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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Heat in St. Louis Can't Compare to New York's

June 25, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

In an interview with Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal, Tony Kubek said there was more pressure on Roger Maris to break Babe Ruth's home run record than there is on Mark McGwire to break Maris' record.

"There will be a lot of pressure on him [McGwire], but nothing compared to what Roger faced," said Kubek, a teammate of Maris on the 1961 New York Yankees.

"The big difference between McGwire and Maris isn't only that pitching is more watered down and the ball may be livelier, it's that Roger had to do it in New York, in Babe's backyard. He had to do it in the media capital of the world where most of the writers--and even some of his teammates--didn't want him to break the record."

Kubek explained that the Yankees were pulling for Mickey Mantle (who had 54 homers that season) because he had been with the club longer.

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Trivia time: The major league record for home runs in a season by a pitcher is nine, set by Wes Ferrell of Cleveland in 1931. Two former Dodger pitchers hit seven. Who are they?

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Grim coupling: Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News, writing on the recent turmoil within the Dodger organization:

"Al Campanis died peacefully in his home late Saturday night. Less than a day later, the Los Angeles Dodgers died.

"A spokesperson for the L.A. County Crime Investigation said the deaths did not appear related."

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Hitch 'em up: John Steigerwald in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "CSN [Classic Sports Network] has been running the NBA's greatest finals for the past two weeks.

"We can only hope that somewhere, some high school basketball superstar has been watching basketball on CSN and has noticed that the old-timers looked better in real shorts than today's college players look in their pedal pushers."

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FYI: When the U.S. Open was first held at the Olympic Club, in 1955, winner Jack Fleck earned $6,000. Lee Janzen's first-place check Sunday was for $535,000.

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Looking back: On this day in 1948, Joe Louis knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott in the 11th round in New York to retain his world heavyweight title.

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Looking back again: On this day in 1988, Baltimore Oriole shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. stretched his ironman streak to 1,000 games in a 10-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

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Trivia answer: Don Newcombe, 1955, and Don Drysdale, 1958 and 1965.

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And finally: Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune on a joke that is going around since Phil Jackson resigned as coach of the Bulls:

"The Zen master has come from Tibet to New York and goes up to a hot-dog vendor and says, 'Make me one with everything.'

"The vendor fixes a hot dog, hands it to the Zen master and receives a $20 bill. The vendor stashes the $20 in the cash box and closes the top. The Zen master asks, 'Where's my change?'

"The vendor says, 'Change must come from within.' "

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