The fans were chanting, "Ed-die, Ed-die," even though the Orioles were in Anaheim last Monday night. The Angel fans wanted Eddie Murray to hit his fourth home run of the night, and why not? The home team was losing 14-3. "That was nice; I haven't had it happen to me before," said Murray, who had to settle for three homers, a single and nine RBIs after walking in his last at bat. "Nice month," rookie Larry Sheets told him in the dugout.
"This was the first time I've ever seen him actually nervous," said coach Ellie Hendricks, Murray's closest friend on the Orioles. "And I've seen him in the World Series."
The explosion moved Murray back into contention for the AL lead in RBIs—with 103 he's five behind Don Mattingly—but he isn't impressed with his season. "I really haven't done anything, not the way I'm capable of," says Murray, a three-time Gold Glove who is particularly distressed by his 15 errors. "It's just a bad year." He comes from a large, close-knit family but refuses to blame the strain of dealing with the death of his mother in December and the death of a sister in April for his difficulties. "I don't need any excuses. Some of the numbers look O.K., but it's not what I expected."
Bill Madlock wanted out of Pittsburgh. The Dodgers tried to pry him loose earlier in the summer before settling for Enos Cabell. The Dodgers and Madlock finally got their wish Saturday, and it seems that some caustic comments by Madlock were the reason. After Chuck Tanner insisted last week that his team, which has the worst record in baseball (page 16), could be a contender next year if a power hitter were added, Madlock, formerly team captain, said Tanner was full of hogwash. Pirate G.M. Joe Brown then called the Dodgers and lowered his price.
Madlock, who went west for reserve outfielder R.J. Reynolds and two minor-leaguers, first baseman Sid Bream and outfielder Cecil Espy, slumped to .253 last season when he was hampered by a bad elbow, and he was hitting .253 this year coming off elbow surgery. Madlock is thrilled at the prospect of playing in another World Series. He signed a new contract, saying, "I had to give up some things I didn't want to give up—basically, cash." Said Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, "Getting Madlock is the greatest deal since we bought Long Island from the Indians." Wrong. He's the greatest deal since they got Pedro Guerrero from the Indians.
It's not that George Brett wasn't already having a marvelous year for the Royals. But since Aug. 24, when he checked out the instructional video on hitting made by his guru, the late Charlie Lau, he has upped his game a notch, going 10 for 24 with 13 RBIs and four homers. "That's the first time I had seen Charlie since the funeral," said Brett, who had a homer and single washed out in Milwaukee last Thursday. Brett has 22 homers and 87 RBIs despite 28 intentional walks. "Managers," says Hal McRae, who usually bats fourth behind Brett, "just seem to sleep better when George doesn't beat them."
Dwight Gooden's winning streak finally ended Saturday in San Francisco after 14 victories and more than three months. He lost 3-2 to Jim Gott, who hadn't won since July 2.... The rumors grow stronger that Joe Morgan will replace Al Rosen as the Astros' G.M. and that Art Howe, the Rangers' batting coach, will take over from Bob Lillis as manager. It's a cinch that Lillis will be gone.... Cub third baseman Ron Cey, who had no RBIs between June 15 and July 22, is 24 for 65 with 15 RBIs in the 17 games since he was moved from seventh in the lineup to fifth. The Cubs have to hope Cey, who is 37, keeps it up. There is no replacement in the organization.... Steve Carlton was scheduled to start this week after throwing 120 pitches in a simulated game last Tuesday. "We didn't have a gun on him," said Phillies pitching coach Claude Osteen, "but it was easily the hardest I've seen him throw all year." ...The injury of the week belongs to Phillies utilityman Derrel Thomas. As Thomas watched teammate Juan Samuel's homer sail toward the visiting bullpen in rightfield last Thursday in L.A., he moved closer to the fence to catch the ball. But the Dodger rightfielder, Mike Marshall, crashed into the fence going for the homer, causing a hinged section of it to fly open and strike Thomas's left leg. Thomas suffered a severe bruise, but at least he caught Samuel's home-run ball.
The Blue Jays were only 19-20 against lefty starters and needed a righthanded hitter for the stretch. The Cubs wanted too much for Davey Lopes, the first choice. Welcome back, Cliff Johnson. Well, welcome back isn't quite right since Jays manager Bobby Cox originally turned down the deal even though Johnson, who signed with Texas as a free agent last winter, had been a productive DH for Cox the past two years and a productive hitter in Texas (12 HRs, 56 RBIs in 296 at bats) this season.
But Cliff, who has changed uniforms six times in the last seven years, quickly wore out his welcome in Texas, and the Rangers were happy to get three minor-leaguers for him. There were two last straws: Johnson was caught sipping a beer in the middle of a game, and a few days later he had a run-in with manager Bobby Valentine over getting a take sign with a 3-0 count and the bases loaded in the ninth and Texas down by three.
"We had to have someone like him," said Blue Jays G.M. Pat Gillick. He was also thinking about a possible playoff engagement with Kansas City—the Jays have gone 3-7 against K.C.'s three lefthanded starters.
