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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

McGwire Proves to Be Something of a Late Boomer

May 21, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Mark McGwire, who hit three home runs Thursday to lift his lifetime total to 539:

"McGwire turns 37 on Oct. 1. He needs 217 to pass [Hank] Aaron. Yes, McGwire is getting older, but consider this: [Babe] Ruth didn't hit No. 600 until age 37. Ruth didn't hit No. 700 until age 39. Aaron didn't conquer the 600 barrier until age 38. Aaron was 40 when he hammered No. 715 to topple Ruth.

"In terms of age and production, McGwire is right on course. If anything, McGwire gets an edge because he's in his prime now, having his best years. In their late 30s, Ruth and Aaron were already in decline."

Trivia time: Hack Wilson, a right-handed hitter, holds the major league record for runs batted in in a season with 191 in 1930. Who has the record for RBIs by a left-handed hitter?

No choice: Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune:

"Wise up, folks. Unless you take out beer altogether, there is no way to prevent incidents at Wrigley Field.

"And if you do take out beer altogether, there is no reason to be at Wrigley Field."

Outgrowing the parks: Gil LeBreton in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"Quaint and cozy are admirable features for a ballpark to have. But hitters today are bigger, stronger and fueled by all sorts of natural [and unnatural] herbs and spices.

"They can't fit in places like Enron Field and Pac Bell Park anymore."

Go figure: Gene Collier in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"Come January 2001, the salary of the president of the United States will double to $400,000, which means that finally, the person with arguably the most important job in the world will earn roughly what the Pirates pay Keith Osik to catch as infrequently as possible."

Faint praise: French tennis player Nathalie Tauziat is grudgingly complimentary of Venus and Serena Williams in her new book, writing:

"Luckily, the Williamses are not [yet] great technically. If they were, they would be unplayable."

Looking back: On this date in 1952, the Brooklyn Dodgers scored a major league-record 15 first-inning runs and went on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field, 19-1.

Trivia answer: Lou Gehrig, with 184 in 1931.

And finally: Leonard Shapiro in the Washington Post:

"The Golf Course Superintendents of America recently asked their membership to identify players among the top 20 in the world who exhibit the best on-course sportsmanship.

"Phil Mickelson was the runaway winner with 18% of the vote. Tiger Woods and his friend and neighbor, Mark O'Meara, each got 10%, followed by Davis Love, 9%, and Fred Couples, 7%."

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