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SCORECARD
Edited by Richard Demak
September 30, 1991
Peering Through the Rings
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September 30, 1991

Scorecard

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Making a List
A great fastball does not a great pitcher make, but it sure helps. Here is a list of the hardest throwers in baseball and the fastest pitches they've thrown this year, as timed by the Jugs guns of several scouts.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

mph

Duane Ward, Blue Jays

98

Juan Guzman, Blue Jays

97

Randy Johnson, Mariners

97

Bret Saberhagen, Royals

97

Kevin Brown, Rangers

96

Brian Harvey, Angels

96

Jeff Russell, Rangers

96

Nolan Ryan, Rangers

96

Roger Clemens, Red Sox

95

Tom Gordon, Royals

95

Dan Plesac, Brewers

95

Mike Timlin, Blue Jays

95

NATIONAL LEAGUE

mph

Rob Dibble, Reds

99

Steve Avery, Braves

97

Jose Dejesus, Phillies

97

Marvin Freeman, Braves

97

Dwight Gooden, Mets

97

Dwayne Henry, Astros

97

Stan Belinda, Pirates

96

Doug Drabek, Pirates

96

Ken Hill, Cardinals

96

Kent Mercker, Braves

96

Jose Rijo, Reds

96

Lee Smith, Cardinals

96

John Smoltz, Braves

96

Mitch Williams, Phillies

96

Peering Through the Rings

Closer scrutiny of the U.S. Olympic Committee is needed in the wake of its president's resignation

Robert Helmick's resignation last week as president of the U.S. Olympic Committee shouldn't take the heat off that embattled organization. Helmick, who two weeks ago admitted that he had lucrative business relationships with several clients who stood to benefit from the USOC's favor (SCORECARD, Sept. 16), stepped down because, he said, the resulting controversy had "largely paralyzed" USOC operations. But concerns about the USOC's direction and ethics persist.

The day before Helmick resigned from his unpaid position, officials of U.S. Skiing, which governs the sport in this country, called for the resignation of the USOC's top salaried official, executive director Harvey Schiller. An open letter signed by U.S. Skiing president Howard Peterson and two other officials was sent to the USOC executive board, accusing Schiller of offering to use his influence to obtain a USOC grant for U.S. Skiing in exchange for ski equipment and a Gold Pass, which allows its bearer to ski free at U.S. resorts and is valued at $3,000. The letter also accused the USOC of providing funds for building Olympic training facilities without the review of the appropriate committees.

Last Thursday, the day after excerpts from the ski officials' letter appeared in USA Today, Schiller produced three canceled checks for a total of $1,184, offering them as proof that he had paid for whatever ski equipment he had received. He also said that his apparent offer to use his influence in exchange for a Gold Pass was made in jest. Schiller, who has no direct control over USOC grants, said, "If I made any mistake, it was joking with the enemy."

Upon being reached for comment by SI, a number of Peterson's peers—directors of other sports that fall under the USOC's jurisdiction—said that they accepted Schiller's explanation, and they attested to his honesty and professionalism. Said one, "We have a copy of that letter, and it's a joke, it seems. It didn't reek of anything. If that's the worst of it, then the ski team's got nothing [on Schiller]. Maybe Peterson just saw a wounded animal and took a shot."

At a U.S. Skiing open board meeting on Friday, Peterson leveled more accusations at the USOC, charging it with, among other things, inflating its administrative expenses. "We want to see how grants are given," said Peterson. "You ask for information from the USOC, and you can't have it. On what basis do you then appeal? It's all a mystery with them. And we want the records open relative to gifts. There's the perception that the IOC [the International Olympic Committee, of which Helmick remains a member] and the USOC believe in 'grease for peace.' They're driven too often by gifts. To police our rules, we need ethical leadership."

Whether or not Schiller has done anything wrong, the Helmick affair is unquestionably a major setback for the USOC. In 1988 SI reported that barely half of the organization's proceeds went to athletes. The USOC claims that figure has since risen to 81% under Helmick's and Schiller's leadership. But the recent revelations about Helmick's personal financial dealings and the accusations against Schiller should renew calls for strong ethical guidelines for the USOC and a mechanism for enforcing them.

On Monday the USOC executive board decided that special counsel Arnold Burns would continue his investigation into Helmick's and Schiller's business affairs. It also nominated Colorado businessman William Hybl as interim successor to Helmick, whose term of office was scheduled to expire in the fall of '92. Hybl must still be confirmed by a majority of the 105 USOC members, but that seems likely—he is a compromise candidate, and, in fact, one of the conditions of his nomination was that he agree not to run for the office in '92. Hybl is already talking as if he has been confirmed: "In the next couple of months, the USOC will present a standard of ethical conduct as high as any in the nation." Given the damage that the USOC's image has suffered in the past few weeks, Hybl has his work cut out for him.
—E.M. SWIFT

Agassi's Ecstasy

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