Among the new books out is "Ditka, An Autobiography," by Mike Ditka and sports writer Don Pierson, and USA Today has picked out some highlights. Excerpts:
On Jim McMahon: "I thought Jim should have been the most valuable player in the Super Bowl. His family values are about as good as you can get . . . He never says anything bad about his teammates. He's too busy saying derogatory things about me."
On why the Bears drafted William Perry: "We didn't want to play against him."
On Buddy Ryan: "I hear players say that Buddy is a father and friend. I want my coaches to be coaches and teachers. I don't particularly want them to be a father. If a player's relationship with his coach is better than with his father, he didn't have a very good relationship with his father."
On his playing days: "Nobody remembers the greatest catch I ever made in football. You know why? It was the day Gale Sayers scored six touchdowns against the 49ers in Wrigley Field in 1965."
Add Ditka: Recalling negotiations between former teammate Ed O'Bradovich and George Halas, he wrote: "Ed said he was worth a raise of $4,000. The Old Man told how bad he'd played and how much money the Bears were losing. Ed lowered it to $3,000.
"Then Halas would accuse Ed of . . . hanging around with the wrong crowd and not doing his calisthenics properly. Ed lowered it to $2,000. Halas would go on and get it down in Ed's mind to $1,000. By the time they were through, Ed stood up and said, 'Hey, coach, let me give you a check for $500.' "
Trivia Time: Who is the only player in major league history to win a batting title, an RBI title and an MVP award in his first three seasons? (Answer below.)
Tommy John told Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe: "If the Angels had Don Baylor in '83 and '84, they probably would have won the pennant. That's what I think he meant to the Angels. A lot of bull went on in the Angel clubhouse after he left that wouldn't have gone on because guys would have had to fight Baylor first. You can't measure what he means to a ballclub in the area of intangibles."
Funny thing is, Baylor has yet to play in a World Series. He's played for Baltimore, Oakland and New York, franchises that have totaled 11 World Series appearances during his career--but none while he was aboard.
Boris Loginov, coach of the Soviet motoball team in the Goodwill Games, told Joe Gergen of Newsday: "It is one of the least dangerous of motorcycle sports. The most terrible injury is legs being broken. Or sometimes broken collarbones. And the goalkeeper sometimes breaks his hands because the ball is heavy and moves quickly. But we finish the season with the same number of players."
Gergen: "He didn't say if they were the same players."
Add Motoball: Said Soviet star Vladimir Serebriakov: "The only problem we have is gasoline. We play two matches a week and my team sometimes does not have funds, so we have to pay out of our pockets. We are amateurs."
From the Denver Post: "Chris Washburn, No. 1 draft choice of the Golden State Warriors, was interviewed and given physicals by six teams. Five insist they would not have taken him had he been available on their turn in the first round."
Trivia Answer: Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees.
Bill Lyon of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "If at first you don't succeed, find out if the loser gets anything."