Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Article excerpt

As secretary-treasurer of the new Cardinals ownership, ANDREW N. BAUR became one of Georgia State's most distinguished alumni.

Except that he wasn't a full-fledged graduate.

Baur left Atlanta after completing his course work in 1970, skipping his graduation ceremonies and failing to pick up his diploma. That oversight got corrected Wednesday night when Georgia State president CARL PATTON came flying down an aisle at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium - his gown flowing and the tassel on his cap flying in the breeze - with Baur's framed diploma in hand. The school and Baur's friends conspired to surprise him before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Baur was all smiles as he clutched his diploma. "It took me 26 years, but I got it," he said. "We've been working on this for seven months," said ROBERT McGINNIS, the university's vice president for development. "We caught him off guard. We tried to do it during the regular season when the Braves and Cards played, but it never worked out." School officials found Baur's actual diploma collecting dust in the school archives; there weren't many others, since the school started mailing diplomas to those who skipped graduation. "We're a lot more service-oriented now," Patton said. He suggested the school might call on Baur to come to a graduation ceremony, this time as a speaker. "I think I'd ask TONY LA RUSSA to come in my place," Baur said. "He'd do a lot better." ***** (* The following text appeared in the FIVE STAR edition *) These are the best of times for baseball . . . and, as far as Madison Avenue is concerned, the worst of times for baseball. Advertising executives say the sport still hasn't emerged from the public relations disaster of two years ago, when a players strike forced the cancellation of the World Series. ROBERTO ALOMAR isn't helping, either. "Baseball is bleeding badly," said BOB WILLIAMS, president of Burns Sports Celebrity Inc., a Chicago-based athletic talent agency. "It is well behind basketball - and football and hockey have caught up." How badly is it hemorrhaging? Forbes Magazine's most recent survey of the nation's top-paid athletes is telling. The magazine says basketball's MICHAEL JORDAN earned some $40 million in endorsements in 1995, boxer GEORGE FOREMAN made $8 million and golfer JACK NICKLAUS took home $14.5 million. CAL RIPKEN, on the strength of setting baseball's endurance record, led all baseball players with $4 million. KEN GRIFFEY JR. was next at $1.7 million and Chicago White Sox first baseman FRANK THOMAS third at $1.5 million. "Alomar hurts everyone," Williams said. "Baseball's strength once was that its players were considered role models. Role models don't spit in other people's faces." Sure, Alomar feels bad about this spitting episode. …

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