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Evansville, Indiana
November 27, 1987     The Message
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November 27, 1987

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12 Sports The Message -- fo r Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November 27, 1987 m Rutter on Sports By DAVE RUTTER Now that you have consummated the tradi- tional American Thanksgiving by dispatching a perfectly innocent turkey to the gastronomic great beyond -- or maybe the great below -- it would be beyond pointlessness to inflict serious prose on your digestive tract. So, I won't. But it does seem a moment ripe to con- template the role of turkeys in the halls of com- petitive challenge. And, that, folks, is precisely what I aim to do. It's no great source of pride for writers to fall back on the high moments of sports -- and sports- like endeavors -- as the source of inspiration. No siree. Any clown can write about how good Babe Ruth was or how well Larry Bird can hit 30-footers. Tame pickings for a person bent on deeper truth. So here's to the turkeys, the almost-turkeys, the would-have-been-turkeys and the goslings-yet- to-be. This is for everyone who ever three-putted from two feet and lost 10 bucks or anyone who's spilled a banana daiquiri on the boss at the com- pany Christmas party. Read on, fellow turkeys and turkeyettes. My favorite turkey in baseball is Detroit pit- cher Dizzy Trout, a professional of some skill in the 1930s. He won the turkey trophy while pit- ching against Luke Appling, the famed White Sex shortstop. Appling was an OK sort of guy, but he made his historical mark with an odd sort of capability. He could foul off pitches He could hit 'em right, left, up, back, hard, soft, straight or curved. Trout was pitching against Appling one day when Luke got into an especially glorious fouling- off groove. He fouled away five, and then five more. Then he spoiled No. 11, 12, 13 and 14. Trout figured he had seen enough. On the 15th pitch, he kept the ball in his hand and threw the glove. Appling took it for ball four. Although A1 Oliver was a left-handed hitter of some repute with the Pirates and later the Expos, he also earned a turkey award in 1985. He was a member of both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers during the post-season play-offs. Both teams lost. Joe Sprinz wins a special turkey for his 1939 escapades. He later would play for the Cleveland Indians but that year he was performing in the Pacific Coast League for the San Francisco Seals. The World's Fair was doing a big business and someone got the idea of seng if a player could catch a baseball dropped 1200 feet from a dirigible. This is a great day to honor Turkeys Joe said, "okiedokie." So they dropped the ball. It hit Joe in the mouth. He had 12 cracks in his jaw, lost five teeth and was rendered more or less unconscious. I say more or less because Joe may have been per- manently groggy, even BEFORE the incident. Oh, by the way. He also dropped the ball. He said he lost it in the sun. Most sports turkeys are lost in the mist of history, but some recovered their dignity and find better times. President Dwight Eisenhower was one of those who escaped turkeydom. Olympic sports legend Jim Thorpe was run- ning circles around football foes in 1912 when his Carlisle team ran into Ike's West Point Cadets. Eisenhower was instructed to follow Thorpe wherever he went on the field. He finally got a solid crack at tackling Thorpe and smote him a mighty shot. Ike's tackle was so violent that he knocked himself silly and had to leave the game for good. Thorpe went on to play the entire game. Washington State and San Jose State played a football game in Pullman, Wash., in 1955. The winds howled and the thermometer hovered around zero. The paid attendance for the game was one. He -- or she -- was never identified other than earning history's mantle as fandom's No. 1 turkey. In 1960, Dallas Cowboy quarterback Eddie LeBaron threw a touchdown pass against the Washington Redskins. The official distance of the mighty turkey toss was listed as two inches. By its very nature, golf is a game ordained to create turkeys. You may not recognize the names of Ray Ainsley, Hans Merrell or A.J. Lewis. True golfing turkeys, every one. Ainsley was playing the U.S. Open in 1938 when he was enshrined in turkeydom's hall of pain. He took a slick 19 shots on a par four hole. Mostly he was trying to escape a small river with a swift current. Merrell took 19 shots on one hole in the 1959 Bing Crosby tourney. But Lewis outdid them all. In 1890, he was playing a course in Sussex, England, and took 156 putts on one green. He never di.