Believe it or not, Dwight Gooden, the Mets' 19-year-old rookie phenomenon, isn't perfect. He can't hold runners on. When he lost 2-1 to the Phillies on Sept. 17 he struck out 16 without walking a soul for the second straight game. But he also balked home the winning run in the eighth inning, of all things, and he allowed six stolen bases, the third time that has happened to him this season.
Stolen bases are often a problem for power pitchers because they usually have a big leg kick, even from the stretch. In fact, until Philadelphia's Ivan DeJesus was thrown out at second by New York's Mike Fitzgerald in the seventh inning, the opposition was 46 for 46 stealing against Gooden, who leads the majors with 276 Ks in 218 innings.
The solution: a trip to the Instructional League this fall to work with former manager George Bamberger on cutting down his leg kick. Gooden will also work on his move to first.
While Gooden, who's 19 going on 39, only has to do some minor tinkering with his game, his 22-year-old teammate, Darryl Strawberry, will face a winter of soul-searching. Strawberry twice showed up late for batting practice this season, he's batting only .248, and he didn't hit a home run in August, one reason why the Mets didn't keep pace with the Cubs.
Listen to what Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez had to say about Strawberry last week: "He quit on himself. I don't intend for this to come out as a rip at him, [but] he gave in on certain situations. When things got tough, he gave in. In August I didn't think he was giving it a 100 percent effort. He just got down on himself, which can happen when you're as young as he is."
Sparky Anderson got a bloody scalp Tuesday night as the Tigers celebrated their American League East title. Seems Kirk Gibson accidentally clipped him with a champagne bottle. Gibson, who hadn't seen eye to eye with Anderson before this year, said jokingly, "That's what you get for saying I can't hit lefthanders."...The A's made it official, rehiring interim manager Jackie Moore. One reason, says his boss, Roy Eisenhardt, is Moore's ability to show anger. "Not only at players but at situations," says Eisenhardt, who felt Steve Boros, Moore's predecessor, was too passive. "Emotion is a major part of the game." So is winning, which neither style produced. The A's were 20-24 for Boros and are 52-60 for Moore.... Clifford Greene was fired from his job at Norwest Mortgage Co. in Minneapolis last month because he wouldn't remove his Twins cap in the office. "I told them that baseball is the number one thing in my life," said Greene. On Monday, however, he was rehired. New department, same cap.
Pete Rose is learning the consequences of being frank. Last week, when he was discussing plans for 1985, he didn't mention Dave Concepcion, once a cog in the Big Red Machine but a 36-year-old shortstop hitting .236 now.
"I don't know about Dave," Rose said when asked about the omission. "I'd like to get Dave back to where he was. I think he can still play shortstop, but his problem is he's been around this losing attitude for three years and he sort of fell into accepting losing."
Concepcion, stunned, said he wanted to be traded. But after he and Rose met, Pete softened his statement a bit. "There are guys who can't play good for a losing team, and I think people expected too much of Concepcion after [the other Big Red Machine players] left."
Houston's Phil Garner has shaved off his mustache after 12 years. "Even my kids don't recognize me," he says. "They hate it."...What a card that Dave Parker is. He asked teammate Brad Gulden if he'd ever been to Fort Knox. Gulden said he hadn't so Parker peeled off several pounds of gold that had been hanging around his neck and flipped them to Gulden. "Here," Parker said, "I'll save you a trip."...San Diego's Steve Garvey broke the A's Mike Hegan's 1973 major league record when he played his 179th consecutive errorless game at first on Sept. 19. Hegan, too, set his record for manager Dick Williams.
stirs the drink."
10—His mammoth home run off lefthander Ron Guidry in his first game against the Yankees as an Angel, April 27, 1982, that prompted the Yankee Stadium crowd to chant "Steinbrenner——!"
11—No. 493, off Toronto's Jimmy Key, July 17, to tie Lou Gehrig for 13th on the all-time list.
12—No. 500, Sept. 17, 1984, exactly 17 years after No. 1, off Kansas City's Bud Black.
Wonder why Reggie left off his famous home run off the rightfield light tower in Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All-Star Game? So did we. "It didn't mean a thing," he said. "It was an All-Star Game. The game didn't count."
"I didn't hear none of that—about my weight or my condition—when I was ringing up those saves," said Phillies reliever Al Holland after pitching coach Claude Osteen said Holland's considerable potbelly was one reason for his second-half slide. "I'll tell you one thing: Al Holland will be at spring training probably in the best shape of his career, just to keep all the leeches off his back."