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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Until There Was Scully, Allen Was Mr. Baseball

June 18, 1996|Allan Malamud

You probably grew up listening to Vin Scully. . . .

I grew up listening to Mel Allen, mostly in October. . . .

There were no major league baseball teams around here from 1947 to 1957 when the New York Yankees won nine American League pennants and seven World Series. . . .

Most Octobers during those years, the kids at Burnside Avenue Grammar School, Louis Pasteur Junior High, and L.A. High would huddle around radios and later television sets during recess, between classes, and at lunch time to hear Allen describe the exploits of his beloved Yankees. . . .

Until I heard Scully, I thought Allen was the best baseball announcer. . . .

He was particularly good on the radio, setting the scene, capturing the excitement and putting you in a box seat at Yankee Stadium or Ebbets Field as the Yankees and Dodgers played for the championships of New York, Brooklyn, and the world. . . .

Allen died Sunday at 83, but today I can still hear him saying, "How about that?" in his Alabama drawl after a running catch by Joe DiMaggio, a home run by Mickey Mantle or a strikeout pitch by Whitey Ford. . . .

*

At the start of the week, Dodger Mike Piazza was leading the National League in batting, former Dodger Eric Young of Colorado was second and former Dodger Jose Vizcaino of New York was seventh. . . .

Longshot of the year was Chipper Jones of Atlanta hitting into triple plays against the Dodgers in spring-training and regular-season games. . . .

You know baseball games need to be speeded up when the time of New York's 5-4 victory over Cleveland in 8 1/2 innings on Sunday was 3 hours 41 minutes. . . .

It wasn't Michael Jordan's greatest series, but I had no problem with him as most valuable player of the NBA finals. He was the leading scorer and the heart and soul of the team that won in six games. . . .

Somehow, I think Jordan has been more responsible for the Bulls' four NBA titles than the person owner Jerry Reinsdorf said was the key, General Manager Jerry Krause. . . .

NBC commentator Bill Walton has a good idea: Replace Scottie Pippen, who needs the rest, on the U.S. Olympic team with Shawn Kemp. . . .

Kemp's improvement on the court and in the interview room have been remarkable. . . .

Life imitates art: In Ron Shelton's new movie, "Tin Cup," Kevin Costner plays a sectional qualifier who contends for the U.S. Open title. A sectional qualifier, Steve Jones, won the Open on Sunday. . . .

Spanish bullfight critic Joaquin Vidal writes about the current season, "Not only are the matadors the least skilled ever and the public at its most ignorant, but the bulls never have been more docile and worthless." Wonder what he really thinks about it? . . .

Since September, UCLA teams have beaten USC in 23 of 30 meetings. The Bruin men have a 12-5 advantage and the women an 11-2 edge. . . .

The Trojan women's soccer team will play five games in the Coliseum next season. . . .

Three longtime former L.A. Ram employees--equipment manager Don Hewitt, ticket manager Don Nims and maintenance superintendent Joe Abad--will be honored at the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame on July 8. . . .

In a letter to Sam Manuel, the Irrelevant Week honoree who was drafted last by San Francisco, former NFL commissioner and Ram general manager Pete Rozelle recalls that he signed a couple of pretty good players who weren't drafted by anyone: Dick (Night Train) Lane and Gene (Big Daddy) Lipscomb. . . .

Hottest trainer at Hollywood Park is Eddie Gregson, whose Gato Del Sol won the 1982 Kentucky Derby. Gregson, a Stanford graduate and former actor, has won with eight of his 12 starters. . . .

Official figures show that 14,738 paid $7,579,100, a record for a non-heavyweight fight in Nevada, for the Oscar De La Hoya-Julio Cesar Chavez bout at Caesars Palace. . . .

The encouraging thing for Major League Soccer was that nearly all the 92,216 fans who watched the 2-2 tie between the United States and Mexico in the U.S. Cup stayed to see the Galaxy beat Tampa Bay, 3-2, in a shootout in the second game of the doubleheader. . . .

I never thought I would see the day, such as Monday, when there would be two soccer stories on page 1 of The Times sports section and the story of the Dodgers moving into a tie for first place in the National League West on page 3.

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