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1985 A Look Back

December 30, 1985|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

But the proposal has more than a few people steamed. Santa Ana Stadium is considered one of the finer football facilities in the county. A lot of people think it would be a shame to lose it. Enough people, in fact, that they have taken to passing out flyers and picketing.

But the city says there are plans to build a new, better stadium for $11 million. You think that would make everyone happy?

"They're trying to shove this (stadium) down our throats," replied a mob of 20, when it was proposed that this new and improved stadium could be built in Centennial Park.

So what we have is a stadium without a home and an arena without a team.

You call this city planning?

8. ARKY VAUGHAN: RESPECT, FINALLY Red Smith, the late-great New York sports columnist, once described him as, "baseball's most superbly forgotten man."

Arky Vaughan, who went to Fullerton High School, was one of the finest shortstops of his time. That was from 1932 to 1948 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Brooklyn Dodgers. During that span, he collected 2,103 hits in 1,817 games for a career batting average of .315.

He was named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1935 when he hit .385 and had 19 home runs.

He was the first player to hit two home runs in an All-Star Game. He did that in 1941.

Yet, it wasn't until this year, 33 years after his death, that Cooperstown finally gave Arky Vaughan the respect he deserved and inducted him into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And even then . . . well, you see, the Hall makes up commemorative souvenir envelopes for each player's induction. The Hall spelt Vaughan's name Vaughn on his envelope.

9. SADDLEBACK: GAUCHOS HAD THE HORSES When Saddleback College defeated Fullerton, 32-13, in the fifth PONY Bowl, the Gauchos finally shed the stigma of being the second-best community college football team in Orange County. With quarterback Jason Schmid leading the way, Saddleback went 11-0 and was named co-national champions along with Snow College of Utah.

Schmid set single-season school records for passing yards (2,682) and touchdown passes (23). He was named the state's Player of the Year, and Ken Swearingen was named the state's Coach of the Year.

One of Swearingen's success secrets was his ability to communicate and motivate. Take for example this bit of wisdom he bestowed on a reporter.

"You can beat a horse . . . but you can't make him drink."

Uh, yeah.

10. LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE: THE STRAIGHT DOPE It started in early July. Tests, suspensions, appeals, rulings, decisions.

Using a new, more-sophisticated drug testing method instituted by the California Horse Racing Board, officials discovered more than a few quarter horses at Los Alamitos Race Course with narcotics in their urine after races. Six horses tested positively for narcotics on one fell swoop one summer night. Six trainers were suspended by the end of the summer meeting.

Most of the time, the narcotics were of the pain-killing variety, used to allow horses that were hurt or injured to run when they shouldn't.

Additional horses tested positively for narcotics during the fall meeting. Most notably, Rise N High, a 4-year-old gelding who had a chance to win the world championship. The horse was suspended from running in one race and was going to be barred from the prestigious Champion of Champions, but, at the last moment, was made eligible for the race.

Trainers have continued to inject their horses with narcotics, and they continue to get caught. What have they learned? Apparently not a whole lot.

Said one of Los Alamitos' leading trainers, Russell Harris: "This happens when some little operator tries to get ahead. They make all the good trainers look bad. I think they're too soft on these guys. I'd give them a life suspension."


The Angels are getting rid of players by the bushels, which could mean they'll find that winning combination next season, or drift farther down.

The Rams' future--as long as it's legal to kick, fumble and tip the ball--seems to be rosy, or, should we say, super.

Unfortunately, given the current win-at-any-cost attitudes of many high schools, don't be surprised if another Ocean View situation crops up. On the bright side, the kids will once again provide some of the most wonderful moments of 1986.

And the Westdome, well, don't look for it to go away. How could it? It's not even here yet.

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