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Tuesday, June 17, 1997

Golf pro gets organ transplant
but they had to find him first

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ABILENE, Texas -- As the head golf pro at Abilene Country Club, Allen
Botkin is used to being in demand.

But little did he realize on the night of May 20 he was the most wanted
man in Abilene.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.

Botkin is currently in Dallas, making a successful recovery after a
kidney and pancreas transplant on May 21. He hopes to be back to work at
Abilene Country Club by July 15.

Days of doctors making housecalls are long gone, but the doctor who
performed Botkin's surgery actually gave him a ride to the hospital.
That's just part of the wild story of the unusual circumstances
surrounding the night prior to Botkin's transplant.

Botkin said he had been having problems with his kidneys for 10 years
and first began the discussion of getting on the transplant list last
summer. But to do so, he had to have a heart catherization, a process
which can cause complete kidney failure and might lead to dialysis.

``On April 1 the surgeon from Methodist Medical Center in Dallas called
and said there was just one person on the transplant list,'' Botkin
said. ``He recommended we go ahead with the heart cath.''

Botkin went through the procedure on April 30. The transplant committee
meets on Fridays, so on May 2 it met and put Botkin's name on the list.

``We thought it would probably be the end of the summer before I'd have
the surgery, so I hadn't even told anyone,'' Botkin said. ``No one knew
I was even on the list except my close friends and a couple of doctors.
I hadn't even told the board yet.''

But 18 days later, a matching kidney and pancreas were found. It just so

happened that the Southwest Transplant Alliance recovery team was in

that night, recovering organs from a donor in an unrelated case.

They tried to call his house, but there was no answer. He wasn't at
Abilene Country Club, either. And Botkin didn't answer his cell phone.

The hunt began shortly after 7 p.m. Dr. Shannon Holloway happened to be
at Hendrick Medical Center at the time and joined in the telephone
search for Botkin.

Allen and his wife Amy, unaware that the frantic search was on for them,

had gone out to eat and then went to look at a new car.

About 8:15 p.m., they returned home. The first of numerous messages on
their answering machine was a doctor in Dallas, telling them a match had


Allen returned the call immediately, and the Southwest Transplant
Alliance team offered the Botkins seats on their plane, saving them the
3 1/2-hour drive to Dallas.

``We had to be at the hospital by 9:30 p.m.,'' Botkin said. ``Amy's
father, Jack Luther, drove us to hospital. We ran a few red lights on
the way.''

Moments later, they were boarding the plane.

In fact, Dr. Richard Dickerman, who performed surgery on Botkin at 10
a.m. the next morning, gave them a ride in his own personal car from
Love Field in Dallas to the hospital.

Botkin said the doctor has already given clearance to swing a golf club,
as long as there isn't any pain. He just can't go out in public yet
because his immune system is still low.

The Botkins are still in Dallas where he has to go to the hospital every

other day for blood tests and exams.

``It's pretty fantastic,'' Botkin said of the wild night of May 20. ``I
thought I'd wait at least a few months, and here they were calling me on
the one day that I didn't have my mobile phone.''

It all happened so quickly that he didn't even have time to get nervous,


``Well, I didn't sleep much that night,'' Botkin said. ``But it calmed Amy down that she didn't have to drive for three ana a half hours.''

The scoring on interleague play: a hit

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AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Interleague play is doing what baseball owners wanted:
Average attendance for the first five days is up 37 percent over the
first 10½ weeks of the season.

``The fan now is giving a very powerful message: They love it,'' acting
commissioner Bud Selig said Monday, a day that saw the New York Mets
beat the Yankees 6-0 and the Chicago Cubs beat the White Sox 8-3.

Teams averaged crowds of 35,341 for the first 56 interleague games.
Before interleague play began last Thursday, teams were averaging

``You can see what it's done for attendance, not only here, but
throughout baseball,'' Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. ``If it's
good for business, it's good for the sport.''

Seattle, averaging 37,461 before the start of interleague play, drew
208,297 to the Kingdome for two games against Colorado and two against
Los Angeles, a team record for four consecutive home games and an
average of 52,074.

Attendance dropped 20 percent following the 1994-95 strike, from an
average of 31,612 in 1994 to 25,260 in 1995. It rebounded 6.4 percent
last season to 26,889, and with interleague play beginning, owners
predict a 9 percent rise to about 29,300 this season.

``Interleague play is a permanent part of our landscape and it will get
bigger and bigger and bigger,'' Selig said.

In the stands and clubhouses, fans and players can't stop talking about

``You had to keep reminding yourself that this was a real game,''
Minnesota's Paul Molitor said after his team's interleague opener at the
Astrodome. ``You have to say, `We're playing in Houston.' But as hard as
it was to realize, you have to understand it's going to show up in the

With the Yankees in Miami, the Florida Marlins topped 40,000 in three
consecutive games for the first time since August 1993 -- their
inaugural season.

