BASEBALL'S SIREN SONG...A SHRINE TO TIGER... WANTED: NFL QUARTERBACKS...CALUMET'S REVERED TROPHIES...WORLD TUG OF WAR...MINOR LEAGUE HOCKEY IS THE PHAD IN PHILLY

March 03, 1997

FANTASY CAMPS

Scattered among the secure veterans and starry-eyed rookies in
spring training this year is an unusually large collection of
once established major leaguers who have come off farms and out
of offices for a last sojourn in the sun. They are
thirtysomething, nonroster players with minor league contracts
or no contracts at all who found life lacking outside the lines.
And while many may be sent home with the first cruel cuts of
spring, for now they are replenishing their souls. "It's
surreal," says 39-year-old lefthander Steve Trout, gazing around
the Pittsburgh Pirates' camp in Bradenton, Fla. "Like a dream."

Trout is far from his halcyon days, when he won 88 games in 12
seasons before hanging up his glove in 1990 so he could watch
his then six-year-old daughter, Taytum, grow up. Trout attempted
to write a book about his father, Dizzy (also a major league
pitcher), and tried his hand as a sports agent. But his longing
for the game never waned, and last year Taytum said, "Daddy, you
should try baseball again." So Trout finagled a tryout with
Pirates scout Bill Bryk. Trout showed Bryk that his fastball
still approached 90 mph and that his slider still slid, and the
man nicknamed Rainbow got a last, unsalaried chance to seek a
pot of gold.

Here are some other born-again ballplayers on Florida dream
fields.

Davenport (Kansas City Royals): Mitch Williams, a former star
closer with three teams who had 192 saves and a spectacularly
unpredictable fastball, never pitched well after yielding, as a
Philadelphia Phillie, the 1993 World Series-winning home run to
the Toronto Blue Jays' Joe Carter. Williams, 32, appeared
briefly with the California Angels in '95 but got hit hard and
has spent most of the time since on his 600-acre ranch in Hico,
Texas. "It's pretty much get up and feed your horses and
cattle," he says. "I missed what I had in baseball." Williams
built a mound at the ranch and taught himself a forkball that
broke sharply enough to impress Royals scout Terry Wetzel in a
January tryout.

Port St. Lucie (New York Mets): Howard Johnson, 36, last played
in 1995 for the Chicago Cubs, batting .195 in just 169 at bats.
Last year he landed a job as a rookie-league hitting instructor
for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and while in that position got the
itch to get back in the box. Johnson, a third baseman, has
little chance of making the Mets, but fans, remembering his
years as a 30-30 man for New York, have greeted him with adoring
support.

St. Petersburg (St. Louis Cardinals): Infielder-outfielder Cory
Snyder, 34, who averaged 28 home runs a season from 1986 to '88
and who last played in '94 for the Dodgers, spent last year
running a sporting goods store in Laguna Beach, Calif. He also
belted 75 home runs--for Dan Smith Plastering in a slo-pitch
softball league.

Fort Lauderdale (Baltimore Orioles): Kelly Gruber, who was the
Blue Jays' starting third baseman from 1987 to '92, hasn't
played in four years because of a herniated disk in his neck
that was surgically repaired in '95. Says the 35-year-old
Gruber, "Just being in a uniform again feels good."

Port Charlotte (Texas Rangers): Since his last big league
appearance, for the Angels in 1992, lefty Scott Bailes, 35, has
been mowing lawns and doing plumbing work at the rental
properties he owns in Springfield, Mo. He has also helped his
wife, JoAnne, run a chain of baby-clothing stores. None of those
workplaces compared to the Show. "There's not a better job than
being a major leaguer," Bailes says. "If I play two more weeks
or two more years, I'm going to appreciate it every day."

HISTORY LESSONS

Tiger Woods's father, Earl, underwent successful heart bypass
surgery last week, but that didn't stop him from announcing that
he and his wife, Kultida, will turn the house in which they
raised Tiger--a single-story, three-bedroom tract home on a
quarter-acre lot in Cypress, Calif.--into a "historical
monument" as a way "to preserve what Tiger has accomplished for
history." Says Earl of the proposed museum, "I hope it becomes a
place that will serve as an inspiration to young people."

The highlight of this golfing Mount Vernon, by the way, will be
Tiger's boyhood bedroom, in which a time line Tiger kept to
compare his feats against those of Jack Nicklaus at the same
ages hangs over the bed. Nicklaus has his own museum in the
works at his Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. It is
set to open next year. Nicklaus is 57. Tiger just turned 21.

LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD ARMS

The current crop of NFL free agents may be the most bountiful
ever, but you'd never know it from the slim pickings at
football's marquee position. Consider the options open to Kansas
City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, whose team is just a
topflight quarterback away from Super Bowl contention. After
declining to outbid the Oakland Raiders for Jeff George, who was
considered the best signal-caller available despite a 30-54
record with the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons,
Peterson had to choose among two free agents without significant
starting experience, Elvis Grbac and Heath Shuler, as well as
journeyman Chris Chandler. Castoffs Jeff Hostetler, Erik Kramer
and Warren Moon loomed as even less enticing alternatives.

