SkyDome will be a part of our postseason viewing, too


Baseball fans, having enjoyed the All-Star Game from the SkyDome, might as well prepare for another look at Toronto's spectacular, half-billion dollar ballpark in October. The Blue Jays are a lock to make the playoffs -- if not the World Series.

What's discouraging to challengers in the American League East is that the Jays have compiled the best record in the league (49-34, .590) with several of their best players injured and missing much of the season.

Kelly Gruber has missed 47 games. Dave Stieb has been available for only nine starts -- compared to 17 for Jimmy Key. Closer Tom Henke missed five weeks.

Gruber should be ready when Toronto entertains Texas tonight. Stieb is still out. Henke is back. And the Jays have added pitcher Tom Candiotti for the second half.

If the rest of the division -- especially the Orioles, a remote 14 1/2 games back -- is thinking of catching Toronto, it had better think again.

* The most fascinating name to appear on the sports pages in June hasn't had a mention in July. Since the initial furor over Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass and his interest, along with that of Barry Levinson, in buying the Orioles, there's been hardly a peep.

In the past month I've been told a lot about Weinglass. It seems that every male between the ages of 40 and 60 who grew up in Northwest Baltimore knew Boogie. Half of those claim they hung out at the Hilltop Diner with him.

One local man who really did know him well as a youngster is Harold Baumohl, of Consolidated Wallpaper on York Road. What Baumohl says of the man who made millions as operator of Mer

ry-Go-Round stores is basically what everyone says:

"Boogie grew up in my neighborhood. We lived at Baker and Bentalou. Boogie's family didn't have a whole lot so he was always around our house. I can only admire him for coming from that background and making such a success of himself.

"One thing most people don't realize is he's a very generous guy. He's done a lot of kind things for a lot of people. As far as I'm concerned he'd be a fantastic owner for the Orioles."

* Villanova, a school that dropped football and came back to it, has 19 of 22 starters returning and could win the NCAA Division I-AA championship this fall. The Wildcats' kicker and punter is a local guy, Bill Hoffman, from South Carroll High and Kiski Prep in Pennsylvania.

He is the son of the Bill Hoffman who was such a talented basketball player in the late '50s at Calvert Hall. The family lives in Sykesville.

* It was heartwarming to see how rapidly people like the Baltimore Area Toyota Dealers, the Merry-Go-Round clothing chain -- and many others -- responded with the $5,000 needed to

keep the Craig Cromwell summer basketball league alive.

When it was learned that funds were needed, it would have been great if a few graduates of the local summer leagues now playing in the NBA had chipped in $1,000 each. They could still do something like that. In a city as poor as Baltimore that would mean a lot.

* A club lacrosse team that can stay together for a half-century has really accomplished something, and this Sunday the Maryland Lacrosse Club will celebrate its 50th birthday at Coldstream Farm in Monkton.

When the late Bill Wittelsberger founded the M.L.C. in 1941, the only club team worthy of the name was Mount Washington, which had a monopoly on the All-America players coming out of college. Ten years later, M.L.C. defeated the Mounties and won the national club championship. The team won five national titles in the '80s.

The M.L.C. Hall of Fame will induct former players Steve Adamo, Jim Darcangelo, Mike Farrell, Dave Flick, Bob Griebe, Kevin Mahon, Doug Radebaugh and Rick Rider at the club's birthday party. For details call Jim Beverly at 987-7374 evenings or Glenn Norris at 321-1660 days.

* It surprised no one when University of Dayton economists this week said that some of baseball's top stars of the past would be earning as much as $7.83 million a year -- compared with the $5.4 million Roger Clemens earns as the highest-paid player in the majors -- if they were playing today. What makes me doubt their findings is their claim that the top salary would be earned by Lou Gehrig. No way. Babe Ruth would be No. 1.

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