It has been said a thousand times of a thousand different rookies: of Clint Hartung and Johnny Bench, of Dave Nicholson and Tom Seaver. Last week St. Louis Manager Red Schoendienst said it of Keith Hernandez. "We have to give him his chance," quoth Red. "He's proved he deserves it. You can't keep a kid with his ability on the bench or in the minors."
They blossom every year, these boys of spring, sweating skill and promise under the hot sun at the major league training camps. This season's crop of those most likely to succeed is presented here—with a word of caution from Gene Mauch, manager of the Montreal Expos. "No one," he warns, "is going to just drive up and say, 'Here I am, world, move over.' "
But if a rookie says it loud enough with his bat, his glove or his arm, something has to give, and the kid is in. Mauch himself is assembling an Expo youth corps, and Oakland Second Baseman Phil Garner says, "I've got the opportunity now, and, by God, I can't blow it." With that kind of spirit, none of them can miss.
Rookie of the Year as Hernandez' Tulsa teammate, Marc Hill, 23, was traded to the Giants. He has the bat and arm to bench Dave Rader.
The American Association's leading hitter (.351), First Baseman Keith Hernandez, 21, moved up when St. Louis sent Joe Torre to the Mets.
Shortstop Tom Veryzer, 22, had such a fine glove and Willing bat at Evansville that Detroit traded Eddie Brinkman.
The International League's top catcher, Gary Carter, 20, must move to right field to make the youthful Montreal Expos.
A fireballer with a 17-7 record and 2.52 ERA at Oklahoma City, 6'5" Jim Kern, 26, is contending to crack the Cleveland starting rotation.
A Pacific Coast All-Star at third, hard-hitting Phil Garner, 25, goes to second at Oakland, replacing the retired Series standout Dick Green.