Can you watch one of those Special Olympics promos on TV - you know, the retarded youngers (or adults) getting tips from pro athletes, or competing in track or basketball or swimming - without a wrench at the heart and a tear in the eye? We sure can't.
The NFL Player Association and Eunice Kennedy Shriver reminded us yesterday how much the program - hard to believe it's 10 years old! - does to lift the confidence and self-image of the Special Olympians. As the founding Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation says, "for them, it is a new way to health, a new kind of joy."
So, the NFLPA will donate to the cause proceeds of its fifth annual Washington, D.C. awards banquet, a $100-a-plater at which 25 pro football stars including four Redskins will be showcased, April 1 at the Sheraton Park. The Redskins: Mark Moseley, Pro Football Weekly's Golden Toe Award winner as top placemkicker of 1977 (glad to see somebody agreed with FanFare): punter Mike Bragg returner Eddie Brown and Ron McDole - whose next pass interception will be his 12th and extend his all-time record for defensive linemen.
If you can't make it to the dinner you can be special by coaching, chaperoning, fundraising, contributing or in many other ways helping the 700,000 participants (age 8 and up, IQ 75 and down) reach and maybe exceed maximum potential. Ray Schoenke, the ex-Redskin and a prime mover in the Special Olympics almost since day one, can tell you. Find out how by contacting: Eurice Kennedy Shriver, president, SPecial Olympics, Inc., 1701 K st. NW, Suite 203, Washington, D.C. 20006. Phone 331-1346 . . .
Ed Garvey, NFLPA executive director, appended what he touts as other big news - "maybe the most significant meeting in the recent history of professional sports from the pro athlete's point of view" held here last weekend. The football union got together player association representatives from the Canadian Football League, North America Soccer League, World Hockey Association, Ladies Professional Golf Association, Professional Riders Association, plus observers from the NHL players to develop a veritable AFL-CIO of sports called Professional Athletes International. The Major League Baseball Players Association and Women's Tennis Association, absent because of schedule conflicts, may make it a ninesome by the next meeting April 1-2 . . . And NFLPA advances its idea of an Association of Representatives of Professional Athletes (ARPA) to regulate athlete's agents with a seminar in Baltimore tonight and tomorrow . . .
Stop the presses: Alexandria's new W Class a baseball team has been christened today. The Dukes. Go get 'em em Grandstand Managers . . . Remember (you got to be aging or you don't) how Bob Short, in the Last Days of Pompeli - er, Pompano Beach - was so enamored of a young Cleveland hotshot named John Lowenstein that he tried to trade Frank Howard to the Indians in a package deal? Shirley Povich helped talk short out of that one, but at last, the Senators' direct descendants, the Texas Rangers, have corralled Lowenstein. Texas parted yesterday with Willie Horton, the gimpy old Tiger who died a .289, 15-HR, 75-RBI number ads DH for the Rangers last year, and the erstwhile lefthanded phee-nom, David Clyde, now 22 and fresh from walking 119 in 128 Coast League innings, to get infielder-outfielder Lowenstein and rightly reliever Tom Buskey from the Tribe. Buskey saved 17 American League games in 1974 but spent much of 1977 in Toledo. Lowenstein? He hit .186 in 1971, leaving the Nats sighing with relief, and last year lived up to his career averaged, .242, with 12 RBI in 81 games . . . In Baltim Oriole camp at Miami, Earl Weaver reckons hell, as in 77, go with only eight pitchers as deep into the 78 season as he can . . .
Ah. the big things the New York papers make out of little ones. Hardly had they had Lenny Randle, the old Senator, "retiring from baseball" because the Mets wouldn't renegotiate (one version;) merely extend by several years in another version) the few year, $400,000 contract he signed last year, Randle "changed his mind" yesterday, said he'd report to St. Petersburg today. He supposedly didn't appreciate not getting a quick raise for batting .304 and stealing 33 bases while solving their long-standing third-bas problem last year; the club evidently felt he should have been the appreciative one, the way they gave him his shot after it appeared he might be blackballed from the sport for his ssault on Frank Lucchesi, then his manager on the Rangers, last spring training. Maybe Randle just wanted to stay away from Florida an extra day or two - Lurrhesi's personal injury suit against him somes up in Orlando in early April. Randle dropped off a sworn deposition there last month indirating his defense will be . . . self-defense . . .