Asked to admit his biggest mistake as an adult, George W. Bush picked baseball, not politics.

"I signed off on that wonderful transaction: Sammy Sosa for Harold Baines," the Texas governor said Friday night.

The question came up during the GOP campaign debate in West Columbia, S.C. Bush reminded the audience of his days as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers and a trade with the Chicago White Sox.

Sosa was a 20-year-old rookie outfielder on July 29, 1989, when Texas traded him, shortstop Scott Fletcher and pitcher Wilson Alvarez to the White Sox for Baines and infielder Fred Manrique.

While Baines has enjoyed a productive career, Sosa--subsequently traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1992--has blossomed into one of baseball's biggest stars. Sosa hit 66 home runs in 1998 during his chase with Mark McGwire to break Roger Maris's record of 61. Sosa hit 63 homers last season.


Romario Shines

Romario scored two goals in a three-minute span midway through the first half to lead Vasco da Gama to a 3-1 victory over European champion Manchester United at the world club championships in Rio.

United fell to 0-1-1 and was eliminated from winning Group B and advancing to Friday's title game. Vasco (2-0) needs only a tie against Mexico City's Necaxa on Tuesday to advance.

Necaxa beat Australia's South Melbourne, 3-1, in the second game of the Group B doubleheader.


Bound for Sydney

The U.S. men's national team qualified for the Sydney Olympics with a 25-20, 30-28, 25-21 victory over Canada at the Continental Cup in Winnipeg, Manitoba. . . .

The U.S. women's national team bounced back from an opening loss to beat Canada, 3-1, at the Nike Americas' Volleyball Challenge in Lakeland, Fla., and clinch a berth in the Sydney Olympics.


Baltimore-Cuba Race Proposed

A proposal to hold a yacht race from Cuba to Baltimore this spring is drawing enthusiastic support from officials in Baltimore and Havana, but Cuban-American groups say they will lobby to block the race.

Baltimore officials came up with the idea during negotiations for exhibition games between the Baltimore Orioles and Cuba's national team last spring.

The proposed race is under review by the U.S. government, which must rule on any exchanges because of a trade embargo.

Lee Tawney, director of international programs in the mayor's office and lead organizer of the event, told the Baltimore Sun he submitted a petition for a permit for the race to the U.S. Treasury Department after Christmas.


Capriati Tops Hingis

A resurgent Jennifer Capriati upset top-ranked Martina Hingis, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3, to win the Millennium Cup tournament in Hong Kong.

The 23rd-ranked Capriati, on a comeback after tumbling out of the top 100 in 1998, advanced to the final by beating No. 5 Mary Pierce in the semifinals in the exhibition tournament. . . .

Croatian Silvija Talaja beat Conchita Martinez, 6-0, 0-6, 6-4, to win the Australian Women's Hardcourt championships.


Night of Champions

On Jan. 15, the Washington Convention Center will host the inaugural Night of Champions, a black-tie awards dinner recognizing the Washington area's top boxing talent and individuals from the area who have made contributions to the sport the past year. Tickets are $40, with proceeds going to amateur boxing programs. Call 202-783-5500 for more information.