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The United States Football League holds a special place in the hearts of fans
of the 1980s. Although the USFL didn’t last long Warren Sapp
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, it made an enormous impact during its three seasons,
out-bidding the NFL for star players, putting a good product on the field and
even helping Donald Trump become a household name.

Now the USFL is getting some recognition from the Pro Football Hall of Fame,
with an exhibit slated to open later this summer that will show off the USFL’s
championship trophy, along with other memorabilia from the league, which played
three seasons from 1983 to 1985.

The USFL championship trophy was, like the Stanley Cup in the NHL, given to
each championship team to hold onto for one year. The Michigan Panthers won the
first USFL championship, followed by the Philadelphia Stars in 1984. That team
moved to Baltimore for the USFL’s final season, and the Baltimore Stars repeated
as champions in 1985 before the league went out of business. Longtime pro
football executive Carl Peterson served as G.M. of the Stars and was the last
owner of the trophy, which he has donated to the Hall of Fame.

Four players who began their careers in the USFL later became Hall of Famers:
Jim Kelly of the Houston Gamblers Rex Burkhead
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, Reggie White of the Memphis Showboats, and Steve Young and
Gary Zimmerman of the Los Angeles Express. Additionally two future Hall of Fame
coaches, George Allen and Marv Levy, coached in the USFL, future Hall of Fame
G.M. Bill Polian was a player personnel director in the USFL, and Hall of Fame
coach Sid Gillman worked as a consultant for USFL teams.

Donald Trump owned the New Jersey Generals and has been blamed by many USFL
fans for the business decisions that put the league out of business.

At age
36, James Shields is not in the picture of the future for the rebuilding Chicago
White Sox.

Still, he remains a big part of the present.

Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia homered and Shields limited Minnesota to four
hits over seven innings, leading the White Sox to a 6-1 victory over the Twins
on Wednesday night.

Shields (3-9) struck out five and walked just two in his only scoreless start
of the season. The veteran right-hander lasted just 4 2/3 innings in a loss to
Oakland on Friday. Before that, he had worked at least six innings in 11
straight turns and has gone at least seven innings five times. After struggling
through the last two years following his arrival in a trade with San Diego,
Shields has begun to settle in.

”He’s a guy that kind of balances out our rotation Evan Engram
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,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. ”He shows these
guys how to grind through an inning, get through certain situations, remain
calm, understand that no matter how much havoc occurs around you, the best thing
is to try to execute pitches.”

Tim Anderson and Charlie Tilson each had two hits and an RBI for Chicago,
which has won three straight games and four of five.

”The pitching and the defense were really good,” Shields said, ”and the
hitting was phenomenal.”

Ehire Adrianza had four hits and an RBI for Minnesota, which has dropped two
straight games and five of six. Twins starter Kyle Gibson (2-6) allowed five
runs on 11 hits in seven innings.

The White Sox took a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Abreu and Garcia led off with
singles. One out later, Leury Garcia doubled to drive in Abreu. Anderson
followed with a run-scoring single, and Omar Narvaez drove in a run with a
ground out. Abreu’s solo homer in the fifth stretched the lead to 4-0.

Avisail Garcia’s solo homer in the eighth made it 6-0. The Twins tacked on a
run in the ninth Laurent
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, but they fell to 34-42 to match their
season high of eight games below the .500 mark after another night of chasing
too many pitches out of the strike zone.

”Lefties had a hard time laying off the slider, especially down and in,”
manager Paul Molitor said. ”We really didn’t hit too many balls hard.”

BALK TALK

With two outs in the sixth, Eddie Rosario walked and Brian Dozier singled to
put runners on first and third and give Minnesota a chance to close the gap. But
then the game took a bizarre turn. With Max Kepler stepping to the plate, Twins
third base coach Gene Glynn suddenly was ejected by third base umpire Gerry
Davis.

”He had wanted a balk the inning before,” Davis said to a pool reporter. ”I
explained to him it was not a balk, told him I wasn’t sure he knew the
definition of what a balk was for a stop. The next half inning he came out,
brought it up again … and I ejected him.”

BALK TALK II

Later in the at-bat, Shields faked a pickoff throw to first and then spun
around to throw to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez. Shields was called for a balk,
which allowed Rosario to score and Dozier to move up to second.

Renteria argued, claiming Shields stepped off before faking to
first Bryan Bulaga
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, which is within the rules. After huddling, the umpires
overturned the balk, sending the runners back. Molitor came out to protest and
was quickly ejected.

”It was suspicious in the fact that we couldn’t tell if he disengaged with
the rubber at all,” Molitor said. ”There’s a lot of things about the move that
are suspect to me.”

Shields then struck out Kepler looking on a 71-mph curveball to end the
inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins CF Byron Buxton (broken left big toe) is scheduled to play both games
of a doubleheader with Triple-A Rochester on Thursday. He’ll DH one game and
play the field in the other.

UP NEXT

RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.97 ERA) pitches the final game of the three-game
series for the Twins, looking to bounce back a rough outing. He gave up for six
runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings against Texas on Saturday.

RHP Lucas Giolito (5-7, 7.01 ERA) takes the mound for the White Sox, aiming
to win a second straight start.

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