EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 25, 2012

Sports in a minute

Christopher Smith
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — MCHALE’S DAUGHTER DIES

Kevin McHale’s daughter Alexandra “Sasha” McHale has died at 22 years old.

McHale is the coach of the Houston Rockets and a former Celtics great who was inducted into the Hall of Fame after averaging 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during his career.

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander released the following statement:

“I extend my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon. Kevin and Lynn are loving and dedicated parents who will need our continued support throughout this very difficult time. Our entire organization is mourning the McHale family’s loss and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

GOMES’ INTERESTING LIFE

New Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes certainly has taken an interesting path to the majors. He, his mother and brother lived in a homeless shelter for about a month when Gomes was a teenager.

He also suffered a heart attack on Christmas Eve in 2002 at just 22 years old.

Gomes batted .262 with 18 homers and 47 RBIs and a .377 on-base percentage for the Oakland Athletics this past year.

Gomes has power. He has belted 136 homers over his eight-plus major league seasons.

The right-handed batter is hitting .284 with a .382 on-base percentage, .512 slugging percentage and .894 OPS in his career vs. lefties as opposed to .223/.307/.425/.732 against right-handers.

He is expected to be a platoon player for Boston.

GREAT JOB IN INDY!

Two Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders, Megan M. and Crystal B., got their heads shaved in during halftime of yesterday’s Colts/Bills game.

Megan had agreed to have her head shaved if Colts fans donated more than $10,000 to cancer research. Fans donated more than twice that much. So Megan went through with it and Crystal also agreed to do it.

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.

JEFF GREEN’S MOM

Celtics forward Jeff Green’s mother, Felicia, attended all her son’s Georgetown home games back when Green was in college and “the Georgetown student section welcomed her to the arena with a ‘Jeff Green’s mom’ chant, and she would wave back to them,” according to Green’s profile on NBA.com.

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS

For yesterday’s Sunday baseball column, I talked with former Gold Glover Mike LaValliere, who caught for the Phillies, Cardinals, Pirates and White Sox from 1984-1995. LaValliere attended New Hampshire’s Trinity High, then played at UMass Lowell. He won a 1987 National League Gold Glove.

LaValliere caught former-Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield when Wakefield was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

One thing I didn’t include in the column was his view of whether pitchers should request their own personal catchers — in the way ex-Red Sox starter Josh Beckett always wanted Jason Varitek to catch him.

“You’ve got to be able to put the team in front of your own goals,” LaValliere said. “There were certain guys I liked to catch more than others. Put it this way: It wasn’t like when Wakefield was pitching that I’d be running up to (manager Jim) Leyland and saying, ‘Please let me catch the knuckleball. But it was part of your job and that’s what you did. Ultimately, it’s about the team. And somehow or another, I think it’s a little selfish. On the other hand, if there are problems, you’ve got to communicate, too. ‘What’s going on here?’ There’s nothing wrong with sitting down with the guy and saying, ‘Hey, we’re not clicking. Let’s fix this.’”

THE OTHER DOM AND JOE

The goalkeeper for Southern New Hampshire University men’s soccer is named Dom DiMaggio.

Actually, his father’s name is Joe DiMaggio. Yes, really. I’m not joking around here. The family is from Rome, N.Y.

The Red Sox obviously had a player named Dom DiMaggio, the brother of Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio.

Dom DiMaggio, the baseball player, was a center fielder who played 11 seasons in the majors, all for the Boston Red Sox. He batted .298 with a .383 on-base percentage for his career.