The Bigs is what the ballplayers at the University of Southern California call the major leagues, and The Bigs is where they want to be. The most serious decision confronting the carefree young Trojans below is whether they should abandon their free (athletic scholarship) education and try to make it in pro ball. As Second Baseman Mike Castanon says: "Only the good ones can afford to give up school. They give you three years now to make The Bigs. If you can't cut it in three years, you know you better get into something else. The mediocre ones can't take a chance."
There are not very many mediocre ones at USC; 40 Trojans, for instance, worked out in major league camps this spring. USC won its 12th league pennant in the last 13 years the other day. Last year, when they were ineligible to compete, California represented the West Coast and won the NCAA title in five straight games.
Whenever a Trojan makes a dandy play the bench jockeys holler: "O.K., son, now go up to the stands and get your check." Up there sit a score of scouts from The Bigs looking over their nursery.
FAST-BALLING BILL THOM HAS WON FIVE GAMES AND LOST NONE
Catcher Bill Heath, a skillful receiver, bats left-handed, is hitting a lusty .373.
Outfielder Johnny Werhas, a .385 batter, hit six over Coliseum left-field fence.
Second Baseman Mike Castanon, a .373 hitter, has been solicited by four teams.
RON FAIRLY HAS HIT TWO OVER COLISEUM'S RIGHT-FIELD FENCE
MIKE CASTANON HAS NO DOUBTS HE CAN MAKE BIGS
Outfielder Ron Fairly has hit 18 homers, been offered a bonus of about $60,000.
Pitcher Bruce Gardner, only 19, has the speed and stuff. He's won 10, lost one.
Coach Rod Dedeaux, a onetime Dodger shortstop, guided USC to 25 and 6 record.