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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Ugly Truth Was That the Bad Was Good

June 02, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Jerome Holtzman of the Chicago Tribune, recalling one of the favorite banquet stories by Jim Frey, former field and general manager of the Cubs:

"[He] enjoyed telling of the time he was a minor league outfielder in the Cardinals' system.

" 'The manager told me I was traded,' Frey recalled. 'I asked him how many players did you get for me? And if it helped the ball club.'

" 'He said, "We didn't get any players for you. And, yes, it helped the club." ' "

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Trivia time: What major league record did Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers equal on Aug. 31, 1950?

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Out of the closet: Phil Collier in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "During one of his recent visits here, [Don] Larsen laughed when reminded of the lead paragraph one New York writer wrote after Larsen's el perfecto in the 1956 World Series:

"You have to understand that Larsen had always been regarded as just a so-so pitcher before his one afternoon of fame. Accordingly, the lead read: 'Don Larsen, the alcoholic pitcher, isn't anonymous anymore.' "

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Bashing the Bears: Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune: "NBC and Time Warner announced their intent to form a new pro football league, and Mayor Richard Daley said he'd welcome a new pro franchise in Chicago.

"Well, sure. I mean, he's gone most of the decade without one."

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Off limits: Because of the interest in St. Louis' Mark McGwire during batting practice Saturday in San Diego, Cardinal hitting coach Dave Parker requested that the Padres cordon off the area around the batting cage to keep photographers back.

The Padres dragged out the "Riggleman Ropes" that former manager Jim Riggleman used for a time to keep visiting players from visiting with his players.

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Turf expert? John Cherwa, associate managing editor for sports of the Chicago Tribune, was real loud on Real Quiet's quest to become a Triple Crown winner:

"[Real Quiet] joining Secretariat, Alydar, Seattle Slew and Citation is akin to the Clampetts moving in across the street at your Beverly Hills digs. He just doesn't fit."

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Looking back: On this day in 1935, Babe Ruth of the Boston Braves retired, eight days after a three home-run game at Pittsburgh had raised his career total to 714.

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Trivia answer: He hit four home runs against the Boston Braves. The most recent player to do it was Mark Whiten of the Cardinals in 1993.

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And finally: Bob Kravitz in the Rocky Mountain News: "Some early predictions from soccer's World Cup this month: nil-nil, one-nil, nil-nil, nil-nil, nil-nil, one-nil.

"But lots of that wonderful European soccer hooliganism.

"You know, if the sport wasn't so bloody boring, these people wouldn't be so compelled to drink themselves into a frenzy and then slug one another for entertainment."

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