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Morning Briefing

Stone Doesn't Roll, So He's Got a Rock

September 09, 1987

The subject was puns, and Gus Schrader of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette recalled that Tommy Fitzgerald of the Louisville Courier-Journal never passed up a chance to use one in his college football stories.

In 1946, when Indiana upset Illinois, 14-7, the winning score came after Illini quarterback Perry Moss was sacked by a Hoosier end identified by Fitzgerald as Bill Stone. Here was Fitzgerald's lead:

"BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--A rolling Stone gathers no Moss. Until the final minutes of Saturday's superb football game here, that is, and then Indiana end Bill Stone rolled through Illinois blockers, knocked Perry Moss loose from the ball and recovered it in the end zone for a 14-7 Indiana victory."

After finishing his story, Fitzgerald joined the other writers at a tavern where he learned an alarming fact. A local writer casually mentioned that the name of the Hoosier end who caused the fumble was Kawalski, not Stone.

Fitzgerald was shocked. He rushed to the telephone to call the paper, asking them to change his story. The paper was right on deadline, but the deskman said he'd do the best he could.

The next morning Fitzgerald picked up the paper and was horrified to see this lead on his story:

" BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--A rolling Kawalski gathers no Moss. Until the final minutes . . . "

Add Writers: Larry Guest of the Orlando Sentinel recalled that a top editor of the Dallas Morning News once banned the use of nicknames such as Tommy, Charlie, etc.

Guest: "A football writer promptly reported: 'Doak Walker has been sidelined by a Charles horse.' "

Trivia Time: Bobby Thomson, whose home run off Ralph Branca won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants, also hit a two-run homer in the first game of the best-of-three playoff series to lead the Giants to a 3-1 win. Who was the Brooklyn pitcher? (Answer below.)

Lend an Ear: Tom Heinsohn, demoted to No. 2 NBA commentator behind Billy Cunningham, told Bob Dolgan of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that CBS executive producer Ted Shaker had thanked him for "bringing basketball broadcasting out of the Dark Ages."

Heinsohn: "My job was to explain basketball strategy in the broadcasts. Innovators don't always get the credit they deserve. Van Gogh never sold a painting while he was alive."

Yeah, but he was great in Lite beer commercials.

Anyone notice that while Vinny Testaverde was completing 6 of 24 passes for 42 yards for Tampa Bay Saturday, his successor at the University of Miami was completing 17 of 27 for 234 yards?

Said Miami receiver Brian Blades: "It has been Vinny this, Vinny that around here for the past two years. Well, Vinny's gone. We've got a new man in here who can do the job. His name is Steve Walsh."

From Moss Klein of the Sporting News: "Don't dismiss the possibility of Tommy Lasorda managing the Yankees next season. The Dodgers are exploring managerial possibilities. Lasorda, who resisted overtures from George Steinbrenner in 1985, is on good terms with the Yankees' owner and his exuberant personality would be viewed as an asset by Steinbrenner."

Trivia Answer: Ralph Branca.


Former umpire Bill McGowan, to a runner who protested he was safe at first: "If you don't think you're out, read the morning paper."

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