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April 05, 1979 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-05

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, April 5, 1979-Page9


As the Pistons and Red Wings
continue to flirt with cellar-dwelling
seasons, it's time again for Detroit
fans to look toward the Tigers for
possible post-season play.
Don't laugh! The Yankees aren't.
With a little luck, thjled Sox, Brewers,
Orioles and Tigers could all threaten .
the World Champions' bid for a fourth
consecutive division title.


beatable on paper, but anything can
happen between the lines; that is, if you
can find them.
Thanks to the inch of snow Mother
Nature dumped on us yesterday, the
Tiger-Ranger opener at Tiger Stadium
has been switched to tomorrow.
Nevertheless, Detroit manager Les
Moss is anxious to play, claiming to
possess a set of eight regulars who
"match up with anybody."
LAST YEAR'S statistics tend to help

By Billy Neff
The dream team...
it could've been
A S I REFLECT on the basketball season that just ended, with Magic
still on my mind, I think of the team that should have won the national
championship, or at least could have raised many eyebrows with their
Who could this powershouse be? Indiana State, UCLA, Duke. No, these
teams were all merely pretenders to a national crown that should probably
have been won by this team-that is, if they had all stayed together.
Not even Magic Johnson's passing wizardry could have vanquished this
conglomeraton of talent. By now, you should be wondering what I am talking
What I am talking about is the team at the University of Indiana that
Bobby Knight should have had this year-but lost through the transfer route.
Larry Bird, the phenom who catapulted the Indiana State Sycamores in-
to the national spotlight this season and almost into the national champion-
ship, played for Knight a few years back before deciding the school was too
big for him.
Add Bird, voted the nation's top player by over a 2-1 margin to Knight's
National Invitational Tournament winning team this year, and you have
quite a ballclub. The idea of his 28.6 scoring average and his 15 rebounds a
game playing in the same frontcourt with Mike Woodson,.an all-Big Ten
performer two years in a row, just boggles the mind."
This is just the beginning. At center, Knight should have had Illinois cen-
ter Derek Holcomb. Originally a Knight recruit, Holcomb transferred from
Indiana because of a personality dispute with Knight.
Holcomb breathed life into the Illinois basketball program this year. Not
normally known for its basketball, the Illini added the lanky 6-11 Holcomb
and went on to win their first 15 games of the year and gain a No. 2 national
ranking. Holcomb added domination to the center position while piling up 62
blocked shots in those 15 games.
If Holcomb, Woodson, and the incredible Bird do not form an imposing
frontcourt, why not add the name of Mark Haymore to the lineup? Haymore,
who played two years under Knight at Indiana, only led theination through-
out most of last year before eventually finish-
ing eighth nationally in field goal percentage
at 62.5%. This past year, Haymore paced the
University of Massachusetts in scoring 9nd
<ยง' rebounding with averages of 17 and 10,
respectively. Haymore could have added
immeasurably to this mythical super
club-that should have come about.
In the backcourt, the name of Rich
Valavicius comes to mind. Valavicius built in
the Bobby Knight (football player) mold,
averaged nearly 15 points a game for the
Auburn Tigers. Valavicius played on Knight's
national champions' three years ago.
According to Auburn asistant coach Her-
NOLCOMB bert Green, Valavicius single-handedly took
control of the championship game in the Big
Sun Tournament when he tallied five point within 30 seconds to propel
Auburn to their biggest win of the year over Oklahoma and thus, the cham-
"He started every game for us. He usually guarded the top man of offen-
se from the other team. He's one of those guys who just busted his gut for us;
he's an excellent team player," said Green.
The point guard would have been either Bob Bender or Tommy Baker,
both transfers from Indiana. After inserting Bender in the Duke lineup, the
Blue Devils went on a winning tear before eventually being vanquished in
their final two games of the season, when Bender sat out due to appendicitis.
In the semifinal game of the AC tournament against North Carolina
State, Bender posted 16 points to help Duke onto victory. He did not play in
the ACC final loss to North Carolina or their defeat in the NCAA tournament
at the hands of St. John's.
If Tommy Baker had not been kicked off the Hoosier squad for smoking
marijuana at the beginning of the season, the former Mr. Basketball of
Inidana might have gained the starting nod on this mythical powerhouse.
Baker had been a starter the previous year, and his insertion into the lineup
is one of the reasons the Hoosiers almost won the Eastern Regional that
year. He was also starting this season before being dropped from the team.
If that is not enough, add the four starters of this year, besides Woodson,
and you have quite a qunitet. Ray Tolbert is a highly rated center and guards
Chuck Wittman and Butch Carter are no slouches. Added bench strength
could have come from transfer Mike Miday, now a starter at Bowling Green,
who averaged in double figures.
Miday had this to say about this mythical powerhouse. "That would
have been pretty interesting."
It sure would have been-it's just a shame that Knight cannot seem to
adapt to the different personalities of bllplayers. If he ever pondered over
the team that could have been, he'd probably be hitting himself right now.
It is always fun to wonder what could have been-hasn't Michigan been

