WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
In our last look inside the 1987 season, we note that as the final week began, three of the '86 division champions, the Red Sox, Angels and Astros, had losing records. Only the Mets were above .500.
THE HENNY YOUNGMAN AWARD
To Toronto pitcher Mike Flanagan, who, after his trade from Baltimore, said of the car the Blue Jays gave him, "I know it was Phil Niekro's. I found his teeth in the glove compartment."
THE GEORGE STEINBRENNER AWARD
To Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, who, according to some of the club's scouts:
1) Forced Larry Doughty, the Reds' highly respected scouting director, to quit by holding back expense checks from scouts, refusing to reimburse them for laundry, for car-washing on road trips and for sending Christmas cards to prospects and instructing them to make telehone calls from pay phones rather than hotel rooms to avoid surcharges;
2) Vetoed a Ted Power-for-Dennis Rasmussen trade with the Yankees because Power is active in off-season community work, substituting Bill Gullickson, who is also active in off-season community work and was tied with Power as the club's biggest winner;
3) Excluded manager Pete Rose and his coaches from team physicals, thereby saving $680.
THE MARGE SCHOTT AWARD
To George Steinbrenner, whose meddling was largely responsible for the Yankees' having the third-worst record in the American League after July 31. By the way, the price of stock in Steinbrenner's American Shipbuilding Company has dropped from 15‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àöœÄ to 8¼ in the last two years. Must be Lou Piniella's fault.
THE LARRY PASHNICK AWARD
Named for the former Tiger hurler who struck out 19 batters and allowed 17 homers in 1982, the '87 award goes to Baltimore rookie Jeff Ballard, who has whiffed 24 and has given up 15 dingers.
•Going into the season's final week, the Baltimore Orioles were 8-50 against the five teams ahead of them in the AL East.
•The Tigers have gotten at least 21 homers and 85 RBIs from every spot in their batting order from No. 2 through No. 8.
•Willie McGee has 16 stolen bases and has grounded into 23 double plays.
•Cardinals utilityman Jose Oquendo has started games at seven different positions and appeared in one game as a relief pitcher.
•Milwaukee's Mike Felder has seven triples and three doubles. Explain that.
•Minnesota's Juan Berenguer threw 114 pitches in a start against Boston—and lasted 3⅖ innings.
•Boston's Bob Stanley allowed 10 hits in seven of his 20 starts, including five consecutive games in which he allowed exactly 10 hits. The Mets' Dwight Gooden has allowed 10 hits five times in his career.
•The Cardinals' Tito Landrum struck out in 10 consecutive at bats over two months, ended the streak by hitting into a double play, and then was released.
•Four former Cy Young Award winners, Gooden, Flanagan, Ron Guidry of the Yankees and Willie Hernandez of the Tigers, all pitched in the minor leagues this season.
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Infielder Juan Bonilla played in Class A, AA, AAA and the majors in a 13-day span that took him from Prince William of the Carolina League to the Yankees. "I don't think there's anywhere further up I can go," said Bonilla. Oh, no? Five days later he was in Coopers-town—playing in the Hall of Fame exhibition game for the Yanks and hitting a homer, too.
THE ONE PLAYER I'D WANT FOR NEXT SEASON:
THE ONE PLAYER I WOULDN'T WANT FOR NEXT SEASON:
Catcher Rattoo Akimoto, who baited .112 (30 for 268 with 86 strikeouts) and knocked in eight runs for the San Jose Bees. The Reds' Dave Parker got eight ribbies in one game.
COMEBACKS OF THE YEAR
1) Tommy John, who briefly served as the pitching coach at the University of North Carolina in 1986 and, in '87, was the Yankees' second-winningest pitcher, 12-6 through last week.
2) David Green, who was released this year by teams in Japan and Mexico before signing with Louisville. Green is finishing the season in St. Louis and may be the Cardinals' rightfielder against left-handed pitchers in 1988.