As of Monday, the Chiefs were leaning toward the 26-year-old
Grbac, an occasionally effective San Francisco 49ers backup
during the last two seasons and a player the Niners deemed not
worthy of succeeding Steve Young. Grbac's stiff style of play is
suspiciously like that of Steve Bono, who sputtered as the
Chiefs' starter the last two years. And Grbac would be the
Chiefs' third straight former San Francisco quarterback, a
streak that began with Joe Montana in '93. "If we go with
Grbac," Peterson said last weekend, "our fans will perceive it
as, Oh, no, three in a row."

In a league in which Jim Everett, Bobby Hebert and Dave Krieg
finished last season as starters, the Niners--who desperately
want to groom a quarterback of the future--and the Falcons are
among several other frustrated, quarterback-hungry teams.
Chandler, 31, has played for five clubs and would be viewed as a
stopgap. And though Shuler, the third pick of the 1994 draft, is
physically gifted, he was a washout with the Washington
Redskins. "There may be a guy who takes off with a change of
scenery," says Peterson, "like Brett Favre or Mark Brunell did.
But you just don't know."

San Francisco, with the 26th pick in the draft, and Atlanta,
with the third, are both hoping to make a run at Tennessee
quarterback Peyton Manning should the coveted junior enter the
draft. If he does, each team will try to overwhelm New York Jets
coach Bill Parcells with a package of draft picks and defensive
players to secure the Jets No. 1 pick. In 1993 Niners president
Carmen Policy, in an effort to get Rick Mirer when he left Notre
Dame, offered San Francisco's entire draft to Parcells, then New
England's coach, for the No. 1 pick. It could take even more to
get Manning. But given the dearth of quarterback talent, the
Niners or the Falcons might have to consider betting the farm on
him.

MISSTEPS

Reebok had been selling its Incubus women's running shoes for
about a year with no complaints until an ABC television report
last week pointed out just what an incubus is--an evil demon
that has sex with sleeping women. While the company scrambled to
recall the 18,000 boxes of unsold Incubi currently in the hands
of retailers (the name doesn't appear on the shoe itself),
Reebok spokesmen were left trying to explain why no one in the
marketing department had bothered to look up the term in the
dictionary.

Then again, paying attention to what a name means doesn't seem
to be standard operating procedure at Reebok. How else can one
explain the fact that what a company press release refers to as
one of the "key new offerings" in Reebok's fall 1997 line of
basketball shoes for women is called the Jackal? Merriam
Webster's defines jackal as (in addition to a small carnivorous
canid) "a person who performs routine or menial tasks for
another," and as "a person who serves or collaborates with
another esp. in the commission of base acts."

A LEGACY ON THE BLOCK

The Kentucky Horse Park outside Lexington attracts about 250,000
visitors a year. It's the home of aged geldings Forego and John
Henry, two of the best thoroughbreds of the 1970s. But the
park's main attraction is the gleaming gathering of trophies won
by Calumet Farm's horses between the early '40s and the late
'50s, when that farm dominated racing much as the New York
Yankees dominated baseball.

The collection of 129 gold trophies, 298 silver ones and 103
silver julep cups was loaned to Horse Park in 1982 after the
death of Lucille Markey, the widow of Calumet owner Warren
Wright. Sotheby's recently appraised the collection, part of
which is shown at left, at between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
The prize pieces are Calumet's eight Kentucky Derby trophies,
including that of '48 Triple Crown winner Citation.

Bankruptcy trustees for Markey's heirs are attempting to sell
the trophies to pay debts Calumet accumulated in the '80s and
'90s. An anonymous bidder reportedly has offered $1.2 million
for the lot, while others have offered to buy pieces. Meantime,
James (Ted) Bassett, former president of the Breeders' Cup, is
leading a drive to keep the collection at Horse Park. He's being
assisted by Margaret Glass, Calumet's treasurer during its
heyday. "It would be criminal to allow this historic collection
to be broken up," she says.

She's right. Though the farm's last great horse was Alydar in
1978, the Calumet name remains synonymous with excellence. A
troubled sport like racing should do all it can to remind the
public of the greatness that it once had--and that it hopes to
reach again.

THE PULL OF THE TUG

William Lukoya of Uganda had been looking forward to his trip to
Torquay for more than two years. Torquay, a resort village on
England's southwest coast that's famous as the setting of John
Cleese's Fawlty Towers, last Saturday hosted the World Indoor
Tug of War Championships, and Lukoya, the chairman of the Uganda
Tug of War Association, was on hand as an observer, watching the
grunting and yanking of dozens of heavily calloused men and
women from 13 countries competing in six weight classes.

"Tug-of-war is very popular in Uganda," said Lukoya. "When there
is a football match, we have the tug-of-war as an appetizer. If
our king is coming in the area, we have a tug-of-war to
celebrate."

