A Tip of the Cap

When he cleared the final hurdle last week, Doby was customarily modest. "You think about some of the changes that have happened in baseball," he said. "It's a feeling of struggle in the past. It's a feeling of a certain amount of relief. It's a great feeling."

It must be. In 1948 there were just four black players in the big leagues--Robinson and catcher Roy Campanella of the Dodgers, Doby and the ageless mound legend Leroy "Satchel" Paige of the Indians. (That year, by the way, Paige, reputed to have pitched for some 250 baseball teams in his endless career, retired the only two batters he ever faced in World Series play.) By 1959, when the notoriously bigoted Boston Red Sox finally put Pumpsie Green into a game as a pinch runner, all major-league teams were finally integrated.

That was the year Larry Doby retired, at the age of 39.
Somehow the fates still seem to be lined up against him. Last summer the Indians honored Doby with a tribute night on the fiftieth anniversary of his debut in the American League, and he was named honorary captain of the American League All-Star Team. But he was unable to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before game three of the World Series at Jacobs Field on October 21. Days earlier, doctors had found a cancerous left kidney. They removed it on October 24.

The next big day in his life comes July 26 in Cooperstown, on the shadowed shores of Lake Otsego, where he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. What'll you bet the man still knows how to say thanks? Of course, it's all of us who really should be saying it to him.

Nothing but net.
That's what the nation's college hoops junkies have been seeing again this March--to the consternation of their spouses and the delight of the nation's divorce lawyers.

After conferring with the distinguished (if TV-addled) members of the Westword Basketball Committee, the view here is that the NCAA men's trophy will return for the umpteenth time to the state of North Carolina--thanks to the Dean Smith-less North Carolina Tar Heels (two votes) or to Coach K's Duke Blue Devils (one vote).

No surprises there, despite the fact that one committee member happens to be an enthusiastic Arizona graduate. Meanwhile, no one here likes Kansas to win the thing.

Dark horses to reach the Final Four? Among them, our crack hoops students have come up with South Carolina (23-7), Michigan (24-8), Kentucky (29-4), Maryland (19-10), Clemson (18-13), Murray State (29-3), St. John's (22-9) and College of Charleston (24-5).

Players to watch? Defending champ Arizona's Mike Bibby, son of Henry. And (the people's choice), Eastern Michigan point guard Earl "The Squirrel" Boykins, who was the nation's second leading scorer at 26 points per game, despite standing five-feet-four and a fraction. The Squirrel and company look for big-time respect in the first round of the East Regional when they face--inspired matchup--Michigan State.

As for lowly Prairie View, a 13-16 club which catches 34-3 Kansas in the first round of the Midwest Regional, this 36-point underdog has the same chance of prevailing as Saddam Hussein has of being invited to share the Lincoln Bedroom with Monica Lewinsky.

And go, Rams. Colorado State's twelfth-seeded women's team (23-5) plays fifth-seeded Drake (25-4) in the first round of the Midwest Regional. You know what happens when a twelve meets a five, don't you? Upset city.

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