A SAD REFRAIN
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Rico Leroy Marshall of Glenarden, Md., celebrated his 18th birthday. On Wednesday, Marshall, a talented fullback at Forestville (Md.) High, signed a letter of intent to play at the University of South Carolina. On Thursday, Marshall, who sometimes sang the national anthem at home games, won his school's talent contest. On Friday, he was given an impromptu ovation as he walked into the school gym to watch a basketball game.
Early Saturday morning, Marshall died after ingesting several chunks of crack, the cocaine derivative. Prince George's County police said that they were investigating drug trafficking on a notorious street in the town of Capitol Heights when officers stopped Marshall's car at about 1:30 a.m. Police surmise that Marshall swallowed the crack in order to avoid arrest. He drove home and a short time later went into convulsions. After being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, he died at 4:10 a.m.
On the wall of Marshall's bedroom was a photo of a basketball player who came from the neighboring community of Landover—Len Bias.
February 22, 1988
STATING THE OBVIOUS
There's a 4-year-old gelding racing at Aqueduct in New York with an unusual past performance chart. Last summer, in his first five starts at Philadelphia Park, the horse had two first-place and two third-place finishes, but eventually he was disqualified from receiving his winnings. The reason? Those races were restricted to Pennsylvania-breds, and this horse was foaled in Virginia.
You would think someone might have caught on sooner to the discrepancy. The name of the horse, after all, is Made in Virginia.
IN DOGGED PURSUIT
One can almost imagine a tweedy Scotland Yard inspector calling all the suspects into the library as a storm rages outside. "One of you [pause] is guilty," says the inspector. "One of you [pause] left a trace of powder in the coat of your Bedlington terrier." Gasp!
That scene is suggested by the extraordinary measures taken at the 92nd Crufts Dog Show in London's Earl's Court last week, a show which drew 15,567 entrants representing 135 breeds. It's common practice for owners to use powder to clean their dogs' coats, but to conform to a new Kennel Club rule, handlers had to brush out any remnants of the powder before bringing their animals inside the exhibition hall. It seems that all that powder was creating a frightful mess in the hall. In an attempt to curb violations of the rule, the Kennel Club threatened to take spot (or Spot) samples of dog hair for later examination by the forensic scientists of Scotland Yard.
Said a Kennel Club spokeswoman, "Scotland Yard are paid a fee by the Kennel Club to carry out these tests. We have had to use forensic testing in the past when there was an allegation that a dog had been dyed."
If a dog had been found to have a trace of powder in its coat, it would have been disqualified. One would hope that the dog's owner would also have been punished, perhaps by being hit with a rolled-up newspaper and told he or she is a bad person.
At The Albany (N.Y.) Academy, students still marvel over the classic invective that Dan Lende, a freestyler on last year's varsity team, directed at a meet official. Taking exception to a ruling, Lende shouted, "Have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?"
As one might expect of a jock so erudite as to have borrowed from Act I, Scene III of Macbeth, Lende is now swimming for Harvard.
ALL BY HIMSELF
Last week, in an item titled One-on-Five, we told you about Angie Brimage, who scored all 51 of Brighton (Mass.) High's points in a 55-51 loss to Boston English. Well, we should have saved the title, because on Feb. 7 in a game in an accounting-firm league in Charlotte, N.C., Darwin Parks of Peat Marwick Main & Co. held off five guys from Arthur Young & Co. in overtime. Here's how it happened:
Peat Marwick is playing with only five men, the fifth having arrived just 22 seconds before game time.
The score is close throughout the game, but with two minutes left, Peat Marwick player-coach Bob Bertges fouls out. Still, Parks, who's playing with a bruised knee, makes a 12-foot jumper with five seconds, to tie the score at 48-48 and send the game into overtime.
Tim Smith of Peat Marwick fouls out after 40 seconds of OT, and Jeff Hill follows 30 seconds later, with the score again tied.
That leaves only Parks and Steve Shorkey, who somehow forge a 63-59 lead. But with 1:12 to go, Shorkey fouls out. The Arthur Young player misses his free throw, and Parks pulls down the rebound and dribbles the length of the floor before he is fouled. He makes both his free throws to give Peat Marwick a six-point lead. "By this time, we were going crazy," says Smith. "I mean has Michael Jordan ever done this?"
Arthur Young solves Parks's 1-0-0 zone press and scores quickly. Now Parks has a problem: How does one inbound the ball to oneself? He answers the question by bouncing his pass off an opponent and grabbing the loose ball. He draws another foul and sinks both free throws. Arthur Young answers with two points. Parks heaves the inbounds pass downcourt. Arthur Young comes back upcourt, misses a shot, and Parks rebounds. He is fouled and sinks one foul shot. Arthur Young scores, but time runs out as Parks holds on to the ball. Peat Marwick, or Darwin Parks, wins 68-65.
Says the six-foot Parks, a 23-year-old who was a baseball, not basketball, star at UNC Charlotte, "I was talking to a guy the next day, and when I started telling him about some guys fouling out, he interrupted and said, 'Oh, I get it. All your teammates foul out and you win the game single-handedly, right?' I just said, 'Right.' "
Former heavyweight champ George Foreman became the father of a third son last week. It should come as no surprise that he named him George. Foreman's other sons are named George and George.
A FORMER BASE THIEF ANSWERS THE CALL
In the 19th century the scourge of the Paris police was a brilliant thief named Fran‚Äö√†√∂‚àö√ºois-Eugène Vidocq. The frustrated gendarmes finally offered to dismiss all charges if he would use his skills to assist, rather than confound, the law. In short time, Vidocq became a great detective, as well as Victor Hugo's inspiration for the antagonists Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Misèrables.
A similar drama may be unfolding in Cocoa, Fla., where Ron LeFlore, once the finest base stealer in baseball, has turned himself in to umpire Joe Brinkman. LeFlore is one of 140 aspiring umps who have paid $1,675 to serve five weeks of hard labor at the Joe Brinkman Baseball School. Only 19 will be chosen to go on to the Minor League Umpire Development Program.
LeFlore learned to play the game at State Prison of Southern Michigan, where from 1970 to '73 he served a sentence for an armed robbery he committed when he was 19. His baseball skills earned him an early release and a contract with the Tigers. From '74 to '82, he averaged 50 stolen bases a year. His playing career stopped in spring training of '83 when the White Sox released him.
Recently, while working as a baggage handler for Eastern Airlines in Sarasota, LeFlore ran into AL umpiring supervisor Marty Springstead. When LeFlore told Springstead he missed the game, Springstead suggested umpire school. "I do more running here than I ever did as a player," says LeFlore. "But I want to be a major league ump as much as I wanted to be a major league player."
LeFlore is trying to follow the path of such players-turned-umpires as George Pipgras and Jocko Conlan. Says Brinkman, "There's potential there, but he's 39, and he'll have to spend 7 to 10 years in the minors." That's a sentence LeFlore seems willing to serve.
THEY SAID IT
•Benny Dees, Wyoming basketball coach, bemoaning a recent slump by the Cowboys: "It was so bad my travel agent called me with a play—and I wrote it down."
•Bill Gullickson, former major league pitcher, upon returning from a trip to Japan, where he signed to play baseball in 1988: "It was strange. The only English words I saw were Sony and Mitsubishi."