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A sure-fire plan to pick up a team

May I offer the Mizell Package that can make us a big-league lock? Make certain Tampa Bay's scramble for new, local investors reaps (a.) a Mr. or Ms. Somebody ready to spend $40-million or so, plus the involvement of (b.) a minority presence, Channel 13 exec Clarence McKee, plus (c.) the soldier baseball wouldn't dare refuse, Norman Schwarzkopf. Denver Post readers, asked to nominate favorites to be manager and GM of a local expansion baseball team, picked former St. Louis Cards skipper Whitey Herzog in 4-to-1 landslides for both jobs. Notre Dame should be chanting "We're No. 1," because for a fifth time in 10 years the Irish lead all major football colleges in graduating players, with 24 of 26 (92 percent) 1985 freshmen earning degrees. Charles McRae, offensive tackle from Tennessee drafted No. 1 by Tampa Bay, was welcomed by Vols alum Hugh Paulk of Belleair and warmly advised to "eliminate "you know' from your vocabulary" and to never begin interview responses with, "Well, basically "

Whatever happened to Ralph Houk?

Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees have suited up for 25 of 28 current NFL franchises. Guess which three teams remain unrepresented. Answer later.

Bill Blue, a bust as commish of women's pro golf tour, has gone to a larger and heavier ball, as boss of American Bowling Proprietors. Jackson (Miss.) State has lost five football players in auto wrecks since 1987, and a sixth in a shooting. Ted Turner ordered a car towed from his stadium parking space, and then the Atlanta Braves' owner found the wheels belonged to an umpire. Bill Hodges, famous for a few 1979 moments as Larry Bird's college coach, was gone from Indiana State a year later, and just resurfaced as a NCAA Division I basketball coach at Mercer (Ga.) University, where last season's record was 2-25. John Cannon is being honored, upon retirement as a Bucs defensive lineman, with a June 14 barbecue at Tampa Marriott/Champions sports bar, with profits from $10 tickets going to Big Brothers & Big Sisters. Yogi Berra nutsy comment of the week is, "I never bought expensive luggage, because I'd only use it when I traveled."

Hall answer: Only NFL clubs with no reps in Canton are the Bengals, Falcons and (of course) your Buccos.

Whatever happened to Brad Van Pelt?

Texas Rangers equipment managers no longer leave Nolan Ryan's jersey hanging unguarded in a locker, a precaution against 34-napers. Jennifer Kendall runs track at the University of Kentucky, but her stopwatch numbers don't compare to the pharmacy major's academic digits, with five straight 4.0 semester GPAs. Greg Riddoch, manager of the San Diego Padres, batted .177 as a shortstop for the 1967-68 Class A Tampa Tarpons. Pittsburgh's Jim Leyland is the only survivor among six who began the 1990 season as managers in the NL East. "Florida Three" college football is imposing, but only three undergraduates of the UF-FSU-UM triumvirate have gone on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame _ Fred Biletnikoff (FSU) and Jim Otto and Ted Hendricks (Miami). NCAA medics tested 6,227 college athletes for illegal drugs last year, and only 27 (0.4 percent) tested positive and were ruled ineligible.

Whatever happened to Leroy Keyes?

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman gave $75,000 to UCLA as payback for his football scholarship. Chris Antley, who rode the winner in last month's Kentucky Derby, admits a rotten habit of his trade, saying, "A huge bunch of us jockeys desperately control our 110-pound weight limit by constantly forcing vomiting soon after we eat." John Wooden, whose basketball coaching record of 10 NCAA championships will never be threatened, has been honored by Home Gardening magazine, which named a hybridized cymbidium for UCLA's retired octogenarian. Tampa's Lisa Trosky will be the U.S. hope in 10K roller-skating at this summer's Pan Am Games in Cuba. Jack Nicholson and his front-row mates pay $475 a game for L.A. Lakers celebrity seats, which for a 41-game home schedule comes to $19,475.

Whatever happened to Reggie McKenzie?