WILLIAMS CELEBRATES 80TH: Ted Williams, the last man to bat .400, won two triple crowns, six batting titles and hit 521 career home runs.

On Sunday, The Kid hit another major landmark - his 80th birthday.Surrounded by family, he celebrated with a clambake at his home in Citrus Hills, Fla., a short distance from the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame.

Museum director Buzz Hamon said lobsters and steamers for the party were shipped fresh from Boston, the town Williams helped make famous with his bat.

Back at Fenway Park, where Williams starred at the plate, 31,476 fans at a game against the Anaheim Angels gave a standing ovation after a fourth-inning announcement of his birthday.

CLEMENS PAYS A VISIT: The sting of losing in the Little League World Series was eased for 12-year-old Jeff Duda on Sunday in Toronto when he got to meet his hero, Roger Clemens.

Despite striking out a 17 batters, Duda and his teammates from Langley, B.C., lost to Japan in the international final of the Little League World Series last Thursday in Williamsport, Pa.

"It's a lot more fun meeting Roger than getting 17," said Duda, after watching Clemens throw his third straight shutout in Toronto's victory over Minnesota. "I look up to him."

And Clemens, who watched Canada's game on TV, likes what he sees in Duda, who wears No. 21 like Clemens and who pumped his fists in celebration when he stranded runners during the loss to Japan.

"The emotions he showed in the Little League World Series were pretty awesome," said Clemens. "I've been in those situations, second and third, maybe one or no outs, and he got some big strikeouts.

"I was sitting in the office with Shawn Green and Alex Gonzalez and I saw his number and I said `Well, at least he has the right number on,' " Clemens added.

Before the game Duda and his teammates where presented with caps and balls on the field by Toronto manager Tim Johnson and pitchers Paul Quantrill and Steve Sinclair, who are both Canadians.

OMAHA NOW THE GOLDEN SPIKES: The identity crisis is over for the ballclub soon to be formerly known as the Omaha Royals. The team said Sunday that next year, it will be called the Golden Spikes.

The change was promoted as a salute to Omaha's history as a railroad town. But like an adolescent asserting independence, the move also represents a slight break from the parent Kansas City Royals.

During the westward expansion of the 1800s, Omaha was home to as many as eight railroads. The new name also reflects the team's ownership by the Union Pacific Railroad, which is based in Omaha.

Team officials said more than 5,000 fans picked the name in voting this summer. Rejected finalists included the Outlaws, Pioneers and River Kings. The winning name was disclosed before Sunday's Pacific Coast League game between Omaha and Salt Lake.

GARNER WILL BE BACK: Phil Garner will return as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers next year despite the team's tailspin this season, according to general manager Sal Bando.

Bando, quoted in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story from Phoenix, said the decision was not made out of unwillingness to buy out Garner's contract, which calls for a salary of $600,000 in 1999.

"Money has no bearing on it, plus I don't think there's a better alternative," Bando said.

"If he's good for six years and has one bad year, does that mean you get rid of the guy?"

PIAZZA INJURES SHOULDER: New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza left Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers after one inning with a bruised right shoulder.

Piazza was injured when former Dodgers teammate Eric Young fouled a ball off him in the first. Piazza, playing his first series at Dodger Stadium since being tra-ded in May, fouled out to first base in his only at-bat.

In the series opener Friday, Piazza had sore ribs after being struck by a pickoff throw and a sore left elbow from colliding with an opponent's bat.