The dismissal by arbitrator Tom Roberts of the drugtesting clauses
in player contracts doesn't mean that the Players Association has
killed off any drug testing. To the contrary, all the union did was
tell the owners and Peter Ueberroth that they cannot go around the
bargaining agreement. The players want to negotiate a plan, and if
management is willing, they want to get something worked out as soon
as possible. ''Now we can discuss this thing reasonably,'' says AL
player representative Don Baylor. The owners have found that they
don't have as much power as they thought. . . . Dale Murphy's 14th
home run on July 29 was his first in 85 at bats, dating back to July
1. When Murphy hit homer No. 14, the Braves were 2 1/2 games off the
lead in the National League West. The 15th came with the Braves nine
games behind division-leading Houston. ''I've had periods of
frustration this year,'' says Murphy. ''I've been unhappy with the
way I've played. Not only with the way I've hit but with mental
mistakes I've made on the bases and in the field.'' At some point
Murphy lost his natural stroke, then listened to so many voices of
advice ''that I've forgotten what the basics are.'' Murphy does an
''Ask Dale'' advice column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and
donates his earnings to a scholarship fund. Many recent letters to
Murphy have contained harsh, derogatory comments, prompting rumors
that he would like to be traded after the season. . . . The Giants
continue to complain about opponents doctoring baseballs. The latest
target is Rick Rhoden. ''Why don't they just let him have a chain saw
out there?'' asked Bob Brenly. . . . Manager Roger Craig's run as a
newspaper columnist turned out to be one of the shortest in American
journalism history. The San Francisco Chronicle originally announced
to its readers that Craig would be doing the column six days a week
(the Chronicle does not publish Sundays) until the end of the season.
But last Tuesday club president Al Rosen pulled the plug on the
column. Rosen had initially approved the idea, but in a story in the
paper Wednesday, he said it was too much of a burden on the manager.
Craig had written a column condoning the Giants' fight against the
Cardinals in St. Louis, which had drawn a flood of critical mail. . .
. The Giants could have obtained pitcher Dennis Eckersley from the
Cubs, but Chicago insisted George Frazier be part of the deal -- to
unload Frazier's salary -- which ended those discussions. The Cubs
were rumored to be asking for pitcher Mark Davis and third base
prospect Ty Dabney. . . . Ray Miller's scalp may be public domain in
Minnesota, but the good people of Baltimore should still thank their
former pitching coach. After Miller watched his Twins batter Oriole
Scott McGregor, Miller phoned the Orioles' clubhouse and told
McGregor, ''Your motion is too slow. Our hitters say they can see the
ball all the way.'' McGregor retreated to the bullpen, concentrated
on accelerating his delivery and two starts later was back winning. .
. . When Gorman Thomas returned to Milwaukee on July 28 after a
three-year exile in Cleveland and Seattle, three radio stations ran
promotional contests, another gave away 25,000 autographed pictures
and the parking lot filled up at 5:30 p.m. with tailgate parties.
WELCOME BACK, GORMAN T-shirts and visors were very hot items. The
first-night crowd of 37,488 gave him a standing ovation -- his first
of three -- after he struck out his first time up. ''I realized he
was popular,'' said manager George Bamberger, ''but I didn't realize
he was that popular.''
(R) TOPPS CHEWING GUM INC. A happy 50th to Bill Monbouquette, whoseno-hitter came 23 years ago.