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Morning Briefing

Reggie Finds George an Admirable Yankee

August 23, 1985

Reggie Jackson had his differences with George Steinbrenner, but he still professes admiration for the man who controls the New York Yankees.

"He's a very smart man, and he can be as charming as anyone I've ever met," Jackson told Peter Gammons of the Boston Globe. "He's made that club into, next to the Dodgers, the highest-valued club in baseball.

"The Dodgers would probably go for $100 million, the Yankees $60 million to $100 million. The Angels would probably go for $60 million to $75 million.

"Of course, George has mortgaged his future to win. Maybe that's not all wrong, but I'm not sure I agree. The Angels are paid for across the board, and I've got the only deferred salary on the club.

"George is up to his neck in loans and deferrals, so he'd probably only make $20 million, and I don't know how much of that he could keep."

Some people were calling Ken Griffey's circus catch against Boston the other night the greatest ever, but fellow Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield wouldn't give it a 10.

"Great catch, but I took a point off because of the landing," deadpanned Winfield. "He's got to work on that."

Trivia Time: The distance from the pitching mound to the plate is 60 feet, 6 inches. What is the distance from the mound to second base? (Answer below.)

From Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News: "Without the 1981 strike, Pete Rose would have broken Ty Cobb's record last season. He would done it in a Phillies uniform because there is no way Bill Giles would have failed to re-sign him after the 1983 season if the great Cobb publicity plum had been within reach.

" 'Hell,' Pete told me recently, 'I might be managing the Phillies this year instead of the Reds.' "

Add Forgettable Quotes: Said WBC super-lightweight champion Billy Costello on the eve of Wednesday's title defense against Lonnie Smith: "He's a jerk. He can't even tie his shoes. He can't take a body shot and he damn sure ain't got a chin."

But he's got the title. He put Costello away in the eighth.

Said Jack McKeon, general manager of the San Diego Padres, when told that Kurt Bevacqua had a dream he would be traded to a contender: "Let's be serious. How many clubs call for Kurt Bevacqua?"

Said Bevacqua, refusing to be squelched: "Well, I've been checking around, and no one's interested in Jack."

Keith Hernandez of the New York Mets, on Dwight Gooden: "He just might be the greatest pitcher of all time. For sure, he's the best I've seen. He is a gift from the gods."

From former Times staffer George Kiseda: "The next time a losing pitcher complains that he needs regular work to be effective, somebody ought to tell him about a guy named Babe Ruth. Every now and then the Yankees would let him pitch. Between 1920 and 1933, he pitched five times. His record was 5 and 0.

"As Casey used to say, you could look it up."

Add Ruth: In 1927, the Babe also defied the lefty-righty theory and shattered the myth that Yankee Stadium was tailored to his specifications.

Of his 60 home runs, 20 were hit off left-handers and 32 were hit on the road.

Trivia Answer: 66 feet 9 3/8 inches.

Quotebook

Coach Bum Phillips of the New Orleans Saints, asked if the recent holdout of linebacker Dennis Winston was over money: "We don't supply women, so it must be money."

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