The 1981 baseball season will open with Grover Cleveland Alexander -- oops, Ronald Reagan, who portrayed the Hall of Fame right-hander in the movies -- doing the pitching.
President Reagan has accepted the Reds' invitation to throw out the first ball in Cincinnati April 8 when they play the world champion Phillies, Alexander's original team. That's Cincinnati, which sent William Howard Taft to the majors; that is, to Washington to become the inaugurator of the presidential first-ball tossing tradition in the nation's capital. So much for tradition . . .
In the NBA, Nate Archilbald, the Celtics' K.P. but a would-be postseason free agent, has signed a multiyear Boston contract . . . Lloyd's of London, which charged the San Diego Clippers $20,437.50 for 12 months' permanent disability insurance on Bill Walton, has paid the club $1.2 million. As the hobbling ex-MVP says, any comeback paid the club $1.2 million. As the hobbling ex-MVP says, any comeback plans are "so far away I'm making other plans" . . . The New Jersey Nets are dickering with Bob McAdoo now that Detroit has let him go. Could it have been the thought of McAdoo as Net that upset Maurice Lucas so that in the Bullet game Wednesday night he got himself ejected and out of the arena after two minutes of play?
Ex-Cowboy Mel Renfro cut his Dallas jail term short by coming up with $2,000 toward $8,500 in child support arrears and paying off $2,800 in bad checks . . . As Tallahassee police rounded up the six Florida State Footballers accused of possessing stolen goods from the alleged haul of department store dock loader Robert Harris, it developed that a third senior starter, leading rusher Sam Platt, was among their number. And that Harris was a 1979 Seminole but flunked out . . .
Davidson College, three coaches removed from sending Terry Holland and before him Lefty Driesell onward and upward, has given John Kresse a five-year contract. He's been 42-16s guiding College of Charleston (S.C.) at NAIA level since doing 14 years as a St. John's (N.Y.) assistant . . .
Davidson? Joe Dean Davidson: a slip of somebody's typing finger in the Ken Denlinger column had the coach saying "we are not" adopting math and science in the coach's summer program for his Dunbar basketballers. He said "now," not "not" . . . But we all make mistakes, as in (blush) transmiting Giants to Mets in early editions about Johnny Mize.
And, the item in another paper on Wade Lefler, a short-term (five hits in eight ups) 1924 Senator passing on at 84 in North Carolina, cited the belief he was last survivor of Washington's only World Series winners. Well, from Edina, Minn., '24 Senator third baseman Ossie Bluege, 80, remembers Mr. Lefler and allows to "feeling okay, getting around pretty good . . . and, sure, say hello to Shirley Povich and Bob Addie."