Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd, winning pitcher for Boston in the opener against the New York Yankees, is a 6-1, 145-pound right-hander from Meridan, Miss., where he remembers sitting on the lap of Satchel Paige when the pitcher came over to visit his father.
"Satchel told me about pitchin' having nothing to do with weight," Boyd told Bob Sudyk of the Hartford Courant. "He told me, 'I weighed 135 pounds and threw peas at the knees and the high rider.' He told me, 'To mix 'em up. To throw it there when they're lookin' here , and throw it here when they're lookin' there .' And I'd be in the big show someday.
"I grew up on butter beans, black-eyed peas, collards, hocks and neck bones. My brothers are fat. I've smoked a pack of cigarettes a day since I was 15 to keep my weight down. I could put on 20 pounds, and it would add five or six miles on my fastball--but shorten my career.
"I want to go out of this game gray-headed, be the eldest statesman. That's why I'm saving some pitches for my old age. I have great feel in my finger tips. I can throw a knuckler now. But I'm saving it.
"My ultimate goal in this game is to pitch longer than anybody else in history. Satchel Paige pitched in the big show until he was 59."
Add Oil Can: Where he comes from they refer to beer as oil, and that's how he got his nickname.
"I used to drink a six-pack and then go out and play a game," he said. "Thought nothing of it. I don't do that anymore, though. Now, I play the game and then drink a six-pack."
Note: He has a Doberman named Doby who, he says, drinks a quart of beer a day.
When Ralph Sampson came to the University of Virginia, former Virginia player Marc Iavoroni was a student assistant coach and worked against Sampson in practice.
Sampson now is with the Houston Rockets and Iavoroni with the San Antonio Spurs. In Saturday night's game, Iavoroni held Sampson to 14 points and five rebounds as the Spurs defeated the Rockets, 126-105.
Orlando Woolridge of the Chicago Bulls, on raising his free-throw percentage 15% this season: "It's one thing to hear about it from your coach, but when your wife tells you it stinks, you tend to work on it."
Fifty years ago, Nosh Kawano was riding his bicycle from Los Angeles to Pasadena, where he served as the batboy for the Chicago White Sox in spring training. Today, he's the equipment manager of the Chicago Cubs and will throw out the first ball in the opener against Pittsburgh.
Although his parents were born in the United States, Kawano was interned in a detention camp in Nevada after the start of World War II.
When White Sox Manager Jimmy Dykes heard about it, he got Kawano out and put him to work as a clubhouse man.
Says Cubs publicist Doc Schueneman: "The next thing you know, Nosh was drafted by the Army. They sent him to the Philippine Islands after the United States had won them back late in the war.
"Well, you can imagine the predicament of the commander there. They couldn't let him run around the islands because someone might take a pot shot at him and say, 'Hey, I got one of them.'
"So they put him on a detail where his job was to guard the quarters of Red Cross nurses. I guess you'd have to say he had a pretty good detail."
Outfielder Barry Bonnell of the Seattle Mariners, asked to name his all-time favorite Mariner: "Noah."