Boston shortstop Rick Burleson and the Major League Players Association yesterday withdrew their appeal of Burleson's three-game American League suspension-now that the Red Sox's three-game series in Baltimore was over.

All's fair in love, war and a hot pennant race?

Sentence was pronounced Tuesday, the sixth day since Burleson bumped substitute umpire Lester Pratt in anger over a strike call during a Red Sox loss to the Orioles in Fenway Park (poor Pratt then bouncing off Jim Rice's physique and, a couple days later, out of the big leagues). Immediate imposition would have taken Burleson out of the return engagement with the O's. If there were legitimate grounds for appeal, why was said appeal so quickly scratched?

Burleson will sit out one game in Toronto and two at Texas. The bosox lost two out of three in Baltimore with him. All's fair . . .

The Redskins have picked up a linebacker good enough to start for the Seattle Seahawks (left LB, 1976; right LB, 1977; part-time, 1978) and before that for the L.A. Rams (left LB, 1973-75); nine year NFLer Ken Geddes, 6-3, 227. He broke in with the Rams in '71, the year all those old Rams came to Washington to make way for youngsters like Geddes. The now-uppity Seahawks waived Geddes last month. Buckle down, Wysocki.

Last week the Astros sold to New Yorkers for a reported $19 million, now the Rockets tentatively sold to George J. Maloof of Albuquerque for $9 million. Another franchise safe for Houston, Maloof set with a long lease on the Summit and pegging Del Harris to move up from assistant to head coach while Tom Nissalke steps up to general manager (or else) . . .

Free speech movement, cont'd.: Rick Barry, commentating for CBS-TV, had a postgame interview session special for certain West Coast stations picking up Thursday night's Sonic-Bullet action live from Cap Centre. Just before going on the air with it, Slick Rick squawked about spectators standing in front of the camera: "Get those a- - -s out of there!" Before going on the air? Whoops, Rick, your mike was live, in color, and they heard you in many a Seattle and Portland living room.

Oh well. Is that as bad as Barry on Sunday repeatedly calling the star of Game 1 "Lonnie Wright"? . . .

Bill Russell, who used to coach the Sonics, won't be there in the Kingdome watching Sunday's Game 3; might have to go some to catch it on the tube, if he gives a darn anymore. At Georgetown's commencement Sunday, 2 p.m., Russell is down to receive an honorary degree, Coach John Thompson - Russ' old backup at center for the Celtics - doing the honors.

Died: Del Cameron, harness racing hall-of-famer who drove three Hambletonian victories; at 58 in Wilmington, Del. . . . Stewart C. Paxton, executive director of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials more than 40 years until retiring this spring; very well known in the capital area. At 72 in his lifelong hometown of Hagerstown, Md.

"Billy is my manager in 1980"-George Steinbrenner.

Yes, we know, the Yankee owner said that last year in declaring Bob Lemon only temporary custodian of the troops, but later hedged that Billy Martin had to stay out of trouble to be restored to the helm after a 1 1/2-year sabbatical. And now, Steinbrenner was going to get together and talk about it with Martin, whether his out-of-court settlement this week with the Reno newsman he bopped made him respectable enough. But, wait a minute. This was yesterday, in Cleveland, hometown magnate Steinbrenner talking on a public forum program, live over local radio, and George was saying:

"Billy is my manager in 1980." . . .