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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Magic Celebrates a Birthday, but His Health Is Still No. 1

August 15, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

Magic Johnson celebrated his 37th birthday Wednesday and the most important thing is that he feels well. . . .

I knew Tim Wallach would be a positive influence in the Dodger clubhouse, but the surprise is how productive he has been on the field at 38 after being released by the Angels. . . .

Minnesota designated hitter Paul Molitor, who will turn 40 on Wednesday, is battling Cleveland center fielder Kenny Lofton for the American League lead in hits. . . .

In this day and age, it is remarkable that the Dodgers don't have a pitcher with an earned-run average as high as 4.00. . . .

Want to know the difference between Joe Robbie Stadium and Coors Field? Al Leiter has shut out the Colorado Rockies and limited them to two hits in 16 innings this season at Florida. On Aug. 7, the Rockies got five runs and eight hits in six innings off Leiter at Colorado. . . .

The Angels are the worst drawing attraction on the road in the major leagues. . . .

The National League record-setting San Francisco Giants have given up 10 grand slams, 10 more than the Dodgers gave up in 1993. . . .

The USC football team might be a power on the basketball court too. Nine Trojans are 6 feet 6 or taller. . . .

Guard Travis Claridge is trying to become the first true freshman offensive lineman to start an opening game for the Trojans since Brad Budde in 1976, which was John Robinson's first year as head coach. . . .

Most underrated USC defender probably is Willie Lowery, a three-year starter at end who has been outstanding in practice. . . .

"I don't try to do any dances or put on a big show after I make a big play," Lowery said. "I'm just a guy who is going to get the job done." . . .

Terry Donahue, who will do the commentary on CBS when UCLA plays second-ranked Tennessee on Sept. 7 at Knoxville, can tell his successor, Bob Toledo, all about tough opening assignments and also offer him encouragement. . . .

Donahue's Bruins were heavy underdogs for his first game as head coach in 1976 against then third-ranked Arizona State at Tempe, where they upset the Sun Devils, 28-10. . . .

Keyshawn Johnson arrived in training camp late because of prolonged contract negotiations, but says he expects to play more than half the game Saturday night when he makes his New York Jet debut against the Giants. . . .

Thumbs up to Craig Stadler and his wife, Sue, who were instrumental in the showing of "Tin Cup" at Louisville last week that raised more than $60,000 for the PGA Tour Wives Charities. . . .

Al Geiberger's son Brent is eighth in money earnings on the Nike Tour. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers' old uniforms were much more attractive than their new ones. . . .

Consider yourself a pro football aficionado if you remember, or ever knew, that the Philadelphia Eagles were the only unbeaten team during the 1995 NFL exhibition season and the Houston Oilers the only winless team. . . .

Jari Kurri, 36, isn't what he used to be, but playing with young Mighty Duck stars Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya might revitalize him. . . .

Look-alikes: Detroit Tiger Manager Buddy Bell and Arizona Cardinal quarterback Boomer Esiason. . . .

Roy Englebrecht Promotions will begin a series of monthly boxing shows on Thursdays at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills on Jan. 7. Capable Jerry Bilderrain will be matchmaker and retain his duties for Englebrecht's programs at the Irvine Marriott. . . .

Buster Douglas apparently is serious about his comeback because he hasn't put on weight since his last fight. . . .

The longer the wait, the less attractive a Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota rematch is going to be. . . .

Asked how he felt about opponent Julio Cesar Chavez not showing up for a news conference on Tuesday, Joey Gamache said, "I'm really disappointed because I wanted to get his autograph for my son."

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