Here they go again -- another Oakland A's-New York Yankees player transaction, another intercession by the commissioner.
Charles O. Finley of the A's this time thought he had sold rookie catcher Bruce Robinson for $400,000 and pitching prospect Greg Cochran for $100,000 to George Steinbrenner's champions. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn said, whoa, as with Vida Blue previously, and held up the deal until he can get the Yanks and A's into a meeting. Today, most likely.
Maybe Kuhn will relent when old adversary Finley reiterates his plea he really, really needs the money because things are so sorry in Oakland -- "I'm not selling these two players to pick up money; I'm selling them to keep operating and to meet my payroll."
Darryl Stingley, from his room at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, held his first press conference since being paralyzed from the neck down in the New England-Oakland NFL exhibition of Aug. 12 -- and has he heard any word from Jack Tatum, the Raider whose open-field hit snapped two of Patriot receiver Stingley's vertebrae?
"None whatever," Stingley said, almost inaudibly to the reporters in Boston hooked up by telephone.
Ron Turcotte, the jockey immobilized from the waist down in a spill last year, paid a visit this week to Fort Worth, Tex., to compare notes with Kent Waldrep, the TCU football player who sufered a paralyzing spinal cord injury in 1974 and recently underwent innovative treatment in Leningrad. Waldrep said he continues to progress since the treatment -- enzymes, oxygen and physical therapy -- by Soviet doctors: "So far it's been a sensation thing... better feeling below my chest level." Stingley in Chicago said, too, that he now can feel "touch and pressure."
Happier hospital bulletin: Patrick James Theismann checked in at 7 pounds 6 ounces on arrival at Fairfax Hospital to Joe and Cheryl yesterday -- and our agent adds that there is no truth to the rumors that Pat (inspiration for daddy's $18,400 Superstars finish) came out talking -- or throwing into coverage.
And in Pittsburgh, they have to be glad to hear that Rennie Stennett, at last, is fully recovered from the ankle fracture he suffered Aug. 21, 1977, when he was hitting.336 and chasing teammate Dave Parker to his first batting title. Stennett played little last year, hobbed when he did, hit.243, and the Pirates never caught the Phillies.
But in Kansas City, jinxed Tom Burleson is in drydock once more -- the Kings will have to try to hold onto their NBA Midwest lead without the big fellow all the way to the playoffs.He's out nine weeks -- longer if surgery is needed -- after wrecking his left knee in a collision with the 76ers' Maurice Cheeks.
The Atlantic Coast Conference at its winter meeting in Greensboro, N.C., has approved use of Southwest Conference officials to call the ACC basketball tournament beginning March 1 -- while six ACC refs travel to Houston to officiate the SWC tournament.
ACC athletic directors, who agreed on the tourney refereeing arrangement, also decided to keep the alternating jump-ball rule, no tipoffs after the opening tap, through the tournament, then discuss the experiment anew at the May meeting. The alternating-possession rule on jump-balls, you'll recall, was adopted by the ACC after the SWC introduced it. Those Southwest Conference refs, then, must be the original gang that couldn't toss it up straight.