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Morning Briefing

It Didn't Stop Jackie Robinson

July 14, 1987

If you followed the career of Jackie Robinson, you might have been amused when people started wondering whether Bo Jackson would be able to handle careers in both baseball and football.

In 1939-40 at UCLA, Robinson competed in four sports--football, basketball, baseball, and track and field. He excelled in all four, while at the same time pursuing an academic career. Here's what he accomplished in the nine-month period:

In football, he averaged 12.2 yards at wingback to help the Bruins complete an undefeated season, their first.

In basketball, he led the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division in scoring, outscoring All-American Ralph Vaughn of USC.

In track and field, he set a Pacific Coast Conference record of 25-0 in the long jump and then won the event in the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. championships.

In baseball, his statistics were more modest, but catcher Ted Bell said: "We really didn't play enough games to get a true indication. There was no doubt as to his ability. He was the best.

"Also," Bell said, "he was the best bridge player on the team."

The Philadelphia Eagles opened camp for no-contact drills Monday. The drills are called voluntary, but quarterback Randall Cunningham said he never considered passing them up.

Cunningham: "When Buddy Ryan says, 'You do it,' he gives you the indication that if you don't do it, you're going to lose your job. You do it."

Trivia Time: Would Bo Jackson, along with Jim Plunkett and Marcus Allen, make the Raiders the first team with three Heisman Trophy winners at the same time? (Answer below.)

Said Chi Chi Rodriguez, after getting blown away by Gary Player in the U.S. Senior Open: "My body and mind were ready this week, but my score wasn't. It simply wasn't meant for me to win. I thought I was Don Quixote for a while, but the impossible dream disappeared and I ended up being Sancho Panza."

Of Player, he said: "I wish him good luck in the British Open. God bless him. Maybe he'll win the British Open and go back to the regular tour, and leave us alone."

Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt thinks it's the bats, not the balls, that are producing more homers. He says the wood is better.

Said San Francisco's Jeffrey Leonard: "Hey, a tree is a tree."

But Oakland reliever Jay Howell said: "Maybe it's acid rain causing a hardening of the wood."

Said Hall of Fame member Lou Brock: "Maybe they're only using trees from the sunny side of the mountain."

Here's a note on the newest Dodger from the Chicago Tribune last month: "St. Louis outfielder Tito Landrum recently stopped a string of 10 consecutive strikeouts, but he did it by bunting into a double play."

Trivia Answer: Yes. Note: From 1947 through 1950, the Rams had four Heisman Trophy winners--Tom Harmon, Les Horvath, Bruce Smith and Glenn Davis--but no more than two played together the same year.

Quotebook

Rick Sutcliffe of the Chicago Cubs, on claims the ball is juiced up: "I think pitchers needed an excuse. Every now and then, you have to give the hitters credit. I pitch in Wrigley Field. You could hit a tomato out of there."

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