The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 3, 1988-Page 13
THE SPORTING VIEWS 1
By RICHARD EISEN
Usually, it makes me sick to my stomach to see
Los Angeles Dodger Manager Fat Tommy Lasorda
get his fat hands on any good talent.
Check that. It makes me very sick to my stom-
My stomach rests a little easier this time, be-
cause Fat Tommy took Tigers slugger Kirk Gibson
to the National League. My stomach settles because
my favorite team is in the AL East and since Fat
Tommy lured away Gibson, my team will probably
not have to worry about the Tigers this year.
Gibson and the rest of the 1985 free agents were
let out of their contracts last week by arbitrator Tom
Roberts, who ruled that the owners were colluding to
close the free agent market in 1985.
IN 1985, Gibson couldn't find a team that
wanted his fantastic talents. In 1988, he got his sec-
ond wind and ran off to the Land of Fat Tommy.
And the Tigers blew it.
The Tigers tried the same disgusting contractual
strategy with Gibson, that they used in 1985 -
Here's our offer, Kirk. Take it or leave it. They tried
the same approach on Gibson that they used last year
on Jack Morris and Lance Parrish. Here, Kirk. Take it
or leave it.
He left it. And the Tigers blew it.
So far, Tigers General Bill Lajoie has been a
Magician for his team. Last year, when the Tigers
needed a good right-handed hitter, the Magician had
Bill Madlock up his sleeve. Madlock helped lead the
Tigers to a pennant. When :he Tigers needed another
pitcher to finish out the season, 'ol Blackstone Lajoie
got Doyle Alexander. Alexander practically handed the
Tigers the pennant.
WHEN LAJOIE made Parrish disappear, he
pulled a rabbit out of his minor league hat with Matt
Nokes. Nokes was a fantastic rookie, hitting more
home runs than Parrish did last year.
But this time the hat will be empty. There will
be no way for Lajoie to replace Gibson. He probably
won't be able to replace Gibson's bat, speed, and
popularity with the fans. And he surely won't be able
to replace Gibson's leadership qualities.
"We have some players in our (minor league)
system, we'll move some players around," said Lajoie
on the day Gibson left. "We'll change our batting or-
der a little bit and we'll certainly get by."
But they might not get by. As any Tiger fan will
admit, the Tigers minor league organization is weak,
too weak to fill up the huge hole that Gibson left in
the Tigers' lineup.
BILLY BEANE is probably the minor league
player that they will look toward to fill Gibson's
shoes. Beane was brought up to the majors early last
year when Gibson was injured, and performed
admirably. But he was, and is, no Kirk Gibson.
Gibson meant more to the Tigers than power and
speed. He was their leader. He was a Tiger incarnate.
He was tough and gruff. When he screamed, it looked
as if he was roaring.
Whenever Gibson was out, the Tigers were hurt.
"When is Gibson coming back?" Tiger fans would
ask, hoping that the Tigers could stay in the thick of
things until Gibson could return. In 1986, when
Gibson snapped his ankle sliding back into first base,
the Tigers took a nose dive from which they could
Last year, Gibson was injured from the start of
the season until May 4th, which hurt the Tigers. He
came back and the Tigers went on to win a pennant.
GIBSON WAS the Tiger's leader. When the
Tigers depended on him to come through, he did.
Down 1-0 against Toronto in the heat of the pennant
race, Gibson hit a ninth inning home run to tie the
game. The Tigers won the game in extra innings.
That one home run symbolized Gibson's importance
to the Tigers. Whenever the Tigers needed a home
run, Kirk supplied it.
Whenever you think of the Tigers championship
season in 1984, you think of Gibson hitting a Goose
Gossage fastball all the way to Hamtramck. Gibson
was literally a Tiger.
When Gibson was off the field, the Tigers were
not the ;same. And to think that Gibson is perma-
nently off the field is devastating for the Tigers .
But as I said, that's no skin off my nose.
My favorite team is in the AL East. They might
not win it all, but at least they won't have to worry
about the Tigers, for Gibson will be hitting home
runs in Los Angeles this year.
And as Gibson rounds the bases this summer and
returns to the dugout, he won't be smiling at Sparky,
but at Fat Tommy,
And my stomach won't turn.
Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka pictured above as both a player and a coach, was elected to the Pro Football
Hall of Fame yesterday.
M' wrestler Fisher won't
quit until he reaches top
By STEVEN COHEN
Every person is faced with cir-
cumstances which test character and
determine fate. It is how one reacts
to these situations which deter-
mines one's success. Michigan star
wrestler John Fisher is a veteran of
such situations, and more often
than not he comes out on top.
