Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on August 12, 1976 · Page 51
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 51

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Thursday, August 12, 1976
Page 51
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DETROIT FREE PRESS Thursday. Aug. 12. '7fi ID Wi ID ue s rincn-ni HR Winsf le Bird, 4 3 BY JIM HAWKINS fm Prsi Sports Wrltr When Mark Fidrych first 'showed up in training ramp this spring, just a skinny young rookie with a strange-sounding last name, one of the first Tigers to befriend him was Willie Horton. The veteran Tiger slugger invited him to his hotel for a barbeque and went out of his way to make him feel at home, even though Fidrych wasn't even on the major league roster. Wednesday evening, Horton went to bat for The Bird again, blasting a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Texas Rangers, 4-3. If you tried to write a story like that, nobody would believe it. Horton, benched because he hasn't been hitting since he came off the disabled list a month ago, stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth against Gaylord Perry and smashed a 2-2 pilch off the fence in front of the upstairs bleachers in deep lpft centerfield to make a winner out of his buddy. FIDRYCH WAS OUT of the Tiger dugout before Horton got to second base and The Bird was waiting at the plate, his jacket hung haphazardly on his talented right arm, when Willie finally arrived. He hugged him so hard he knocked Horton's helmet right off his head. You can't fake feelings like that. Then the two of them headed off the field, with Fidrych still hopping up and down. Of course, the crowd of 36,523 went absolutely wild. If even one of the fans left, it wasn't apparent as they stayed in their seats and chanted . . . and chanted . . . and chanted. "We Want Bird ... We Want Bird ... We Want Bird!" Of course, The Bird reappeared. And the crowd went crazy again as Fidrych trotted across the field to the Ranger dugout, where a Texas television station was waiting to interview him, thrusting his clenched fist into the air time and time again. THE BIRD IS now a fantastic 13-4, with a 1.37 earned run average that's unequaled anywhere in m'.im'.iu jmwm n, ..... m ii.'.m9ii.wm)...-p.-w.i... m Armchair Quarterbacks Have Planled the Lions One more time I beg your indulgence where my good buddies are concerned. You know how it is with some guys. When they are clustered around the soda bar, they speak boldly and harshly sometimes, caring not for the wounds they inflict, convinced that right-is-right as they see it, dammit, so let the victims bleed. At the same time, consider that, if not typical, they figure themselves as knowledgeable as anybody where professional football is concerned. : They had been watching the Lions replay the Miami Dolphins on television, and they were unimpressed . . . scoffing, and worse ... in their summation, as you will see. "Say, Paperboy," this Fat Freddie says at me, "when are you going to tell the people what they really ought to know about the Lions?" In truth, I have been sheltering a few opinions, hoping they would change in the due-process of the football exhibition season. "They're kidding themselves, baby," he says. "If they don't get off their butts right now, they're going to blow it all." Once he said that, he became attached to the thought, and a moment later he concluded that maybe it is too late already for the Lions to change significantly in 1976. "This team is beginning to smell like a loser," says Freddie. When the Going Gets Tough . . . He will not be bothered with the idea that this is summer football still, the Lions are a developing team with very fine new personnel being integrated among experienced talent and ... "He means they don't really know how, or they don't really want it," says this Fifi. "Can't you see that?" Well, I am not sure, "Wake up . . . what are you looking at when you watch 'em play?" he says. we play . . . hey, those are mostly vet erans in there, right? "On offense and defense they are mostly veterans and these guys are getting knocked back on their ass every time." C'mon there, Fifi. When it counts, they do it. When the going gets tough . . . "They don't take people out, man. .lust watch. Where'd ynu ever see a good football team that didn't just love to take people down and out. "With these guys, it's a sometime thing, one day they're there and the next day they're not. and so that's why you have a .500 ball club, I see no dif ference." What you do not understand guys, I say, Is that it is the masterplan though the long hot summer to bring the team "Sure they got a pile of rooks in there, but look at the lines along at an ever-quickening pace, testing new players, not risking the old and proven. "That's a crock, a lousy plan, and you know it," says this Double George. "You just been watching Miami. Miami's bringing in a lot of new guys, too, isn't that right?" It is true, yes, of course. 