George Raveling has deserted the farm country for the big city, but the new USC basketball coach told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post that he still keeps in touch.
"I phoned back to Iowa City and was talking to my secretary," he said. "She said one of my assistant coaches had called and reported that the bathroom at their home had caught on fire. I was alarmed.
"She said, 'Don't be. The bathroom was far enough away from the house that no damage was done.' "
Add Raveling: Of his school days in the Washington, D.C., ghetto, he said: "If you went to my school with two ears, it was obvious you were a transfer student."
From Joe Gergen of Newsday: "The cover of the Yankee media guide spotlights four players and the slogan, 'Follow The Leaders.' Those who chose to follow Phil Niekro, one of the elite quartet, found themselves in Cleveland."
Trivia Time: Name the five pitchers who have won 20 games in a season for the Angels in the 25-year history of the club. (Answer below.)
From Frank Luksa's account of Wrestlemania II in the Dallas Times Herald: "The Fabulous Moolah, an ongoing legend, defended her women's world title in a brisk, two-minute bout. The Fabulous Moolah thus continued the reign she began simultaneously with the Black Sox scandal."
Steve Kemp, on the Dwight Gooden fastball that struck him out in the ninth inning of the opener at Pittsburgh: "I could see it and I could hear it, but I couldn't hit it."
He added: "I'm not in awe of the guy. I still think I could hit him. But, God, you've got to be impressed. This was his opening game, and he's supposed to get better as the season goes on. Are you kidding?"
73 Years Ago Today: On April 10, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson threw out the first ball as the Washington Senators edged the New York Yankees, 2-1, in the opener at Washington. Walter Johnson of the Senators gave up an unearned run in the first inning but was not to allow another run for 55 consecutive innings. Don Drysdale broke the record in 1968 with 58 straight shutout innings.
As a postscript to Mike Downey's item on Lee Trevino rating the Masters behind the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA, and tying it with the TPC for fourth, here's the question: Guess which of the five Trevino has never won.
From John McGrath of the Denver Post, sympathizing with Tom Lasorda over the ban on visitors: "Telling him to keep his cronies out of the clubhouse is like telling Liberace to start wearing fatigues."
Tom Heinsohn is calling it the best Boston team ever, but you won't get Hubie Brown to vouch for their invincibility.
"Look," said the coach of the New York Knicks, "we beat them once and we might have had two more wins if Bird doesn't turn into Superman in the second half. So you're asking the wrong bleeping guy."
Add Bird: Said Bill Russell when asked how he compared to the Boston forward: "The only thing I can do better than Larry Bird is leap."
Trivia Answer: Dean Chance, Clyde Wright, Andy Messersmith, Bill Singer, Nolan Ryan. Note: Since 1974, when Ryan did it, the Angels have not had a 20-game winner.
Denver Nuggets Coach Doug Moe, on forward Bill Hanzlik: "He's a 100% shooter, 75% in practice and 25% in games."