{ hole out. He eventually just picked up his ball and moved on. No one recorded what he shot on the next hole. A woman whose name has been lost to posterity was playing in a tournament one fine day in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa. It was the early 1900s. Her tee shot on the par three 16th went into a river astride the hole. It began to float downstream. She and her husband -- presumably the caddy -- acquired the services of a boat and followed. One-and-a-half miles downstream, the ball came to rest, and she commenced to resume the game. She had to play through a forest on her way back, but eventually went to the 17th hole after chalking up a nifty 166. Then, of course, there are theatrical turkeys. The reigning champ is a British production named ., 4'. "The Intimate Review." It opened in London on " March 11, 1930. The scenery fell down, actors couldn't remember where they were supposed to be or what they were supposed to say. The management scrapped seven scenes just so the au- dience could escape before midnight. It closed and was officially listed as having a run of a "half- performance." Although their traditional athletic credentials are unstated -- at least by the Guinness Book of World Records whence these pearls derive -- several others deserve some notice for their achievements. Miriam Hargrave of Wakefield, England, flunked 39 straight driving tests before passing. By that time, she had spent so much money on driv- ing instructions that there was not enough to buy a Car. Fannie Turner of Little Rock, Ark., flunked 103 consecutive written tests for her driver's license. She passed number 104. And then there's Peter Dowdeswelle of Earls Barton, England. He holds the current Guinness record for eating English cheddar cheese {16 ounces in 73 seconds}, eels {1300 in 13.7 seconds}, gherkins {one pound in 41.6 seconds}, hamburgers {21 in 42}, ice cream (3 pounds, 6 ounces in 50.04 seconds}, jelly {20 fluid but gelatinous ounces in 13.11 seconds}, milk {1.2 quarts in 3.2 seconds}, pancakes {62 with butter and syrup in 6:58.5}, potatoes {3 pounds in 1:22}, prunes {144 in 34 seconds), ravioli {5 pounds in 5:34), sandwiches {40 jam and butter goodies in 17:53.9}, sausage meat {5 pounds, 12 and 3/4 ounces in 4:29}, shrimp {3 pounds in 3:10), spaghetti {100 yards in 21.7 seconds), strawberries (2 pounds in 12.95 seconds}, and eggs in three categories {hard-boiled, 14 in 58 seconds}, {soft-boiled, 38 in 75 seconds}, ' and of course, {raw, 13 in one second.} But Dowdeswell isn't all bad. He reportedly hates turkey. If you're a subscriber who's moving, print your new address below (include your new parish, if applicable). Attach the label with your old address from your most recent issue of the Msmmge in the space provided and mall us this coupon. NAME ADDRESS CITY ,. STATE ZIP PARISH (affix old label here) The Message P.O. Box 4169 Evansville, IN 47711 "Where customers send their f00iends!" Open nightly til 9 p.m. OLD US 231 SOUTH - JASPER, IN - 482-2222 n I " I JASPER SER VICE AND SHOPPING GUIDE Buehlers I.G.A. "THE THRIFTY HOUSEWIFE'S SOURCE OF SAVINGS" QUALITY FOODS and MEATS Abo Humlnxnll and Oaldmd CIW KREMPP LUMBER CO. WHOLESALE BUILDING MATERIAL DISTRIBUTION & GENERAL CONTRACTING YARD CONSTRUCTION 482-1961 482-6838 JASPER BECHER & KLUESNER FUNERAL HOME Downtown Chapel, 214 E. 7th North Chapel, 33rd Newton ,4 t First United Federal Savings Bank MORTGAGE LOANS SAVINGS ACCOUNTS INSURED UP TO $100,000 510 MAIN, JASPER 482-5633 == _ _1 ,  = KUNKEL INSURANCE AGENCY 811 NEWTON 482..4556 CHRYSLER - PLYMOUTH - DODGE STERNBERG, INC. 1202 THIRD AVENUE JASPER 24 HR. WRECKER SERVICE DAY: 482-5125 NIGHT: 482-2864 I CALL 424-5536 TO GET YOUR BUSINESS OR SERVICE LISTED BELOW! JASPER- HUNTINGBURG Car Wash Centers 3 Automatics. 12 Self-serve Bays JASPER LUMBER CO. COMPLETE BUILDING SERVICE Ph. 482-1125 RT. 4, JASPER i (HWY. A62 - LITTLE KY. RD.)