The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio on June 18, 1987 · Page 17
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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio · Page 17

Akron, Ohio
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 18, 1987
Page 17
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SIP Section B Horse racing B2 Baseball data B4 The Beacon Journal Thursday, June 18, 1987 Tom Melody I twi Wtiij-iHf For Maris, 61 in '61 was truly a curse The exceptional books dealing with sport have the smell of liniment, the smell of sweat, about them. They do not draw pictures, they do not prey upon the imagination. Instead, they take you there. To the field, to the locker room, to the heart. To laugh, to cry. So it is ever so often in the 250 pages of Sixty-One, a book about the 1961 New York Yankees and about the member of that team who struck 61 homers that season, poor Roger Maris. Tony Kubek, the shortstop, and Terry Pluto, the Beacon Journal sportswriter, produced the book. It bears rather the going rate for books nowadays, $19.95. To read it is to go back in time. Back to a time at once so good and so bad. So good for Marls virtually every member of the team, a World Series winner, except Roger Maris. It is all there for the young to read, for those not so young to reread. The plain hell endured by this 26-year-old who broke Babe Ruth's record of 60 homers for a season. No rest For him, fame became a curse. He could not handle it. Rather, it handled him. Unmercifully. His hair fell out, his body became a gathering place for rashes. Yes, for the player who broke the grandest of all baseball records, there was no rest. Not until his early death, that caused by cancer, when he was 51. Roger Eugene Maris, native of Fargo, N.D. Sentenced to New York in a trade involving the Yankees and the Athletics. (Not that it ever mattered, but he reached the majors in '57 with the Cleveland Indians.) He was scorned and he was cursed for breaking that record. Why, such was the scorn and resentment that baseball's unfair-minded commissioner, Ford Frick, ruled the record would have to be broken in 154 games, the number of games Babe Ruth's Yankee team played in '27, the year of the 60 homers. After 154 games, Roger Maris had 59 homers. He hit the 60th in the 159th game, he hit the 61st in the 163rd and last game. Roger Maris played in 161 of the games, did not receive an intentional walk all season long. Not a favorite 'Twas the batter behind him, Mickey Mantle, who caused him not to be intentionally dispatched to first base. "Twas also Mickey Mantle the public and the press alike wished to see break the homer record, assuming it had to be broken. Mickey Mantle, struck down by injury late in the season, hit 54 homers in '61. So much for the numbers. All books have them, don't they. In this book, the reader is taken beyond the numbers by Tony Kubek and by those former Yankees whose frankness builds the strong shoulders of Sixty-One. Listen, for example, to Mickey Mantle as he speaks of the dying days of Roger Maris. "During the last month (December of '85), Roger had trouble getting to the phone. After a while, I didn't like to call because it was so bad. Instead of bothering (wife) Pat, I started calling (brother) Rudy. But I'm not a very good talker on the phone and neither is Rudy. Both of us would hold the phone, knowing the other was there, but not saying anything." Of course, the whole of the book is not so grim. There is the story Roger Maris so liked to tell about the arrival of Bobby Murcer, then all of 19, in New York. Roger Maris took him to dine See FOR MARIS, page B6 SPORTS TODAY Football: NCAA places the University of Texas on two years' probation. Page B2. Basketball: McKinley's Terry Jackson finally gets a chance to play guard. Page B3. Baseball: Old men are keeping Indians' starting rotation from going under. Page B4. Baseball: Area players are beginning professional careers. Page B6. Bowling: Mark Baker wins the PBA 's Kessler Open. Page B7. .Howser fought hard until the end By Rick Plumlee Knight-Ridder Newspapers KANSAS CITY, Mo. - To Dick Hows-er, the only thing more important than winning was giving the other guy a good fight. "At least," the former manager of the Kansas City Royals once said, "I can scratch him up a little." The scratching and fighting is over for Dick Howser. His nearly year-long battle with brain cancer has ended. The man who brought the Royals a World Series title in 1985 died Wednesday at a Kansas City hospital. He was 51. "This is a sad day for baseball. Dick Howser was one of the great men of our Kansas City players try to make the best of a sad situation. Page B5. game," said Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. A memorial service will be held in Kansas City. Burial will be in Tallahassee, Fla., Howser's hometown. Dates have not been set. "It's merciful," said Royals general manager John Schuerholz. "His suffering has finally ended. It tears you up inside to see a man with so much fight, so much love for life fade like he has these last two weeks." Howser most recently had been hospitalized since June 3, and Kansas City third baseman George Brett said, "You figured it was a matter of time. But when it hits you, it's still a bomb. "He was a terrific manager. He was an even better person." Hank Bauer, who was Howser's first manager when he became a rookie of the year as a shortstop for the old Kansas City A's in 1961, said, "You couldn't have a more fierce competitor. He couldn't have weighed more than 150 pounds when he played for me. But he'd hang in there on those double plays. Spikes didn't scare him. Nothing did." The last game Howser managed was the 1986 AU-Star Game on July 15, when he led the American League to a 3-2 victory. On the flight home, he complained of a stiff neck and headaches. In days before that, he had lapses of memory and confused the names of his players. On July 22, he underwent surgery to