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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

You Can Still Buy One for "The Gipper"

March 09, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

If anyone is interested in buying the game ball that Notre Dame won for "The Gipper," it's still available.

A Seattle sports memorabilia company, representing the owner of the ball, unsuccessfully tried to auction it by phone on Friday. The owner was asking a minimum bid of $100,000.

The ball was used during Notre Dame's 12-6 victory over Army on Nov. 10, 1928.

In perhaps the most famous pep talk in college sports, Coach Knute Rockne inspired the injury-riddled Irish by recalling George Gipp's deathbed request eight years earlier: ". . . When the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper."

Rockne told his players, "This is the day and you are the team."

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Add Gipper: As inspiring as Rockne's speech was, some historians believe that the Irish coach made up the plea from Gipp.

Whatever, it's now part of football lore.

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Trivia time: Who portrayed Rockne and Gipp in the 1940 film, "Knute Rockne-All-American."

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Futility race: The Denver Post is publishing a graphic comparing the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who own the NBA's worst-ever record at 9-73, with the faltering Nuggets. It's labeled "On pace for disgrace."

After 61 games in 1973, the 76ers' record was 4-57. The Nuggets were 5-56, and added a loss Sunday night to the Clippers.

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Add 76ers: Fred Carter was named the most valuable player of the 1973 Philadelphia team, but refused to go to the postseason banquet to receive his award.

Said Carter: "I asked the media, 'Did I lead us to 73 losses or did I lead us to nine wins?' I didn't think there should be an MVP."

Carter doesn't want the Nuggets to break the 76ers' record for futility. "I wasn't good enough to get into the Hall Fame, so I certainly would like to stay in the record books for something," he told the Denver Post.

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Come again? A classic Jerry Coleman malaprop from the late 1970s: "Next up is Fernando Gonzalez, who isn't playing tonight."

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Big adjustment: Former Seattle Seahawk center Kevin Mawae after signing a five-year, $16.8-million contract with the New York Jets:

"I feel like the country mouse coming to the big city. I'm in awe."

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Looking back: On this day in 1958, George Yardley of the Detroit Pistons became the first player to score 2,000 points in a season.

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Trivia answer: Pat O'Brien and Ronald Reagan.

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And finally: Phil Collier in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Harry Caray's death has prompted a flood of stories. One night, as he was televising a game, he noticed that Carlos May, who had lost part of his thumb in an accident, was in the same White Sox outfield with Walt "No Neck" Williams and Pat Kelly.

"Caray said: 'No thumb in left, No Neck in center and no arm in right!' "

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