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Morning Briefing

Baseball Also Has Its Breaks

February 02, 1988

Kirk Gibson opted for baseball rather than risk life and limb in the National Football League, but the former Michigan State receiver has found that the national pastime likewise can be hazardous to your health.

At Detroit, Gibson suffered avariety of injuries that put him on the disabled list five times. Twice, he missed the last half of seasons. He was limited to 119 games in 1986 and 128 last year.

Then there's Rodney Peete. The USC quarterback didn't miss a game last season with injuries, but in his first game with the baseball team Saturday he broke a finger at shortstop.

He's out for 4 to 6 weeks.

From Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe: "The Yakult Swallows are going to love Doug DeCinces, who finished with St. Louis in 1987. DeCinces could be a great long-ball threat in Japan, and teammates won't be able to understand his chronic complaints. He was dubbed 'California Whine' when he played in the United States."

Trivia Time: Who scored on the longest touchdown play in Super Bowl history? (Answer below.)

Now-it-can-be-told dept.: Pete Banaszak, recalling Oakland's 33-14 loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl II, told Pro Football Weekly: "I remember coming out of the huddle on the first play and looking at them--Ray Nitschke, Henry Jordan, Herb Adderley, Willie Davis. They were guys I collected bubble-gum cards of when I was younger. I grew up near Green Bay.

"On the first play, I was supposed to block David Robinson, and Hewritt Dixon carried the ball. I didn't even touch Robinson. Nitschke came over to get Dixon for no gain. I had spike marks all over my back."

If it's any consolation to John Elway, a lot of quarterbacks, including Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh and Bobby Layne, have had worse days in NFL championship games.

Baugh was the Washington quarterback when the Chicago Bears beat the Redskins, 73-0, in 1940, and Layne was the losing quarterback when the Cleveland Browns beat the Detroit Lions, 56-10, in 1954. Layne completed 18 of 42 passes and had 6 intercepted.

The weeklong media crush in San Diego recalled the complaint of Bob Asher, a backup rookie defensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys in 1970.

"I've never seen so many newspapermen in my life," Asher said. "Tell you the truth, I'm getting tired of answering the same question over and over."

What question, he was asked.

"What's your name?"

Said Denver Coach Dan Reeves, advised that the Broncos, 0-3 in Super Bowls, are threatening Minnesota's 0-4 record: "Bud Grant said 0-4 is better than 0-0. If we get another chance and lose, I'll let you know if that's true."

Trivia Answer: Fulton Walker of Miami. He returned a kickoff 98 yards in 1983 when the Dolphins lost to the Washington Redskins, 27-17.


Don Sutton, after Tom Lasorda told him to hang in there when he was getting bombed during his first term with the Dodgers: "I've got to. I can't sing or dance, and we've already got a pitching coach."

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