LAW AND DISORDER
It wasn't just Ferguson Jenkins that Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended last week. He suspended logic, too. Kuhn said he was sidelining Jenkins, who pitches for the Texas Rangers, indefinitely because Jenkins had refused to answer questions from the commissioner's office about his Aug. 25 arrest after cocaine, marijuana and hashish were allegedly found in his luggage at the airport in Toronto, where the Rangers had traveled to play the Blue Jays. Jenkins declined to talk on advice of his lawyer, who feared the player might thereby prejudice his case, which is scheduled for trial in an Ontario court on Dec. 18. Seemingly acknowledging that Jenkins' position had some validity, Kuhn said that while he was ordering the player out of uniform, he was also asking the Texas club to continue paying his salary. This, the commissioner said, "should make clear that my action is in no sense intended to be punitive."
But the suspension is just that. Ferguson is a Hall of Fame candidate who, with 259 career victories to his credit—his record this season is 12-10—has a shot at 300 wins, a milestone no pitcher has reached since 1963. At 36, Jenkins can squander few opportunities if he hopes to achieve that goal, and he would have had perhaps five more starts had he not been suspended. Kuhn's action also hurts Jenkins' team. Although the Rangers can't catch Kansas City in the American League West, they are in a dogfight for second place, with both pride and share money at stake. By depriving Texas of the use of Jenkins' right arm, Kuhn is meting out a very real punishment—before any wrongdoing has been determined in a court of law.
By tradition, Kuhn and the other pro sports commissioners have often taken it upon themselves to discipline athletes. And in certain instances they should become even more zealous—for example, in dealing with violence during games and with certain off-the-field activities, such as betting on games, that directly threaten a sport's integrity. It's a different matter, though, when the offenses don't have anything to do with the sport or, more important, are amply covered by the laws of society. But it's not enough, it seems, that an athlete is convicted and sentenced under the criminal justice system. The commissioner has to exact his pound of judicial flesh, too, by righteously leveling a fine or a suspension. Trouble is, by heaping new penalties on top of those already imposed by the courts, the commissioners put miscreants in something akin to double jeopardy—being punished twice for the same offense. The commissioners also leave the no doubt unintended impression that they lack faith in the judicial process.
September 21, 1980
Disciplining somebody already convicted in court is troubling enough. But because it deals with a case still before the courts, Kuhn's suspension of Jenkins is even harder to justify. Edward Greenspan, the Toronto attorney who is representing Jenkins, points out that if his client had answered questions about his case, as the commissioner's office requested, legal steps might have been taken by Canadian prosecutors to compel disclosure of his testimony. Thus, in a sense, Kuhn was trying to coerce Jenkins into incriminating himself, which an individual is entitled to refuse to do under both U.S. and Canadian law. Noting that Kuhn is a lawyer, Greenspan said, "It's taught at all law schools that a man has a right to remain silent. Kuhn must have missed that lecture." The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance in Jenkins' behalf, and Marvin Miller, its executive director, accused Kuhn of having "reversed one of our most fundamental principles. He has said you are guilty until proven innocent." Invited by SI to respond to that and other complaints, Kuhn said he didn't want to talk while the grievance was pending. Which, of course, is exactly the position that Jenkins was trying to take with reference to his pending court case.
ONE FOR THE ROAD
General Motors has its line of X-cars, Chrysler is cranking up its K-cars, and auto racing is also going for letters in a big way—witness the Datsun Z-cars that Paul Newman has helped make famous. All of which lends timeliness to a story making the rounds about a snail who went to a sportscar dealer and said, "I want to buy the fastest car you have and I want the letter S painted on the rear, the hood and the doors."
The dealer was puzzled by the request but had the car painted as the snail wished. The snail paid cash, and as he prepared to drive off, the dealer could restrain himself no longer. "Tell me, sir," he said. "Why did you want S painted on the car?" It was too late. The car was already roaring away, and the snail never caught the question.
A week later the dealer saw the snail zoom past at 90 mph and gave chase, finally catching up with the snail, who had run five red lights. The dealer went over and said, "I just have to know why you had the letter S painted all over the car."
"O.K., I'll tell you," said the snail. "Until now, people have always said, 'Look at that snail.' But now they say, 'Look at that S car go.' "
Lou Brock, late of the St. Louis Cardinals, is still giving his all for his old team. Or at least for its owner, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. While Brock keeps busy doing promotional work for the brewery, an ad agency, Robert Marston and Associates, Inc., is keeping busy distributing some of Brock's inspirational quotations. Among the Brockisms is this one: "I always felt I was a guy who had the ability to light the spark of enthusiasm which unlocked the hidden geysers to the adrenaline that causes one to play to the summit of his ability."
BIPARTISAN, MY LAUREL WREATH
In a coup that the League of Women Voters might envy, the financially strapped U.S. Olympic Committee has somehow succeeded in persuading Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan to serve as co-chairmen of a campaign to raise $4 million. But, wait, maybe the League wouldn't be so envious after all. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the campaign—the fund-raising one, that is, certainly not the political one—has been held up because of some wrangling that could undermine the USOC's hopes for bipartisan support. Carter's campaign braintrust, apparently regretting that the White House ever agreed to equal billing with the President's chief rival, has insisted that Carter's photograph appear in the upper lefthand corner of a proposed newspaper ad, with Reagan's likeness relegated to the lower righthand corner. What's more, they want the President's signature to be bigger. According to the Journal, a compromise is in the works, involving the possible elimination of both photographs. There was no definite word, however, on how the difference over the signatures might be resolved. And John Anderson has yet to be heard from.
