Third time's the charm: Jack Nicklaus will play Kemper Open, first week of June, first time since this TPA event came to Congressional. Big lift there for the gate--Monday is last call for discount tickets--already ahead of 1981 pace. Insuranceman James S. Kemper Jr. tosses in that Boys' Clubs of America again will receive $50,000 of the $110,000 in charity proceeds. And that the 208 amateur spots in the pro-am prelim already are all spoken for . . .

Firebirds! UDC sold out 2,800-seat Van Ness arena inside six hours for Saturday's NCAA basketball versus Cheyney State . . .

Oh happy day in Waldo, Ark., and oh Happy day in Versailles, Ky.! Waldo's Travis Jackson, 78, and Versailles' Happy Chandler, 83, make baseball's Hall of Fame, courtesy of veterans committee. Jackson spent his career with New York Giants, 1922-36, mostly as their crack shortstop, .291 career batter and a bunter hailed by contemporaries as nonpareil. Chandler was the game's second commissioner, 1945-51, and gains esteem as retrospect collects. Nice, Chandler and Jackson enter Cooperstown, Aug. 1, with Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson; the former Kentucky governor helped integrate the sport . . .

And then Detroit's Red Wings fired Wayne Maxner, promoting assistant Billy Dea; NHL club's 14th coaching change in 14 years . . . Surprise, U. of Texas fired Abe Lemons, the fabulous--at least, fabulously quotable--basketball coach. Lemons, 59, reckons, "I was a little too crusty for 'em." Longhorns were 14-0 this midseason before folding, badly, after Mike Wacker wrecked a knee . . .

First time in a long time (not counting '81 bench time), Ricky Bell won't be playing for John McKay. His old USC mentor dealt him from Tampa Bay Bucs to San Diego's Chargers--at Bell's request . . . But, Redskin fans: three more years of Joe Lavender. First of Washington's 1982 free agents to re-up, he takes (at age 32) a set of one-year contracts . . . Ed Garvey says negotiations involving his NFL Players Association go nowhere until Congress decides on NFL's antitrust exemption request: "If the league gets its way on this one, it means the end of the collective bargaining process." NFLPA, here yesterday, ended regional meetings preliminary to players' March 22 Albuquerque convention . . .

Second time in 17 years, Soviets lose pairs title in World Figure Skating Championships, Sabine Baess and Tassilo Thierbach of East Germany doing at Copenhagen what Tai and Randy did in '79. Bronze to Catlin and Peter Carruthers, Wilmington, Del., brother-sister. Denver's Scott Hamilton did so well in his short program, for men's singles gold needs only third place in free skating . . .

Capital Classic folks inadvertently left 6-8 Darryl Webster (Coolidge) off Capital All-Stars list, but he'll do it for Coach Gene Doane (Seneca Valley) as locals strive to win--as they did the times Ralph Sampson and Pat Ewing were on their side as at-large picks (pardon our day-ago inadvertence, there) against U.S. stars . . .

A. NASL indoor scoring champ Julie Veee of San Diego: nee Gyula Visnyei of Budapest . . . A. Tallest tourney player: at Kansas City for NAIAs, Biola's George Bell: 7-foot-8 and second string.