The combine of Californians supposedly a-forming to get up $10 million and buy the Oaklandlocked A's will have two fewer players if it happens, and Charles O. Finley is $500,000 to the good.
Yes, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn set aside his policy of trying to keep big money from changing clubs and ruled yesterday, after meeting in New York with owners Finley and George Steinbrenner of the Yankees, that Big George can go ahead and buy the two young players he thought he bought several days before.
Kuhn held things up until relenting after, he said, he determined (1) "this deal is not tied to a future transaction," (2) "neither club anticipates a large cash sale in the immediate future," (3) "the deal did not herald an attempt by Finley to liquidate the club."
So the Yanks obtain catcher Bruce Robinson for $400,000 and minor league pitcher Greg Cochrane for $100,000.
Jack Tatum, the Raider hardnose, responds to the word from Darryl Stingley that Tatum never has spoken with the Patriot receiver since their collision last August left Stingley paralyzed: "I'll give him a call."
Tatum said he has been deeply attected by the tragedy and tried to reach Stingley previously but "I didn't have his number so I didn't call"; thought of visiting the Chicago rehabilitation institute patient but was afraid the family would object. And Tatum's lawyer, Tony DeCello, said in Pittsburgh, "Jack wants to have a fund-raiser, or something, in Boston. He's coming back in two more weeks, just to work on this... Jack wants to talk to him. He's a very sensitive person."
Hot tip from Hot Springs, Ark.: Raymond Earl is the highweight and probable favorite in the $50,000-added King Cotton Handicap at Oaklawn Park. That's the 4-year-old colt that rewarded December purchasers Billy Kilmer and trainer Larry Perkins with January victory in the Super Bowl stake at Gulfstream. Thirteenhouse field today, 5 1/2-furlong sprint.
Collectors? Upward of 45 exhibitors are to gather today at George Mason U. in Fairfax for the second annual Sports Collectors Convention; emphasis on baseball, including some Alexandria Dukes material that might bring a penny or two now that the team is Mariners instead of Dukes. Admission $1 at door of GMU Health and Physical Education Building, proceeds to the Patriot Educational Foundation; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. today, 11-6 Sunday.
Classy Walt Masterson has hired on as Hap Spuhler's assistant baseball coach at GMU; mayhap somebody at the convention has bubblegum cards of the longtime big leaguer Masterson in Senators unifrom, as in 1948 when he started the All-Star Game... In Charlottesville, they're bidding farewell to native son Jim Copeland, the old U.-Va. and Cleveland Brown offensive lineman -- well, not that old -- leaving as Virginia Student Aid Foundation field secretary (that's chiefly athletic aid). His departure from ACC to Big Eight to direct public relations and promotions at Missouri in Columbia leaves a color announcer vacancy on Wahoo football broadcasts...
Coming along to make a name as a football Terrapin -- a name already familiar in the capital area -- add another Pennsylvania all-stater signing such intent: 6-4, 220, defensive end from Central Dauphin East H.S. near Harrisburg: Russell Davis. Could start as a Terp freshman, he's that good, they say...