Michigan basketball Coach Bill Frieder is a card counter, and as such, he is not welcome at the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Frieder, a big winner in blackjack because of his ability to remember all the cards, said he was barred in Las Vegas several years ago when he was an assistant at Michigan. He didn't leave empty-handed, however. He recruited Richard Rellford and Butch Wade, who helped him make Michigan's program a successful one.
"I was out there for a high school tournament, and saw Richard and Butch in a casino," Frieder said. "I went up and sat right between them.
"It was illegal for me to talk to them. But I could talk to the dealer. So I introduced myself, told him who they were, and said, 'Now, I can't talk to them but I want you to know that I'm going to recruit the heck out of those two and I'm not going to stop until I get 'em.' "
Frieder said Rellford and Wade kept laughing and slapping hands behind his back. They also got a close view of his ability at the gaming table. As usual, he won.
"Oh yeah, that impressed them too," Frieder said.
The Name Game: When Minnesota Twins reliever Juan Berenguer was shooting down his former Detroit Tiger teammates in the American League playoffs, they were calling him El Bandito. After the St. Louis Cardinals lit him up for five of its first eight runs in the World Series, they changed it to El Gasolino.
Trivia Time: Under what names did Anthony Zaleski, Rocco Barbella and Walker Smith win world middleweight boxing titles? (Answer below.)
Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: From the Chicago Sun-Times: "Hartford's Dave (Tiger) Williams, in his first game since being acquired from Los Angeles, was embarrassed when he was sat on and worked over by Washington's Ed Kastelic. Jumping on the 6-2, 200-pound Kastelic to rescue Tiger was Hartford's 5-9, 160-pound Ray Ferraro, whose nickname is Pee Wee."
Add Sun-Times: It nominated Ron Meyer for the Creative Language Award after the Indianapolis coach said his non-union players had become "acclimatized" to the Colts' offense and had reached their full "potentialities."
He also has used such expressions as "gash your teeth" and "the pot has thickened."
Just Asking: Wonder if George Steinbrenner remembers saying this about new General Manager Lou Piniella when Piniella was a player with the Yankees: "I learned at times that Lou Piniella is not the brightest guy in the world. I've learned to live with him."
Trivia Answer: Tony Zale, Rocky Graziano and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Dan Hampton of the Chicago Bears, on the team's approach to the game: "Coach Ditka calls it Bear football. Call it whatever you want, it leaves welts."