5 CINCINNATI REDS

April 14, 1986

Owner Marge Schott had a busy off-season. She drew a grievance charge by her reserve catcher, called Pete Rose classless, alienated the city of Indianapolis and tried to hoist her pet pooch to cult-hood. But then, how else could she justify this line on page 4 of the media guide: "Mrs. Schott...attracts as much attention as anyone on the team"?

It's a tribute to Schott's checkbook, and what it has wrought, that none of the Reds—including one alltime hit leader and one should-have-been MVP—have taken much offense. There is a new stability to this club that would have been unimaginable three years ago. "Every team has questions to answer," says Rose. "We just have a lot of answers."

Rose, 45, will continue playing first and batting second if he can again see his way on base 40% of the time for Dave Parker. No one carried more of an offensive load in '85 than Parker. He scored or drove in a quarter of the Reds' runs and had a league-leading RBI total of 125, practically double that of the club's cleanup hitter. Parker, 34, carries the majors' biggest stick and speaks anything but softly. Trivia quiz: How many other rightfielders have called their manager Butcher-Block Head?

This year, finally, proven bats on the Reds abound. Third baseman Buddy Bell, 34, joins Rose, Dave Concepcion and Tony Perez as infielders old (average age: 42) and wise (2,000-plus hits each). Catcher Bo Diaz, 32, like Bell a midseason acquisition, may not dazzle, but he can throw out would-be base stealers.

As for youth, centerfielder Eric Davis, 23, the lone big-time base-stealing threat, will once again try to put bat on ball from the leadoff spot. After switching from third to leftfield in August, Nick Esasky batted .270 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs. "I wish I could put a number on what Nick could do," says Rose.

The Reds will have their best pitching staff in years with 20-game winner Tom Browning, Mario Soto, ex-Phillie John Denny and ex-Expo Bill Gullickson. Relievers John Franco and Ted Power helped give the Reds the best one-run record (39-18) in the league.

Cincinnati changed Second Street to Pete Rose Way last year. If the Reds reach First Street this season, it could become Marge Schott Lane.

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PLAYER
KEY STATS

P.

THE ELIAS ANALYST:

BO DIAZ
.245, 31 RBIs in 237 ABs

C

Had career-high 0A (.352) with runners in scoring position last season.

PETE ROSE
.264, 86 BBs, .395 OBP

1B

Still has only one career grand slam: in 1964 off Dallas Green.

RON OESTER
.295,1 HR, 34 RBIs

2B

Career BA with two outs and runners in scoring position is. 189.

DAVE CONCEPCION
.252, 7HRs, 48 RBIs

SS

Committed 11 errors in 46 games on grass, 13 errors in 109 games on the rug.

BUDDY BELL
68 RBIs in both leagues

3B

Drove in 21 runs in 22 games from Sept. 8 through Sept. 30.

NICK ESASKY
.262, 21 HRs, 66 RBIs

LF

In 61 ABs at Atlanta Stadium, he has eight HRs, a. 459 BA and a .967 slugging average.

ERIC DAVIS
.246, 16 for 19 stealing

CF

No comment.

DAVE PARKER
.312, 34 HRs, 125 RBIs

RF

He and Brett start the season with identical career totals in games (1,617) and RBIs (977).

MARIO SOTO
12-15, 3.58 ERA

SP

Allowed an NL-high 30 homers; Reds were 6-14 when he gave up at least one.

TOM BROWNING
20-9, 3.55 ERA

SP

Total of 78 extra-base hits allowed was 3rd highest in NL.

BILL GULLICKSON
14-12, 3.52 ERA

SP

Allowed 25 first-inning runs in 29 starts, 2nd most In NL in'85.

JOHN DENNY
11-14, 3.82 ERA

SP

Performance against Reds didn't inspire trade: 0-3 in four starts with a 7.40 ERA.

TED POWER
27saves, 2.70 ERA

RP

Made four appearances in which he faced only one batter, and got a save in each one.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)