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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

White House Lawn Seemed a Fine Place to Play Ball

May 31, 1996|THOMAS BONK

The College World Series begins today in Omaha, but the first one was held in 1947 in Kalamazoo, Mich., a two-team affair between California and Yale.

Two top players were Cal outfielder Jackie Jensen, who turned out to be the 1958 American League most valuable player, and Yale first baseman George Bush, who turned out to be the 41st president of the United States.

George Felske was the catcher for Yale in 1947. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he remembers Bush as a slick-fielding, weak-hitting infielder.

On one trip to Washington, Felske said he went to the racetrack with a group of players. Bush went sightseeing in the nation's capital with some others.

Years later, Felske wrote his former teammate a note: "I asked him, 'If you had gone to the racetrack and I had gone to D.C., would I have been president?' "

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Trivia time: Who was the first American League player to have his uniform number retired by his team?

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Wash and wear: The first thing you do to break in a baseball glove, Mike Gallego of the St. Louis Cardinals told Men's Journal, is to run hot water over it, then pop it in a dryer set on the fluff cycle.

Yeah, and if it's not soft by then, at least it's going to be clean.

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Far out: Bum Phillips, former coach of the Houston Oilers, said he lives so far out in the country that "Saturday Night Live" doesn't reach his television set until Tuesday.

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Maybe it's 'Bullfrog': Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News on 5-foot-9, 150-pound golfer Corey Pavin's nickname of "Bulldog": "Pavin looks about as much like a bulldog as Mike Tyson does a violin teacher."

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Get the checkered flag: And you thought they were pretty fast at the Indy 500. Al Sobotka, the Zamboni driver at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, has a personal best of six minutes for resurfacing the ice.

The Red Wings made sure he's off for the summer, though.

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Nice, really nice: The summer heat in Atlanta for the Olympics may take its toll, but Dr. David Martin, a professor of cardiopulmonary care sciences at Georgia State, doesn't think the world's athletes are going to be as affected as some others.

Said Martin: "An elite athlete is a lot more prepared than the average blob who's a spectator."

Blob?

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If the shirt fits: If Charles Barkley does leave Phoenix, the Suns may wind up losing their shirts. That would be all those Barkley jerseys the team suddenly wouldn't sell anymore.

The Suns estimate that Barkley accounts for 60% of all the sales of player merchandise.

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No question: The headline in the June issue of Sport magazine on a story about a certain outfielder for the Colorado Rockies named Dante: "Bichette Happens."

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Trivia answer: Lou Gehrig's No. 4 by the Yankees in 1939.

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And finally: The secret of youth from the Houston Rockets' Clyde Drexler, who turns 34 this month: "Shave your hair as close as you can get it and try to keep it that way because the extra weight can really affect your play."

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