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Thu., June 1, 1995, midnight

There is a God

A federal jury, rejecting former NBA player Jeff Ruland’s contention that his career was shortened because a Boston Celtics ballboy pushed a ball cart into his leg in 1992, ended his $3.8 million lawsuit.

The jury needed 6 hours to reach a verdict most could have made without using all of the 24-second clock.

There was a Kruk-ed man …

John Kruk is back in baseball, and has he been missed. He signed on with the Chicago White Sox recently after a brief exile and weighed in with these comments: On his long hair: “See, my hair’s real short, but since I don’t have a neck, it looks long.”

On whether his pal, Ozzie Guillen, pressured him to unretire: “He called me in spring training. This is the typical language he speaks: ‘C’mon back, fat boy. I’ll clean out a locker.’ And then I got here. I don’t have a locker. I don’t even have a uniform. So he’s a liar.”

On his other White Sox pal, Jose “Grandpa” DeLeon: “Maybe I’ll be a pallbearer at his funeral - ‘cause he’s about 70.”

On wearing black instead of that Phillies red: “I like black better. I wasn’t much for red. I think red shoes make me look slower.”

On DH-ing: “I look forward to designated-hitting, because I really didn’t like defense at all. The only leather I liked was the leather on my shoes. I should have put a glove on my foot, too, ‘cause I kicked a lot of stuff.”

A lightweight career

After 85 pro fights, Marty Jakubowski has wangled his biggest payday Friday - $50,000 to challenge WBC lightweight champ Miguel Angel Gonzalez. But you still wouldn’t call it a marquee match - it’s in Ledyard, Conn., and Jakubowski fought a three-round exhibition just eight days ago.

But it’s far better than some of the crummy promotions Jakubowski has endured - including a card in Mobile, Ala., where the promoters were so strapped they doubled up fighters at a motel.

“There was only one bed, so we took turns sleeping on it,” Jakubowski recalled. “While one of us slept, the other would look out for cockroaches.”

In his only loss, he lasted six rounds against Julio Cesar Chavez, who was six pounds over the 141 limit.

“They told me, ‘Go get something to eat,”’ he said. “I weighed in with pants and shoes on and three rolls of quarters in my pockets. That’s all the money we had left. They said I would fall down during the national anthem. But 18 minutes later, I was still standing.”

And Kathie Lee Gifford was still singing, too.

Workers of the world unite

If Lane Kirkland, president of the AFL-CIO, were paid at the same rate as Donald Fehr, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Kirkland would earn $8.9 billion per year.

Fehr’s salary of $950,000 breaks down to $678.57 from each player. Gene Upshaw of the NFL Players Association makes $1,236,443, or $727.32 per player.

Kirkland’s per-member contribution: 1 1/2 cents.

Yeah, but Kirkland hasn’t hatched any brilliant ideas, like 55 percent of the gross or canceling the World Series.

The last word …

“Buy them books.”

- Bulls coach Phil Jackson, on parents whining about Michael Jordan’s jersey switch after they’d bought their kids No. 45

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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