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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

It Could Be Awfully Small Team Picture

August 21, 1996|SHAV GLICK

If there is one thing Miami Dolphin Coach Jimmy Johnson enjoys, it's watching his players hit opposing players. Right after a free agent named Larry Izzo knocked down two Chicago Bears on a kickoff in an exhibition game, Johnson yelled:

"Izzo! Where ya from?"

"Woodlands," Izzo replied.

"Outside Houston?" Johnson asked.

"Yep," Izzo said.

"Well, call your family and tell them that only two guys have made the Dolphins right now--Dan Marino and Larry Izzo."

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Trivia time: Seattle Mariner shortstop Alex Rodriguez leads the American League in batting with a .361 average. Who was the last shortstop to win the AL batting title?

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Rising prices: It's amazing what being a vice presidential candidate can do for an old pro football player's card value. Since former quarterback Jack Kemp was tabbed by Bob Dole as his Republican running mate, the asking price for a Fleer's rookie card from his 1960 Los Angeles Charger season has jumped from $200-$300 to $400-$600, according to Doug Kale, editor of Sports Card Trader.

If he makes the White House, it could go to $1,000 or more.

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What a job: Tim Puller, the self-styled "Hebrew Hammer," hopes to become the first Jewish heavyweight boxing champion.

"I want to show people that Jews can fight," he said. "I have the best job in the world. I get paid to beat people up, and it doesn't get me into trouble."

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One man's view: Columnist Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, on the baseball's labor negotiations:

"I'm not sure if I were a major league owner, I'd be so willing to hand the players their service time for that strike, either. And I'm sorry, but the fact that the players always ended up with that service time after all their other strikes doesn't fly anymore."

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Sound reasoning: St. Louis Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa says closer Dennis Eckersley is his favorite player. Why?

"Your closer is always your favorite player. He's the only guy that if he has a good day, you're guaranteed a win. Your center fielder can hit four home runs, and you might lose. Your starting pitcher can pitch a shutout and not win. Your closer has a good day, he's your favorite player."

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Happy birthday: The Dodgers' Ismael Valdes is 23 today.

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Subtle Bill: New England Patriot Coach Bill Parcells, who did not want to make Ohio State receiver Terry Glenn his team's first draft pick, has his own way of letting the team's owners know he is not happy with Glenn's performance.

Asked how Glenn was doing, he said, "She's making progress."

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Trivia answer: Lou Boudreau of the Cleveland Indians, .327 in 1944.

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And finally: Former stock car driver Richard Petty, a candidate for North Carolina secretary of state, was in New Jersey recently with his racing team, signing autographs in the paddock.

"I'm after absentee ballots," he told Chris Economaki. "I'm wondering what will be said--in a state with a population of 6 million--when I get 12 million votes."

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