it." Kirk Champion, older than Keith, coached at Rend Lake Community College and Southern Illinois University-Car-bondale and now is pitching coach for South Bend, a Chicago White Sox affiliate also in the Midwest League. Keith didn't have that coaching experience when he began his pro coaching career. So why, just three years later, was he promoted to manager of Class A Savannah, Ga., in the South Atlantic League? "I wasn't sure how he would do without that experience," his father said. "Last year, we went to visit him when he was managing in Savannah. That ballclub was not very strong. We saw him for 11 days, and I saw him win some games that they probably shouldn't have won. "One time, you could tell the other team would be squeezing. I said, 'They ought to pitch out and pinch this guy.' They pitched out and the catcher got him easily. "After the game, I told Keith, 'Your catcher did a nice job calling that pitchout.' Keith kind of quietly said, 'Dad, I call those pitchouts.' " Babe saw Springfield lose an 18-inning game recently in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "They lost, but Keith made every move he could make," Babe said. "Pitching moves, some phenomenal moves. He walked guys three times to get a double-play situationa, and every time they got the double play. "You've got to have luck, but he does think the game. Objectively, after last year, I believe he can coach and PRO SPORTS CALENDAR rnr .; v 20 j 21 22 I 23 24 25 26 .CARDINALS ;l ' ' : vs- Atlanta vs. Atlanta vs. Atlanta at Houston at Houston at Houston ' 7:35 p.m. 7:35 p.m. 7:35 p.m. 7:35 p.m. 7:35 p.m. 1:35 p.m. e. phA " '- . KPLR-TV 1 1 KPLR-TV 1 1 KPLR-TV 1 1 ! FAjHMOUNT ; ! f, Thoroughbreds Thoroughbreds Thoroughbreds Thoroughbreds Thoroughbreds fV ' 1:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. ,7:45 p.m. 7:30 p.m. TODAY'S SPORTS ON THE AIR A ' 1" manage." ',,;;.. ., r - ... "My strength is that I think I give everybody a fair shake and let them play," Champion said. "Some might say I give them too much leeway. I don't have a lot of rules. I learned that from Gaylen Pitts and Jim Riggleman, though. Get the players to relax; then you can tell if they can play or not." Champion won't rip into a player often, almost never on the field. Instead, he deals with problems in his clubhouse, in one-on-one style. He has ways of gaining his players' respect .;!C-.; . . "Keith tells the guys they should be proud to wear a Cardinals uniform, that not many people are fortunate . enough to do that," Babe said. "Growing up in this area made him feel that way, I guess. But he knows you should take care of that Cardinals uniform." , o':U'wr And as a minor-league manager. Champion has to resign himself to knowing that the talent given him won't always match up well with his opponents. ,v - :...., "I go out to win every night," he said. "But the most v important thing is to work with them to develop. We're here in Springfield, 111., to win in St. Louis. . "It's hard to have fun when you're not winning, though. And I'm not just a manager of baseball. I'm a baby sitter, a financial adviser, a banker, a counselor." . n He is anything it takes to help his players hflvt better chance of making it. ,ire"' Of course, Champion would like to make it, too on his ownroute. , - , T ,..!- "Keith is a good guy," Pagnozzi saM. 'Td llke to see MAJOR-LEAGUE BASEBALL BEST BET ON TV Exhibition football: San Francisco at Denver KTVI (2), 7 p.m. Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, WGN, 6:30 p.m. Cardinals vs. Atlanta at Busch Stadium, TBS (subject to blackout), 7:35 p.m. PRO FOOTBALL Exhibition, San Francisco at Denver, KTVI (2), 7 p.m. GOLF -.' ; Fred Meyer Challenge, ESPN, 4 p.m. MAJOR-LEAGUE BASEBALL Cardinals vs. Atlanta at Busch Stadium. KMOX, 1 120 AM, 7:35 Champ make it up here as a coach. He wasn't fortunate . J enough to play at a higher level, but I'll bet he's got what It takes to make it as a coach." N p.m. v - - - m I. m 'r mimm m m. - - - " - 1 - . .. i -. -.

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