doing that for years?
a month
for 2 or 3 hours a week of your spare time.
donate plasma
You may save a life!
It's easy and relaxing. Be a twice-a-week regular.

Moss' case. Only Milwaukee finished
ahead of Detroit's .271 team average.
But the Brewers committed 32 more
errors than the Tigers, who have shown
what many experts classify as the best
defensive infield anywhere.
Jason Thompson, Lou Whitaker, Alan
Trammell and premier third-baseman
Aurelip Rodriguez (4 errors) commit-
ted two fewer errors as a unit than
Boston's third-baseman Butch Hobson.
The Tigers' infield also turned over
more double plays (177) than any other
major league infield.
The outfield, though suspect on
defense, provides Detroit with plenty of
offensive punch. Newly-acquired Jerry
Morales (.239, 4, 46) joins fast-footed
Ron LeFlore (.297, 12, 62) and Steve
Kemp (.277, 15, 79) from right to left.
statistics aren't very impressive, Moss
is optimistic that the ex-Cardinal will
regain the punch he had in previous
"Jerry is the right-handed hitter
we've been looking for," said the Tiger
skipper. "He's coming off a bad year
offensively, but he was playing in a big
park (St. Louis). In 1977 he hit .290 with
the Cubs. Tiger Stadium should give
him help."
As the American League's leading
base stealer, LeFlore hopes to surpass
the 68 thefts he had last season. He stole
27 straight during one stint establishing

a new Tiger record. He only needs 37
this year to jump ahead of Sam
Crawford (252) for second place in
Detroit history.
KEMP, ON THE other hand, is trying
to shy away from a record he ap-
proached last year: bases on balls.
Known as a free swinging power hitter
in college and the minor leagues, Kemp

to make them pitch to him."
Last year it was light-hitting Tim
Corcoran hitting behind Kemp. This
season Moss intends to pencil in catcher
Lance Parrish-full-time. Although
Parrish was the Tigers' most disap-
pointing hitter in his freshman year
(.219, 14, 41), Moss believes full-time
duty will lead the muscular backstop to


Ron LeFlore CF
Lou Whitaker 2B
Jerry Morales RF
Jason Thompson 1B
Steve Kemp LF
Lance Parrish C
Tim Corcoran DH
Bill Mankowski 3B
Milt Wilcox (13-12) P

h to catch Yankees

Bump Wills 2B
John Grubb LF
Al Oliver CF
Ritchie Zisk RF
Buddy Bell 3B
Oscar Gamble DH
Jim Sundberg C
Mike Jurgensen 1B
Steve Comer (11-5) P

players into and out of the DH position
this year, but admits nobody can really
make up for Rusty's absence.
Staub's 121 RBI's last year were the
most by any Tiger since Rocky
Colavito's 140 and Norm Cash's 13 in
ALTHOUGH MOSS is quite op-
timistic over his eight regular starters,.
he is quick to admit that "there are a lot
of concerns in our pitching staff."
His main concern rests with Mark
Fidrych's tender pitching arm. Fidrych
is presently on the 21-day disabled.list.
If "The Bird" returns to his 1976;19-9
form, he could lift the Bengals into title
contention. Milt Wilcox (13-12, 3.16),
Jack Billingham (15-8, 3.88), Dve-
Rozema (9-12, 3.14), Kip Young (67,.
2.81) and Steve Baker (2-4, 4.55) aren't'
enough. Without "The Bird's"
wing-the Tigers are no better than a
fourth place team.
Of course, fourth place in the AL East
is nothing to sneeze at. Detroit finished
fifth last year, ten games over .500. The.
same 86-76 record would have put the,
Tigers in title contention in the AL:
West, but was no better than 13%2
games behind the World Champion'
Nonetheless, Milt Wilcox will take to
the mound tomorrow at 1:30 when the
Tigers open the regular season against

