Bob Moose in October, Danny Firsella last weekend. Now Mike Miley. Three major league baseball players killed in car crackups.
Further evidence that no matter how dangerous the game on field - and Miley starred in football as well as baseball - it is safer than being in vehicle traffic. Miley, first-string quarterback at Louisiana State before joining the California Angels organization to play shortstop, and his sports car slammed into a culvert and overturned near the LSU campus in Baton Rouge at 2 a.m. yesterday. Alone, he was thrown and the car ran over him. Services and burial will be today in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.
Miley led LSU into the 1973 Orange owl against Penn State, then quit school and passed up his senior year's football eligibility to accept the Angels' bonus after the American League club drafted him. He split the past two seasons between Salt Lake City in AAA and the Angels, batting .174 in 70 AL games in 1975 and .184 in 14 games in '76. But he hit well in the minors, and was regarded as one of the better young shortstops in the game. He was 23 . . .
This on a day the Professional Football Writers of America were saying that Bert Jones - quarterback at LSU ahead of Miley in 1972 - was NFL most valuable player of 1976 for his performance with the Baltimore Colts . . . Bruce Jenner's Olympic decathlon triumph, like those of Bob Mathias in 1952 and Rafer Johnson in 1960, sufficiently impressed sportswriters and broadcasters across the land that they have named him male athlete of the of the year in the annual Associated Press poll. Jenner, 27, attracted 237 votes to 105 for runner-up Tony Dorsett, 47 for third-place Joe Morgan . . .
Correction on a Thursday item, there are still five teams left in the Southern Hockey League - omitted were the Baltimore Clippers. But today the word is that the Winston-Salem Polar Twins are on the brink of folding, and perhaps the whole SHL if that happens . . .
For a real big game this weekend, tune in Baltimore radio station WFBR for the Mini Bowl from the U. of Nevada-Las Vegas Stadium Saturday afternoon, Chuch Thompson and Charley Eckman, no less, at the mike. Yep, it's Astro-Turf debut of the Baltimore Eagles, quarterbacked by Maryland's own Al Neville to the Interstate Football League title (12-0), vs. the West Coast minor league champion Southern California Rhinos . . . Those used to be the Orange County Rhinos, recalls former Redskin Frank Ryan, who played against them in the Rose Bowl a few years before quarterbacking the Cleveland Browns to the 1964 NFL crown. A Southwest Conference man (Rice) in the Rose Bowl? And the Rhinos? Sure, and it was a scrimmage at Pasadena when Ryan was an L.A. Ram . . .
Takahito Kimura, 24, died in Tokyo last weekend two weeks after being KO'd into a coma in his first pro fight, but that won't deter two U.S. Olympic gold medalists from making their pro boxing debuts in Las Vegas Jan. 15. Booked for six-rounders are Leon Spinks, 178 pounds in the Games and now competing as a heavyweight, and Howard Davis, lightweight. They're on the bill with the Howard Smith-Henry Clark heavy bout slated for national TV . . . Emile Griffith is still at it and carded to box Christy Elliott in Madison Square Garden Feb. 2. Griffith's vanquished 1975 Capital Centre opponent, Leo Saenz of Potomac, is set for his second bout - first at the Centre - after the long layoff since that drubbing, as the fights return to Landover Jan. 14. Saenz is matched against Cleveland middleweight Casey Gacic; cofeatured will be Leo's old rival, Mike Baker, opponent pending . . .
Leon Fleischer, onetime amateur boxer at Alexandria boys clubs and now a jeweler on Columbia Pike there, is getting up a February reunion of old Washington-area fighters. There are Steve Mamakos, who went 10 rounds with Tony Zale, then dropped a 1941 world middleweight title bout to Gary's "Man of Steel" on a KO in 14; Marty Gallagher, professor of the manly art of Georgetown; heavyweight Jimmy De-Chard, welterweight Al Brookman, and lots more. But it won't be complete, says Fleischer, without Georgia Abrams, who went 15 rounds with Zale later in '41 after trice decisioning title claimant Billy Soose, and in 1947 gave Sugar Ray Robinson a tough 10 rounds. Abrams, who came up from Roanoke, Va., when his dad set up a shoemaking business on King Street in Alexandria, later worked at Miami's Fountainbleau hotel. Fleischer believes Abrams is around Pittsburgh, where he eventually settled, but no luck in getting hold of him. Any cues, call Fleischer in northern Viriginia, 768-4900.
Former (by then) President Ford will team with Arnold Palmer in the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am at Peble Beach Jan. 21-23 (after Palmer's business manager, Mark McCormack, fills in for Ford in the first round, on inauguration day for Jimmy Carter.
Another Carter, Ron, VMI's 6-5 junior forward from Pittsburgh, made some impression as the Keydets won the All-College basketball tournament in Oklahoma City over the holidays. Trained observers called Carter "the most exciting player to play (the Oklahoma City event) since Pete Maravich in 1968."
That was a snappy sports headline in the L.A. Times the other day, "Daughter of 'Tree' Has 'Skin on Limb." Now what could they have meant? . . .
We (a sneaky colleague here, that is) were only tossing Navy assistant coach Steve Belichick's old gag back at him the other day in saying Caso Western Reserve University's new hall of famer hailed from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. An old Struthers, Ohio, high school contemporary of Belichick set us straight . . . But nobody's perfect. Sophiscated Washingtonion magazine, in listing sports events for December, had under Maryland basketball: "Dec, 28 at 7 and Dec. 29 at 9 - Massachusetts Institute of Technology." That'll teach the Terps to shorten Maryland Invitational Tournament to "MIT."