1 "But Miami wins with its best quarterbacks on the bench. They expect to win, no matter what, and that's the difference between class teams and the jokers. "They come on that field knowing it's their game, no matter who's playing and they expect to win and they know damn well they better, no excuses." Fat Freddie comes back and he says he has proof that the Lions cannot possibly be big winners in 19"fi. "You had in the paper some Lion player, 1 forget who, saying what-the-hell, it's only the exhibition season," he says. "I don't know Shula or any of the top coaches, but I'd like to hear what they say to any player who says what-the-hell, it don't matter. Double George would not lay Hip Lions' slow heginning on simply sluggish line play. He played some college ball years ago, so he figures he knows. Forzano Given Even Break "We show two of the same faults that have been with the Lions for several years," he says. "No matter who's the quar terback, they just don't throw uptield enough. They float around and don't go at it. "They dump the ball, that's still their basic pass play . . . especially that Munson , , . and what shouldhe a passing play is nothing more than a run that's not really a run. It's a nothing, not really a pass, not a run and not a good offense either. "I think that's the big trouble on offense. But they still show m the same hole in the defensive hacks. Thai right corner. You just know any good team will go there when they need yards or points. Everybody does to us, hut It's still there for (hem. Miami took on the new kid (Pierson) and they went right back ajid took it to the guy who plays there all the time (Levi Johnson) and there was the ball game. They are ready, these few who rarely miss anything that moves in spiked shoes, to lay pressure, if not a wreath, on the Lions, even at this early date. Strangely, they are not ready . . . yet . . , to turn the valve m head coach Rick Forzano, whose charm gives everyone pause. "He's got a tough situation," says Fifi. "I don't know how anybody can handle professional athletes these days. But other coaches get the job done . . . hey, eight teams make the playoffs, right? . . . and this ought to be his year. It better be, or move over Forzano, baby." Briefly, f am tempted to challenge these doomsayers, knowing that all around suppr experts are predicting big things for the Lions. But then, late word out of Reno says it is 15 1 against the Lions, and I figure those sharpies know everything. o m the major leagues. On top of that, he has comp'pted 15 of his 1R starts a remarkable statistic for any pitcher tn compile, and an incredible one for a 21-year-old rookie. "I was off and on all night," insisted Fidrych, when he finally settled down for a few seconds. The Bird said he knew Horton's ball was gone as soon as Willie hit it because, as he explained, "He got it ALL!" The home run was Willie's 10th of the season and his third since he was sidelined by a foot injury in May. And it couldn't have come at a better time. "I just hit it good," said Horton, who took a quick curtain call himself to pacify the frenzied throng. "To tell you the truth, I don't know what kind of pitch it was. A Spaulding, I guess. "I'm glad we won the game for Bird. He's pitching for the whole team, not just himself. That's the way I play. And that's what me and him talk about every day." THE RANGERS, who lost to Fidrych, .1-2, in 11 innings on June 5 in Texas, took the lead in the top of the second when Mike Hargrove and Tom Grieve both singled and Tiger catcher Bruce Kimm failed to get a glove on a strike to Roy Howell, . allowing it to sail back to the wall for a costly passed ball. But the Tigers tied it up with two singles of their own, by Danny Meyer and Rusty Staub, in the third. The two teams then traded home runs, with Hargrove connecting on behalf of the Rangers in the fourth inning, and Staub doing (He same for the Tigers in the fifth. Staub's home run, which Please turn to Page BD, Col. 2 f Roger Punches Out His Backup Roger Staubach Clint Longley Clint Longley, a substitute quarterback who hunts rallle-snakes, likes fast cars and is known on the field as the "Mad Bomber," quipped after the scuffle: '"We probably could fight for hours and not hurt each other. THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Roger Staubach and Clint Longley, battling for the No. 1 quarterback spot with the Dallas Cowboys, have traded fists off the practice field. Staubach was on top when teammates pulled him and longley apart following a short exchange of blows after a training session. "No big deal," the normally relaxed Staubach said after the fight Tuesday. "It was just the frustration of five weeks of training camp." And perhaps the two consecutive preseason losses by the National Football League team. Longley, a substitute quarterback who hunts rattlesnakes, likes fast cars and is known on the field as the "Mad Bomber," quipped after the scuffl: "It's a new form of conditioning. We do it after running sprints and before lifting weights. We get so little contact, we deefded to roll over and push each other. We probably could fight for hours and not hurt each other." Assistant coach Danny Reeves said Longley and Staubach went at each other behind a baseball dugout shortly after a passing drill during which the pair snapped at each other. "I KNEW THEY had exchanged words," Reeves said. "Then they started walking off the field. I saw them going toward the water and thought they were going to get a drink. Then they went behind the dugout. I saw Clint swing and 1 started running over there. I couldn't see anything else, but when I got there Roger was on lop of him," . Staubach and Longley shook hands after the incident. "As far as I am concerned the whole thing is over," Staubach said. "Clint is doing a super job. I just want to forget the whole thing." Head coach Tom Landry dismissed the incident: "I've never even inquired about it. They were on the field working hard, and sometimes tempers flare. As long as it stays on the field, I don't worry about it." During the passing drill Staubach fumbled a snap as Drew Pearson ran a pattern. Long-ley, standing nearby with a football, threw a pass to Pearson, who had pulled up. Witnesses said Longley then made a comment about Pearson and Slaubach made a comment about Longley. The two then went behind the dugout. The Cowboys play