The last remaining 1979 World Series ring in the Pirate clubhouse is permanently exhibited on the right hand of reliever Don Robinson. He's what's left of the Fam-a-lee. "Yeah," Robby says with a chuckle, "times change. I've gone from contending to last place to rebuilding. Last year we did finish last, but we were a helluva lot better than in '85. The young guys learned a lot."
The Pirates spent last season learning the answers to such questions as "Am I good enough?" and "Who's the pitcher?" Says centerfielder Barry Bonds, an early season call-up, "We were trying to figure out what their names were, let alone what they threw."
This spring, manager Jim Leyland wasn't just looking for talent, he was refining it, too. "We've got 12 or 14 guys who can pitch, instead of eight," he says. "We're not searching. For instance, I know my first baseman is Sid Bream. It gives us a chance to zero in on things."
Unlike last season, when he constantly shuffled starters, Leyland wants to go with an everyday eight. The only spots open this spring were in left and right, and R.J. Reynolds and Bobby Bonilla won those jobs. One of the also-rans, Mike "Rambo" Diaz, will provide bench strength—he won baseball's arm wrestling tournament this winter.
G.M. Syd Thrift took a lot of heat last year because of his supposedly outrageous demands for Rick Rhoden. But Thrift took the Yankees for a starter of great potential (Doug Drabek), a bullpen closer for the present (Brian Fisher) and a closer for the future (Logan Easley). Wait 'til a few years down the road.
Papa Bobby's 1968 rookie totals: 81 games, .254 BA, 9 HRs, 35 RBIs.
Walked a career-high 53 times last season, just about doubling his previous career walk rate.
One of three players to top 30 doubles in each of last five seasons.
With 166 assists, eclipsed previous NL mark for first baseman held by, yes, Bill Buckner (161).
Impressive second half: batted .314, slugged .558 and had 37 extra-base hits.
Has hit only one of 16 career homers off a lefthander (Pete Falcone, June 22, 1984).
Two-league totals indicate better contact righthanded, more power lefthanded.
Had 122 at bats without an extra-base hit vs. lefthanded pitchers.
Allowed 30 first-inning runs (most in NL) in 34 starts last season.
Walked only 13 of the 143 leadoff batters he faced last season.
0-7, 6.03 ERA in 11 starts vs. teams with winning records.
One of five active pitchers with more career walks than strikeouts (min. 25 starts).
3rd in relief appearances among NL pitchers named Robinson (behind Ron and Jeff).
Allowed 14 homers, 2nd most among major league relievers.