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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Here's One Former Player Who Appreciates Lasorda

September 10, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

Dodger Vice President Tom Lasorda has received a stack of mail every day since he announced his retirement as manager. . . .

The letters have come from all over the world and been sent by athletes, office holders, entertainers and just plain folk. . . .

His favorite arrived the third day of August, postmarked Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. . . .

Excerpts: "Your loyalty and friendship have been invaluable to me. . . . You believed in me, understood me and saw me through tough times. I'm forever grateful for your support. . . . Having you as a manager was one of the best experiences of my life. Having you as my friend is something that I will cherish for a lifetime. . . . Without a doubt you are the best in the business." . . .

It was signed by Kirk H. Gibson. . . .

Three of the four National League races are going down to the wire--the West, the Central, and the wild card. . . .

It will be interesting to see how much playing time right-handed Greg Vaughn, who hit the three-run homer that gave the San Diego Padres a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, gets against the Dodgers, with their right-handed starters, during the seven games remaining between the teams. . . .

Fernando Valenzuela's 13 are the most victories he has had since 1990, when he was 13-13 for the Dodgers. . . .

The incredible season that Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez, 21, is having is being kept relatively quiet. . . .

If Rodriguez were living and working in New York, he would be famous by now. . .

Chris Pritchett, the infielder called up from the minors by the Angels, broke Eric Karros' UCLA record for hits in 1990. . . .

About the only thing the Dodgers and Angels have in common this season is that they have executed triple plays. . . .

It's easy to get excited about hockey the second week of September when the event is a best-of-three games series between the United States and Canada in the World Cup finals. . . .

There's a sports theme this year at the L.A. County Fair, where sports art and National Hot Rod Assn. exhibits are on display now and the annual Fairplex Park horse racing meeting will begin Thursday. . . .

Pete Sampras' eight Grand Slam singles titles equal Jimmy Connors' total and exceed John McEnroe's by one. . . .

*

Dr. Robert Kerlan is best remembered by Jack Kent Cooke as the person who saved his life. Kerlan was having dinner at the Forum Club with Cooke when the then-owner of the Lakers and Kings suffered a major heart attack. Kerlan gave him emergency treatment until Cooke could be rushed to the hospital. . . .

Horse racing was Kerlan's favorite sport and jockeys his favorite athletes. He once co-owned a stable of horses with Buzzie Bavasi, the former Dodger and Padre general manager. . . .

The nation's seven top-ranked college water polo teams, including No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 USC, are from California. All will compete in a tournament Saturday and Sunday at Newport Harbor High. . . .

In a poll conducted by KIEV sports talk-show host Irv Kaze, 23 of 27 people said they would prefer that Los Angeles get an NFL expansion franchise rather than an existing team. . . .

After two weeks of the season, there isn't an unbeaten team in the AFC Central. . . .

The University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, is billing twin brothers Tiki Barber, a tailback, and Ronde, a cornerback, as "The Barbers of C'Ville." . . .

Terry Donahue will be honored as sportsman of the year by the Orange County Sports Celebrities at their 26th annual charity awards banquet Nov. 13 at the Irvine Hyatt. . . .

A couple of years ago, four Tennessee graduates living in Beijing spent $11,000 to hear Volunteer football game broadcasts on phone lines. . . .

Based on last year's record of opponents, Oklahoma has the toughest schedule among NCAA Division I-A teams. The next three most difficult schedules also belong to Big 12 schools--Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa State. UCLA has the 14th toughest; USC the 51st. . . .

Sunday will be the 18th anniversary of Muhammad Ali's last victory, a 15-round decision over Leon Spinks at the Superdome in New Orleans. . . .

If you have a minute Saturday night, you can catch the tape of the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon fight on Showtime.

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