The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on May 3, 1978 · 31
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 31

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 3, 1978
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Rams Draft a Runner Who Can Fly: Elvis Peacock Oklahoma Halfback Chosen After a Trade of First-Round Picks BY BOB OATES Tlmtt Stiff Wrllr Elvis Peacock, a big, fast Oklahoma halfback known as ihc "Proud Bird." was the Rams' first choice Tuesday as two Stanford men went in the top 10 and Grambling's Doug Williams became the first black quarterback ever drafted on the first roundto play quarterback. . Some have been first-round choices but never as quarterbacks. Three Notre Dame stars were among the first 16 drawn in the National Football League's annual draft, and then, as the nation waited for Tampa Bay to make the 17th selection of the day, coach John McKay JIM MURRAY Safe at Home? No Way When a man is 6 feet 2 inches tall, 200 pounds and can hit a major league curveball over two fences, a street, and an office building across the way, he has the right to feel like a macho human being. He's not about to ask somebody to lift something for him or to carry it up to his apartment for him. Bobby Grich was all of those things macho, powerful, a natural-born two-base hitter, an All-Star infielder, wrists like wagon tongues and a back like a relief map of Texas. Bobby was also a $2 million ballplayer who made his living bending down. So the 150-pound air-conditioning unit lying there on the front sidewalk looked as harmless to him as a double-play ball. Bobby picked it up. He carried it into the apartment elevator and on up to the sixth floor. Bobby didn't know it at the time, but he and the California Angels would have been better off if he had hired the entire San Pedro shape -up of longshoremen to lift that air-conditioner, or a full complement of Long Beach teamsters. Bobby almost lifted himself out of two million bucks. By June, he wasn't in an infield, he was in surgery and traction. He had a herniated disc. He somehow hit seven home runs and six doubles with it. But each one was accompanied by a scream. If this were an isolated instance, it could be treated by baseball with a shrug. But for some reason, the ratio of home accidents for athletes seems to far outweigh those of society as a whole. Perhaps it's simply that, if an accountant sprains his back, it doesn't diminish his efficiency significantly. I mean, he doesn't have to bend down for ground balls, after all. But baseball generally surrounds its high-priced practitioners with all the safety devices and restorative therapies imaginable. It forbids players to ride motorcycles, sky-dive, channel -swim, or even play basketball, in some cases. But no one tells them not to lift that trunk down from the attic, not to change a tire on Angels Surrender Quietly; Tigers Pound 13 Hits, 10-2 BY SCOTT OSTLER TlnMt Staff WrHtr Detroit manager Ralph Houk had reason to be worried going into Tuesday night's game against the Angels at Anaheim Stadium. Although the Tigers , were leading the American League East by VA games, Houk's pitching staff was beginning to look fragile. And Houk said, "The Angels are about ready to break loose; that's what's bothering me. I'd rather come in here when they're hitting." Houk's pessimism was premature. Milt Wilcox, a last-minute pitching substitution for injured Jack Morris, threw a four-hitter and won, 10-2, as his teammates battered three pitchers for 13 hits, four for extra bases. The Anaheim Stadium crowd of 18,641 spent much of the evening yawning and booing. The Angels again went down meekly. Wilcox didn't allow a hit after Dave Chalk's fourth-inning, two-out single. He struck out six and allowed only four runners as far as second base. It was the second straight loss for the Angels, their first back-to-back losses of the year. Only one A.L. team has managed to avoid successive losses the Tigers. Detroit is now 6-0 under the lights. The Detroit hitting star was young (23) first baseman Jason Thompson, who homered and singled twice in five at-bats. Last year Thompson hit thought about his needs. He has a lot of them but none more pressing than quarterback. Thus, passing up Stanford's Cuy Benjamin and other major-school performers, McKay picked Williams, the Cram-bling leader who has the size (6-3, 215) and skills of a pro football winner. The Buccaneers took a quarterback first because they don't have a high pick next year. McKay said, adding: "Williams has all the tools to become a great one although it will probably lake a little lime for him to establish himself," Benjamin went to Miami on ihc second round as the 51st player the freeway, not to dig a well or put in a pool. They have whirlpool baths to ease the strain of hitting a ball on the fist, they have trainers to massage arms, backs, necks, and