In the summer of1964 the Chicago Cubs sent a young outfielder named Lou Brock and two otherplayers to St. Louis for veteran pitcher Ernie Broglio and two throw-ins. Topromote a joint appearance by Brock and Broglio at a Cub convention in Chicagolast weekend, the organizers' pronouncements described that 30-year-old swap as"controversial." In fact, there was nothing controversial about it.Brock for Broglio was incontrovertibly bad for Chicago—and maybe the worsttrade in baseball history.
In fairness,before the trade Brock had hit no better than .263. And at the time of the dealthe Chicago papers called it a steal—a two-time 18-game winner for a kid whocouldn't play rightfield because the sun kept getting in his eyes. There werefew clues that Brock would become a Hall of Fame stolen-base king, or thatBroglio would win only seven more games and be out of the majors by 1967.
But the fame ofthe trade, or its infamy, has turned Brock and Broglio into quite a pair. IfThe Baseball Encyclopedia didn't separate pitchers from other players, the twowould probably share the same page. As it is. they appear together routinely onsports call-in shows. "We're linked forever by it," says Brock.
"And you know,I've become almost as recognizable as Lou is," says Broglio. "So thetrade couldn't have been all bad."
It certainlywasn't all bad to the fans who gathered at the Chicago Hilton & Towers lastSaturday to chat, take pictures and get autographs. And Brock and Broglio havebecome fast friends. "This trade has not only allowed us to stay in touch,but it has bonded us," Brock said right before he and Broglio left theroom. Together, of course.
The "fash-talking" that players at Manhattan's Fashion Institute ofTechnology hear is painful enough: "Check out that tailor-madeoffense!" "Hey, they're fashioning their defensive patterns!""You should see them run the weave!" Now FIT, a junior college whose16-4 men's basketball team is nationally ranked, gets it from the press, too.After the alma mater of Calvin Klein lost to Allegany Community College on Jan.7, The Cumberland (Md.) Times-News ran its story under the headline ALLEGANYUNDRESSES FIT.
The playersavailable in the NFL expansion draft on Feb. 15 look like so much refuse fromthe established teams' trash bins. Each team had to contribute six signedplayers to a 168-player pool from which the Jacksonville Jaguars and theCarolina Panthers will each choose the 30-to 42-man core of its first season'sroster. Many of the unprotected are aging players with $2 million-plussalaries—e.g., Green Bay Packer defensive end Sean Jones, 32, and AtlantaFalcon defensive end Chris Doleman, 33—who surely won't be picked byyouth-seeking coaches Dom Capers of Carolina and Tom Coughlin ofJacksonville.
A few teamsexposed players who probably have some good years left in them, in the hopethey'll be picked and money thus freed up under the salary cap could be betterspent in the free-agent market. For example, if the Packers arc lucky enough tohave cornerback Terrell Buckley and running back Reggie Cobb taken, Green Baywill suddenly have some $2.5 million to spend on free agents in 1995.
To us, this alllooks like another case of the NFL's established franchises gouging the newkids on the block. The Panthers and the Jaguars have already been forced tocough up $140 million each in expansion fees; now they're being asked tocompete with players who are overpriced, over-the-hill or both. And thoughthere are a few potential gems in the draft—Dallas Cowboy defensive back DaveThomas is a rangy special-teamer, while the Arizona Cardinals' Steve Beuerleinhas all the makings of a classic cannon-fodder quarterback—there's no one tobuild a team around. Of all the players chosen in the six expansion drafts inNFL history, only two, Seattle's Dave Brown and Minnesota's Grady Alderman,ever lasted a decade with their new teams. Don't expect that trend to reverseitself.
He Said' Em
It wasn't so muchthe things he did and said, but the way he did and said them. Ron Luciano, theumpire who struck back, made his calls with great histrionics and made hisopinions known with similar flair. Anything refracted through his world view,an outlook that was equal parts Berra and Berle, came out so skewed that itsomehow made perfect sense. "When I started, baseball was played by ninetough competitors on grass in graceful ballparks," he once said of the 11years he spent wearing American League blue. "By the time 1 finished, therewere 10 men on a side, the game was played indoors on plastic, and I spent halfmy time watching out for a man dressed in a chicken suit who kept trying tokiss me."
