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Morning Briefing

He Got Dime's Worth

December 15, 1987

Kentucky basketball Coach Eddie Sutton figured he'd finally put one over on announcer Dick Vitale, but he found himself over his head.

Vitale was a guest on a radio talk show in Lexington, Ky., and Sutton was listening to the show on his car radio as he was driving home.

Vitale was making some point that Sutton didn't agree with, so the coach decided to call the station on his car phone, disguising his voice.

"I tried to make my voice a little higher-pitched," Sutton said. "I said, 'I'm a student here at UK, and that's not going to work.' "

Vitale immediately recognized Sutton's voice, and said: "Is that you, Coach?"

Sutton owned up, and Vitale began excitedly talking again.

"I hardly got a word in for the next five minutes," Sutton said.

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, on the trade that sent Calvin Schiraldi and Al Nipper of the Red Sox to the Chicago Cubs for Lee Smith: "There's no truth to the rumor that folks on Waveland Avenue outside Wrigley Field have rushed to hardware stores and insurance agencies for Nipper protection."

Wait a Minute: Detroit quarterback Chuck Long, empathizing with Tampa Bay rookie Vinny Testaverde after the Lions beat the Buccaneers Sunday, said: "No matter how much you pay a rookie quarterback, they all look the same when they go on the field at first."

Long, of course, never saw Sammy Baugh. In his first year out of Texas Christian, Baugh led the Washington Redskins to the 1937 National Football League title, passing for three touchdowns as the Redskins beat the Chicago Bears, 28-21, on an ice-covered field at Wrigley Field. The date was Dec. 12, 1937, or 50 years ago Saturday.

Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers is averaging 13.7 points coming off the bench and leading the team in shooting percentage at 55%. He has made 20 of 48 three-point shots. The rest of team is 19 of 66.

He averaged 14.4 points in November, helping to spark the Pacers to their first winning record in that month in the team's 12-year National Basketball Assn. history.

"He's a rookie who plays like a veteran. He is a hell of a basketball player," Celtic Coach K.C. Jones said.

Trivia Time: If Charles White, who won the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. rushing title at USC in 1979, wins the NFL title this year, he will join what other five running backs as winners of both titles? (Answer below.)

Add White: With 159 yards against the Atlanta Falcons, he was by far the most productive of the seven Heisman Trophy winners who performed at running back Sunday. The others, with their yardage totals: Mike Rozier (91), George Rogers (64), Marcus Allen (60), Herschel Walker (44), Tony Dorsett (40), Bo Jackson (1).

USA Today passes along a couple of cutting comments by NBC analysts:

Al McGuire, during a college basketball game: "In a timeout, when my players said they understood, I knew they didn't."

Joe Namath, as his old team, the New York Jets, took a 42-20 whipping from the New England Patriots: "These guys are a joke."

Was Mike Ditka as wild as they say when he played for the Chicago Bears?

Denver Broncos assistant coach Stan Jones, a former teammate, told Rick Morrissey of the Rocky Mountain News about a time Ditka's wife held a birthday party for him.

"He was the only guy who didn't show up," Jones said. "We're all there waiting for him. He was out with a bunch of guys.

"He's a wild man, let me tell you."

Trivia Answer: Byron (Whizzer) White, O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, George Rogers, Marcus Allen.

Quotebook

Jerome Whitehead of the Golden State Warriors, recalling a tour of Brazil when he played at Marquette: "It's an unbelievable situation when 25,000 people are booing you and throwing garbage at you. It's like the whole country was Notre Dame."

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