Battling autobiographies: While Shari Theismann has an agent shopping for a publisher this week in New York, her ex-husband, Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, has a $100,000 book contract and has already started working with Atlanta Constitution sports columnist David Kindred, a former Washington Post columnist. The autobiography is expected to be finished in time for publication by Contemporary Books, Chicago, during the 1987 football season.

Kindred said he first suggested the book five years ago. Then last fall, when Theismann was in the hospital with his broken leg, he telephoned Kindred to revive the book idea, saying, "I have time on my hands."

*The book will cover Theismann's career from South River, N.J., to Notre Dame, Canadian football and the Redskins. His divorce from Shari and his love affair with actress Cathy Lee Crosby will be part of his book, but Kindred said Theismann doesn't want to get into any point-by-point arguing with his ex-wife. As to his comments about Crosby, Kindred said: "He's like a kid in love. All he talks about is how wonderful Cathy Lee is until it's almost too much."

'Ajax' Not Cleaning Up

The critics haven't looked too kindly on the new American National Theater production "Ajax," which opened June 7 at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. On Monday night there were only about 60 people in the 475-seat theater to see the Peter Sellars-directed play.

Kennedy Center Chairman Roger Stevens, who gives Sellars freedom in operating ANT, said he has been receiving daily reports on attendance. The numbers, he added, have improved slightly, but attendance "is a lot lower than we would like it." Any question about closing the production before the July 5 end of the run is up to Sellars. A Kennedy Center spokesman said the play is expected to continue its normal run.

Diane Malecki, the executive director of ANT, would only say of the production: "It has always been American National Theater policy not to comment on attendance figures or production costs of any single show. American National Theater productions have to be viewed as a continual body of work, not isolated staging."

End Notes

The upcoming National Journal should cause arguments about town next week. The editors looked among the thousands and named 150 individuals and organizations who influence the federal government. The list ranges from people like former secretary of state Henry Kissinger to advocate for the homeless Mitch Snyder. Across that wide range are obvious people, like Democratic Party power man Robert Strauss and former U.N. ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick. A number of the choices are not household names but are people who have power -- people like consultant Robert E. Juliano, who is credited with saving the three-martini lunch and who has influence on Capitol Hill . . .

All that talk on the Hill about finding ways to cut down on the exploding mailing privileges of members of Congress might be of interest to Rep. Hamilton Fish Jr. He sent out a press release on June 6 to announce that his daughter Julia Alexandra Fish Ward gave birth to her second child, an 8-pound 5-ounce, 21-inch baby boy, June 5 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. The father's name is Thomas . . .

That was former first lady Lady Bird Johnson and her daughter Lynda Robb at the National Gallery of Art yesterday getting one last chance to see the exhibition "Impressionists to Early Modern Paintings From the U.S.S.R.," which closes Sunday . . .

First Lady Nancy Reagan was in New York last night attending a party at the exclusive Waldorf Towers. The White House said she was there on a private visit . . .

Sen. Howard Metzenbaum hosted a reception for a fellow Clevelander, master showman Joel Grey, who is in town to perform in concert at the Kennedy Center Tuesday. The Metzenbaum and Grey families are longtime friends. Among the guests at the reception were Sens. Robert Dole, Dennis DeConcini, Robert Byrd, Daniel Moynihan, Alan Simpson, David Boren, Spark Matsunaga and Chic Hecht. Grey said it was especially moving for him, even after performing for President and Nancy Reagan at Sunday's Ford's Theatre gala, to hear Sen. John Stennis, at the party in his wheelchair, tell him, "You brought the sunshine to us" . . .