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Morning Briefing

If It Truly Belonged to Him, It Had to Be the Genuine Article

May 31, 1987

Among the stories they tell about Bob Waters, the popular Newsday boxing reporter who died this month, is the one about the lost wallet.

A group of writers were sitting in the Galleria Lounge in Caesars Palace when they overheard the bartender say a wallet had been found the previous night.

"That must be mine," Waters said.

"Just a minute," the bartender said. "I think there's a name inside. What's your name?"

"Genuine leather," Waters said.

If you know a good way to eat crow, John McGrath needs your help. He's the Denver Post reporter who had this to say after the Detroit Pistons won a couple of blowouts last weekend:

"It is time to put a fork in the Boston Celtics. Like right this minute, even though there are still seven days in May and lots (ugh!) more basketball left. The Celtics, to borrow the eternal words of Charlie Dressen, is dead.

"It was fun while it lasted, but the Boston Celtics are now just another tired basketball team usurping the airwaves on Sunday afternoon. Get 'em out of here."

Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: After he went into the stands to take on a fan in Milwaukee, Boston's Kevin McHale got a phone call from his wife, but she wasn't inquiring about his health.

McHale: "She called and said, 'How much is this gonna cost us?' "

Trivia Time: What do Tony Trabert, Sandy Koufax and Oscar Robertson have in common? (Answer below.)

After eight home runs were hit in Friday night's Detroit-Minnesota game, Tiger Manager Sparky Anderson said: "Can you imagine the Big Red Machine with that nitroglycerin ball? They'd probably hit 340 homers a year. Souped? These balls just fly."

Funny thing is, none of Sparky's Big Red Machines set a Cincinnati club record. The 1956 team, with Frank Robinson, Wally Post and Ted Kluszewski, hit 221 homers, tying the National League record set by the 1947 New York Giants. The record still stands.

The major league record is 240 homers, set by the 1961 New York Yankees. That's when Roger Maris hit 61 and Mickey Mantle 54.

Next time you're driving down the freeway at 50 m.p.h., think of it this way: The speed at which you're traveling is the difference between the speeds of the pitches thrown by Roger Clemens and Phil Niekro.

When Clemens pitched Boston to a 1-0 win over Cleveland last week, his fastball was clocked at 98 m.p.h. Niekro's knuckleball was clocked at 48 m.p.h.

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, on the fact that no managers have been fired yet this season: "I think a lot of teams are afraid that if they fire their manager, someone is going to make them hire a black one."

50 Years Ago Today: On May 31, 1937, Carl Hubbell's 24-game winning streak for the New York Giants ended with a 10-3 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was Hubbell's first defeat since July 13, 1936, when he was beaten by the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.

Tommy John of the New York Yankees, on his bionic left elbow, which was reconstructed by surgery in 1974: "My arm will be 13 on September 25, and we're going to have a bar mitzvah for it. We're going to bring in Buddy Hackett, and, who knows, maybe I can get a fountain pen."

Trivia Answer: All three were high school basketball stars who attended the University of Cincinnati.

Quotebook

Chicago White Sox outfielder Daryl Boston, after going into the stands to catch a foul ball against the Boston Red Sox: "It's a good thing it was Seat Cushion Night."

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