Memorabilia from the Yankee Clipper--a private man on and off the field--soon may be only a mouse-click away.

A Charlotte businessman who bought Joe DiMaggio's personal collection of signed baseballs, jerseys and other mementos of his legendary career, plans to auction thousands of the items on the Internet.

From autographed baseball cards to bats, balls, uniforms and prints, Ralph Perullo will offer a portion of DiMaggio's personal collection for sale in an online auction on eBay Oct. 20-29.

"Being totally candid, I have no idea what to expect," said the lifelong New York Yankees' fan who acquired the extensive collection in June. "But I'm giving it my best shot. If you're ready to buy something from Joe DiMaggio's personal memorabilia, now is the time."

Among the items to be sold are 361 signed baseballs, which equal the number of DiMaggio's career home runs. Some have his uniform No. 5 and others have the number 55, referring to his order of entrance into the Hall of Fame.

Over the summer, Perullo purchased more than 10,000 signed items and more for a price he would only describe as being "in the millions." DiMaggio died March 8 at age 84. The sale was finalized in June with Morris Engelberg, DiMaggio's close friend and attorney.

Tennis

Norman Drops Rios

Second-seeded Magnus Norman of Sweden overpowered top-seeded Marcelo Rios of Chile yesterday to claim the Heineken Open, his fifth title this year, in Shanghai.

After dropping the first set, Norman rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory. It was his first match against Rios, who was dominating the $350,000 tournament.

"I don't know why but this week I cannot manage to focus from the very beginning. As the match goes on, I gradually keep focused," Norman said.

Norman improved to 5-0 in finals this year, adding to his victories in Long Island, N.Y., Orlando, Stuttgart, Germany and Umag, Croatia.

The final was postponed from Sunday after it was rained out in a deluge triggered by a typhoon. . . .

Switzerland's Patty Schnyder returned from a five-week injury layoff to produce a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 comeback win over American Amy Frazier and advance to the second round of the women's Swiss Indoors in Zurich.

In other opening-round action, fifth-seed Barbara Schett of Austria posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over 38th-ranked American Lisa Raymond.

Corina Morariu was the only American to advance, dispatching Russia's Elena Dementieva, 6-2, 6-2, in just 55 minutes. . . .

Top-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Andre Agassi, beat Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, 6-3, 6-4, in the opening round of the $800,000 CA Trophy in Vienna.

In other matches, fifth-seeded Greg Rusedski beat Sweden's Thomas Johansson, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Basketball

Team USA Loses Cooper

Cynthia Cooper withdrew from the USA Basketball women's senior national team because she is "unable to fully participate in the team's training program."

The 36-year-old Cooper is a two-time Olympian who helped the United States win a gold medal in the 1988 Summer Games and two golds in world championship play. She also led the WNBA Houston Comets to three consecutive titles while earning league most valuable player honors twice.

"It is with considerable regret that I must withdraw from the women's senior national team," Cooper said. "The past several months have been very difficult for me emotionally.

"I understand the importance of the national team's training schedule and for the team to mesh together as a unit for the upcoming Olympics. However, at this time I am unable to participate fully in the team's training and therefore feel I must excuse myself from the team."

The team began training Sept. 7 and claimed titles at the 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup and the USA Basketball International Invitational.

Meantime, the U.S. women's national team will face Virginia as part of a 12-game schedule that pits the squad against some of the nation's top Division I college teams. The national team also will face defending NCAA champion Purdue, national runner-up Duke, Final Four participant Louisiana Tech, Tennessee and UCLA. The Virginia game is Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Charlottesville. . . .

Although Seattle's WNBA expansion team sold the required 5,500 season tickets it needed to secure a franchise, the city still might not have a team.

The Seattle City Council is asking for more money for the team's three-year lease agreement at KeyArena, and team officials said they can't afford it.

Council president Sue Donaldson drafted the proposal asking for an additional $50,000 a year from the team. If the city council passes it today, Coach Linn Dunn said Seattle might not have a team after all.

"Who is Sue Donaldson?" Dunn asked. "I don't understand why she is doing this. Does she really want to be responsible for killing the WNBA's chance to come to Seattle? We won't have a team if this happens, I can tell you that right now."

While team officials thought they had a deal with the city, Donaldson said there is no signed agreement.

CAPTION: Cynthia Cooper announces her withdrawal from the national basketball team because she is "unable to participate fully in the team's training" program.