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Morning Briefing

One Blooper Just Led to Another for Wismer

April 23, 1986

Harry Wismer was one of the most famous announcers of his day, but he wasn't necessarily the most accurate. For that, Bud Greenspan remains forever thankful.

Greenspan, award-winning producer of Olympic Games specials and other documentaries, told the New York Times: "About 30 years ago I produced a record album called 'Greatest Moments in Sports.' One section featured the recorded mistakes of some of the top radio sportscasters, one of whom was Wismer."

Wismer, thinking he had been held up to public ridicule, sued for $500,000. Greenspan, broke and unemployed, had been trying to get a bank loan for $5,000 but was getting nowhere until the suit. Finally, the bank officer told him, "If Wismer thinks he has a chance of collecting $500,000, you must have something with that album."

He was right. The album became a best-seller when Gillette ordered 1 million records as a Father's Day present.

Greenspan: "I paid back the bank, but the settlement with Wismer was the crowning joy. I had enough witnesses to prove that nothing I could produce would hold Wismer up to further embarrassment and humiliation than his weekly broadcasts, so his lawyers offered a settlement.

"The terms? Wismer would drop the lawsuit if I would use him as one of the announcers on my sequel album."

Trivia Time: Who was the second baseman voted MVP of the 1960 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates? (Answer below.)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says: "You're not going to have a quality playoff when you've got teams under .500."

He could be right, but it was a sub-.500 team that knocked the Lakers out of the playoffs in 1981. Houston, which had finished 40-42, beat the Lakers in two of three games, scoring both victories at the Forum. The Rockets, led by Moses Malone, advanced to the NBA final, losing to Boston in six games.

From Steve Marcus of Newsday: "Sid Fernandez, a native of Hawaii, was tired of seeing actor Tom Selleck wear a Tigers cap in his 'Magnum' television series, which is shot on location in Hawaii. Fernandez knows Selleck and gave him a Mets cap in hopes that he would switch from the Tigers. 'I gave it to him last year,' Fernandez said. 'I guess he's not going to wear it.' Selleck might as well switch. The Tigers didn't do so great last year and his show is no longer among the leaders in the Nielsen ratings."

Trivia Answer: Bobby Richardson of the Yankees. He set a World Series record with 12 runs batted in. His counterpart at second base, Bill Mazeroski, won the Series for the Pirates with a ninth-inning homer in the seventh game.

Add Mazeroski: Former Pirate shortstop Dick Groat told the Pittsburgh Press: "Bill Mazeroski is the greatest defensive second baseman the game of baseball ever saw. People used to be impressed that we led the league in double plays five consecutive years, but I just said, 'Yeah, and as soon as I left, they led it again with Gene Alley at shortstop.' My daughter could have played shortstop and they still would have led the league in double plays." Quotebook

Ken Denlinger of the Washington Post, on the space occupied by 6-foot 6-inch, 260-pound Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers: "In the paint, he is the paint."

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