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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

He Presents a Powerful Argument

August 23, 1996|SHAV GLICK

Mark McGwire makes blasting baseballs over the fence look easy as he challenges Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61, but the Oakland Athletics' slugger insists that hitting those 43 home runs this season hasn't been easy.

"I don't think enough is written about how difficult it is to hit home runs," McGwire said. "The majority of power hitters don't see a lot of pitches to hit through a game, a week or a month. It's not fun, but that's what happens when you hit home runs. People don't want to pitch to you."

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Trivia time: Who holds the Athletics' franchise record for home runs in a season?

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Different talk: McGwire has sat out 23 games because of foot and back injuries. Manager Art Howe says he would be a cinch for the record if he had stayed in the lineup.

"If he'd been healthy, I don't think we'd be talking about if he'd break the record," Howe said. "We'd be talking about when he'll break the record."

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First things first: After New York Giant quarterback Dave Brown sat out an exhibition game, watching from the sidelines, he was asked if he learned anything from the experience.

"I've got to wear more sun block," he replied.

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One too late: Heavyweight boxer Tim Puller's remarks that he wants to become the first Jewish heavyweight champion brought responses from Richard Lamarche and Ken Putterman, who remind that Max Baer already holds that distinction, having knocked out Primo Carnera in 1935.

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Prize preppies: Three Southern Californians were listed among the top eight senior high school basketball prospects in the country, as ranked by super scout Bob Gibbons of Lenoir, N.C.

Chris Burgess, 6-foot-10 center from Irvine Woodbridge, was ranked No. 2, with Schea Cotton, 6-5 small forward from Bellflower St. John Bosco, ranked No. 3, and Baron Davis, 6-1 point guard from Santa Monica Crossroads, at No. 8.

No. 1 was Lamar Odom of Pittsfield, Maine.

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Expensive game: Greens fees for 18 holes at Pebble Beach are now $275, with an additional $20 for share of a cart.

P.S. That's for a single, not a foursome.

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Happy change: Jose Offerman, asked about the biggest difference in playing for Kansas City after six years with the Dodgers: "Nobody comes out to the park just to boo me."

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Shoeshine money: When Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman wore a pair of Adidas shoes in an exhibition game, the NFL fined him $40,000 because Adidas is not a licensed NFL Properties sponsor.

Aikman wore the shoes again last Saturday in an exhibition game against Denver, but had tape over the Adidas logo. The NFL hasn't said whether Aikman will be fined for that game.

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Trivia answer: Jimmie Foxx, 58 in 1932 for the Philadelphia A's.

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And finally: When Cincinnati slugger Kevin Mitchell was playing in Japan last year he had more than his share of problems with umpires.

"They understood everything I said, but I couldn't understand them," Mitchell said. "I asked my interpreter for some bad words in Japanese, but he wouldn't give me any."

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