Brooklyn Dodgers teammates attending Pee Wee Reese's funeral yesterday remembered the Hall of Fame shortstop as a man among the Boys of Summer.
"He was the tradition, he was the greatest Dodger of them all," center fielder Duke Snider said.
Snider recalled a trip to Hawaii with Reese and Don Zimmer to attend the baseball winter meetings. "They had a big chair there that was called the 'Kahuna chair,' " he said. "Zimmer said to him, 'Captain, that's your chair.' "
Some 2,000 people attended Reese's funeral at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville. The eight-time all-star, who played on seven pennant winners and one World Series champion in Brooklyn, died Saturday at age 81 after a two-year fight with lung cancer.
Among the mourners were nearly all the surviving regulars from the Brooklyn glory years of the 1940s and '50s: Snider, Zimmer, Joe Black, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Ralph Branca, Clyde King--even the deeply private Sandy Koufax.
"He was a teammate for four years, a friend for 40," Koufax said. "What is there to say?"
Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, said Reese's leadership helped hold the Dodgers together in 1947, the year her husband broke major league baseball's color barrier.
Reese, a Kentucky native, first refused to sign a petition that threatened a boycott if Robinson joined the team. Then, as Robinson was being heckled by fans in Cincinnati during the Dodgers' first road trip, Reese went over to him and put his arm around Robinson's shoulder in a gesture of inclusion and support.
Back in New York, Mrs. Robinson heard what Reese had done.
"I thought it was a very supportive gesture, and very instinctive on Pee Wee's part," she said. "You shouldn't forget that Pee Wee was the captain, and he led the way."
Knee Deep in Pain
Virginia Tech football players Jake Houseright and Marcus Gildersleeve suffered knee injuries in practice this week, and both will need surgery, the school's sports information office announced. Gildersleeve, a redshirt senior split end, has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He caught 17 passes in 1997 and last season blocked one punt and recovered another for a touchdown. Houseright, a sophomore who had been listed as a second-team linebacker, has torn cartilage in his right knee and will undergo arthroscopic surgery today. . . .
Michigan State has rewarded basketball coach Tom Izzo with contract revisions that will raise his overall compensation to $725,000, up from last season's $600,000, a university spokesman said. Izzo led the Spartans to their second straight Big Ten championship and a berth in the NCAA Final Four last season.
S. Williams Withdraws
Serena Williams, seeded eighth in the du Maurier Open tennis tournament, injured her right shoulder in practice and defaulted her second-round match against unseeded Silvija Tajala of Croatia.
The injury will be re-evaluated before the U.S. Open at the end of this month, but Williams, 17, ranked eighth on the WTA Tour, is expected to play.
Fourth-seeded Jana Novotna was beaten, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, by Ai Sugiyama of Japan in second-round play. . . .
Pete Sampras, unfazed by a brief rain delay and a trespasser on the court, beat Guillaume Raoux, 6-4, 7-5, in the second round of the RCA Championships in Indianapolis.
The Washington/Baltimore 2012 Regional Coalition has added five board members, increasing the number of board members to 36, according to a news release. The board oversees the region's bid to be the host city for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The new board members are Donald E. Baer, senior vice president for public policy and communications at Discovery Communications Inc.; M.H. Jim Estepp, chairman of the board of directors of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; C.A. Dutch Reppersberger, incoming chairman of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council; Charlotte B. Sterling, executive vice president of communications for Marriott International; and Michael E. Waller, publisher and chief executive of the Baltimore Sun.
U.S. Men Keep Climbing
The United States rose 10 places to No. 20 in soccer's world rankings after finishing third in the Confederations Cup in Mexico. . . .
The U.S. Women's World Cup champions will play for the first time since its World Cup victory against Ireland at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Foxboro Stadium near Boston. The match will be followed by a contest between Major League Soccer's New England Revolution and Tampa Bay Mutiny. . . .
Ritchie Kotschau's first-half goal gave the visiting Mutiny a 1-0 victory over the Revolution. The Mutiny snapped a two-game losing streak, improved to 10-14 and moved into a third-place tie with Miami, four points ahead of New England (8-14). . . . Stern John tallied three goals and took over the Major League Soccer goal-scoring lead as the visiting Columbus Crew handed the New York/New Jersey MetroStars their eighth straight loss, 4-2. . . . The visiting Dallas Burn (12-12) turned in an upset 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids (16-7). Forward Jason Kreis had two assists for the Burn.