Luciano said muchmore before last week when, at 57, perhaps out of loneliness, perhaps out ofdespondency over his mother's Alzheimer's disease, he asphyxiated himself inhis garage in Endicott, N.Y.
On himself: "Ilike to hunt, but 1 never hit anything. I don't see too well."
"A double playtakes 3.8 seconds. Even as dumb as I am, I can concentrate that long."
"I nevercalled a balk in my life. I didn't understand the rule."
On his craft:"Umpiring is best described as the profession of standing between twoseven-year-olds with one ice-cream cone."
"There are alot of sails and brikes that I have to call balls and strikes."
"An indecisiveumpire is as vulnerable as the rich sky diver who allows his only heir to packhis parachute."
"When you'rewrong, and you call something and they still believe you, that makes a greatumpire."
Upon being askedby Larry King if there are natural umpires: "Yeah, there really are, butnobody starts out that way."
And: "Umpiresnever win."
What should be aglorious era for Brazilian soccer has, barely six months after that country wonits fourth World Cup championship, degenerated into a season of terror.Violence among organized groups of fans has left at least six people dead andscared thousands of others away from matches. During the second half of theBrazilian season, which stretched from June to December, no game at Rio'sMaracan‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£ stadium, which holds 150,000 and as recently as early this season haddrawn six-figure crowds, attracted more than 36,000. One match was playedbefore a "crowd" of just 640. As a result the stadium will lose aprojected $2.4 million this season. In Sao Paulo attendance has dropped to7,500 per game in 120,000-seat stadiums that were filled to near capacity notlong ago. In a recent poll conducted by the state sports and leisure office,83% of the respondents said they weren't going to soccer games because of afear of violence.
At the center ofthat violence are the torcidas organizadas. These fan clubs, each organizedaround a different team, have long supplied Brazilian soccer with the beguilingbanners, samba rhythms and lilting songs of support that last summer soendeared fans worldwide to Brazil's national team. Lately, though, exuberancehas given way to anarchy and mayhem, and rivalry to a kind of gang warfare,with the young members of the torcidas—many of them unemployed teenagers fromBrazil's drug-and crime-infested shantytowns—fighting pitched battles in thestands and streets. Shootings are common, and people have been tortured orkilled simply for wearing the wrong team shirt.
To combat theviolence, stadium officials have cut back on the practice of giving freetickets to the torcidas and have shut down the clubs' private rooms in thestadiums. "They were using the rooms to hide weapons and avoid the searchesthat were being done at the gates," says Jack London, Rio's secretary forsports and leisure. "We found clubs, knives and brass knuckles storedthere." Maracan‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£ has also increased the number of police on hand for eachmatch, from 120 to 220, and the local magistrate has opened a juvenile courtinside the stadium.
The torcidas havetaken tentative steps to police themselves. Marcos Thomaz, the 19-year-oldpresident of Young Force, the fan club of the Rio team Vas-co, recentlyexpelled three members for participating in a fight in which a fan was beatento death. But it will take more to stem the tide of rage that has invaded thesport and to restore the joy to Brazilian soccer. As Thomaz puts it: "Theviolent ones aren't just the poor. Every class of society takes part. 1 can'tdeny that there exists a pleasure in hating the enemy."
Paul in theHall
Guilty for toolong of sins of omission, the College Football Hall of Fame last week took along-overdue step toward atonement. Among the 13 new inductees announced onJan. 18 by the National Football Foundation, which oversees the Hall, were somewho should have been honored long ago, including Syracuse great Jim Brown. Butby finally opening its doors to Paul Robeson, the Hall has most clearly shownthat it's ready to live up to its name.
At first glanceRobeson would seem not merely a likely candidate for any institution callingitself the College Football Hall of Fame; he would seem to have been an idealcandidate for the first class of inductees in 1951. Robeson, who died in 76 atthe age of 77, was a 6' 3", 215-pound two-way end at Rutgers, a two-timeAll-America described by Walter Camp as "the greatest defensive end whoever trod the gridiron" and by a contemporary, Philadelphia sportswriterRobert W. Maxwell, as "without a doubt, the best football player in thecountry." He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the valedictorian of theclass of '19 at Rutgers, a renowned orator and baritone, and a man who went onto earn a law degree, learn to speak 15 languages and forge a gloriousinternational career as a singer and actor.