Last night was one of the rare
Soccasionswhen Fisher did not come
out on top. Fisher was defeated by
Oklahoma State's John Smith in a
close contest, 9-4. The two met in
a tournament at the University Of
Northern Iowa, a meet at which
only the top two wrestlers in each
weight class were welcome. Fisher
earned his invitation by being the
nation's second-ranked wrestler at
Fisher faced the herculean task
of ending the defending national
champ's 77-match winning streak.
SMITH has been the thorn in
Fisher's side this season, costing
him his only two losses. Fisher
came close to beating Smith during
a 12-8 loss at the National Sports
Festival. A stronger performance is
expected from Fisher during his ex-
pected match with Smith at the
"Yeah, Smith is a machine,"
said Wolverine co-captain Joe Pan-
teleo, "but so was Barry Davis."
Fisher's victory over Davis dur-
ing his first season at Michigan is
proof of what one with a strong
mental attitude can accomplish.
During -his first year at Michigan,
Fisher knocked off NCAA champ
Davis, 14-3, in what has been
called one of the biggest upsets in
college wrestling history.
"If he loses, he's even more de-
termined. Some guys, once they
lose to a guy, the next time around,
they lose the match before they
even go out there because of past
experiences. They're psyched out.
John is even more determined to
beat the guy because he strives to
be the best," said teammate Will
EVEN IN victory, Fisher can
be demanding of himself, as he
showed during a recent match
against Northwestern's Joey Bales.
"The last time around we had a
close match (6-4), but I didn't feel I
wrestled well, and when he came off
the mat he was kind of happy, he's
thinking 'I went close with John
Fisher'. This time I bet in his mind
he doesn't think he can beat me and
that's the way I want him to
think," Fisher said after the match.
Fisher feels that 95 percent of
wrestling is mental. He would not
have the positive mindset without
help from his family and friends.
His girlfriend, teammates, and
coaches have all been supportive,
but John credits his mother in par-
ticular for helping him develop a
winning outlook by "always
believing in me even when I didn't
believe in myself."
FISHER recounts an incident
that occurred during his sophomore
year in high school.
"That year, my mother thought
I could beat this particular wrestler.
She kept on telling me 'You can
beat this guy' and I didn't really
think I could. I lost to him, 4-4, in
the semifinals, and he went on to
win the States. I was thinking from
now on I'm definitely going to be-
lieve in my mother. Ever since then
I'm always believing in myself.
You've got to believe in yourself
and never sell yourself short."
This type of self-confidence has
helped Fisher win the Amateur
Wrestling News' Freshman of the
Year award following the 1984-5
season, and win a Big Ten Cham-
pionship last year. Now his sights
are on the nationals.
"1987 was Smith's year. I want
1988 to be mine," he said.
Canton, Ohio (AP) - Mike
Ditka said it really wasn't fair to
have had as much fun as he did
playing football and still be elected
to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Chicago Bears coach was
elected yesterday along with Fred
Biletnikoff, Jack Ham, and Alan
"It's mind boggling," said Ditka,
who played 12 years in the NFL as a
Biletnikoff, a flanker with the
Oakland Raiders famed for his tim-
ing and exacting pass routes, said, "I
can't tell you how excited I am. It's
a big, big thrill for me."
Ham, a key performer in the
Pittsburgh Steelers' "Steel Curtain"
during four Super Bowl victories in
the 1970s, said, "I'm ecstatic, I'm
going in with some pretty good
(Continued from Page 12)
"If you start reading the clips,
that could be your downfall, so
consequently I never even read the
Armstrong might not read the
sports page, but chances are he
glances at the business section. In
addition to playing for the United
States at the 1987 World University
Games in Yugoslavia last summer,
the communications major and
business minor worked as an assis-
tant to a stockbroker at Securities
Corp. of Iowa.
HE EVEN found time to shed
his sneakers and his suit coat to put
on a pair of water skis.
"I wouldn't mind being a stock-
broker," Armstrong said. "It's really
interesting to me. You never know
how the market's going to fluctuate
from day to day. I think it would be
exciting for me since I have that
kind of attitude and that kind of
Armstrong does not disregard the
possibility of playing professional
basketball either, but he refuses to
dwell on it. He would rather keep
all of his options open.
Page, a cornerstone at defensive
tackle on the Minnesota Vikings'
famed 'Purple People Eaters' defense
said, "(My) whole career was a
Ditka, who graduated from the
University of Pittsburgh, was named
NFL rookie of the year in 1961 after
catching 56 passes for 1,076 yards
and 12 touchdowns. Three years
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later, he had 75 catches, a record for
tight ends that stood for 16 years.
The 6-foot-3, 225 pound native of
Carnegie, Pa., did not miss a start in
84 games with the Bears and earned
All-Pro honors his first four sea-
sons. He had 427 receptions for
5,812 yards and 43 touchdowns in
After being traded to Philadelphia
in 1967, Ditka finished his career
with four seasons at Dallas.
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