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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Did Angels' Edmonds Ever Meet Dodgers' Reiser?

June 17, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Although there must be easier ways to earn a living than diving headfirst toward a fence in pursuit of a ball hit over your head, Jim Edmonds probably can't think of one.

I sometimes wonder whether he thinks at all.

No matter the cost to his body, the Angel center fielder is always looking for opportunities to crash into walls, bust up double plays, stretch singles into doubles and do whatever else it takes to win. He's already playing despite torn cartilage in his knee. I'm pretty certain that's not the only thing an MRI exam would reveal.

I'd ask him if he ever considered letting up for the sake of a longer career, but I've already read the answer.

Former Brooklyn Dodger Pete Reiser gave it to noted journalist W.C. Heinz in a 1958 article for "True" magazine.

"Never," Reiser said. "It was my way of playin'."

Since Edmonds' remarkable catch last Tuesday night in Kansas City, much has been said about how it ranks alongside Willie Mays' famous one. Edmonds' spiritual ancestor in center field, however, was Reiser.

Heinz called the man who literally ran through walls for the Dodgers in 1940-42 and 1946-48 "perhaps the purest ballplayer of all time."

In 2 1/2 seasons in the minors, three in Army ball and 10 in the majors, Reiser was carried off the field 11 times--seven after running into the outfield wall, twice after being hit by beanballs and twice after breaking an ankle while sliding.

One of those times, he made the doctor tape the ankle instead of putting it in a cast so he could play the next day. Another time, he broke his right arm while throwing. The next season, he reported to spring training throwing perfectly with his left.

Before the 1946 season, the Dodgers played an exhibition in Springfield, Mo. A local radio broadcaster approached several players before the game and asked where they thought they would finish that season.

"First place," most said.

"Peck Memorial Hospital," Reiser said.

*

Today's vote in Washington state should end our brief but once promising flirtation with the Seattle Seahawks. . . .

Voters are expected to approve $325 million in public funds for a new stadium, assuring Paul Allen will activate his option to buy the team and leave it in Seattle. . . .

Considering Allen recently made $969 million in one day from his Microsoft stock, Seattle Times business reporter Michele Matassa wrote that he could afford to buy two stadiums and "several rounds of Kingbeer for every Seahawk fan at every game." . . .

Allen's response wasn't reported, but the mere suggestion probably will motivate him to vote for the first time. . . .

"If you love the Dead and golf, like I do, with the spirit of the Dead to guide you, you're sure to improve your game."

That was a direct quote from Bill Walton Sunday night on VH-1. He was hawking Grateful Dead paraphernalia, including golf club covers. The model in the accompanying video was Fluff Cowan, the caddie for Tiger Woods. . . .

Even before I saw the commercial, I had a feeling Fluff was a Deadhead. . . .

"Money isn't comfort," he said in an interview before the U.S. Open. "Comfort is love, a good bed, caring friends and a happy dog." . . .

Asked if he has a website, he said, "I don't have one and if I ever find out that I have one I'm going to do whatever it takes to get rid of it." . . .

Another Deadhead in the news last week was Donley Falkenstein, who successfully fought to have a beach volleyball tournament moved from Manhattan Beach only to see it land near his house in Hermosa Beach. . . .

He will be happy to see the beach boys have moved to a patch of sand inside L.A.'s City Hall. . . .

Top men and women players and officials will gather there for a news conference today to announce the first beach volleyball world championship, which will be held Sept. 10-13 at the L.A. Tennis Center on UCLA's campus. . . .

The prize money will be a record $600,000. The first professional beach volleyball tournament in San Diego in 1974 paid $1,500. . . .

Laguna Hills swimmer Chad Carvin's prize for scoring the most points in last weekend's Meet of Champions in Mission Viejo was a computer. He says he's going to trade it for a skateboard.

*

While wondering if anyone in track and field will be able to keep up with Marion Jones, I was thinking: Dodger fans would be more excited if the Yankees were coming to Chavez Ravine, one thing Yankee and Met fans have in common is they both believe George Steinbrenner is the enemy, Chad Carvin should meet Fluff Cowan.

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