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May 18, 1977 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-05-18

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Wednesday, May 18, 1977 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Eleven
Tiger LeFlore earns stardom

By DON MacLACHLAN
Special To The Daily
DETROIT-The 1976 baseball
season drew to an abrupt close
for Detroit Tiger centerfielder
Ron LeFlore in early September
when he ruptured a tendon in
his knee chasing down a fly ball.
After a winter of re-strength-
ening his knee, the 24-year-old
native Detroiter has gotten off
to a slower start than last year
when he hit .318 and stole 58
bases-
Currently, LeFlore is hitting
.236 along with seven thefts on
the base paths.
"I FOUND myself pressing in
the early going this year," Le-
Flore said before the Tigers
f a c e d Minnesota 1 a s t week.
"Now I have settled down and
things will come around for me
hopefully."
"Earlier, I was conscious of
my leg," LeFlore added. "But
xv I know it will hold up and
things will start to fall in place
for se."
Another early season injury
kept the fleet-footed LeFlore
stealing as much as he
I1(d like.
3A ,l bone spur on my heel
new it is Leealing " Flore

There is a lot of the 1977 sea-
son left for LeFlore to improve
his individual credentials, but
1976 is a year he won't ever
forget.
"LAST YEAR was a very im-
portant year for me," LeFlore
said. "I exerted myself towards
what I had to do. I wanted to
prove to myself that I could do
it."

proud to be abl
games."
TO CAP OFF
the speedy Tig.
as the starting
the American L
Star Game.
"Playing on t
was the greate
had," LeFlore
every ball- play

e to go on for 30 that hurt. I'm out there doing
the best I can and don't think I
should be critticized."
his fine year, Now LeFlore is. definitely a
er was selected fan favorite. Every game after
centerfielder for fielding practice the powerful
eague in.the All- 6-0, 200 pounder retreats to the
centerfield fence where he signs
he All-Star team autographs or flips balls to the
st thrill I have kids.
said. "That is During the off-season LeFlore
yers dream. To works hard with charity activi-
ties to help poorer kids.
. - "I've been to a few fund rais-
ing events for deprived kids,"
L-eFlore said. "I feel good being
in a position to help kids.
"WHEN I WAS younger I
a base feels didn't get a chance to receive
attention from celebrities," Le-
ne and the Flore added. "I'm happy these
@t just as kids can have those things that
as I didn't have as a kid."
Charge out The constant travel and pres-
, t sure of major league' baseball

doesn't bother LeFlore-in fact
he'd like to continue his career
for awhile.
"This is something I had
never done before," LeFlore ex-
plained. "It isn't a hassle be-
cause it is something different
and I want to continue to go and
go.
LeFLORE GENERATES ex-
citement at all the games and
the fans have great respect for
him now. The three year veteran
has found a home in the majors
and is well-liked both on and off
the field.
"I think of myself as a liberal-
fiinded person," LeFlore said.
"I try to be as open-minded as
possible."
"I wouldn't want anyone to
have harsh feelings against me
-I try not to give those impres-
sions to people," LeFlore added.
"I'm not that kind of person."

"Stealing,
good for n
fans. They
much of a
of it as I do
-

i.
~on LeFlore

OPEN THURSDAY AND FRIDAE VENINGS UNTs SA00

. "1 knox- it has affected my One of the highlights of last top the cake I would like to lay
it quite a bit." year came in the early part of in the World Series."
sINE TING tht has hurt Le- the season when LeFlore reeled itowever, those same foes liat
is Iis three years in the (ff a 30-game hitting streak. --ted shis to the Al-Star teas
ra moire ibsin urjries is the The name LeFlore became a weeren't always that gracious to-
sut. iut his whiff totals household ord a r o u n d the wisasrds him.
S decreased every year, and country. "The fans distracted me in
ping itchers can no longer "The pressure mounted after 1975," LeFlore said. "You must
bues with bad pitches. I utissed Al Kaline at 22 games," taxe total concentration to be
i s a fact of me getting a letFlore said. "The press came ssuccessful in what you are do-
fat bats and learning the around and tarted asking use isg."
h isne better," LeFlore ex- qiseotions. "FANS COME out to release
neI. 'If I could keep sy "I couldn't say I would catch their frustrations," he added.
kot total under 100, I'll Joe DiMaggio (56 games)-that "Sometimes people drink a little
e more base stealing oppor- is a record I don't think will be and go overboard. I hear re-
- ities broken," LeFlore added. "I was marks and disregard the ones
Dutcher insists Thompson
will be back at Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS (,) - Min- could get the same money as Thompson is Minnesota's all-
nesota basketball Coach Jim Benson or Birdsong I'm sure, time leading scorer with 1,529
Dutcher said Tuesday . night but next year he'll be the points. He also became the
that All America center Mike first player taken and it first Big Ten player to score
Thompson will return for his won't be for less money." 1,000 points in conference
senior season with the Gophers. games before his senior season.
Kent Benson, the massive
"I saw him today and he Indiana center, has already an-
says he's coming back," said nounced his intent to sign with
Dutcher. "He just says he's not the Milwaukee Bucks while
interested in pro ball right Kansas City, which picks sec-
now. ond, says it will take Houston
Buffalo, which picks third in guard Otis Birdsong. YOU CANSTILL
the National Basketball Associ- D u tc h e r said Thomp-
ation draft, has informed son would remove his name TRAVEL & STUDY
Thompson of its intentions to from the hardship list by the
draft him if he remains on the end of the month. IN EUROPE
hardship list.- "Michael has some loyalties,
"That's a fate worse than and he has his eye on some C O L L E G E C R E D I T S
death," butcher said about personal and team goals he'd o P F t R E D F 0 R
the possibility of Thompson like to accomplish," continued INDIVIDUAL STUDY AND
being taken by Buffalo. "He Dutcher. TRAVEL THIS SUMMER
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4e

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