But Robeson'srèsumè carried another line as well: communist sympathizer. Though never amember of the Communist party, Robeson, whose father was a runaway slave, wasan outspoken antifascist and a champion of racial equality and socialist causeswho remained a supporter of the Soviet Union throughout his life. That wasenough to get him blacklisted on Broadway in the 1940s and enough, given theCollege Football Hall of Fame's vague "good citizenship" requirement,to deny him enshrinement. The foundation's longtime chief, Jimmy McDowell,liked to say that '"the National Football Foundation honors men who honorthe game and honor the country" and once responded to a Robeson supporterby writing, "Robeson's citizenship, in the opinion of the Foundation'sAwards Committee and Board of Directors, eliminated him from furtherconsideration."
Under the guidanceof McDowell's successor. Bob Casciola, and with several spots on the 12-memberHonors Court now occupied by electors from a new generation, the foundationappears more inclined to judge nominees strictly on their gridiron prowess.That may be good news for such other inexplicably absent stars as formerAlabama quarterback Joe Namath (whose Broadway Joe image may not have suitedthe old guard); Billy Cannon, the 1959 Heisman-winning halfback from LSU (who24 years after leaving school served time for his role in a counterfeitingscam); and Harvard drop-kicking sensation Charley Brickley (who was convictedin '28 of illegal stock transactions). For any of them who might someday makeit to the Hall—indeed, for all other inductees, past or future—the honor willbe far more meaningful now that Robeson is in.
Did vagabondcollege football clipboard carrier Lou Saban really turn down an offer to coachthe University of Miami last week? No, it just seemed that way after neithercoercion nor cajoling could get any college coach to take over the mostdominant program of the last 11 years. While the rejections promptedspeculation that prospective coaches feared the Hurricanes were about to behide-strapped by the NCAA for improper payments to players, other factors mostlikely accounted for the delay in replacing Dennis Erickson. Miami wasastonishingly unprepared for Erickson's departure to the NFL, which outsidershad expected for at least two years. It thus allowed itself to fall victim tothe recruiting calendar and the reluctance of coaches to publicly compete forany job, even one as choice as Miami's, at this time of year.
On Jan. 13. theday after Erickson announced he would leave the Hurricanes for the SeattleSeahawks, second-year Miami athletic director Paul Dee began contactingcandidates. Within six days at least eight college coaches had publiclyforsworn their interest, even though only three of them had been interviewed."Head coaches can't afford to be candidates in January," says Auburncoach Terry Bowden. That's because, if a coach's candidacy becomes known inadvance of next month's letter-of-intent signing date and he doesn't get thejob, he returns home to an angry staff and a lousy recruiting class. Addsanother coach, one who interviewed for the job: "Miami should have done allthe preliminary work early. Sec your three guys on the q.t., find out who'sinterested, and when Dennis leaves, make your move."
By Monday, despitethe Hurricanes' stated preference for a man with head coaching experience, theschool had settled on Dallas Cowboy assistant Butch Davis, who had onceassisted Jimmy Johnson in Coral Gables. That left Miami with someone who hasbeen out of college coaching for seven years.
"There's nevera bad time to lake a good job," Bowden says. "And Miami is a goodjob." Perhaps, but to a lot of college coaches last week it didn't appearso.
Dr. Z's All-Pro Team
SI Pro Football analyst Paul Zimmerman's Sleeper of theYear is Alfred Pupunu, who makes Zim's 1994 team as a combinationfullback/U-back, or as a second tight end. The 255-pound Pupunu was at thecenter of the San Diego offense as a devastating blocker who gave Natrone Meansthe creases he needed to rush for 1,350 yards. And when the Chargers threw toPupunu, he revived the old Mark Bavaro animal act, dragging tacklers placesthey never thought they would go.
These players were the best of 1994:
This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us
A Florida-Based firm, ProAuction, Inc., has gone intobusiness to auction off contracts, drawn up by pro athletes and their agents,to the highest-bidding team—and to distribute tickets and sell TV rights to theentire process.
They Said It
Montreal general manager, on one of the Expos' personnel needs: "For yearswe've been looking for a shortstop who can pick it. Now we're looking for onewho won't."
Brock (left) and Broglio now smile over the Cards' last laugh.
After 44 years, Robeson will finally be enshrined