In May 1985, Geno Petralli was working on the loading dock at a Dr Pepper plant. This year he made baseball history. Serving almost exclusively as knuckleballer Charlie Hough's personal catcher, Petralli was charged with 35 passed balls in 54 games, eclipsing the modern major league record of 33 set by J.C. Martin in 1965. On Aug. 30 in Detroit, Petralli tied the record for most passed balls in a game, six, set by Harry Vickers in 1902. Petralli really shouldn't have to share the record, though, because Vickers was primarily a pitcher. In fact, that was probably the only time Vickers caught in his five-year major league career.
1) Minnesota's getting Jeff Reardon from Montreal (with catcher Tom Nieto, for pitcher Neal Heaton and four other players). It won the AL West.
2) Detroit's acquiring pitcher Doyle Alexander from Atlanta for minor leaguer John Smoltz.
3) San Francisco's deals that brought pitchers Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts and third baseman Kevin Mitchell from the Padres, and pitcher Rick Reuschel from Pittsburgh.
The Yankees' dealing pitchers Bob Tewksbury, Rich Scheid and Dean Wilkins to the Cubs for Steve Trout, who turned out to be a dead fish.
JOHN D. HANLON
Bell has had a dingdong year.
MICHAEL PONZINI/FOCUS ON SPORTS
Wallach has given Montreal wallop.
RONALD C. MODRA
Gaetti may become a free swinger.
Henderson could prove to be the fastest man on the (trading) block.
THIRTEEN POTENTIAL FREE AGENTS
(with significant stats)
JESSE BARFIELD, RE, BLUE JAYS
28 HRs, 83 RBIs, 15 assists
JACK CLARK, 1B, CARDINALS
35 HRs, 106 RBIs
BO DIAZ, C, REDS
75 HRs, 81 RBIs
GARY GAETTI, 3B, TWINS
30 HRs, 107 RBIs
PAUL MOLITOR, IF, BREWERS
.356 BA, 43 steals
JACK MORRIS, P, TIGERS
18-10, 3.43 ERA
DALE MURPHY, OF, BRAVES
43 HRs, 102 RBIs, .302 BA
DAVE RIGHETTI, RP, YANKEES
CAL RIPKEN JR., SS, ORIOLES
25 HRs, 91 RBIs
MIKE SCHMIDT, 3B, PHILLIES
34 HRs, 109 RBIs, .296 BA
DAVE SMITH, RP, ASTROS
23 saves, 1.29 ERA
TIM WALLACH, 3B, EXPOS
24 HRs, 117 RBIs, .297 BA
MIKE WITT, P, ANGELS
16-12, 180 strikeouts, 232.2 innings
A DOZEN PLAYERS LIKELY TO BE TRADED
EDDIE MURRAY, 1B, ORIOLES
The glory days are over. Woeful Baltimore could use...well, everything.
RICKEY HENDERSON, OF, YANKEES
New York needs to find a new catcher, a shortstop and more pitchers.
LEON DURHAM, 1B, CUBS
To compete in the NL East, Chicago needs pitching help and a third baseman.
HAROLD BAINES, OF, WHITE SOX
Chisox are looking for a third baseman and some power hitting.
JULIO FRANCO, SS, and BROOK JACOBY, 3B, INDIANS
Carltons and Niekros just are not the solution for the Tribe.
MARK GUBICZA, RHP, ROYALS
For a shortstop, more power hitting and bullpen help.
MIKE MOORE, RHP, MARINERS
Seattle needs a cleanup hitter and speed. Someday Moore will be a big winner.
TONY PENA, C, CARDINALS
For pitching and a bat. St. Louis has made do with catcher Steve Lake.
KAL DANIELS, OF, and KURT STILLWELL, IF, REDS
Maybe the league's best hitter of tomorrow and a star glove for pitching.
MIKE MARSHALL, OF, DODGERS
How about for the Padres' Chris Brown?