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Forgotten is the school that featured Anisette Lavodrama on its basketball team, but just a few years later a cager has come along to fire the imagination of name aficionados everywhere: He's Scientific Mapp, point guard for Rice High School of New York City. Wait until Dick Vitale gets a chance to wrap his alliterative genius around that one.
* First pro football game I ever saw, Sammy Baugh was throwing bullets to Bones Taylor and the Boston Yanks had a guy named Sonny Karnofsky who ran back punts from time to time without benefit of a helmet. Paul Governali of Columbia and Boley Danciewicz of Notre Dame shared quarterbacking duties.
The Yanks came into existence in 1944 under the ownership of singer Kate Smith and her manager Ted Collins and, in five seasons, had a record of 14-38-3. They were bad, attendance was often poor and, in 1949, the club fled to Gotham to become the 1-10-1 New York Bulldogs.
Here it is more than a generation later and the folks in New England must be thinking the Yanks are back. Their beloved Patriots the other day recorded a stunning 23 net yards passing on 11 completions in 31 attempts and ran up 94 yards total offense while losing to the Indianapolis Colts, 6-0. No wonder only 19,429 spectators showed up and 10,837 more ate their tickets. Hello, St. Louis.
* Mark Nua, a 6-foot-9, 325-pound specimen from the San Diego Chargers, is the biggest guy to sign up for "American Sumo" so far. This is a show being run by the old wrasslin champ Verne Gagne that will visit 16 cities pitting the unsung heroes of the NFL, offensive and defensive linemen, in Japanese sumo wrestling matches.
At least two of the shows will get network exposure and the series final will be on pay-per-view (surprise). All-Pro Reggie White, Jackie Slater, Nolan Harrison, Jeff Devidson, Harry Boatswain, Brett Miller and Michael Carter are some of the other behemoths who will be vying to make the final in Los Angeles Super Bowl weekend.
The players will contest for prize money exceeding $1 million for doing what they basically do every Sunday afternoon. A typical sumo match lasts anywhere from 10 to 70 seconds.
* This year's Rodney Dangerfield Award in college football has to go to Hawaii. Pitt went so far as to fire coach Paul Hackett even before going out to play the Rainbows last weekend. Long regarded as a pleasure trip for mainland teams to help recruiting with the games not counting toward the regular-season maximum of 11, Hawaii finished 10-2, knocked off a couple of ranked teams while winning the WAC Conference and is favored over Illinois in the Holiday Bowl.
* Averaging 27.5 victories each of the past 36 seasons (for 990 victories overall) is only a portion of the story with coach Morgan Wootten at DeMatha. About 80 percent of the starters on all Stag basketball teams for the past several years have garnered scholarships to Division I schools. Wootten will become only the fourth high school mentor all time to coach 1,000 wins.
* Lansdowne High School's forfeit of a few football games at the beginning of the season for lack of size and experienced players reminds of situations wherein teams had nowhere the number of players the Vikings did (30 or so).
Former Oriole pitcher Gene Brabender played six-man football at his high school in Black Earth, Wis., and recalls the team had a lone sub his last year: "It was the coach's kid."
Then there's Bryce Paup of the Green Bay Packers, whose Scranton, Iowa, high school went a season with just 12 players: "You didn't have to count to see if we had enough players on the field. You just had to look at the sideline."
* Baseball fans will get a huge kick out of the "American Heritage Desk Diary 1993," available from Workman Publishing ($15), 708 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003. Terrific pictures, copies of lithographs and old baseball cards, posters and paintings accompany each of the year's weeks. Workman also puts out the "365 Sports Facts-A-Year" calendar.
* Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde won just one of the Grand Slam doubles championships (Australian) before taking the ATP Tour World title and finishing as the No. 1 team in the world. However, in doubles finals since they paired up in 1991, the Aussie pair are unbeaten through a dozen matches. It's those early-round matches that are the killers, sometimes.
* It's easy to be a Dennis Eckersley fan -- good guy, hard-working, an exceptional pitcher for many seasons. But the best relief pitcher of all-time? Pul-eeeze.
That's the postulate Rolaids, sponsor of the Relief Man Award, has put up for consideration, and it's weak. For one thing, you can count on the fingers of one hand the times during the past five seasons Eck has taken the mound with runners on base, the situation that will always be the most important role of a true reliever.
Eck isn't really a take-his-chances relief pitcher, he's a pitch-a-shutout-inning-save pitcher. Which doesn't make him a bad guy; he's just not the best fireman ever, no matter what the numbers seem to say.
* Everyone knew Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Edwin Moses and Ben Johnson were raking in big-bucks appearance fees at indoor and outdoor track meets the past several years. But few had any idea just another quarter-miler like Butch Reynolds commanded such monetary respect, even as a world-record holder. Imagine Reynolds able to prove to the satisfaction of a court that a two-year suspension for alleged steroid use cost him $6.8 million.
No wonder indoor track meets have been disappearing consistently during the last several years. At one time, Boston had two meets, New York four, Philadelphia two and Baltimore and Washington one each. That 10 is down to two, and there's LTC talk of the USA/Mobil Championships leaving the Big Apple after a 25-year run.
3' * Happy 50th birthday, Dick Butkus.