..": '.* . *. :~i . **.. .** ..**..* " ..: .. .

hastbeen getting too many free passes
in Moss' judgment. His 97 walks last
year when he is supposedly in the lineup
to drive in runs, has the Tiger manager
"You're darn right I'm concerned,"
said Moss. "Steve was always an
aggressive hitter in the minor leagues.
We've gotta get somebody behind him

a very productive year.
OF COURSE incumbent catcher Milt
May doesn't take too kindly to Moss'
decision of giving his job away. May
hopes to see some duty at DH, left open
by the ; "retirement" of 1978 AL
designated hitter of the year, Rusty
Moss intends on platooning several


Habs clip Wings,4m
MONTREAL (UPI)-Jacques Lemaire scored the seventh hat trick of his
career and Guy Lafleur added three assists last night to lead the Montreal
Canadiens to a 4-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings.
The victory gives Montreal 113 points, three more than the New York Islan
ders atop the NHL overall point standings. The Islanders have three games,
remaining, one more than the Canadiens.
Lemaire's first goal and 22nd of the year tied the score 1-1 at 12:59 of thew
opening period after Vaclav Nedomansky scored for Detroit, which suffered itsn
fourth straight road defeat.
Collins out for season
PHILADELPHIA - Doug Collins, the Philadelphia 76ers' All-Star guard.
reinjured his left foot and will be sidelined for the remainder of the year, the
National Basketball Association team said yesterday.
Collins' left foot was placed in a cast after he spent Tuesday and Wednesday
at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for extensive X-rays, team
spokesman Bruce Bryde said.
Bryde said it was the opinion of Dr. Joseph Torg, director of Sports Medicine
at the hospital, that "Collins' clinical picture subsequent to his return to action
on March 16 indicates that he has developed a stress fracture in the arch of his
left foot."
Collins, 27, in his sixth season with the 76ers, was injured-Jan. 21. His injury
was first described as an inflammation of the tendon of the left foot, but it failed
to respond to treatment, forcing Collins to miss the All-Star game.
$13.49 $9.98 AND UP
Sale ends 4/7/79
yS 201 E. WASHINGTON at Fourth 994-3572

THE HEALTH of Mark "The Bird" Fidrych (above) is the key to the Detroit
Tigers hopes of catching the defending champion New York Yankees this summer.
Fidrych, currently on the 21 day disabled list, plans to return at the end of April.
Giants rip Reds, 11-5
ibaseball's opener

Francisco Giants, paced by Terry Whit-
field's four hits, roughed up Tom
Seaver for seven runsin the second in-
ning and went on to beat the Cincinnati
Reds 11-5 in the major league baseball
season opener yesterday.
Vida Blue scattered nine hits and got
the victory in the opener, which was of-
ficiated by amateur umpires and major
league arbiter Paul Pryor, the only
veteran ump not on strike. The left-
handed pitcher struck out two and
walked four.
MIKE IVIE, who won the starting fir-
st base job this spring from veteran
Willie McCovey, capped an eight-run
second inning with a solo home run.
Seaver gave up four earned runs and
the Giants added three unearned runs
and Ivie's homer off reliever Paul
Moskau in the second.
BILL NORTH'S run-producing
ground ball and RBI singles by Whit-
field and Bill Madlock made it 4-0.
Errors by third baseman Rick Auer-

bach and catcher Johnny Bench helped
build the lead to 7-0 as Seaver was lif-
The Reds rallied in the fourth against
Blue. Bench and Dan Driessen singled
and scored on Cesar Geronimo's triple.
A double by Ken Griffey made it 10-4.
The loss was the first opening-game
defeat for the Reds since 1973 and was
the first career opening-day loss for
Seaver, who was 6-0 while pitching for
the New York Mets in season openers.
San Francisco 11, Cincinnati5
Washington 145, Boston 119
Atlanta 118. Milwaukee 109
Philadelphia 121, Houston 120
Indiana 102, Cleveland 95
Montreal 4, Detroit 1
Boston 3, Toronto 3




What: The area's top businesses offerin
merchandise and services
at 50% OFF!H!!
Where: U of M Track and Tennis Building
(State & Hoover)
When: April 8th - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.






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