Two first-place teams are trying to survive key injuries during the stretch run. In St. Louis, cleanup hitter Jack Clark is on the disabled list with a torn rib-cage muscle. Manager Whitey Herzog is worried that Clark might not be ready when he comes off the DL on Sept. 8. He conveyed his concerns to Cincinnati pitching coach Jim Kaat when the two had lunch last week, and Kaat mentioned that the Reds' Cesar Cedeno might be available. Sure enough, the Cards were able to pick up Cedeno for a minor-leaguer.
In Anaheim, meanwhile, the Angels have missed Doug DeCinces, their third baseman and sometime cleanup hitter. Without him, they're 16-21; with him they're 57-36. DeCinces, who has chronic back problems, hurt himself bending for a grounder on Aug. 17. He thought he would be ready last week, but his back stiffened up in a pregame drill. "Where we really miss Doug is defensively," says one Angel. "With Buddy Bell gone, he's the best in the league." His replacement is rookie Jack Howell, who has made seven errors in 31 games. Howell also had his pocket picked while watching a three-card monte game in New York last week.
Qu'est ce que vous avez fait pour moi re-'cemment? or what have you done for me lately? Montreal's Jeff Reardon leads the majors with 33 saves and is the most important reason the team has remained in contention as long as it has. But many of the home folks buried him with boos last week when he gave up five runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Giants. These are the same fans who booed Reardon's wife mercilessly two years ago when she was introduced with the other players' wives for a charity event.
After last week's loss, Reardon told newsmen, "I ain't talking to nobody tonight." The next day he explained his silence by saying, "I might have said things I would have regretted later. That was probably my worst outing in an Expos uniform. I was embarrassed, and then the booing made me furious." Can you blame him?
The Twins have an enormous dome-field advantage. Over the last two years, they're 33-14 in the first games of home series, 106-137 the rest of the time. It takes a while to get used to the lights and the exaggerated bounces off the Metrodome's spongy turf.... The Tigers, a first-place team in '84 when they committed just 127 errors, have 124 already this season and are last in the AL in fielding. In a recent game in Anaheim they booted five, three by Chet Lemon, one of the game's best defensive outfielders. He had played more than a year without an error.... Darrell Evans, one of the few Tigers excelling this year, will become the seventh player to hit 30 homers for three different teams the next time he hits one out. Dick Allen, Bobby Bonds, Rocky Colavito, Reggie Jackson, Dave Kingman and Frank Robinson are the others.... Yankee third baseman Mike Pagliarulo, a fine fielder and lefthanded hitter, has 13 homers since June 30. Pagliarulo took off when hitting coach Lou Piniella got him to shorten his stroke and switch to a smaller bat.... How bad have the Ranger starters been? Texas just finished a 4-10 road trip, and Charlie Hough was the only starter to go more than six innings. Since July 28, Texas has just two wins from starters other than Hough.... The Rangers are going so badly that the winning run in a game against Chicago scored when Dave Stewart forgot how many outs there were and rolled the ball back to the mound after he completed a double play.
A predicted rain seemed likely to make El Paso's Texas League game with Beaumont a wasted exercise, so El Paso manager Terry Bevington didn't want to use one of his starters in a game that wasn't likely to last more than a couple of innings. He asked for volunteers and reserve outfielder John Gibbons stepped forward. Well, the rains never came, but Gibbons shocked everyone by throwing four perfect innings. He left after six innings of one-hit, one-walk ball, and El Paso went on to win 2-0.
Says Gibbons, "If I don't get a chance in the outfield with the Brewers, I'd be willing to give pitching a shot. I'd do anything to play in the big leagues." Said Bevington, "It was the best-pitched game we've had all year."
ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN
Mad Dog's wearing, not singing, the blues.
Baylor's on target for the AL mark.
Braves manager Eddie Haas, who was finally fired early last week and replaced by coach Bobby Wine, is only the first to go in a major housecleaning by Ted Turner. According to a variety of sources, G.M. John Mullen, VP Al Thornwell and scouting director Paul Snyder are ticketed to join Haas on the unemployment line. They deserve the ax, not only for hiring Haas, a disaster as a manager, but also for a series of personnel moves that have turned the Braves from a winner to a punching bag in three years. Henry Aaron, the farm director, will stay only because he's the resident legend.
But don't expect Phil Niekro to return as the knuckleballer-manager, even though Niekro wants to come home and do just that. Turner wants Niekro but he also thinks Wine deserves a chance to manage the team. Wine, who was bitterly disappointed when he didn't succeed Paul Owens in Philadelphia, didn't hurt his chances by leading the Braves to five straight wins before Saturday's loss to the Cubs.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
EDDIE MURRAY: The Oriole slugger hit three homers in his first four at bats in a game against the Angels, including his third grand slam of '85. Nine RBIs that night gave him his fifth 100-RBI season.
"Don't tear the spider webs down," Indian rightfielder George Vukovich shouted to the Brewers' bullpen crew during a recent series in Cleveland. "That's what's holding the stadium up."