It might have been in the best interests of the Orioles, collectively, and Gregg Olson, individually, if he had been used originally as a starter, not a reliever -- a contention Hall of Famer Jim Palmer advanced when the club signed the strong-throwing right-hander who brought with him the best curveball since Rigabert Blyleven.
* Most amazing revelation of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's inquiry into Orioles hiring practices is the payroll totals 176 non-playing employees, with most of them in a front office that must, at times, be as crowded as the park outside. . . . Stan "The Fan" Charles believes the Orioles should recommend to the American League that John Unitas throw out the first ball at the All-Star Game, which is an idea worthy of consideration for a lot of reasons, one of which is it would direct a message to the country and the NFL how much Baltimore deserves the return of pro football.
* When Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr was here for the McCormick Unsung Hero Banquet he told Mac Barrett that, reports to the contrary, he will not run as the Republican candidate for governor in Alabama. . . . Suffice to say the racing industry wasn't rooting for a gelding, the favored Prairie Bayou, to win the Kentucky Derby, considering the fiscal aspects of the horse breeding business. . . . One of the Baltimore Bullets' first black players, Don Barksdale, died in Oakland, Calif.
* Charley Pride, once a minor-league outfielder, failed to make the major leagues, but Saturday night made his first appearance as a new member of the Grand Ole Opry. . . . After the New York Mets optioned Ryan Thompson and his .125 average to their Norfolk farm, the Edesville (Md.) native offered reporters this farewell: "I tried to be a hero, man. I tried to save New York. I'm not a Superman. Superman died. They killed him off."
* Sportscaster Jim West says with the new National Hockey League team in California calling itself the Mighty Ducks, he wonders if "Goofy" will be the goaltender. . . . Charles Barkley's TV ad about not expecting him to be a role model for children is only what this reporter has been insisting for 20 years -- that mere athletes don't deserve such status. . . . Although Muhammad Ali physically and verbally punished him, Floyd Patterson says Ali "wasn't that much of a puncher." . . . While tennis popularity drops, the number of golfers almost doubled in the last 10 years, with the latest count at 28 million.
* The Babe Ruth House, our favorite museum, has on display the first Most Valuable Player All-Star Game award -- given to Billy O'Dell in 1958 by the then-Baltimore News-Post, which created the honor four years ahead of major-league baseball. . . . George Moriarity, once one of baseball's toughest men, is the only major-leaguer in this century to have been a player, manager and then an umpire. . . . How times change or a look at the minutes of a 1941 NFL meeting: "In keeping league publicity on a high, dignified plane, club publicity men are charged with the responsibility of preventing coaches and players from endorsing lending their names to advertisements for liquor, cigarettes and laxatives."
* Ron Bray and the French Bray Co., which has supported the Orioles by buying season tickets since International League days, lost some of the team's printing business but this didn't deter it from producing the highest quality yearbook in franchise history. . . . Art Donovan says his father told him if he wanted a tattoo to get it on the bottom of his foot so no one could see it.
* Sports Boosters plan next fall to honor Hank Peters, ex-Orioles GM, for contributions to baseball, which means one of the finest gentlemen in Baltimore sports history receives a long overdue award. . . . The Orioles' promotional song is screamed out by Little Richard, who was a schoolmate of Colts Hall of Famer Jim Parker in Macon, Ga. . . . The simple reason Ben Hogan never xTC took off his golf glove to putt is he never wore one.
* For the first time, the Cleveland Browns' Leroy Kelly, a Morgan State grad, enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame veteran category; be advised this is one vote he'll get. . . . When counting Marylanders in the All-Star Game, don't forget umpires Eddie Rommel and Harry Wendelstedt. . . . Genstar has a baseball mix that's earning high praise from groundskeepers everywhere. . . . Two baseball ballads that never led the Hit Parade: "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio" by Les Brown and "Pretty Mickey" (about Mantle) by Teresa Brewer.
* You're getting to be a "young old-timer" if you looked through a knothole in the left-field fence at the first Oriole Park.