THE ENVELOPES PLEASE....
The pennant races were all over by the ides of September and so were the races for such individual awards as the MVP. Really, now, is anyone going to argue about Mike Schmidt's value in turning around a Phillies franchise whose May box scores could have been run in Bloom County? And who wants to macho out the pitcher-hitter argument and pretend that the Red Sox, without Roger Clemens, would not have been elbow-to-elbow at the bar with the Orioles? In fact, most of the awards aren't tough to pick:
Most Valuable Players: With all due respect to Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez, Glenn Davis, Jim Rice, Tim Raines, Dave Righetti, Joe Carter and Gary Carter, the MVPs should be Clemens and Schmidt.
Cy Young Awards: Clemens and Mike Scott. Maybe this is unfair to Fernando Valenzuela, but pitching for the Dodgers these days is unfair.
Rookie Of The Year: Wally Joyner in the AL for his offense and defense, over Toronto reliever Mark Eichhorn and Oakland's Jose Canseco. St. Louis reliever Todd Worrell is a lock in the NL.
The Branch Rickeys For Best Trades: To Texas for getting Edwin Correa; the Mets for Bobby Ojeda; the Red Sox for Calvin Schiraldi and Don Baylor; the White Sox for Joe Cowley and Neil Allen; Detroit for Eric Steven King; Philadelphia for Steve Bedrosian; Cincinnati for Bill Gullickson; Milwaukee for stealing Rob Deer from San Francisco; Houston for Billy Hatcher and Jim Deshaies.
The Spec Richardsons For Worst Trades: To St. Louis for taking Mike Heath for Joaquin Andujar; the White Sox for sending Correa and Scott Fletcher to Texas for Dave Schmidt and Wayne Tolleson; and Cincinnati for gambling on John Denny.
The It-Happens-Every-Spring Surprises: To Eichhorn who went to spring training to throw batting practice for the Blue Jays. He tied his professional high of 14 wins, had 11 saves and nearly led the AL in ERA. Tom Candiotti, a minor league free agent who came up with a "power knuckler," got a try with the Indians, won 16 and led the league in complete games.
The Sam McDowell Disappointment Awards: Dave Stieb, enough said. Chester Lemon, who would be gone from Detroit if his market value had held up. Eddie Murray, for physical reasons. Mario (5-10) Soto. Ken Howell, who had a 3.87 ERA and blew 15 of 27 save opportunities.
The Risky Business Award: To Jeff Musselman. In June 1985 he graduated from Harvard. Fifteen months later, he is a successful stockbroker and a Blue Jay reliever.
The Joan of Arc Trophy: To Lou Piniella. To have the fifth-best record in baseball with shipwrecked starting pitching and constant speculation about his future is a truly remarkable accomplishment.
The Nat King Cole Warm Winter Team: The Reds, with Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Kal Daniels, Kurt Stillwell and Tracy Jones, may be the most interesting NL West team for the rest of the decade.
LETTING BYGONES BE BYGONES
When Dick Wagner was the general manager in Cincinnati, he had to fire current Red Sox manager John McNamara and pitching coach Bill Fischer. When Boston clinched first place, each received warm telegrams from Wagner, the current Houston G.M., saying, "I'm proud to have known you." Says Fischer, "Contrary to what anyone may think, Wagner's one of the best people I've ever worked for."
...The Red Sox face a major loss to an organization that has been very productive over the last two decades. Ed Kenney, the farm director for 30 years, has decided to retire....
Two years ago, Tom Trebelhorn was brought in by Rene Lachemann to coach with the Brewers. This season Trebelhorn was ticketed for Helena of the Pioneer League when a gas explosion damaged the Brewer spring training clubhouse. Tony Muser was seriously injured and Trebelhorn was brought up to replace him. Now Trebelhorn is the Brewer manager....
Don't be surprised if Cardinals player personnel director Lee Thomas takes Ken Harrelson's place as head of the White Sox front office....
And the Hawk, who made many trades with George Steinbrenner, may very well wind up in New York as part of the Yankee broadcasting team....
Reds owner Marge Schott was charging players $50 per box of baseballs—they have their teammates sign the balls and then take them home for the winter. But the Reds found out that the balls only cost her $33, so when the furor hit, she had to lower the price by $17.
PITCHING LINE OF THE WEEK
Sept. 28, L.A. at San Francisco:
Powell 1 4 0 0 2 0
With two outs in the 10th, Dennis Powell allowed two hits, threw a wild pitch, issued an intentional walk and pitched out of the inning. In the 11th, after Joel Youngblood doubled but stopped at third on Harry Spilman's double, Powell walked the next batter and left the game. His reliever pitched out of trouble.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
Cub rookie Greg Maddux beat his brother, Phillie rookie Mike, 8-3 Sept. 29. Before the game the brothers heard from their parents. "Being from Las Vegas and all, they asked who was a good bet," Mike said. "I said I was. I guess I wasn't."
•Dave Winfield became the first Yankee to reach 100 RBIs in five consecutive seasons since a seven-year stretch by Joe DiMaggio (1936-42).
•Woody Woodward will become the seventh general manager in George Steinbrenner's 14-year reign as Yankee owner, succeeding, in order, Gabe Paul, Al Rosen, Cedric Tallis, Gene Michael, Bill Bergesch, Murray Cook and Clyde King.
•Dan Petry's loss in Milwaukee on Sept. 30 was his first complete game since May 11 and made him 12-21 since May 22, 1985.
•Rookie pitchers started 101 of Texas's 162 games and had 46 of their 87 victories. Bobby Witt was 7-0, 3.76 in his last 12 starts—all of which were won by Texas—with 79 K's in 64⅖ innings.
•The punchless Braves scored 84 runs in 27 games in September, then nominated Bob Horner as NL Player of the Month after he batted .260.
•The Orioles may have finished in the cellar for the first time, but Don Aase's 34 saves were the most for a reliever on a last-place team. The previous high was by Ken Sanders, who saved 31 for Milwaukee in 1971.
•Six times this season pitchers took no-hitters into the seventh inning against the Angels—Joe Cowley, Danny Jackson, Joe Niekro, Walt Terrell and Charlie Hough (twice).
•They may worry about Shawon Dunston's errors in Chicago, but the Cub rookie hit two more homers, 17, this season than Larry Bowa hit in 16 seasons with the Phillies, Cubs and Mets.
•Lee Smith was the first National League reliever to save 30 games three consecutive seasons. Not only that, he had 29 saves in 1983.
•Montreal's Floyd Youmans lost three 1-0 games, an eight-inning one-hitter and complete-game two- and three-hitters, this season.
Before the start of the season, SI projected the rankings for all 26 teams. We correctly pegged the Mets as the best team and the Pirates as the worst, but we seriously underestimated the other division winners and overestimated the Royals. What do we know? Here are the clubs according to their final winning percentages, alongside our predictions and the differentials: