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Names In The Game

March 3, 1991

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) _ Jake Gibbs is seeing baseball from a different view for the first time in more than 30 years - the stands rather than the dugout.

Gibbs resigned last May after 19 seasons as Mississippi coach and is an administrative assistant on the Ole Miss athletic staff.

″After 19 years of coaching, you’ve put your duty in and you’ve put your time in,″ Gibbs said. ″You always know that day is going to come when you have to take the uniform off.″

Gibbs, 52, was a two-time All-American for the Rebels from 1959-61, then spent 10 years in the New York Yankees’ organization. He returned to Ole Miss in 1972 and became the Rebels’ all-time winningest coach with a 486-389-9 record.

Gibbs doesn’t regret his decision to resign. He supervises athletic facilities and serves as game management supervisor for all Ole Miss events.

″I haven’t missed it that much because the job I’ve got is keeping me busy and on the move,″ he said.


CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Johnny Podres isn’t peddling a cure-all for a pitching staff that led the National League last season in walks and wild pitches.

Podres, who pitched two complete game World Series victories over the New York Yankees in 1955, is the new pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.

He’s trying to help the Phillies’ pitchers reduce their 1990 season totals of 651 walks and 69 wild pitches.

Podres has no magic plan. He’ll make a few suggestions. He’ll try to build confidence.

He said the ability to consistently throw strikes doesn’t come easy to a lot of young pitchers. He recalled the old Brooklyn Dodgers and his days with teammates Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, both Hall of Fame pitchers.

″It took Koufax some time to learn some things,″ Podres said. ″Drysdale was good from the get-go. He threw strikes.″

Podres said the difference between Drysdale and Koufax at the beginning was that Drysdale was ″unbelievably relaxed when he pitched. Koufax was tense.″

Relaxing is the key to Podres’ teaching of the young Philadelphia staff.

″You can do a lot of things with the baseball because you’re relaxed,″ he said. ″When you tense up, your stuff isn’t as good as you think.″


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Alvaro Espinoza cherishes every day he spends as the New York Yankees’ shortstop after langishing for nine years in the minor leagues.

″Every morning when I wake up and come to the ballpark I say, ‘Wow, can you believe it? I spent nine years in the minors and now I go to Yankees training camp,’ ″ Espinoza said.

Espinoza began his pro career in 1978, when he was signed as a free agent by the Houston Astros. After two seasons at Sarasota, the Astros released him.

Espinoza was out of pro ball in 1981 before the Minnesota Twins picked him up. He spent six years in that organization, playing at Wisconsin Rapids, Visalia, Toledo and Portland. The six-year span produced only 99 major league at-bats.

The Yankees signed Espinoza as a six-year minor league free agent in November 1987. Espinoza got only three at-bats with the Yankees in 1988, spending the year at Triple-A Columbus.

Espinoza appeared Columbus-bound again during spring training of 1989 before Rafael Santana, then the regular shortstop, went down with a season- ending elbow injury.

″You have to be in the right place at the right time. That was me in 1989,″ Espinoza said. ″I made it late, but I made it. The problem was I never got a chance to show people I could play. The Yankees gave me an opportunity.″


LAHTI, Findland (AP) - Austrian ski jumper Andreas Felder and cross country skier Vladimir Smirnov of the Soviet Union are almost certain to be crowned World Cup champions this season after top performances in the Lahti Ski Games Sunday.

Felder posted consecutive victories, leading an Austrian success in ski jumping Sunday. He won the big-hill World Cup event by 0.9 points over countryman Stefan Horngacher. Saturday, Felder won the medium-hill competition, beating two other Austrians.

Smirnov finished second in the 30-kilometer freestyle Sunday and increased his advantage to 41 points over Torgny Mogren of Sweden in the men’s cross country World Cup standings. Two races remain.

Norway’s Kristen Skjeldal beat Smirnov by 40 seconds in the 30K.


MONROE, La. (AP) - Sixteen-year-old Jason Humble of Monroe caught the biggest bass ever reported in Louisiana, but can’t get the state record for it.

The 13-pound, 12-ounce largemouth was caught on a private lake, and Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association rules make only fish caught in public waters eligible for state records.

Humble caught the big fish on a lake behind his uncle’s house during a backyard barbecue. It was weighed on certified scales and verified by Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Mike Wood as a Florida bass.

The recognized state record, a 13-pound, 6-ounce bass, was caught last March on Lake D’Arbonne by Dr. Tracy Smith, a Ruston chiropractor.

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