Publish date:



Some 40 hours before Dr. K won his 20th, Joaquin Andujar, the St. Louis Cardinals' temperamental righthander, became the first 20-game winner of the season with a workmanlike 6-2 victory over Atlanta. "He struggled like a son of a gun," Cards manager Whitey Herzog said afterward. "He wasn't making his pitches, but he won it."

Andujar, now 20-7, has been the winningest pitcher in baseball over the past two years. He was the National League's only 20-game winner last season and is now the first pitcher to put together two such seasons back to back since Tommy John of the Yankees and Joe Niekro of the Astros in 1979-80. With at least nine starts remaining in 1985, Andujar has a good shot at 25 victories—which ordinarily would make him a shoo-in for the Cy Young Award. Right, Joaquin? "I know I'm not going to win the thing, and you know that," says Andujar. "If there was nobody else pitching, they wouldn't give it to me."

Last year he claimed he would have to "go to the moon and win 120 games" to get the Cy Young, and he's still tormented by the feeling that he isn't receiving the recognition he deserves. "This game is a lot of politics," says Andujar, who has at times refused to talk to the press. "That's why I don't talk, because I talk too much."

Maybe just a little. After the 1982 World Series, Andujar, the winning pitcher in the third and seventh games, groused when he wasn't named MVP. Of his reputation for serenading NL hitters with a little chin music, Andujar has said, "You have to be able to pitch inside. That's why the hitters get mad and want to fight me. They want the room service right down the middle. They want me to cook for them, take it to their room, open their mouth, put the spoon in and eat it." When Padres manager Dick Williams hesitated in announcing who would be his starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, Andujar, 15-4 at the time, obstinately refused to play, claiming that Williams "hurt my feelings." He's also miffed at not having been named a Player of the Week or Player of the Month this year, despite winning eight straight in one span. "How do you think I'm going to feel?" he asks pointedly. "There's no excuse."

Actually, there are a number of explanations for Andujar's not getting the due he feels is owed him. In 1985, the Year of the Milestone, when Seaver, Carew and Rose are putting the statistical crowns on their careers, a mere 20-game winner pales by comparison. Andujar has even been overshadowed on his own team by Willie McGee and Tom Herr, the No. 1 and No. 2 batters in the NL, and the arrival of power-hitting Jack Clark. Finally, Andujar, impressive as he has been statistically, can't touch Gooden. whose ERA is almost a full run per game lower than Andujar's 2.75. That's one concession even Andujar is willing to make. "No doubt about it," he says. "Right now, today, Gooden deserves the Cy Young. I don't mind finishing second to him."

In fact, Andujar seems to have a gracious side. As a sign of gratitude to teammates after his 20th win, Andujar wrote out $1,000 checks to McGee, who had the game-winning RBI, and to Jeff Lahti, who relieved him in the eighth and picked up the save. "There are a lot of sides to him that people don't see," says Lahti. "At times he comes off like a super ego, but he's just testing people. He's really very generous."

Says Andujar, "It was a gift God gave to me to win 20 games, so I have to give gifts away, too. I have had a good season because God thinks I deserve it. The people who don't win 20 don't deserve it."

There you go again, Joaquin.



Andujar has twin 20s—and a stormy rep.