By George Sullivan
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Extra info for Don't Step on the Foul Line: Sports Superstition
Page 16 Tennis Tactics Martina Navratilova, a dominant figure in women's tennis through the 1980s and into the 1990s, always wore the same pair of diamond earrings during a tournament. She wouldn't think of stepping out on the court without them. And on the final day of a tournament, Navratilova always wore a greenish blue tennis dress. Navratilova was not unusualtennis players are among the most superstitious of all athletes. Maybe it's because tennis pits a single player against another and produces great tension as a result.
Bryant had always been called "Bear" by Mike Murphy, the team's equipment manager. Bryant thought it would be a cute idea to buy the bear and give it to Murphy. He agreed to pay the girl $30 for it. Bryant took the teddy bear to the ballpark. That afternoon he pitched a neat six-hitter, his best game in weeks. "Maybe it's the bear," he said to himself. " Bryant began taking the bear everywhere. He sat the bear down next to him on the team bus. He placed it on a stool near his locker stall when he dressed for games.
Those who remember Cuellar agree that he had as many strange habits as strange pitches. Like many players, Cuellar, who was born in the Dominican Republic, avoided stepping on the foul lines. He also avoided the top step of the dugout. He would always jump over it whenever he left the dugout to go out to the playing field. On days that he was assigned to pitch, Cuellar refused to sign autographs. And he followed a careful ritual when warming up. Only Jim Frey, a Baltimore coach at the time, was permitted to catch his warmup throws.