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The Inside Track | Morning Briefing

New York Politicos Have the Bat Taken Out of Their Hands

November 13, 1998|STEVE SPRINGER

When Chicago Cub slugger Sammy Sosa presented New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani with what Sosa said was the bat he had used to hit his 66th and final home run of last season, it seemed like a gift too good to be true.

And, as it turns out, it was.

Hall of Fame spokesman John Ralph insists the actual bat is in Cooperstown.

"The proof is in the bats," Ralph said.

The bat Sosa gave Giuliani, inscribed in part "Home Run No. 66," is a Louisville Slugger. But Sosa hit No. 66, along with Nos. 64 and 65, with a black bat with gold stripes made by Hoosier.

"I was at his locker when the [final] game ended, when he brought the bats in," Ralph said. "Sammy signed, numbered and dated each one."

Just to be sure, Ralph checked the bat in his possession against game videotapes and photographs of the historic hit.

"Sammy's been signing a lot of things with '66' since the season ended," Ralph said. "He would never purposely try to deceive anyone."

Responded the mayor, "One way or another, it's become even a more famous bat now."

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Wrong again: New York Gov. George Pataki thought Sosa gave him the bat Sosa used to hit home run No. 59, but Ralph said that bat is also in Cooperstown.

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Trivia time: New York Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson was the most valuable player of the 1960 World Series. What was unusual about that?

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Fantasy Money: Richardson, who played from 1955 through '66, has an interesting yardstick to compare the money available to players then and now.

"The most I ever got paid was $60,000 in one year," Richardson said. "I attended a recent Yankees' fantasy camp down in Florida and got paid more there than I did when I was a rookie."

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Coping with a late penalty: Miami Dolphin rookie running back John Avery took the statistical change in his rushing totals Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts in stride. Originally credited with a 100-yard rushing game, the official total later was adjusted to 99 by the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I said, 'Aw, don't watch the tape so closely,' " Avery joked. "It's no big deal. I'll just go get it next time."

But to be safe, John, get at least 101 yards.

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Fat chance: Hall of Famer Ted Williams, asked what his totals would have been if he had not missed three seasons while serving in World War II, replied, "I've thought about that, and I finally came to this conclusion one day: 'You know, I might have had some bad years in there.' "

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Trivia answer: He was the only player to win the award as a member of the losing team. The Pittsburgh Pirates won in seven games.

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For the record: Jackie Robinson's uniform number, 42, was retired by baseball, not the Detroit Tigers, as the answer to Thursday's trivia question suggested.

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And finally: Commenting on Mike Piazza's seven-year New York Met contract, David Letterman said, "Ninety-one million dollars is an awful lot of money, but don't kid yourself. For Mr. Piazza, this is not an easy paycheck. This man, for the next seven years, has to attend every single Mets game."

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