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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Here's a Thief Who Is Really Cleaning Up

July 08, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

A crime wave has struck the All-England Tennis Club.

About 2,000 of Wimbledon's supply of 5,000 towels for use by players at the tournament are missing.

A spokesman for Initial UK, which supplies the towels to the club, said many had been kept as mementos by players.

"Quite a lot of the towels go home with the players," the spokesman said. "They like to keep them as souvenirs because they have the year of the championship on them."

The towels, made of 100 percent cotton, are in All England Club purple and green for men and powder blue and yellow for women.

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Trivia time: Since the designated hitter was established in 1973, name the only three American League players to appear in at least 2,000 games and then switch to the National League.

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What a drag: Two Thai transvestite volleyball stars who led a team of cross-dressers to a men's championship two weeks ago have given up hopes of making the Thai Olympic team.

"We have to admit that we want to be beautiful, wear makeup, long hair," Pitsanu Pleankum said in Bangkok. "So we know and accept that we cannot be on the national team and have to think about our country's reputation."

Pitsanu, 32, and Danupol Changeung, 24, sparked front-page controversy last week when they claimed Thailand's national volleyball authorities snubbed them because they wear cosmetics and women's clothes.

It would be difficult for Pitsanu to look more masculine for the sake of playing volleyball. A cabaret dancer at the beach resort of Phuket, he underwent a silicone breast operation four years ago.

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Long-eared caddies: Next week's Vermont Invitational Celebrity Tournament isn't likely to make page one.

But it will mark a first in golf history.

The caddies will be llamas. And no, they will not offer advice on club selection.

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Rome redux: A fan of Muhammad Ali has nearly fulfilled a promise to replace the long-lost Olympic gold medal won by the former heavyweight champion.

Chris Sininger returned recently from IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a replica of the medal Ali won at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Ali once said he tossed his gold medal into the Ohio River to protest racial injustice. Others say the boxer simply lost it.

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Powerful commish: NBA commissioner David Stern is ranked 16th among the world's 25 leading power brokers by Sales & Marketing Management magazine.

Ranked first: Roberto Goizueta, chairman and CEO of Coca Cola. No. 2: Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Ranked right behind Stern is Jian Zemin, president of the People's Republic of China.

Stern "practically wrote the rules on professional sports sponsorship," the magazine said.

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Trivia answer: Graig Nettles, Willie Wilson and Rickey Henderson.

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Quotebook: Lester Munson of Sports Illustrated, on why he's covering the Michael Irvin trial: "This story has sex, race, drugs, money and football, a great football player, and that's the kind of thing we're interested in."

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