partially remove a malignant tumor in the left frontal lobe of his brain. He had two subsequent operations, experimental in nature, in December and in March at a California hospital. Both times the tumor had grown. Howser had not made a public ap- See HOWSER, page B5 -v -" 'sv - 'i k X." iiiililMiiiii V 4 i Vt.iSSl-i -siA&tpdmm I ' msmamm 5- , , 1 V i HHBi Hasp t 'S 1 Beacon Journal pholoLw Stamp Red Sox's Roger Clemens recorded 12 strikeouts in 4-0 victory over Indians Wednesday night Clemens is no hit with Tribe Boston star gets second shutout By Sheldon Orker Beacon Journal staH writer The last thing the Indians needed was to face Rampaging Roger Clemens. The appearance of the Red Sox's most famous holdout inevitably spells doom for the Tribe. For his career, Clemens is 5-0 with a 1.55 earned-run average against Cleveland, including two shutouts this year. Because of a contract dispute, Clemens was late arriving to the season and stumbled around trying to get his bearings for a while. Against the rest of the American League, he is 3-6 with a 3.86 ERA. Yet all of this is difficult to believe only if you've seen him pitch against the Tribe, which he subdued 4-0 Wednesday night at the Stadium. The last time Cleveland scored against him was Aug. 30, 1986, giving him a string of 20 scoreless innings against the Tribe. Tom Candiotti (2-7) was Clemens' unlucky opponent Wednesday. Though he still had trouble finding the plate with his knuckleball, Candiotti stuck it to Boston for seven innings, permitting only one run on three hits. But the next inning, he yielded a 3-run homer to Mike Greenwell to end the suspense. In eight innings, Candiotti has allowed five hits and six walks. Not that it mattered. Clemens and only Clemens established the parameters of the game. He walked his only two batters the first two innings. Starting in the third, he permitted the Indians four hits. One runner reached third when Brett Butler singled, stole second and advanced to the next base after center fielder Ellis Burks caught Julio Franco's fly ball. "He overmatched us," Tribe manager Pat Corrales said. "Candiotti threw better than he has been throwing, but he was going up against Roger Clemens." Corrales has watched videotapes of some of Clemens' other outings this year. He has seen with his own eyes teams score off Clemens. So why not the Tribe? "I think other teams are a little more disciplined than we are," the manager said. "Evidently, that is. Because he has given up some runs. "Of course, it's easy on the bench to talk about laying off his high fastball. But when See CLEMENS, page B5 Franklin has changed ways, but not style By Terry Pluto Beacon Journal staff writer Pete Franklin was told that he received more mail while in the Cleveland Clinic than the Shah of Iran. "I told them I wasn't surprised by that," Franklin said. "I mean, what the hell, I wasn't killing people, just insulting them." Franklin, 59, was released from the Clinic Tuesday. The host of Sportsline on WWWE (1110-AM), Franklin suffered a massive heart attack on May 12 and had emergency quadruple bypass surgery on May 15. When Franklin went in for surgery, he was given about a 50-50 chance of survival. In his first interview since his heart attack, Franklin said, "I'll never forget 6 I was frightened. I kept thinking about my family and how I didn't want to leave them because I love them so much, p Pete Franklin that feeling when my life was on the ropes. I was frightened. I kept thinking about my family and how I didn't want to leave them because I love them so much." Franklin also had a message for his fellow sports broadcasters and writers. "We're all the same, sitting on our butts, eating the free hot dogs and popcorn," he said. "In my case, I was a very sedentary man. I never ran anywhere. "I just sat and watched and ate. Nachos, burgers, soda pop, all that garbage went into my system day after day and I paid for it. I never could walk past a piece of pizza." Franklin went into the hospital at 205 pounds and came out at 183. "I needed to drop the weight, but I don't recommend open-heart surgery as the best way to do it," he said. The fan mail Franklin has received has touched him deeply. "I did the joke about the Shah of Iran because it's a decent line," Franklin said. "But I was overwhelmed by all the See FRANKLIN, page B2 Ex-cage aide Cleamons says Ohio State fired him Associated Press COLUMBUS - Former Ohio State University basketball star and Cleveland Cavalier Jim Cleamons told the Columbus Dispatch Wednesday that he was fired as an Ohio State assistant. Earlier, it had been reported that Cleamons, 36, had resigned for personal reasons. Cleamons, who was hired as an Ohio State assistant in 1983 by former coach Eldon Miller and kept on last year by current coach Gary Williams, will be replaced by Fran Fraschilla of Ohio University, the newspaper reported. Fraschilla has served as an assistant coach at Ohio U since 1981. The Brooklyn College graduate also coached at Rhode Island and New York Institute of Technology. Fraschilla resigned Friday, citing personal reasons. Fraschilla will be in charge of recruiting for the Buckeyes. Under affirmative action guidelines, Ohio State cannot hire Fraschilla until the position is posted for three days on campus. The posting began Wednesday and will end Friday evening. Jim Cleamons Pitt coach Gottfried suspends Gladman Associated Press PITTSBURGH Former Garfield High running back star Charles Gladman and a University of Pittsburgh teammate have been suspended from the team by Coach Mike Gottfried following a university investigation into reports they signed contracts with sports agents, the Pittsburgh Press reported Wednesday. Gladman, a senior, would not admit he accepted money from New York agents Norby Walters and Lloyd Bloom. But defensive back Teryl Austin told university officials last week he accepted money from Walters in violation of NCAA rules.

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