Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

Wheels Never Stop Spinning in His Head

February 27, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Pat Williams, an executive with the Orlando Magic, is known for his bizarre promotional schemes influenced by Bill Veeck, the late, great baseball promoter.

"When Williams was a minor league general manager at Spartanburg, S.C., in 1966, two young pitchers named John Parker and John Penn were assigned to his club," Tom Cushman writes in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"So Williams held a 'Parker Pen Night.' Contacted the company, which provided the pens given away at the gate.

" 'What'll you do for entertainment?' Veeck asked when told about the plan. That, Williams hadn't considered. 'Has to be the Ink Spots,' Veeck said. Unfortunately, that [singing] group already was booked, but you get the drift of a mind constantly in motion."

*

Trivia time: Which NBA team holds the record for the lowest three-point field goal percentage in a season?

*

Skeptical: Author Dick Schaap, who moderates ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," tells of the time he was a guest at Wilt Chamberlain's home shortly after Chamberlain's claim about having had intimate relations with 20,000 women.

Sitting in his living room, Schaap's wife touched Chamberlain's elbow and asked, "Does that count?"

*

No excuses: A story from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun about the late Hall of Fame third baseman Eddie Mathews:

"During a Brave-Cub day game at Wrigley Field, Atlanta infielder Felix Mantilla made a pair of two-out throwing errors to put the Cubs up, 4-0, in the first inning. Between innings, Mathews lifted Mantilla and pinned him against a wall.

" 'Kook I was on Rush Street until 4 a.m. too, but it's time to play,' Mathews said. Mantilla got the message, delivering a winning hit in the 10th inning."

*

Control freak: Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: "I don't necessarily dislike Pretty Boy Pitino, but I hail the exit of any coach, even in CYO, who feels the need to signal in a play every time his or her team has the ball. Especially in the NBA. Those are grown men, not dogs at obedience-school trials."

*

Sensible solution: As manager of the Angels in the 1960s, the late Bill Rigney kept hell-raising pitchers Bo Belinsky and Dean Chance in the same hotel room on the road. Rigney explained: "I didn't want to wreck two rooms."

*

More Rigney: During his career, he saw hundreds of brawls. "Baseball players are the worst fighters I've seen in my entire life," he once said. "The guy charging the mound is thinking, 'What the hell do I do now that I'm here?' "

*

FYI: Two days before Dale Earnhardt died, an 8 x 10 autographed photo of the auto racing legend was being auctioned on eBay, with bidding starting at $18. Hours after Earnhardt was killed during the Daytona 500, the photo sold for $750.

*

Trivia answer: The Lakers, .104, 10 of 96, 1982-83.

*

And finally: Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times on White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas, who wants to renegotiate his contract:

"Trade him. Discard him as you would a rotten egg or a dead skunk. . . . No longer do the White Sox, the only winning team in Chicago, need this confoundingly petulant mope who symbolizes everything America can't stand in an athlete."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|