Geiger, Terps only hurting themselves by staying away from Memorial Stadium

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NOTEworthy Day:

With home crowds at Maryland football games failing to fill up all the seats, athletic director Andy Geiger, who said he didn't want to schedule games in Baltimore, may have no alternative but to change his mind. Appearances by Georgia Tech and Pitt would have sold out Memorial Stadium and provided a handsome payoff for the Terrapins.

* Stupidity of the year award: to Larry Bird fanatics who are circulating petitions to have his face sculptured into Mount Rushmore, so he can join George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. . . With the attrition of Baltimore orioles, those nesting in the bush, John Turner, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, has this warning: "The only Baltimore Orioles kids will see in the next century will be baseball players." . . . Hall of Famers Y.A. Tittle and Joe Perry were disturbed, and rightly so, they weren't invited to the Colts' reunion in August.

* The Bill Nicholson statue is in place in Chestertown and it's a remarkable likeness of the former outfielder of the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phils, who stands as Kent County's most famous athlete of all-time. . . John Unitas Jr. is handling public appearances and endorsement arrangements for his father under the banner of Unitas Management Corp. . . This newspaper took it on the chin with the death of Jim Jackson, an excellent sports reporter but, more importantly, a hall of fame human being.

* Explaining why his stance was so spread out, Joe DiMaggio explained, "It happened as I got older and it was because I felt it allowed me a better look at the pitch.". . . Ex-Colt Tom Matte has been voted president of the Ed Block Courage Award organization, and he'll be at Soldier Field on Sunday, leading a Baltimore delegation that will make a presentation to board chairman Ed McCaskey of the Chicago Bears in behalf of abused children. . . . Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz will be enshrined in the City College Hall of Fame, along with four other distinguished alumni, Nov. 12.

* A pleasing sequel to the story of Army Sgt. Jim Proctor and his family, rebuffed by the Orioles (with the exception of Cal Ripken Jr.) for autographs in Kansas City, comes with the news that James Mannion Sr. of Baltimore is sending the children a sizable collection of baseball cards in an effort to ease their disappointment. . . . Those new golf holes Nick Mangione built at Turf Valley give the course a more defined look and breaks up the ho-hum sameness that previously prevailed.

* Listeners were told by Phil Wood, who covers the Orioles for Washington's all-sports station, WTEM, that Cal Ripken Sr. may be eased into another position with Greg Biagini taking over in the third-base coaching box. . . . Tonya Rodich, employed by the Social Security Administration, wants to know why Roger Maris hasn't been elected to the Hall of Fame, and the explanation is with the exception of his two MVP years, his batting figures (.260 lifetime) were too soft for an outfielder. . . . Pat "The Bugler" Walker, thanks to the University of Maryland Dental School, which provided a new set of teeth, promises he'll be taking his one-man show to Orioles games next season.

* Preliminary line on Pro Football Hall of Fame selections (at least our vote): Ken Stabler, Walter Payton, Charlie Joiner, Tom Mack, L.C. Greenwood, Jackie Smith and coach Chuck Noll. . . World-wide figures show "Robin Hood," produced by Jim Robinson, who is Tom Clancy's partner in quest for a NFL expansion team in Baltimore, grossed $500 million last year. . . John "Boog" Powell wants to make his barbecue pit a year-around enterprise in downtown Baltimore. . . Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland is a nephew of Howard "Dutch" Eyth, the retired McDonogh School coach and athletic director.

* It's doubtful if any team in baseball, major and minor, produced a collection of home run hitters to match the Orioles, as witness Babe Ruth, Joe Hauser, Buzz Arlett, George Puchinelli, Nick Etten, Howie Moss, Jim Gentile and Frank Robinson. . . . The Oriole Advocates honor Sam Lacy, the still-columnizing sports editor of the Baltimore Afro-American, at a banquet next month. . . . Trivia: Baltimorean Tommy Greene holds the distinction of throwing the first pass in an American Football League game. . . Jim Palmer's second effort as chairman of the Celebrity Golf Classic was an absolute winner.

* Financial times are tough, in some industries, but Scott Fitzkee, ex-Baltimore Stars receiver, says his roofing contracting business has never been better. . . Janice Retalliata's pictorial book on the new ballpark continues to sell at a brisk pace, with the strongest sales yet to come, but we hear two Orioles officials are upset because they didn't get enough attention, which is an arrogant way to react to a grand piece of work. . . Behind his back, some Penn State football players, past and present, refer to coach Joe Paterno as "Ratman".

* Anne Arundel County welcomes Jim Spencer, Joe "Doc" Bartlinski, Al Laramore, Dr. Stuart Walker and Elizabeth "Toots" Barger as the second group to be enshrined in its Hall of Fame in ceremonies Oct. 22 at Michael's in Glen Burnie. . . . The New York Yankees' Charlie Hayes called the infield at the new Baltimore ballpark the worst in baseball but the Seattle Mariners' Omar Vizquel claims it's the best. . . Look for Ron Wolf, general manager of the Green Bay Packers who is a McDonogh School graduate, to bring success to a franchise that was floundering.

* Clyde Shugart, one-time Washington Redskin who for decades operated the High's Ice Cream Store chain, is living in Joppa. . . . Maybe you weren't paying attention but Dick Hendrickson, the Baltimore representative on the Senior Golf Tour, had a tie for third place last week that paid him $27,000. . . . The Orioles Gazette newspaper after only one year may be the best in baseball, which is a credit to publisher Ted Venetoulis and the staff editor Bob Brown put together.

* You're getting to be a "young old-timer" if you remember Fritz Maisel hitting the first home run Babe Ruth gave up as a pitcher on Oct. 2, 1914, in the ninth inning of what was a confrontation between two Baltimore-born performers in a Yankees vs. Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

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