SO LONG TO A SHRINE
Hardy's, a driving range and pitch 'n' putt golf course in North Dallas, is one of the improbable shrines of sport. It was at Hardy's in 1954 that 14-year-old Lee Trevino took a job mowing the greens, washing balls and performing other chores. And it was there that he first displayed his vaunted talents, winning bets by whipping disbelieving opponents while using a Dr Pepper bottle as a club on the par-3 course or by hitting the 100-yard sign—"Which zero do you want me to go for?"—on the driving range. After working at Hardy's on and off for a decade, Trevino went on to fry bigger fish, but he wasn't one to forget his roots. He still hung out at Hardy's when he was in town, and he remains a friend of its owner, Hardy Greenwood, with whom he is associated in a Dallas golf shop.
Now, after 35 years in business, Hardy's is no more. Apartment buildings and shopping centers have been going up in the neighborhood, and the owners of the land on which Hardy's was located recently told Greenwood they wanted to use the site for a new apartment complex. The other day Greenwood closed the doors forever and threw a farewell party, which Trevino attended. During the festivities an unwitting newcomer to Dallas phoned and expressed interest in making a golfing pilgrimage to the course Lee Trevino had put on the map. He got the news about Hardy's closing directly from Trevino, who happened to pick up the receiver. Surprised to be talking to his hero, the caller said, "Hardy's might be going out, but they're damn well going out in style."
Outfielder Dave Engle of the Toledo Mud Hens has won the International League batting championship, but it certainly wasn't easy. Going into the last of the ninth inning of a season-ending 6-1 road victory over the Pawtucket (R.I.) Red Sox, Engle had already made what turned out to be his final plate appearance of the year and trailed Pawtucket Third Baseman Wade Boggs, .3067 to .3070, in a real cliff-hanger of a race. It appeared that the only way Engle could yet win the title was if Boggs batted in the last of the ninth and made an out. If Boggs got a hit or didn't have an official at bat, he would win. There was every chance he wouldn't get to the plate because three other Red Sox players were scheduled to bat ahead of him. And even if one of them got on base, Boggs could always be removed for a pinch hitter.
Now follow closely, please. The first two Pawtucket hitters were quickly retired, and in hope of bringing Boggs to the plate, thereby keeping teammate Engle's chances alive, Toledo Pitcher Wally Sarmiento walked Pawtucket's Ray Boyer on four pitches. The Providence Journal-Bulletin's Angelo Cataldi described the pitches as being "barely within the Pawtucket city lines." Given Sarmiento's rather unsporting gambit, it was to Boggs' credit that he chose to bat instead of yielding to a pinch hitter. "I wanted to win it with a hit," he later explained. "I didn't want to pull any of that stuff." In view of that commendable impulse, Boyer was guilty of a rather misguided attempt to extend Boggs a favor when he then did everything in his power to get himself thrown out stealing, which would have ended the game. But the Mud Hens allowed Boyer to steal second, third and home virtually unchallenged as the count on Boggs went to 2-2. (It apparently never occurred to Boyer to end the game by simply running out of the base paths.) Boggs then grounded out to first base, ending both the game and the season and dropping his batting average just enough for Engle to win the title, .3067 to .3062. Given the circumstances of his victory, Engle—to his credit—was properly sheepish about the outcome. "I wouldn't mind at all if they just declared us co-winners." he said.
With the election season in full swing, the incessant phone calls from political drumbeaters and pollsters were becoming simply too much for Mrs. A.L. Arend, a 78-year-old resident of Winter Park, Fla. Then, on top of everything else, the Orlando Sentinal Star rang up in the course of conducting a telephone sampling on the NFL's opening Sunday and asked Mrs. Arend which game her husband happened to be watching on TV. Her frosty but truthful reply, which the newspaper dutifully printed: "Mr. Arend has been dead for six years, and I don't know what game he's watching."
THEY SAID IT
•Jim Craig, after an intersection near Boston University was renamed "Olympic Four Place" in honor of himself and three other alumni who played on the U.S. Olympic hockey team: "Do I still have to pay the $500 worth of parking tickets I got here as a student?"
•Steve McCatty, Oakland pitcher, after yielding a 450-foot home run to Seattle's Bruce Bochte: "Some of our guys would have to pick the ball up and hit it three times to get it that far."
•Clint Hurdle, Kansas City Royal outfielder, who came into baseball as a much-ballyhooed "phenom": "If I had done everything I was supposed to, I would be leading the league in home runs, have the highest batting average, have given $1,000 to the cancer fund and married Marie Osmond."
•Tim Salem, a freshman quarterback at Minnesota, where his father, Joe, is coach: "The other day I ran out of money, so I asked Coach for $5. He told me I'm a player now and the rules don't permit a coach to give a player money."