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Unitas replies in kind, completing graceful play


NOTEworthy Day:

One quarterback to another -- John Unitas sent Jim Harbaugh a thank-you note for presenting him the game ball after the Ravens beat the Colts. A fine gesture all-around and one we at first thought PR director Kevin Byrne might have prompted.

Our Heisman Trophy votes, without apology or explanation, went to Michael Bishop, Ricky Williams and Cade McNown. Baltimore Colts Hall of Famers Unitas, Lenny Moore, Raymond Berry, Jim Parker, Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti will be involved in the coin toss ceremonies at the Super Bowl, marking the 40th anniversary of "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Amazing that Notre Dame, with all its recruiting appeal, can't find a quarterback who can throw the ball; bring back Boley Dancewicz. We're told "Titans," selected as the replacement name for the Tennessee Oilers, has a Ku Klux Klan connotation and also a historical reference in Greek mythology that is inappropriate. If we were the New York Mets, we'd take a spring-camp look at Armando Benitez, with a cannon for an arm, as a starter because his psyche may not fit the role of a reliever.

Golf Digest rated Havre de Grace's Bulle Rock the best new upscale public facility in the country and while doing so added the most flattering testimonial any Maryland course has yet received in the annual rankings. Joe DiMaggio once hit a three-run homer off Forrest Thompson and the next day said, "Tough luck, lefty," which caused the Washington Senators pitcher to exclaim, "What a guy, he remembered my name." It could be that Gilman School waited until the start of its second 100 years to field its finest football team. Recommended reading -- "Fighting For Fairness," the life story of Sam Lacy with Moses Newson, and "Talking Irish," an oral account of Notre Dame football, by Steve Delsohn. Ex-Baltimore Colts assistant Ed Khayat has been promoted to general manager of the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football League. Tough football players of yesteryear were often called "Ox," as in strong as an ox.

"The Greatest Game Ever Played" was commemorated by what might have been "The Greatest Sports Banquet Ever Staged," an event that raised about $230,000 for Lou Gehrig's disease research at Johns Hopkins, which makes chairmen Ordell Braase and Dick McCready extremely happy. John Carroll High defensive coach Larry Bruggeman drove 103 miles each way from Easton to Belair to fulfill his duties -- which spells commitment in a most emphatic way. Alabama once played a triple-header football game at Griffith Stadium, 20 minutes each against George Washington, Georgetown and Catholic U. We're accord with Mel Kiper Jr. that Ohio State deserves to be rated the No. 1 team in the nation.

Ex-pitcher Lou Sleater visited the man who scouted him as a baseball player in the Navy and signed him for the Chicago Cubs when he stopped in Norfolk to check signals with now 86-year-old Harry Postove. The Orioles' signing of Will Clark brings to mind the broken-hearted little boy who waited six hours for him to arrive at a Cambridge, Md., motel for the International Waterfowl Hunt and was rejected by the player in his quest for an autograph. Our Baseball Hall of Fame votes went to George Brett, Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount, Bert Blyleven, Gary Carter, Dave Concepcion, Carlton Fisk, Tommy John, Jim Kaat and Tony Perez.

Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, who made a commendable effort to get a Baltimore expansion team from the NFL, has made a drastic change in his appearance -- he has cut his ponytail. Ex-Evening Sun sportswriter Bob Ibach, working out of Arlington Heights, Ill., is promoting the original music and legendary voices of the NFL as available via CD. The only time Al Kaline was pinch-hit for in 22 American League seasons came when Fred Hatfield touched off a game-tying, two-run homer. Pitchers are negative about coming to the Orioles because they regard Camden Yards as a hitter's delight, or what Sterling Hitchcock called a "Little League park." Golf lost one of its foremost area players and teachers (plus a playing partner of President George Bush) with the sudden death of Mike McGinnis, 59, the Holly Hills professional.

Retired National League umpire Fred Brocklander, a Calvert Hall and University of Baltimore alumnus, has returned to his hometown. Joe "Ducky" Medwick and Mickey Cochrane, both members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, started their careers playing under the same assumed name: "King." Not until Norman Macht told us did we know Elon "Chief" Hogsett, the old left-handed submarine pitcher, wasn't an American Indian, yet was portrayed as one; the "Chief" nickname came from when he was chief of a hotel's bellhops. It's intriguing to wonder how many points the stylish set-shot artist Jim Lacy would have scored if the three-point field goal had been in vogue when he totaled 2,199 career points at Loyola College in the post-World War II period, an era when he was one of the nation's most devastating long-shot shooters. Sid Bernstein was Archie Moore's closest Baltimore friend, dating back to when they fought on the same 1938 boxing card in California; Bernstein calls him an "intellectual individual."

Considering the awesome striking power of the Cleveland Browns, who had 27 wins and two ties from 1947 to 1949 in the All America Football Conference, it's understandable why Dante Lavelli is annoyed that so little credit is given to a multitalented team that could have beaten the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins or the present Denver Broncos. Every time Joe Garagiola, a first-rate gentleman, is asked for his autograph, he charges $10 -- with the money going to the fund (BAT) to help ill and indigent baseball players of the past. You're a "young old-timer" if you remember when Loyola College, the University of Baltimore, St. John's, Mount St. Mary's and Blue Ridge all had football teams.

Pub Date: 12/13/98

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