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Morning Briefing

White Playing in Wrong Body?

October 29, 1987

Former NFL coach Sam Rutigliano, who helped Charles White deal with a drug problem in Cleveland, said he's not surprised that the running back has come back from a relapse this summer to play for the Rams.

"Charlie responds to pressure better than anyone I've ever known," Rutigliano said. "He really is, classically, a tremendously tough guy.

"If he were a fighter, he would be middleweight champion of the world. He would be like Kirk Douglas in 'Champion.' You would have to kill him to beat him.

"We went through a lot together. I love the guy."

Somebody wondered what would happen if they put White's spirit into, say, Eric Dickerson's body?

"He'd be illegal," Rutigliano said. "They wouldn't let him play. Can you imagine Charles in that Cadillac?"

From Oklahoma basketball Coach Billy Tubbs, likening his offense to that of the Sooner football team: "We like to run and nobody likes to pass."

North Carolina basketball Coach Dean Smith, on the return of red-shirt sophomore Keven Madden, who missed last season because of academic problems: "We may have created a monster. Now he wants to study more than he wants to practice."

Trivia Time: Minnesota's Bert Blyleven, a winner for Pittsburgh in 1979, is the first to win World Series games in both leagues since what other pitcher? (Answer to follow.)

The best second baseman in the American League? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, which ranks players annually according to a statistical formula, it's Johnny Ray of the Angels.

This might surprise some people in Pittsburgh who were glad to see Ray depart, opening up the position for Jose Lind.

Said one veteran Pirate watcher: "I'm not prepared to say that Lind is as good as Bill Mazeroski, but he covers more ground. He makes astonishing plays. The Pirates started winning when they got rid of Ray, whose range was about three feet in any direction."

Add Lind: Says the Pittsburgh Press: "Lind, 5-11, 170, has legendary leaping skills. He has won bets by making a standing jump over the heads of other players.

" 'Lynchburg had just gotten a new clubhouse with a really high ceiling,' said Steve Demeter, who managed Lind in his first season. 'Right now, there's an "X" on that ceiling to mark the spot where Lind leaped up and touched it. If you saw it, you'd say, no way.' "

From a UPI rundown on the 1987-88 NBA season: "Sacramento features two of the NBA's greatest big men. Unfortunately for the Kings, Bill Russell and Willis Reed are coaching, not playing."

Said Kansas State football Coach Stan Parrish, after the Wildcats played in homecoming games for four straight weeks: "We've seen more queens this year than the Miss America pageant."

From Arizona State nose guard Richard Davis, promising to return to play against UCLA after suffering a broken elbow in preseason practice: "The doctors don't believe me, but they don't really know how to treat me. They've never seen a body like mine."

Trivia Answer: Tommy John. He won for the Dodgers in 1978 and for the New York Yankees in 1981.

Quotebook

Cincinnati Manager Pete Rose, on the Reds' willingness to trade: "If it'll help us win, we'll trade Marge Schott for Joan Kroc."

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