Reading Time: Two Minutes.
A fitting preliminary to the 18th Marine Corps Marathon, which will be conducted over the streets of downtown Washington Sunday (9 a.m.), was this past weekend's Army 10-miler in D.C. (talk about service cooperation). Mexico is on a winning streak, Carlos Rivas and Rene Guerraro having prevailed in the last two Marine runs while the defending champ among the women's side of a race that annually draws about 13,000 entries is Judy Mercon of Florida. The Army race, won by Jim Hage in 50:37, drew 7,500 entrants, making it the largest 10-miler in the United States.
* In a word, "The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball" is only "immense." Talk about a page-turner, a book you can't put down, etc., this is it. Imagine a pitcher by the name of Bill Thomas winning 383 games in the bushes and never getting the call to the big leagues. Of course, he lost 346 games. Former Oriole Russ Snyder's .432 average in the Sooner League in 1953 still makes the top 20 all-time list for single-season batting. A veritable treasure trove, to coin a phrase.
* Believe it or not, Iran Barkley is still getting the OK to fight, a couple of detached retinas and definite speech impediments notwithstanding. He's slated into a USA "Tuesday Night Fights" engagement against Adolpho Washington at Casino Magic tonight. Next week's show features a couple of Washingtonians, Darryl Tyson and Darryl Lattimore, going for NABF titles.
* Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of the first quadruple-double in NBA history, Nate Thurmond scoring 22 points with 14 rebounds, 13 assists and a dozen blocked shots for the Bulls against the Hawks. Subsequently, Alvin Robertson and Hakeem Olajuwon have posted "quads." There's still not a quintuple-double (add steals) on the books.
* What a great sister Marybeth Duckett is. The 8-year-old from Crownsville won a contest as the Orioles' fan of the year, sponsored by MCI, and the prize is four tickets to tonight's World Series game in Philadelphia. Besides her parents, the third-grader invited her brother along.
* Speaking of the Series, here's a story I never tire of telling. Hopefully, it doesn't get too tiring on the receiving end. It's the day after Don Larsen pitches the perfect game for the Yankees against the Dodgers on Oct. 8, 1956, and a bunch of us are hanging around outside a classroom.
Out of the blue, someone suggests a quick, 200-mile trip to New York, where Game 6 is due to get under way in about four hours at Ebbets Field. Off we go, arriving in Brooklyn no more than 10 minutes before gametime. Amazingly, we come by standing-room-only seats for a ridiculous sum like $3 and, by the third or fourth inning, everyone has gone their separate ways and found a seat fairly close to the action.
The game was nearly a match for Larsen's gem, Bob Turley and Clem Labine pitching shutout ball into the 10th inning when Jackie Robinson singles in the only run of the game. We got back to school in time for the late meal and were we a big deal, undertaking such an adventure on such short notice and virtually no money in a weary 1946 Plymouth. The only drawback was the unexcused cuts.
* There's very little chance former great relief pitcher Bruce Sutter will ever be accused of being given to understatement. Late in the season, when Lee Smith broke the 400 barrier in saves, Sutter was asked what he would compare the feat to. "What would I equate it to?" the man who made the split-fingered fastball famous said rhetorically. "I don't know, maybe Hank Aaron's home run record." Yeah, right.
* Willie Pep, the winningest fighter of all time with 230 victories in 242 bouts, recently celebrated his 71st birthday by showing up at the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., and donating his featherweight championship belt from the 1940s for display purposes.
Pep's the man who, when a wire service reporter called to check out a rumor that Willie had died, delivered the immortal line, "Heck, I didn't even leave the house last night."
* It took a while, but the name of legendary Harvard star Charlie Brickley finally has been erased from the record book as the Crimson's all-time career touchdown leader. Mike Giardi scored his 24th and 25th TDs against Holy Cross over the weekend, annexing Brickley's total of 23 established in 1913-15. Charlie was right there with Jim Thorpe in his day.
* Still no word yet on how much good the U.S. Olympic Committee's donation of 300 soccer balls to the aid effort in Somalia has accomplished.
* Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter will be on hand to run and conduct a clinic at the Seaside 10-miler in Ocean City Saturday. About 1,000 are expected to compete.