His Orioles stay was short, but Reggie made long, powerful Hall of Fame case

There will almost certainly be an ex-Oriole enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer. When he is, however, Cooperstown will not be a sea of orange and black as it was for the inductions of Brooks Robinson (1983) and Jim Palmer (1990).

The player is Reggie Jackson, whose slugging credentials are definitely Hall of Fame stuff. To me the most amazing thing about his 21-year big-league career occurred on Oct. 18, 1977, when he hit three consecutive home runs -- all on the first pitch -- in a World Series game against the Dodgers.


But Reggie, eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time this year, played only one year in Baltimore, 1976. A lot of baseball fans could tell you Jackson played for the A's, Yankees and Angels but would have trouble remembering he spent a season on 33rd Street.

The other ex-Orioles on the ballot that arrived yesterday are Doug DeCinces, who was a good player here from 1973 to 1981 but hardly a Hall of Famer, and Rick Burleson. Rooster, as Burleson was known among the players, was an Oriole only in 1987, at the end of his career.


One of the current Orioles coaches, Davey Lopes, is on the 1993 ballot. Lopes played with the Dodgers and A's.

* For as long as most of us can remember there has been a Thanksgiving Day football doubleheader at Memorial Stadium -- Loyola-Calvert Hall at 10 in the morning, Poly-City at 2 in the afternoon.

That's the schedule for this Thursday, too, but, after that, no one knows where these two traditional rivalries will be staged. The uncertainty over Memorial Stadium's future makes it impossible to know.

"There's a lot of conjecture," says Poly's athletic director, Mark Schlenoff. "The city can't wait forever for the NFL to make up its mind about placing a franchise in Baltimore. At some point, the stadium is going to go.

"We know that Poly and City will no longer play on Thanksgiving Day after this week. Our '93 game is set for Nov. 6. The public schools have joined the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association and we have to end our regular season early so we can play in the state playoffs.

"We've talked about other sites for future Poly-City games. It's not easy to find another facility that'll hold 10,000 people. We could have it at Poly if we added temporary stands. We've talked about Oriole Park at Camden Yards but I doubt if we could get permission to play there. We've even discussed hiring buses to take everybody to College Park so we can play the game in Byrd Stadium."

Loyola and Calvert Hall are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

"We know we're playing in the stadium this year," says Loyola athletic director Jerry Savage, "and we hope we can play there next year. If not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


For the moment the focus is on the games, since Poly-City will decide the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championship.

"If City wins," says Schlenoff, "they're the champs because they're undefeated [9-0]. We're ranked No. 2 but we've only lost one MSA game [to Loyola]. If we win Thursday, we'll be co-champs with City."

Loyola has lost only two games all year (13-7 to Gilman and 14-11 to City). Calvert Hall has had an off year, but, as Savage reminds us, "You throw the records out for this rivalry."

* Les Johnson, who fights Demetrius Davis at Martin's West tonight, is the kind of boxer who can win fans back to the sport. If Don King and Mike Tyson turn you off, Johnson may be your kind of guy.

Johnson, who is 16-1 with 12 KOs, is not only a crowd-pleasing fighter. He's a crowd-pleasing person. He's polite and well spoken. He has two years under his belt at Montgomery Community College and talks of working toward a degree at the University of Maryland.

Johnson can always be depended upon to enter the ring in excellent condition. He can't fool his manager, Tom Doyle, a young lawyer who works out with his fighter.


"I love to work out," says Johnson. "I use the Stairmaster. I run hills. I hate to miss a day. At 160 pounds, I'm rock hard."

Davis, son of a fighter (Adrian Davis), is also a classy young man. In fact, he and Les Johnson know each other, though they say that won't interfere when the bell rings.

Says promoter Stu Satosky:

"These are two of the best young fighters in Maryland. One of them is going to win and one is going to lose. When the fight's over, they'll both go on."

* Two weeks from tonight, Dunbar High's spectacular basketball team (as well as Lake Clifton's and Southern's) will take part in the Charm City/Big Apple Challenge at the Arena. Tickets can be reserved by calling (410) 481-SEAT.

Dunbar, coming off a national championship season, is ranked No. 4 in the country this preseason. Says tournament promoter Bill Spotts: "They don't rebuild at Dunbar. They just reload."


* A lot of people obviously haven't gotten the word about the scoring system in the National Professional Soccer League. There are one-, two- and three-point goals. The average score is 17-12.

The score of the Baltimore Spirit's most recent game was 17-11 over Buffalo. The 4-0 Spirit next goes into action Saturday at 2:05 p.m. against Harrisburg at the Arena.