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Morning Briefing

Zinging Zimmer a National Pastime

November 21, 1987

Bill Lee called him "the designated gerbil," and Joe Garagiola said, "He's got a face that looks like a blocked kick."

He's Don Zimmer, the new manager of the Chicago Cubs, whose ample girth has inspired a number of one-liners.

Kevin Nelson of "Baseball's Greatest Insults" wrote: "Boston fans used to call him the Beach Ball or the Walking Eggplant in reference to his, uh, lumpy appearance."

Don Rickles told him, "I've reserved three seats for you at my show tonight. One for you, one for your wife and one for your stomach."

As a player, Zimmer spent most of his days as an infielder with the Dodgers. At one stage, unhappy about his lack of playing time, he issued a play-me-or-trade-me ultimatum.

Said General Manager Buzzie Bavasi: "We played him and now we can't trade him."

They still call it the Big Game in the Bay Area, but emcee Tom Kelly, at the Rotary Club kickoff luncheon for the USC-UCLA game, said of the Cal-Stanford game: "Hell, they play that game up there just to see which band is screwier."

Add Kelly: He recalled this line by UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro after a long run by O.J. Simpson: "I knew we were in trouble when I looked up and the only guy with a chance to catch him was blocking for him."

Trivia Time: When Simpson ran 64 yards for the touchdown that beat UCLA, 21-20, in 1967, who was the USC blocker who accompanied him into the end zone. (Answer below.)

Would-you-believe-it Dept.: According to Ken Denlinger of the Washington Post, going into this season there were only two college football coaches whose teams had won nine or more games each of the previous eight years.

They were Tom Osborne and Earle Bruce.

From Track & Field News: "Soccer superstar Maradona attended the World Championships and after seeing the men's 100, he enthused, 'This race was so great, I have decided to go to Seoul to see the Olympics.' "

Add 100: Said Charley Francis, coach of Ben Johnson, after denying that Johnson used performance-enhancing drugs, as intimated by Carl Lewis: "First, Lewis said Ben false-started. Then Lewis said he was weakened by a stomach virus. That wasn't enough. Now this.

"Now, I really understand why Ben hates Lewis."

Add Lewis: After being upset by Stanley Floyd at Sao Paolo, Brazil, in September, he said, "I've never run in weather this cold."

Said Floyd: "It was just as cold in my lane as it was in his."

Who's-crying-now Dept.: Said Pam Shriver, after beating Katerina Maleeva to qualify to meet Katerina's sister, Manuela, in the Virginia Slims tournament in New York: "I've probably played them about 15 times and lost to them only once. I call them Boo and Hoo just because they never ever crack a smile. Sometimes on the court you could be a little lighter."

Manuela eliminated Shriver, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Trivia Answer: Earl McCullouch.


Broadcaster Bob Costas, on the multi-colored sports coats of Alabama basketball Coach Wimp Sanderson: 'It's good to see that Pinky Lee's estate has been settled."

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