If he accomplishes nothing else this season, manager Roger Craig at least wants to give the Giants a different look. No more long stirrups on uniform socks, he has decreed. No more jeans on airplane trips. And, most important, no more long faces. It may be hard for a team that has just lost 100 games and is obliged to play its home games in turbulent Candlestick Park to look happy, but that's what Craig wants. Craig managed the Giants for only the last 18 games of '85, but he saw enough to recognize a gloomy group of ballplayers. And Craig, who one season lost 24 games for the Mets, knows a sad face when he sees one.
To help put a smile back on the Giants, Craig and the equally new general manager, Al Rosen, brought to spring training the team's two living legends, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. "I want my players to have fun playing this game, the way those two did," says Craig. And so the two Willies were out there in uniform almost every day, offering advice, shouting encouragement and looking as pleased as they did when they were hitting rockets for the Giants of happier times. McCovey, in fact, became the personal guru of the team's spring "pheenom" and new first baseman. Will Clark, a player he predicts will someday become the sort of presence he and the other Willie were.
Mays and McCovey were also useful in getting the vets to stop grousing about Candlestick, a place, inhospitable though it may be, where they had Hall of Fame careers. "I want to eliminate the negatives about Candlestick," says Craig. "We've got a job to do, and we'll do it even on the worst nights out there."
Craig is the acknowledged maestro of the split-fingered fastball, and he spent much of the off-season and spring training teaching this mystifying pitch to a staff not notably adept at fooling hitters. Among his more apt pupils was Scott Garrelts, who blossomed in '85 into a successful reliever—2.30 ERA, 74 games, 13 saves, 106 strikeouts in 105‚Öî innings. Craig now feels Garrelts can be an equally successful starter, so he will join a rotation that should also include Mike Krukow, Roger Mason, Vida Blue and Jim Gott. The bullpen is well stocked with Greg Minton and Mark Davis, a strikeout artist (131 in 114‚Öì innings). Craig is also looking for comebacks from Jeff Leonard and Chili Davis, who had subpar seasons in '85. We'll see who's still smiling in October.
THE ELIAS ANALYST:
Righthanded batter who has hit .262 vs. righties and.223 vs. southpaws in last three years.
Most games by a Giants shortstop (145) since Chris Speier (150 in 1973).
Led NL third basemen in fielding (.971) and the league in HBPs with 11.
Loves to face Steve Trout (.529, 9 for 17), hates to face Mario Soto (. 103, 4 for 39,23 Ks).
Strong start and finish: hit .301 in April, .303 in Sept./Oct. with three HRs in October.
Career BA of .361 in LIP situations with runners in scoring position.
Batting support: 2.89 runs per start, 2nd lowest average in NL.
His last 11 victories have come in day games; last night win: Sept. 25, 1983.
Walked 5.5 batters per nine innings, most among NL pitchers with at least 15 starts.
Opposing righthanded hitters had a .222 BA, but lefthanded batters hit .353.