The proceedings in Torquay were more sophisticated than the tugs
Lukoya was used to. "For us there are 30 people on this side of
the rope and 30 people on that side, and then they all pull," he
said. In England teams of eight pullers wearing shorts and rugby
shirts in their nation's colors marched side by side into the
gymnasium. Competitive categories ranged from 1,058 pounds for
the lightest women's teams to 1,496 pounds for the heaviest men's.

The Irish teams were particularly intriguing, made up primarily
of farmers and laborers, including several men in their
mid-to-late 40s. They had trained with their clubs for six
months, five days a week, 2 1/2 hours a day, running many miles
and pulling on weighted ropes, all with no incentive save the
glory to be had in Torquay. As important as strength was the
teams' timing, with each country showing its own style: The
Spanish, represented entirely by Basques, waited patiently for
the opposing tuggers to exhaust themselves; the coach of the
English swept his hand back and forth in a Basil Fawlty-style
flourish, as his men chanted with him, "Left! Pull! Left!"; the
Scots just seemed to grab and heave and not let go; the Swiss
coach shouted commands in German with precise cutting movements
of his hand. (The U.S. was not represented in Torquay.)

Late in the day, in one of the most symbolic matchups, the rope
grew taut between the heavyweight men's teams of Northern
Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For a half minute it inched
back and forth before creeping resolutely toward the south, the
Republic's eight left feet synchronized like a centipede's,
pulling the northerners to defeat. The Ugandan chairman was
asked if he knew anything about the troubles in Ireland these
days. "Yes," Lukoya said, watching the north slip along the mat.
"They are just like us in Africa." --IAN THOMSEN

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY SIMON BRUTY Hold That Line Japan's 1,058-pound women's team at the tug of war world meet pulled its weight during an early-round victory over bronze medalist England. [T of C] FIVE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS: ILLUSTRATION BY JEFF WONG [Comic strip featuring retired major league baseball players] COLOR PHOTO: PHOTODISC [Typewriter] COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER Given a weak quarterback crop, Grbac seems O.K. to K.C. [Elvis Grbac] COLOR CHART: NIGEL HOLMES [Chart not available--bar graph comparing number of games needed by various hockey players to score 600 goals] COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [Drawing of hockey player made up of hockey pucks] COLOR PHOTO: JEFF CHRISTENSEN/REUTERS [Riddick Bowe] COLOR PHOTO: BILL LUSTER HORSE HARDWARE Some of the prized trophies in the endangered Calumet Farms collection (story, right): Tim Tam got this for winning the 1958 Flamingo Stakes [Trophy] COLOR PHOTO: BILL LUSTER [See caption above] Ponder's prize for the 1949 Kentucky Derby [Trophy] COLOR PHOTO: BILL LUSTER [See caption above] Citation's trophy for the 1948 Kentucky Derby [Trophy] COLOR PHOTO: BILL LUSTER [See caption above] Armed's cup for the 1945 Pimlico Special [Trophy] COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY Torquay's tugs included this one between the men of Spain (facing) and Ireland. [Teams from Spain and Ireland in tug of war]

GO FIGURE

56.3
Percentage of foul shots converted this season by Niagara guard
Calvin Murphy Jr., the son of the third-most-accurate free throw
shooter, at 89.2%, in NBA history.

356
Games in which center Adam Oates had been an assistant captain
for the Boston Bruins before team executives stripped the a off
his jersey for criticizing them.

5 of 6
Defendants in the Ayrton Senna manslaughter trial in Italy--the
race-car driver's 1995 fatal crash is being blamed on a faulty
steering column--who did not show up for the first day of the
proceedings.

43
Consecutive conference swimming titles won by Kenyon College
before it lost to Denison in the North Coast Athletic meet this
year.

5
Days after his black Porsche was delivered to the Oakland A's
Phoenix hotel that tardy-as-usual Jose Canseco arrived.

100, 250
Dollars for entry fee and words in essay needed to apply for
ownership of the Evergreen Par 3 golf course, located in
Greenwood, Del.

THE 600 CLUB

Last month Mario Lemieux scored his 600th goal in just his 719th
game, only one more game than Wayne Gretzky needed. Here's how
quickly the NHL's seven 600-goal scorers attained that mark:

Gordie Howe
1,274 games

Mike Gartner
1,125

Marcel Dionne
1,033

Bobby Hull
1,032

Phil Esposito
1,014

Mario Lemieux
719

Wayne Gretzky
718

Coincidentally, 600 pucks weigh about 206 pounds--roughly the
same as a fully padded Jari Kurri, who, with 593 goals as of
Monday, is next in line to reach 600. You might say he's worth
his weight in vulcanized rubber.

This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Green Bay Packers fan Noel Franus of Chicago has mounted an
Internet campaign to protest a U.S. Postal Service stamp
honoring Vince Lombardi because, he says, the stamp doesn't show
the gap between Lombardi's front teeth.

They Said It

Hal Morris
Cincinnati first baseman, on the death of Chinese leader Deng
Xiaoping: "As Reds, I believe we have to observe the customary
six-day mourning period."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)