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Morning Briefing

Chicago Just Isn't Their Kind of Town

July 23, 1987

Big league managers are becoming wary of trips to Chicago.

John Felske came into town in June with the Philadelphia Phillies and promptly became the first manager in the major leagues to be fired this season.

In July, Pat Corrales rejoined the Cleveland Indians in Chicago after being a coach in the All-Star game at Oakland. Corrales barely had his bags unpacked when he, too, was fired.

Whitey Herzog, who is closer to becoming Manager of the Year than being fired, came into Chicago in early June with the St. Louis Cardinals. He checked into a suite at a downtown hotel. The suite was burglarized.

Later in the month, Pittsburgh Pirate Manager Jim Leyland got the same suite as Herzog. Leyland was also a burglary victim, losing $3,000.

Said Manager Roger Craig of the San Francisco Giants: "Believe me, when I came into town, I made a point not to ask for that room."

Add Managers: Life isn't all that great for Chicago's two managers, either.

Jim Fregosi's White Sox are in last place in the American League West, and Gene Michael's Cubs have all but fallen out of contention in the National League East.

Fregosi and Michael are at the top of the list when it comes to speculation as to who will be the next to be fired.

Shortly after a cardboard likeness of Fuzzy Zoeller disappeared from Blackrock Country Club in Mentor, Ohio, golf pro Jack Austin received a ransom note pieced together with letters cut from newspapers and magazines.

"If you want to see Fuzzy Zoeller again, put one dozen Titleist and Ultra balls in a brown paper bag and give to Buzz or Cindy. No law or Fuzzy Zoeller dies," the message read.

Then came photographs, sent in envelopes from places as far away as Boston, Kansas City and Connecticut. Each contained a photograph of Zoeller's likeness, the golfer's smiling face peering out from under a different silly-looking hat.

When Zoeller's likeness reappeared at the country club attached to an inner tube bobbing in a golf course pond, members thought the drama was over. But Austin decided to even the score.

Last Saturday, he had police officer Fred Fuldauer, a club member, and two Lake County Sheriff's deputies serve mock warrants on about 15 club members for kidnapping. Most of the golfers were taken to the Mentor City Jail in a paddy wagon, and spent much of the day in a holding cell.

One woman finally conceded that the cardboard Zoeller was a house guest of hers for most of June.

Coach Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears says if William (The Refrigerator) Perry doesn't report to training camp at 325 pounds or less, the biggest Bear will be sent back into hibernation.

"You can book this. If his weight is not under 325, he will not be at Platteville (site of the Bears' training camp in Wisconsin). He can go back to South Carolina and do whatever . . . he wants to do, and we will go on without him," Ditka said.

Perry, a former Clemson All-American, has stayed in Aiken, S.C., since the season ended because he is building a home.

"We called him the other day," Ditka said. "Supposedly, he weighs 325. Hey, who knows? He's said he's running twice a day. He runs from the refrigerator to the bathroom."

Quotebook

Atlanta Brave Manager Chuck Tanner: "I'm fortunate and blessed. Everyday I put on a uniform I feel like I'm 13 years old."

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