You know, sometimes famous people that may have some sort of local connection will surprise you.

Don Sutton was hosting the Braves' call-in show last week and someone asked him a question about no-hitters. The question concerned what major league pitcher had allowed the most runs while still pitching a no-hitter.

While the answer was being found for him, Sutton relayed a part of his personal history to his listeners.

It seems Sutton lost a no-hitter by a 1-0 score, while pitching in a junior college game in Panama City, Fla.

What school did he lose to, you ask?

"I lost 1-0 to Abraham Baldwin College, ABAC. That's a school down in Tifton," Sutton said.

That sort of threw me for a loop, because I have covered a number of ABAC games during the past few years. It made me wonder if I could have witnessed someone that may eventually win 300 games and make the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hey, I guess you never know.

Oh, according to what they found out, San Diego's Andy Hawkins once lost a no-hitter 4-2 - in case you were wondering.

SOMEONE NEAR AND DEAR TO ME MENTIONED SUNDAY: One of my dearest friends was mentioned by legendary writer Furman Bisher Sunday in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bisher wrote about Joe Louis Relaford being in Atlanta last week. Relaford was the youngest player ever to play in a professional baseball game.

Relaford was the 12-year old bat boy for the Fitzgerald team. During a lopsided game, manager Charlie Ridgeway sent Relaford in to pinch hit. Relaford got a single in that plate appearance.

Ridgeway was the long time radio voice for both Fitzgerald and Irwin County sports. Over the past several years I have gotten very close to Ridgeway, traveling to several ball games with him.

While working for WBHB in Fitzgerald, Ridgeway had a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" article framed on his wall about Relaford.

His grandson Russ is now a member of the Fitzgerald football team. But, knowing him like I do, Ridgeway will also be rooting for Irwin County this season.

I fully expect he and coach Joe Compton, who coached in both Fitzgerald and Ocilla, to be in the stands when Fitzgerald and Irwin County hook up this season in Fitzgerald.

Ridgeway loves both communities and residents in both communities also care deeply for him.

He is a dear friend, who has taught me a lot of things in my life about my work.

We also share a honor. The seniors on the 1997 state championship Irwin County Indians baseball team dedicated the season to myself, Ridgeway and head coach Cliff Tankersley. That was a special honor for me and it also meant a lot knowing who I shared it with.

NOW TYING UP THE FIRST TWO PARTS OF THIS COLUMN: In 1997, I covered a 1-0 no-hitter that was lost. Charlie Ridgeway also broadcasted the game over WBHB.

Fitzgerald's Benjie Giddens allowed a walk to Irwin County's Wes Walters. If memory serves me right, Walters stole second, went to third on a ground ball out and scored on a wild pitch for the game's only run.

Showing age is catching up with me, I said to myself that night that I would never forget the details of that game and now I can't remember them all.

I do remember that Rhett Roberts picked up the win for Irwin and the final out came on a sliding catch by Irwin's Kendrick Wallace.

NO HEAT DEATHS LAST YEAR: According to a new University of North Carolina study, no players in organized football below the college level died last year and no deaths have been reported this year.

Of course, that's great news. But, some people may not like what the state of Georgia may do next year.

From what I was told at a recent meeting of the state's sportswriters, the executive committee of the Georgia High School Association will meet in October. One of the items on the agenda is the moving up of the high school football season.

According to the proposal, teams would have four weeks of practice and one scrimmage to get ready for a regular season that would start the weekend of Aug. 20. The teams would then have 11 weeks to play 10 games.

That would put the state semifinals in Atlanta on Thanksgiving weekend. Also, it would mean the state championship games would be played the weekend of Dec. 3. This year's state title games will be played Christmas week.

Some people may not like the idea of the season beginning Aug. 20, but it has also been mentioned that teams are now playing scrimmages on that date.

Personally, I like anything that means high school football will get here quicker. But, I remember last year when the heat caused several power outages in the first game at Tiftarea Academy. Also, an official had to be carried to the hospital because of the heat.

In other words, even though I don't really have a problem with the games being moved up, I just hope precautions are taken, like plenty of water breaks.

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