``I think the Marlins fans and the Yankee fans got their money's
worth,'' Florida catcher Gregg Zaun said after Florida rallied in the
ninth inning to win the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. ``Four
comeback innings -- that's pretty good for one day.''

Atlanta drew 143,766 for its games against Baltimore, a matchup of the
teams with the best record in each league. The Braves, who were swept,
hadn't drawn that many for a three-game series since 147,014 turned out
in July 1994 against Philadelphia -- Atlanta's final home games before
the strike.

The Cubs drew 112,690 for three games against the Brewers, getting many
fans to make the 1½-hour drive from Milwaukee. The total was 7,638 shy
of the Wrigley Field record of 120,328 for a three-game series, set in
1994 against Cincinnati.

And in Pittsburgh, where attendance has been down for five years since
the Pirates were last competitive, a three-game series against Kansas
City drew 108,536 -- the Pirates' largest for a three-game home series
since September 1991 against the Mets.

Interleague play had the least impact in Montreal. The Expos averaged
19,998 for three games against Detroit, slightly above Montreal's
average of 19,251 for its first 35 home dates.

And while the Mets and Yankees drew 56,188, the sixth-largest
regular-season crowd since the renovated Yankee Stadium opened in 1976,
the Cubs and White Sox drew 36,213, 8,108 under capacity at Comiskey

It will take more time to gauge how interleague play was received by
fans at home. Because Fox's games Saturday were broadcast in the
afternoon, national ratings won't be available until later this week,
although the overnight rating from the major markets was about the same
as the equivalent day last year: 3.8 vs. 3.5.

Baseball does not have any television figures on the interleague games broadcast locally by individual teams.

Thousands celebrate title at brief ceremony

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AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) -- Once again, Steve Kerr upstaged the better-known members
of the Chicago Bulls -- Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
and coach Phil Jackson.

Kerr's 17-foot jumper with 5 seconds left Friday night gave the Bulls
their fifth NBA title. And his account of ``what actually happened'' on
the play drew the biggest laughs of the Bulls' relatively tame victory
rally Monday.

``Phil told Michael, `I want you to take the last shot.' And Michael
said, `I don't feel real comfortable in these situations, so maybe we
ought to go in another direction,''' Kerr said as Jordan, one of
basketball's all-time clutch performers, laughed hysterically.

``And then Scottie came in and said, `Michael said in his commercial
that he's been asked to do this 26 times and failed ... so why don't we
go to Steve?' So I thought to myself, `Well, I guess I've got to bail
Michael out again. But I've been carrying him all year, so what's one
more time?'

``Anyway, the shot went in. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.''

Kerr's speech, besides being the funniest, was also the longest of the
38-minute, relatively low-key, ho-hum-it's-another-championship

As promised, Rodman didn't curse -- as long as ``hell'' doesn't count.
Jackson spoke for all of 22 seconds. And Jordan dedicated the Bulls'
fifth NBA title in seven years to the city's ``working people.''

Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, knowing he would have been booed loudly,
didn't speak. He wasn't even introduced to the tens of thousands of fans
who crammed into Grant Park.

There were no clues about what will happen in the coming weeks, when the
futures of Jordan, Rodman and Jackson will be decided by Reinsdorf, who
has talked about making major changes to an aging team.

Jordan, 34, has said he will retire if Jackson leaves. Rodman, 36, might
not be re-signed. Jackson wants assurances that the nucleus will be
back; he also wants the going rate for top coaches, double this season's
$2.7 million.

Rather than fret about the future, the Bulls used Monday to celebrate a
season capped by their six-game victory over the Utah Jazz in the NBA
Finals. They also won titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996.

``This championship goes to all the working people here in the city of
Chicago who go out every single day and bust their butts to make a
living,'' said Jordan, who made $30.14 million this season.

``We come in two hours out of a day to give you a break and have
something ... to be proud about when you go to another city. So
hopefully, come 1998, you guys can go out and celebrate and go back to
every city and say we won Number 6. And, hopefully, Number 7, Number 8,
Number 9, Number 10.''

As the nine-time league scoring champion finished, the crowd chanted
``M-V-P! M-V-P!'' -- both in honor of his fifth NBA Finals MVP award and
in protest of the regular-season honor that Utah's Karl Malone won over

Jordan, Jackson, Rodman, Pippen and Ron Harper then raised the five
championship trophies as Queen's ``We Are the Champions'' blared over
the loudspeakers. Moments later, the ceremony -- which included less
than 20 minutes of the team being on stage -- was over.

Rodman cursed during last year's ceremony but promised to ``keep it
clean'' this time. And he did, for the most part.

Rodman was fined $50,000 during the finals for making disparaging
remarks about Mormons -- ``I apologize for that,'' he said -- and was
suspended three times this season. While his dyed hair, tattoos,
body-piercings and cross-dressing ways amuse fans, many have grown tired
of his foul mouth and unreliability.

``Michael has to be back, but they can let Rodman go,'' said Karen
Kramer, a Schererville, Ind., resident at the celebration. ``I stuck up
for him last year, but he just pulled too much junk this year.''

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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