the .Denver Broncos In Dallas Saturday, Staubach and Longley will alternate as quarterbacks after Staubach starts for Dallas. What a Birthday Present! Free Press Photo by CRAIG PORTER Mark (The Bird) Fidrych fires to catcher Bruce Kimm in finale of series Wednesday night against Texas before 36,523 fans at Tiger Stadium. BY CURT SYLVESTER Free Press Sports Writer He was a happy man Wednesday night, Mark Fidrych was. He was happy for his 13th victory, happy for the stack of birthday cards in front of his locker, happy for the pounds and pounds of birthday cake his loving fans had delivered to him. But more than anything, he was happy for Willie Horton and Willie's 10th home run of the season. It was that ninth Inning home run a tremendous shot off the second deck in leftcenter that gave the Tigers and The Bird a 4-3 victory over Texas at Tiger Stadium. "That ninth-inning home run, I'll tell you . .," the Bud blurted out, suddenly finding himself at a loss for words. "I was just so happy when he hit that ... he got it. all." Anybody that, saw what happened wouldn't have had trouble guessing how Fidrych felt. Horton had barely rounded first base when Fidrych was sprinting out of the dugout to meet him at the plate. As Horton stepped on the plate, Fidrych grabbed him around the neck and hung on halfway to the dugout. "ALL I SAID WAS 'Wooo'," said Fidrych. "He (Horton) needed that bad, he hadn't had a home run in so long." "He did it," raved Fidrych. "He sat on the bench for nine innings and then came out and hit that home run ... he was so happy when he hit that. I know he was." As usual, Fidrych took his post-game bow, this time on his way to be interviewed for th benefit of television viewers in Texas. And Horton complied with his wishes . . . coming as far as the top of the dugout steps to wave to the cheering crowd. It was something that Fidrych had long wanted his team-males to do to take some of the praise from the fans who always wail around after the games to give him oiip. last cheer. Afterward, Horton quietly explained his feelings about winning a game for Fidrych. "He's just an everyday person," said Horton, "He hasn't changed his ways, I think he's had a good home and he listened to his parents. Please turn to Page (if), Column 1 f Sports Bid to Save PSL s Fall F ails BY MICK McCABE Free Press Sports Writer An apparent last-ditch effort to save the fall sports program for the city of Detroit failed Wednesday morning. A group of civic and business leaders met and concluded that their efforts would be better spent trying to educate the public to approve the millage when it appears on the ballot in November. The group was considering trying to raise an estimated $500,000 to begin all of the sports programs this fall. But it was decided that the ramifications of funding the sports program privately would have a negative effect on the millage in Novem ber. As it stands now, the only way the fall sports could begin is if Judge Robert DeMasio ordered the Detroit Board of Educa tion to fund the program. l.S. Lagers Win in Games For Disabled TORONTO - (AP) - The United States successfully de fended its men's basketball ti-1 1 e Wednesday, defeating Israel, 59-46, in the final event of the fifth Olympics for the Physically Disabled. The US. cage team was coached by Bud Rumple, coach of the Detroit Sparks wheelchair basketball team, and included two Sparks players Clary Odorowski and Denver Branum, THE TRIUMPH gave the Americans a total of 145 medals in the Games' best among 38 countries taking part in the eight-day competition. The U.S., which beat Israel by one point in taking the 1972 basketball crown, wound up with 62 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze medals. The Netherlands was next in the gold rush with 45, most of 38 gold, West Germany 35, Britain 34 and Canada 25. In the overall medal stand-Please turn tn Page 3D, t el. 3 What the meeting did produce was an agreement by leaders of Detroit Renaissance, Chamber of Commerce and New Detroit, Inc.,, to work with the Mayor's Office and private industry to band together to raise money to work for the passage of the millage when it is again placed on the ballot. It was also revealed at the meeting that over 46,000 people who voted in the primary two weeks ago did not vote, for or against, the Proposition A millage issue. Or simply, they couldn't find the issue, on the'ballot, "We feel Ihat (he failure of Proposition A was a lack of communication," said Tom Adams of Detroit Renaissance, who served as spokesman for (he group. "I don't think the people realized that of the $38 million, $30 million was to be paid for by business. "We know that business certainly didn't lobby against the passage of the millage. What we've got to do is make sure the public understands what will happen if the millage is defeated again." What has happened so far by the inital defeat of the millage is that Detroit will become the only major city in Please turn tn Page 7D, Col. 1 -i .m-"ni...j.i i urn" mmamm ..... I SSSssr: ' , jl! ' ti n Mif'MFh?rt SiAWmiV -hJ-xkl C kit Ji t . t mE Let 'em have it in your Farah pintucked denims. Trim-cut jeans that break into a pintuck-stitched flare from the knees down, in nice-to-live-with pre-washed denim. The European accent goes right to the top, in a pintucked denim vest. The jeans are 13.50 for juniors, 15.50 for preps; the vest is $12 and $13. HUGHES & HATCHER Mail and phone orders: 961-3060 MOST HUGHES & HATCHER STORES OPEN EVENINGS. MOST HUGHES & HATCHER STORES OPEN SUNDAYS. 1 .M--.. - - - - n j- r rfrirrtljflli.r" nl ilWftaWlj r i,.i,l,ti,lMiitJ4j41rf,iil.iii m.ii

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