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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Only a '62 Met Could Get Into This Kind of Pickle

September 15, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Choo Choo Coleman was a catcher "for a dark baseball Picasso known as the 1962 Mets.

"On one occasion when a runner blazed past Choo Choo, and missed the plate, Choo Choo had to be alerted by teammates that the home plate umpire had made no signal.

"By the time this got understood, the runner was safely in the dugout. Choo Choo charged in, but slowed when he realized he did not know who the runner was.

"He just went to the near end of the bench and started tagging people, occasionally looking over his shoulder to see if he could coax an 'Out' sign from the umpire."

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Add Choo Choo: He never did get his man as the suspect runner bolted from the dugout to home plate where he was safe. Collier concluded: "So the Mets became the first club to get a runner hung up between the dugout and home."

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Trivia time: When did Washington State last play in the Rose Bowl game and what was the result?

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The last word: The late Richie Ashburn finished his playing career with the '62 Mets. On opening day the next season, Ashburn was making his debut as a Philadelphia Phillie broadcaster, coincidentally at a Met game at the Polo Grounds.

He quickly noticed the Mets hadn't changed their signs and correctly predicted every steal and every bunt.

Later, he told Manager Casey Stengel that he knew every sign. "Well," Stengel said, "I'm glad you learned 'em this year--because you didn't know 'em last year."

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Vicious: Woody Paige of the Denver Post roasting Randy Johnson of the Seattle Mariners for not pitching against the Colorado Rockies at high-altitude Coors Field:

"If another pitcher was as afraid of The Keg as 'Big Unit', some might suggest that he be nicknamed 'Big Eunuch.' "

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Broken promise: Lou Holtz, CBS analyst and former Notre Dame coach, commenting Saturday when the Irish trailed Purdue, 14-10, in the second quarter:

"I promise you. Notre Dame will find a way to win."

You mean find a way to lose, Lou. Purdue won, 28-17.

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Looking back: On this day in 1990, UCLA defeated Stanford, 32-31, at the Rose Bowl. Brad Daluiso kicked the winning field goal with one second remaining.

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Trivia answer: Washington State lost to Alabama, 24-0, in the 1931 game. The Cougars beat USC, 7-6, that season and didn't play UCLA.

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And finally: Ryan Anderson, the Seattle Mariner's 18-year-old, 6-foot-10 first-round draft choice, has a promising future. Just ask him.

"I feel that I'm going to be the best pitcher ever in major-league baseball," the young pitcher said. "Most people aren't as coordinated as I am. At my age, I feel if I can throw the ball in the 90-mph range, I can only add to my baseball pitching expertise."

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