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Morning Briefing

Yankees Wonder: Did Martin Say It or Not?

September 18, 1986

Billy Martin didn't say he would be back, but if he did return to manage the Yankees for the fifth time, he said he would get rid of the entire coaching staff. Or did he say it?

A reporter in New Rochelle, N.Y., where Martin was playing in a golf tournament, quoted Martin as saying of the coaching staff: "They'd all be gone. What does Roy White do for the organization, Don Zimmer, Mark Connors, Jeff Torborg? All gone if I'm the manager.

"White is useless. I don't trust Zimmer. I wonder what side Torborg is on and who he's loyal to. Connors isn't that good as a pitching coach."

Martin denied the story.

"I would gain nothing by telling him (the reporter) anything," Martin said. "His questions were basically nothing, and I was amazed when I read my supposed answers. I have witnesses who will verify what I have to say. My conversation with him in no way resembled what appeared in the paper the next day, and I told him so in no uncertain terms."

At this week's meeting of the New Orleans Quarterback Club, Saint General Manager Jim Finks shared the dais with Tulane football Coach Mack Brown and LSU Chancellor James Wharton.

Said Finks, noting that LSU was coming off a win and Tulane a loss: "What this weekend shows is that we're the second-best team in the state of Louisiana. No offense intended, Mack. We probably have the second-highest payroll, too. No offense intended, Chancellor."

Trivia Time: Don Shula has coached in the Super Bowl a record six times. Name the six coaches he has opposed. (Answer in column 4.)

A hot item among the novelties being sold at Penn State are golf balls that are imprinted with a picture of football Coach Joe Paterno.

Said Dave Baker, Penn State director of athletic facilities: "These balls are guaranteed to be like the Penn State offense and go up the middle three times out of four."

Baker said that even Pitt fans are buying the balls. "Now they can tee off on Paterno, something I guess they've wanted to do for years." he said.

22 Years Ago Today: On Sept. 18, 1964, the Dodgers beat Philadelphia, 4-3, to cut the Phillies' National League lead to six games. Thus started the famed collapse of the Gene Mauch-managed Phillies, who lost 12 of their next 13 games to finish second to the St. Louis Cardinals.

For What It's Worth: When Tampa Bay's No. 1 NFL draft pick, Bo Jackson, hit his first home run for the Kansas City Royals Sunday, he covered more ground going around the bases than the Buccaneers gained rushing against the Minnesota Vikings. Jackson's home-run trot covered 120 yards. Tampa Bay rushed for 83 yards.

Wait a Minute: Said Denver's John Elway, of the booing of Pittsburgh's Mark Malone by Steeler fans Monday night: "I know what he's going through. I had to go through that for a long time. It will take time, but he should be a good quarterback."

Malone came into the league in 1980, three years before Elway.

Frank Cashen, New York Met general manager, on the agony of waiting for the team to clinch the division title: "It's like waiting for your baby to be born. You've done everything you had to do a long time ago, but you don't know when it's going to happen."

Trivia Answer: Weeb Ewbank, Tom Landry, George Allen, Bud Grant, Joe Gibbs, Bill Walsh.

Quotebook

Northern Illinois Coach Jerry Pettibone, on playing Wisconsin between Badger trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas for games: "We caught them between the sand and The Sands."

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