they tape legs. But there's no way to prevent good old Slug, their pennant insurance, from moving the refrigerator or trimming the trees over the chimney roof. Some years ago Ted Kluszew-ski was one of the most feared sluggers in the major leagues. He batted cleanup on a Cincinnati Reds' lineup that was all cleanup hitters. Klu batted .309, .307, .320, .316, .326, .314. .302-up to 1957. He hit 40 homers a year. He led the major leagues in 1954 with 49. He homered every 11 times up. He was on a collision course with the Hall of Fame. Then he decided to build his own home swimming pool . . . He played in 69 games in 1957. Not all of those games, just parts of them. He never batted .300 again. His homers dipped from 49 in '47 to 4, 6, 4, 4, 5 in the succeeding years. Richie Allen stalls his career by pushing a stalled car; his hand slips and a shattered headlight gashes him open. And so on. General managers like their players domesticated. They'd rather have them hanging drapes than hanging around bars. But the record shows, second base is not the most dangerous spot for a ballplayer. Neither is the local disco. The bathroom is, if he's trying to hang a shower curtain in it. Guys are better off pouring vodka than pouring cement. More pennants have been lost by guys papering walls than hitting walls. You ask yourself, would Hemingway risk writer's block leaving notes for the milkman or doing minutes of the last meeting? Would Caruso go out to call the pigs? Is Rembrandt going to paint flagpoles? No, but a ballplayer will move the piano, hang the storm windows, lay the cement, or put up the aerial. In mid-career. He'll risk a million to save a house call. The moral of the story? Call the plumber. Hire a truck. If all else fails, say, "Here, honey. I'll hold the ladder for you." .410 (16 for 39) and had four homers against the Angels. Rookie catcher Lance Parrish contributed a double and a triple and three RBI. The Tigers teed off on Angel starter Brett shortly after the National Anthem, as Ron LeFlore led off with the first of four consecutive singles. Before Brett got the ninth batter, Steve Dillard, to ground into a double play to end the inning, the Tigers had five runs and five hits, with -two walks, and an error thrown in for good measure. Brett pulled himself together and got through the next two innings with ease, gave up a run in the fourth on Mark Wagner's RBI single and then began giving up hits in bunches again in the fifth. Thompson led off with his homer, Steve Kemp and John Wock-enfuss singled, and Dyar Miller relieved Brett. Miller gave up a run in the sixth on a small rally that started when he hit Waper. In the bottom of the inning Wilcox hit Ron Jackson, and in the top of the seventh Dyar Miller drilled leadoff batter Wockenfuss in the back, leading to some angry words by Wockenfuss and an official warning (and $50 fine). Please Tarn to Page 2, Col. 2 named, after Pittsburgh quarterback Matt Cavanaugh went to New England as the 50th. Texas fullback Earl Campbell was taken first by Houston, No. 2: defensive tackle Art Still, from Kentucky to Kansas City. Stanford placed sixth and 10th with wide receiver James Lofton (to Green Bay) and tackle Gordon King (to the New YorkGiants). Notre Dame placed seventh, eighth and 16th with tight end Ken MacAfee (to San Francisco), defensive end Ross Browner (to Cincinnati) and cornerback Luther Bradley (to Detroit). The Rams' most useful pick might Chargers' Top Draft Choice Is Confident Man BY DAVE DISTEL Tlmtt Stiff Wrtttr The full name of the wide receiver drafted No. 1 by the Chargers Tuesday is John Larry Jefferson, but the middle name probably should be changed. It should be Confidence. Or maybe that should be his last name, as in Mr. Confidence. Jefferson, a four-year starter at Arizona State, does not seem concerned about making the jump to the National Football League. For that reason, he would prefer not to sign a long-term contract nothing over three years with the Chargers. "I want this (contract negotiations) to come around again," he said. "I do feel I will produce. I have confidence in myself and my ability." Jefferson was the first of four players selected by the Chargers in the six rounds of the draft completed Tuesday. The others: Milton (Hunk) Hardaway, 6-9, 320, offensive tackle, second round from Oklahoma State. Rickey Ricardo Anderson, 6-0V4, 205, running back, third round from South Carolina State. John Choma, 6-5', 241, guard, fifth round (obtained from the Rams) from Virginia. The Chargers previously had traded their fourth-round pick to St. Louis. Tuesday, they dealt their fifth and sixth selections to Detroit for middle linebacker Jim Laslavic, a 6-2, 235-pound journeyman from Penn State. Among the players drafted elsewhere in the NFL Tuesday were five San Diego State players running back David Turner, second round, Cincinnati; wide receiver Ronnie