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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

OK, 'Air' is Rare, but Is He Really Greatest Winner?

June 16, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Bernie Lincicome writing in the Chicago Tribune: "Not only is [Michael] Jordan the greatest basketball player ever but the greatest winner ever, a man refusing to lose and refusing to let anyone who came with him lose."

Bernie's memory is faulty in his assessment of Jordan as the greatest winner.

Bill Russell led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA championships in 13 years--his last in 1969 as a player-coach.

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Trivia time: Which pitcher born outside the United States has the most career wins in the major leagues?

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"Old" man Orel: The Boston Herald recently referred to Orel Hershiser as a pitching relic at 38.

"Does that mean I'm like the saber-toothed tiger fossil that somebody found in the middle of the pyramids?" the Cleveland Indian pitcher asked. "Well, somebody better dust off this relic because I'm a free agent at the end of the season."

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Come again? Ralph Kiner made a recent appearance with Richie Ashburn before a Philadelphia Phillie-New York Met game and summed up Jason Isringhausen's medical history: "He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which is unusual after hitting his hand on the water cooler."

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Over-matched: John Steigerwald in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe's application to become an elementary school guard:

"He would be almost as intimidating as the person who kept me and my schoolmates under control at St. Bernard's school in Mt. Lebanon. Her name was Sister Rita Marie. She would have taken Bowe out in three."

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FYI: Laker Executive Vice President Jerry West holds the record for the best nine holes at Bel Air Country Club--a 28 on the back side on his way to a 63.

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Looking back: On this day in 1968, Lee Trevino became the first golfer to play all four rounds of the U.S. Open under par as he defeated Jack Nicklaus by four strokes.

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Looking back again: On this day in 1938, famed slugger Jimmie Foxx didn't get an opportunity to hit as the St. Louis Browns walked him six consecutive times. Nonetheless, the Boston Red Sox won, 12-8.

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Trivia answer: Bert Blyleven, born in Zeist, Holland, with 287.

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And finally: Stan Musial says Ken Griffey Jr.'s follow-through is "something like Tiger Woods'."

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Said Griffey: "When I'm done playing baseball, I should be able to hit the ball 20 or 30 yards farther, when I get a better golf swing."

Twenty or 30 yards farther than what? asked Dan Raley of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"Him," Griffey said.

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Quotebook: Chicago Bull swingman Jud Buechler when asked if the Bulls will win a sixth NBA title in 1998: "We won this year and as Tiger Woods might say we never did play our A game. We played our B and C games most of the playoffs."

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