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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, July 3, 1999



World Cup team won’t
soon be forgotten

SOME random harvestings to think about over a putt during the Fourth of July holiday weekend:

American women - including soccer moms everywhere - have rallied in force to root for the USA in the Women's World Cup.

Suddenly, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, my favorite soccer pinup, have become household names to many, even folks who only know that a soccer game generally ends in a 2-1 score. And only after a free kick in overtime at that.

Here's hoping for continued success to the U.S. women's team, which takes on Brazil tomorrow in the semifinals.

By virtue of their victory over Germany on Thursday, the Americans have qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, ensuring that soccer won't be forgotten before the next World Cup.

(long-s)

Besides a soccer mom, let's also hear it for a golfing mom - Juli Inkster, only the second woman to win the LPGA's four modern majors. The first was Pat Bradley.

Inkster recently completed her golfing Grand Slam by winning the LPGA Championship, 21 days after winning the U.S. Women's Open.

It took 16 years, but Inkster, who won her first major, the Dinah Shore Classic, as a 23-year-old rookie, finally did it.

Not bad for the 39-year-old mother of two, who has done a great job in balancing her golf career with motherhood.

On the eve of the final round, she took her kids for ice cream. On Sunday morning, she got up early to make them French toast.

"I was just doing what any mother would do," Inkster said.

"Before I had kids, golf was my life and I lived and breathed golf. When I had kids, my perspective totally changed. I mean, golf is a part of my life; not my life."

Inkster's happy about the growing impact of women in sports. "I think it is great ... I think you can be a great lady and also be a sports person. You just look at the soccer and the WNBA, and even the Olympic softball team."

As for her grand-slam feat, she didn't think it would have taken this long, since she won two majors early in her career.

With the du Maurier Classic, the final LPGA major of the year , coming up at the end of this month, attention will be on Inkster. Imagine the ink Juli will receive if she wins three majors in one year.

And for those wondering out loud, there have been only four men to win golf's four majors - the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship.

They are Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and the one most overlooked in having done it, Gary Player.

(long-s)

This Independence Day weekend is also a good time to remember Larry Doby, the American League's answer to Jackie Robinson.

Bill Veeck, the Cleveland Indians' owner at the time, bought Doby's contract from the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League on this day, July 3, in 1947.

Two days later, Doby became the first African American to play in the American League when he came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox. It was three months after Robinson's major league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Doby hit only .156, striking out 11 times in 30 at-bats that year. But he led Cleveland to the 1948 American League pennant. And he holds the distinction of being the first African-American to play for a World Series championship team.

The Baseball Hall of Fame, though, didn't open its doors to Doby until last year.

That he had to wait so long is unpardonable.



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.



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