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Morning Briefing

Dark Was Right, but Just Barely

October 08, 1987

Former pitcher Gaylord Perry admits he never was much of a hitter, and therein lies a story, which the Chicago Tribune passes along.

Perry broke in with the San Francisco Giants in 1962. As he took batting practice one day, Giant Manager Alvin Dark took a look at his pitiful swing and made a prediction.

"We'll land a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits his first major league home run," Dark said.

Seven years later, on July 20, 1969, the public address announcer at the Houston Astrodome, where the Giants were playing, announced that Neil Armstrong had become the first man to walk on the moon. Later, during the game, Perry hit a home run.

"Dark was right," Perry said. "But only by an hour."

According to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, a network producer gave this warning to San Francisco Manager Roger Craig before Game 1: "We'll have a camera on you, so don't pick your nose."

"Whadaya mean?" Craig roared. "That's one of my signals."

Joe Garagiola said he was awakened Wednesday morning by a St. Louis disc jockey who wanted to know how he and Vin Scully could have blown the call on Candy Maldonado's ground-rule double the night before.

"It could have been worse," Garagiola said. "I could have woke up this morning and been Robert Bork."

Trivia Time: Who hit the first home run for the Dodgers in their first game in Los Angeles in 1958? (Answer to follow.)

Murray Chass of the New York Times, trying to explain why Walt Terrell is 32-7 at home and 15-25 on the road in three seasons at Detroit, offers this teaser: "The Tigers deny it, but others say the pitching rubber is not square with home plate, instead off by about four inches.

"One manager, who didn't want to be named because he didn't want the Tigers to label him as crazy, said that the angle created by the difference helps the Tigers' right-handed pitchers get strikes on fastballs that move away from left-handed hitters."

San Diego's Tony Gwynn told Times staffer Bill Plaschke: "This game ain't about home runs, about RBIs. It's about being consistent."

Can't it be both? Nobody was more consistent than Lou Gehrig, and nobody was better at driving in runs. In the 13 full seasons he played, Gehrig averaged 147 RBIs a season. He still holds the American League record of 184 RBIs for a season.

31 Years Ago Today: On Oct. 8, 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers, 2-0. Sal Maglie was the opposing pitcher and gave up five hits. The Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the Series. Mickey Mantle's homer in the fourth was all Larsen needed.

Add Larsen: Asked recently if he ever got tired of people asking him about the no-hitter, he said: "No, why should I?"

Trivia Answer: Third baseman Dick Gray. Before a crowd of 78,672 at the Coliseum, the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, despite two home runs by Hank Sauer.

Quotebook

Philadelphia Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan, on the replacement team that lost to the Chicago Bears, 35-3: "We might have the worst bunch of guys together we've ever seen as football players. I don't know what anybody else has, but I'd trade mine with anybody, sight unseen."

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