Smith, second round, Los Angeles; linebacker Whip Walton, third round, Minnesota; defensive back Terry Jackson, N.Y. Giants, fifth round; and wide receiver Dennis Pierson, Atlanta, fifth round. Jefferson's selection was no surprise. It was the year of the wide receiver and that happened to be a position the Chargers wanted to fill. Coach Tommy Prothro was obviously pleased to get Jefferson. "He's an outstanding wide receiver," Prothro said. "He's got great speed, know-how running his routes and fantastic hands. Our scouts have liked him all along." Three wide receivers were on Prothro's first-round shopping list and the other two went earlier: Wes Chandler (Florida) to New Orleans and James Lofton (Stanford) to Green Bay. That didn't daunt Jefferson. "I would rank myself No. 1 as far as the receivers go," he said. "As far as receiving goes, none of them match me." He had some theories on why he was the third receiver chosen. "New Orleans wanted a punt return man too," he said. "I've never returned punts and I never plan to return punts. I'm purely a receiver. I think they liked me more than Chandler, but I was honest with them. Please Turn to Fage 4, Col. 1 HISTORY REPEATS IN 3-2 BRUIN WIN When Rick Middleton was acquired by the Boston Bruins from the New York Rangers after the 1976 season ended, he was known as an offensive-minded player. In fact, coach Don Cherry x)f the Bruins used to call him "the Crane" because he was always lifting hi? leg to avoid getting hit by an opposing player's shot. But now, two ytars later, Middle-ton, is a two-way player and one of the key forwards on the Bruins, who depend as much on brawn as on skill. Middleton, 24, lofted an eight-foot wrist shot past goaltender Bernie Parent at 1:43 of overtime Tuesday night at Boston to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia in the opener of their best-of-seven semifinal playoff series. At Montreal, in other semifinal, Yvan Cdurnoyer scored twice as the Please Turn to Page 4, Col. 1 have come on the third round when they drafted the UCLA kicker, Frank Corral, a, triple-threatcr who as a Bruin kicked off into the end zone and averaged 44.6 as a junior punter (before he was hurt last year), then came back to kick 24 of 24 extra points and 10 of IS field goals. Earlier, when Peacock was still on the board after 19 men had been drafted, the Rams made a trade with Cleveland to get him, exchanging first-round choices (No. 23 for No. 20) and throwing in a fourth -round pick. "He's the fastest man I've coached," Oklahoma's Barry Switzer said of Peacock, 6-IV and 218. "In PIRATE THIEVERY Padre shortstop Ozzie a little late as Pittsburgh's Frank Taveras steals Smith takes a throw from catcher Bob Davis just second base for the second time Tuesday night. AP Wlrephoto Owchinko Ends Padre Slump PITTSBURGH (iB-Smooth-cheeked Bob Owchinko showed he can handle the close shaves Tuesday night. "He's just a baby, but he's a battler," San Diego manager Roger Craig said, after Owchinko had pitched a nine-hitter to help the Padres beat A Win Over the Dodgers Eases the Pain for Buckner BY ROSS NEWHAN Timti Staff Wrtttr CHICAGO-Bill Buckner has had two operations on a left ankle injured early in 1975. He has visited specialists from coast to coast, trying hypnosis, acupuncture and other treatments in an effort to erase the unrelenting pain, to walk and run again without a limp. "I twisted it again about 10 days ago," ex-Dodger Buckner said Tuesday, after the Cubs had defeated Los Angeles, 5-4, in 10 innings, "and last week I was ready to go in for another operation. I didn't think I could play this season. I thought it would be best for the club and for myself if I forgot this year and got myself ready for 1979. "Some days it's not bad but I know it's never going to be 100 per cent and I'm going to have to sit down after LOSING ANONYMITY FAST Field, Ongais Racing Toward Fame If Ted Field had his druthers, he would blend into society with the anonymity enjoyed by most stocky, bearded young men of his generation. Two factors work against him, however. First, he is one of the richest 25-year-olds in the country, having inherited an estimated $50 million a year ago as his share of the Marshall Field fortune. Second, he drives and owns expensive race cars that Danny Ongais has made the most visible in the country with wins in two U.S. Auto Club races leading to the Indianapolis 500 and fast qualifying times in International Motpr Racing Assn. road races at Daytona, Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca. Field owns the Interscope Racing Team, a fleet of black race cars USAC turbocharged Parnellis, IMSA twin turbocharged Porsches, a Formula One Shadow and a Mini-Indy Super Vee. He and Ongair. do the driving. And very little talking. "I enjoy my privacy and I hope to keep it that way," said Field between races Sunday at Laguna Seca. "I don't like having my