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Morning Briefing

Definitely, He Takes the Cake

April 08, 1985

Before Auburn played Mississippi in the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament, Auburn publicity director John Lewandowski ordered a huge cake with this inscription: "Congratulations on Your 100th Win. Coach Sonny Smith."

As game-time approached, Lewandowski got nervous. He told John Pruitt of the Huntsville (Ala.) Times: "Lord, I don't know what I'll do with this thing if Ole Miss beats us. I guess I'll have to take it back to the Hyatt and eat it all myself."

Pruitt told him not to worry. "If Ole Miss wins," he said, "all you have to do is scratch out the word 'win' and write in 'loss.' Either way, it'll fit."

At the time, Smith's career record was 99-99.

Add Smith: He announced his resignation during the season but was coaxed into returning after Auburn went to the final 16 of the NCAA tournament.

At the time of his resignation, he said: "The difference between football and basketball at Auburn is this. The fans gave Pat Dye, the football coach, a $400,000 home to show their appreciation for his work. They gave me a mobile home and told me not to take the wheels off."

Texas Rangers pitcher Burt Hooton, a former All-American at the University of Texas, explained to Frank Luksa of the Dallas Times Herald why he doesn't throw a slider.

"I tried it against a guy named Randy Newman of TCU," Hooton said. "The catcher puts down three fingers for a slider and I shake him off. Three again and I shake him off. And again.

"Finally, he puts down three and points to my coach, saying, 'He's calling it.' I threw it and, boom, there it goes. Newman hit it about 500 feet. That was the last slider of my career."

Managers John Felske of Philadelphia and Jackie Moore of Oakland remember each other from their days in Milwaukee when Moore was a coach and Felske a struggling catcher.

They told Murray Chass of the New York Times that they had a lot in common.

Said Felske: "I started out as a pretty good hitter, and then I ran into a slider."

Said Moore, once a catcher himself: "He was better off than I was. I couldn't hit the fastball, the curve or the slider."

Felske had a lifetime average of .135. Moore's was .094.

Would-you-believe-it dept.: The Chicago Cubs drew more fans at spring training this year than the St. Louis Browns did in the regular season in 1935.

The Cubs drew 102,950 fans at Mesa, Ariz. The Browns, playing 76 home games, drew 80,922. That's an average of 1,065 a game.


Texas Rangers Manager Doug Rader, on why he will miss Mickey Rivers, who was cut last week: "The one reason why--and don't misconstrue this--that Mickey was so special to this club was that our team was so bad, he took our minds off what was going on out there."

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