The Texas Rangers are suiting up a man short because of the Lenny Randle situation, and manager frank Lucchesi doesn't like it. Ranger VP Eddie Robinson said the club had Bowie Kuhn's approval to place Randle on the disqualified list (he is suspended 30 days for his physical attack on Lucchesi) but the move was blocked by Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association. "They're treating us like the culprits," exclaimed alized because of the actions of Lenny Randle? . . . And the players association is depriving another individual, now in the minors, of being in the big leagues. This is the association that is supposed to be working for all the players."
Baltimore general manager Hank Peters sympathized despite the three straight losses the 24-player Rangers laid on his 25-member Orioles: "It is totally unfair and not right to the Texas ball club."
Then, Ranger owner Brad Corbett took his turn at bat by calling a press conference in Arlington, Tex., and using it to lambaste commissioner Kuhn, 15 minutes' worth. Corbett, who once saved Kuhn's job by switching his vote at the last minure, said he wished he had the chance to vote again. Would you believe, Corbett said, Kuhn tried to talk the Rangers into reducing the fine against Randle!
Corbett, even more incensed over Kuhn's veto of his proposed trade for Oakland pitcher Vida Blue, said "I can't stand the inconsistencies, but he won't allow other. We (owners) gave him broad powers and I think we can restrict him. He let the Yankees buy Bucky Dent and that just makes me sick - he won't let us make the Blue deal" . . .
In 1969, when the coin was flipped to determine first pick in the NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns called tails. Heads it was, and the Milwaukee Bucks gleefully selected first - Lew' Alcindor.
As owner of worst record in the Western Conference this season, the Bucks on Friday have their first chance since then to win No.1 - Alcindor grew up to be Kareem Abul-Jabbar and no way they could finish last until they dealt him to Los Angeles. On the other side of the coin it will not be the East's worst, the New York Nets, but the Kansas City Kings by virtue of the trade that sent Nate Archibald to Long Island. Then they'll have until June 10, draft day, to consider such things as is college player-of-the-year Marques Johnson the surest bet, is Kent Benson's ailing back a possible chronic problem, could the first (or second) pick be traded for proven pro talent, etc. . . .
But another Alcindor? Where?
Meanwhile, 12 NBA clubs have prior worries starting tonight, the playoffs. And other things. Jamaal Wilkes, who around Christmastime voiced thoughts of retiring after this season, could be preoccupied again, heading into action against visiting Detroit. The Golden State forward missed the last two Warrior regular-season games as his wife, Joy, gave birth to a daughter; the infant has a heart problem . . .
Supplementing a coach's income is a violation of NCAA rules, but cash awards in recognition of specific achievements are permitted. A University of North Carolina booster club once raised enough to pay off football coach Bill Dooley's home mortgage. This year, more than 300 members of the Rams Club (UNC's Educational Foundation, Inc.), received letters from their brass asking donations ($100, $50, $25) to pay off basketball coach Dean Smith's mortgage. Then the solicitors changed their mind, maybe because of publicity, maybe not, and used the money instead to buy Smith and his assistant an undisclosed gift.
No comment from Dooley. No comment from Smith . . .
A new, $20 million West Virginia U, football stadium will be going up in Morgantown and an $18 million basketball arena, with natatorium, will be erected for Marshall U. in Huntington under new state legislation. A bond issue, to be paid of from tuitions at WVU, Marshall and the state's other eight four-year colleges, will foot the stadium (probable capacity 45,000) to supplant 51-year-old, 35,000-seat Mountaineer Stadium, other improvements to the WVU athletic plants, and the construction at Marshall - which will get its first shot at WVU in basketball in decades in the 1978-79 season . . .
In U. of Virginia's spring football windup, the traditional varsity-alumni game, Frank Quayle was the leading alumni rusher but the losers' touchdown in the fading seconds of the 21-9 varsity win went to Ralph (Buddy) Shoaf, the old "Sandman" of the 1946-49 squads. Shoaf went over on a play designed by Cavalier coach Dick Bestwick and alum coach Rock Weir, then announced his retirement as the only grad to have played in all 24 annual spring games. The varsity elected linebacker Sam Pfabe from Louisville, Ohio, as 1977 captain; Pfabe also won the Kevin Bowie Memorial Award (in honor of the Cay player-honor student murdered on a D.C. street last fall) for leadership, effort and attitude . . . Quite a double for Tom Scott, football All-American autumn 1952 and lacrosse All-American spring 1953 at U.Va. Earlier this year Baltimore native Scott was introduced into the Maryland sports hall of fame; now he's been named to the Virginia hall at Portsmouth. He will be installed April 29 with Bosh Pritchard, VMI football star; J. Stokeley Fulton, longtime football coach at Hampden-Sydney; and, posthumously, coaches Dick Esleeck and Taylor Sanford. Speaker will be Dick Gallagher, onetime William & Mary athlete who until Jan. 1 was director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Baseball loyalty, 1977 style: Dave Kingman of the New York Mets, who won't give him what he wants so he's playing out his option, says, "I will never sign with the Mets, you can count on that. This club is going downhill rapidly under the present management. I hate to think now lousy they're going to be in a couple of years. Board chairman (M. Donald Grant) is afraid to trade me because of what people would think; he belongs in politics, not baseball."
Unsigned pitcher Dock Ellis of the New York Yankees, re owner George Steinbrenner: "The man wants the spotlight. He wants to take the credit when we win. I think hs should stay up in his office, push his buttons, count his money and stay the hell out of the locker room." Ellis recalled a Steinbrenner diatribe after an exhibition loss to the Mets: "Here's the owner storming through like the Lone Ranger, bawling out the manager right in front of the players. He come in screamin' 'I want to see you right now!" I mean, what kind of - is that? Tell you what I think. I think they're going to fire Billy Martin. There's going to be an explosion on this club.I can foresee it" . . .