picture in the paper and I don't like TV interviews. I'm not in racing for publicity or I would have called it the Ted Field Racing Team." It is only when he talks racing that Field opens up. Especially when it's about Ongais. "I don't think there is a driver anywhere who can do the things Danny can do, and do them as quickly. He makes everything look so easy when he's driving. Sometimes he isn't appreciated enough." mmmmm With the Browns high school he was timed three times in 9.4 for the 100 (his best official time: 9.5), And at OU he was a consistent 4.4 for the 40. But the best thing about him is that he's a leader. He captained our team last year." Unlike the college and pro coaches who favor appointed platoon leaders, Switzer allows his players to vote on a captain. "The (Proud) Bird is different from most of the backs we've had," Switz-er said, comparing Peacock to Joe Washington, Greg Pruitt and others. "He isn t one of those quick, jump-around types. He's a big power back, fast and smooth. He's as fast as Terry Please Turn to Page 10, Col. 3 gisfiiigltgi the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1. Owchinko had to battle. He left one runner on base in each of the first eight innings, then retired the Pirates in order in the ninth to drop foe John Candelaria's record to 1-4. "The kid stopped us," Pirate manager Chuck Tanner said. "He got us next season (when his three-year contract expires) and evaluate the whole thing, decide if I want to keep playing. The money isn't that important if I can't play aggressively, if it isn't going to be fun." The man who personifies playing in pain had just combined with another former Dodger, Ivan DeJesus, to play a significant role in Chicago's victory. "I guess the Big Cubbie in the sky took care of us today," Buckner said. Buckner, who batted .370 with 10 RBI against the Dodgers last year, his first year out of a Los Angeles uniform, got two singles and drove in two runs. DeJesus, the shortstop who batted .327 against the Dodgers after being acquired in the deal that sent Rick Monday and Mike Garman to Please Turn to Page 6, Col. 2 BYSHAVGLICK Tinrn Staff Wrlttr V n orts BUSINESS CC PART III -J- t WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 1978 when he had to. Every time he had to come through, he did." Owchinko, the Padres' No. 1 draft choice in 1976, looks younger than his 23 years. But the Padres called upon him to stop their four-game losing streak Tuesday night and he responded with his first complete game in five starts. It was only the second complete game this season by the Padre pitching staff. "We're just not getting it together in the hitting department, but that just makes the pitchers work that much harder," said Owchinko, now 2-2. "I can't take anything for granted. I know I have to worry about all the little things early in the game, so I don't give up any cheap runs." Besides losing four in a row, the Padres had lost six of their last seven games. That made Owchinko's performance all the more welcome. "I don't care how horse manure you play, or how much you lose, when you win that one game, how sweet it is," Craig said. On the other hand, the men the Padre pitcher stranded on base left the Pirates in a sour mood. "It's hard to take when you lose like this," Tanner said. "When you look back, you say, 'Well, if we had got a hit here, or a run there . . .' " "Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Omar Moreno Please Turn to Page 6, Col. 2 i i The Indianapolis 500 is Interscope's next objective and Field likes his team's chances. "If our equipment lasts 500 miles I am sure Danny will be a strong contender. He has proven he can go fast there. Our worry now is reliability. That becomes so important in 500 miles." Ongais drove the fastest lap in Indy race history last year, 192.678 m.p.h., after falling behind with a 42 minute pit stop. And how will Field handle the spotlight if his car wins the Indy 500? "I'll try to stay far in the background. I'll be just as thrilled and excited as anyone but I don't want any publicity. Danny feels much the same way about it but when he's winning he can't help it." Ongais, 35, does not mask his distaste for press conferences, especially postrace interviews. He c?l's them a "necessary evil." Pat he is fast And he is winning. He has won two of four USAC championship car races and leads the Citicorp Cup driver standings with 1,055 points to 388 for Gordon Johncock, 925 for defending champion Tom Sneva and 778 for A. J. FoyL He won the !??tsun Twin 200 at Ontario and the Texas 200 and h, Field and most other observers thought he won the Trenton 200 until USAC officials tabbed John-cock. The race is under protest by Field. Ongais, known as the Silent Hawaiian when he as a drag-racing champion in the 60s, credits the Please Turn to Page 7, Col. 1 m I

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