Bob Horner, picking up where we left off, has retorted to his demotion by the Atlanta Braves to Richmond by letting his agent declare he will not report and will sit out the rest of the baseball season if need be.
Things haven't been breaking much better this April in the AL West for the California Angels, last year's division champions. Breaking is the word: as in the left ankle of Angel catcher Brian Downing. b
Downing, AL batting leader most of last season, wound up with a .326 average and a $1.8 million, long-term contract. But here he is in a long leg cast for three weeks and facing a short cast for another 21 days thereafter . . .
But back to third baseman Horner, who has until today to report to the minors: "I have no idea what course my life will take over the next 24 to 48 hours. I just can't believe they're doing this to me . . . I've gone through everything imaginable for this club during the last two years. I've played with a torn-up shoulder, I went through arbitration, I went through being maligned in the newspapers and through it all I produced for this team."
Produce at Richmond, Brave brass tell Horner, and be back in 30 days or less -- ready to soar from your .059 base . . .
There's new money for America's top track and field athletes, legitimate money: The Athletics Congress (TAC), governing body for track and field in the United States, has announced a program to financially assist the cream of the crop: 43, for a start, designated to receive six monthly payments of $200 each for training expenses. The funds come from U.S. Olympic Committee development funds -- high school and college athletes ineligible for the aid -- but TAC's president, Jimmy Carnes, insists it is not payola to ease the pain of Olympic boycott.
The House Ways and Means Committee has approved the bill to grant William H. Sullivan, owner of the New England Patriots, $3 million in tax relief and sent it along to the full House for consideration; at issue is a 1976 tax revision on player depreciation . . .
For the pre-expansion Senators, last active chapter? It's farewell to Jim Kaat from the Yankees, now that Rudy May is off the disabled list.
The all-met stars of Gar-Field's Virginia AAA state basketball champions have signed for college: point guard Othell Wilson (6 feet, 20 points, seven assists) with U. of Virginia and 6-5 forward Steve Perry, some leaper, with George Washington . . .
Joe Page, which was how the New York Yankees spelled relief in the late 1940's, died Monday night, at 62, in Ligonier, Pa. The big left-hander led American League bullpenners with 14 wins, 17 saves in 1947 and again with 13 won, 27 saved in 1949; worked in seven World Series games (2-1). Collaborated with starter Allie Reynolds on so many Yank victories the papers used to chalk 'em up to "Reynolds-Page" . . .
Friends of Joe Holman, the forever publicist being saluted today, Touchdown Club at noon: fear not, a few seats left (call the club). Come on, or Holman's wrestling buddies, Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund, may hammerlock you on their way to the luncheon.