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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

We'll Call It Dead Man Talking

March 31, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

At 15, former pitcher Joe Nuxhall was the youngest player to appear in a major league game.

Sports Collectors Digest recently ran an ad listing one of his old jerseys for sale. The ad said, "Joe's amazing feat was brought to light again last year after his untimely death."

Nuxhall, however, continues to broadcast Cincinnati Reds' games on radio. And he isn't getting any sympathy from broadcast partner Marty Brennaman.

"If Joe's dead, that explains a lot," Brennaman said.

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Trivia time: Which Santa Anita Derby champions also won the Kentucky Derby?

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Moo-ve over: In Viera, Fla,, where the Florida Marlins train, there is a cow pasture behind the outfield fence. Mark McGwire made his first appearance in Cowtown last Wednesday, and concessions were made for the St. Louis Cardinals' home run-hitter.

"We called and asked Mr. Duda, the guy who owns the cows, if he could please move his cattle to the other side of the road," said Marlin coach Rich Donnelly. "We didn't want the animal rights people coming at us. So they took 1,000-head of cattle and had a cattle drive."

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Home run sprint: In his first at-bat in his first opening day in the big leagues, Cal Ripken Jr. hit a home run for Baltimore against Kansas City's Dennis Leonard and got carried away with it, he told Newsday's Mark Herrmann.

"I believe it was a two-run homer," Ripken said, recalling that day in 1982. "[Ken] Singleton was on base, and I was so excited running the bases that I caught him somewhere between second and third.

"Being the seasoned veteran he was, he touched home plate and expected me to be around second base. He turned around, and I tapped him on the shoulder."

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Amazing ascent: Pirate outfielder Turner Ward on his turnabout career: "I went from T-ball to the big leagues! Nobody's done that in the history of the game."

Said Paul Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Released by the Chicago White Sox organization April 3, Ward went home to Satsuma, Ala. While waiting for the telephone to ring with a job offer from some other team, Ward coached his son Tucker's T-ball team."

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Better option: San Jose Shark General Manager Dean Lombardi after trading for punishing defenseman Bryan Marchment: "I'd rather tame a tiger than paint stripes on a kitty cat."

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Looking back: On this day in 1975, UCLA defeated Kentucky, 92-85, for the men's NCAA Division I basketball championship in San Diego.

It was the Bruins' 10th NCAA title in 12 years under Coach John Wooden, who had announced his retirement two days earlier, after the semifinal game.

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Trivia answer: Hill Gail, 1952; Determine, 1954; Swaps, 1955; Lucky Debonair, 1965; Majestic Prince, 1969; Affirmed, 1978; Winning Colors, 1988, and Sunday Silence, 1989.

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And finally: In an interview with Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic, straight-laced Diamondback Manager Buck Showalter said:

"Looking back, I wanted to have hair down to my [butt], I wanted to wear the medallions and the stuff from the disco era. Thank God my father had the guts to say no, otherwise I don't know what I would've turned out to be."

Perhaps more interesting.

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