There is an unusually large number of job openings in baseball right now, with four managerial positions, two general managerships and one league presidency vacant. So rumors were flying at the World Series. Lou Piniella, recently deposed as the Yankee manager, was being mentioned for that post with the Astros, the Mariners and the White Sox. Hal Lanier, canned by Houston, is very much available, as is Jim Fregosi, late of the White Sox, who may be headed to the Angels, whose owner, Gene Autry, is fond of him. One scenario has Fregosi taking a front office position with California and bringing in Pat Corrales, who has managed the Rangers, Phillies and Indians, to be skipper of the team.
There's a front office spot open in San Diego, where the plot got as thick as Falcon Crests last week when agent Jerry Kapstein married Linda Smith, daughter of owner Joan Kroc and former wife of Padre ex-president Ballard Smith. Not only does this union bring up all sorts of conflict-of-interest questions—Kapstein represents four Padres, including pitcher Greg Booker, who is the son-in-law of manager Jack McKeon—but it also raises the possibility that Kapstein client Steve Garvey will return to the Padres as general manager.
As for the soon-to-be vacant National League presidency, the names of Dick Wagner, Al Rosen and Syd Thrift are being batted around, while the obvious choice, longtime league executive Phyllis Collins, is considered only a remote possibility. It says much about baseball that not one black candidate is being prominently mentioned for any of those open jobs.
October 23, 1988
THE RUMOR MILL
The best of the trade rumors floating around the Series was the one that had the Blue Jays sending George Bell, shortstop Manny Lee and lefthander John Cerutti to the Phillies for Von Hayes and a package of prospects. Philadelphia is also likely to trade lefthander Shane Rawley to the Twins for second baseman Tommy Herr, which would mean the Phils' Juan Samuel would be moved to centerfield.
The Dodgers, though they're in the World Series, are desperate for offense, and would gladly trade pitching for the Indians' Joe Carter, the Expos' Tim Wallach, the Yankees' Jack Clark or the Orioles' Eddie Murray.
THE GOOD-LUCK CHARM
After missing out on the World Series through his first 14 seasons, Don Baylor of the A's is now making an unprecedented third straight Series appearance with a third different team. Baylor has long been acknowledged as a strong leader, and his presence, not to mention his bat, was essential to the success of the 1986 Red Sox and '87 Twins as well as the '88 A's. One might think that the Series is getting to be old hat for Baylor, but he seems more determined than ever to beat the hated National League, as his widely publicized outbursts about Dodger reliever Jay Howell suggest (page 36).
"They [NL players] never miss a chance to put you down," Baylor said before the start of the Series. "They always regard yours as a lesser team, a lesser league. I remember taking this all-star tour to Japan in 1979. Now, we're all major leaguers. But you'd be talking to National League players, and they'd just blow you off. It's always been that way. Any American Leaguer who has ever played in an All-Star or World Series game feels exactly the same way I do.
"The National League has always had this attitude. Like during the last two Series. You try to reciprocate by signing balls. But the Cardinals guys wouldn't sign ours last year, and the Mets wouldn't the year before."
Baylor's only regret is that the Mets aren't in the '88 Series. "I wanted another chance at them. I still see the ball going through Buckner's legs."
When Stan Javier entered Game 1 as a pinch runner for the A's, he became the seventh son to appear in a World Series after his dad had; Julian Javier played second base for both the Cardinals and the Reds in the Series. The other father-son combinations were:
Billy Sullivan ST., 1906 White Sox, and Billy Sullivan Jr., '40 Tigers.
Jim Bagby Sr., '20 Indians, and Jim Bagby Jr., '46 Red Sox.
Ernie Johnson, '23 Yankees, and Don Johnson, '45 Cubs.
Jim Hegan, '48 and '54 Indians, and Mike Hegan, '64 Yankees and '72 A's.
Ray Boone, '48 Indians, and Bob Boone, '80 Phillies.
Bob Kennedy, '48 Indians, and Terry Kennedy, '84 Padres.
DID YOU KNOW?
Despite their sweep of the Red Sox this year and their three straight league (and world) championships from 1972 to '74, the A's are still only 13-14 in American League Championship Series games.
When Jose Canseco came into the clubhouse one day in spring training and declared his undying love for Esther Haddad, his teammates were not surprised since the A's slugger had made similar declarations in the past about other women. So pitcher Dave Stewart bet Canseco the cost of his wedding that he would not marry Haddad, a Miami beauty queen, on or before Nov. 5.
Over the course of the summer, Stewart grew alarmed at the growing expense of the nuptials, which Canseco and Haddad scheduled for Nov. 5, just to rub it in a little. "I wish Jose would stop adding people to the invitation list," Stewart moaned. Finally, in an act of charity, Canseco agreed to change the wager to the simple sum of $10,000.
In the eighth inning of Game 1, cab-driver Peter Finlayson picked up a father, his son and his daughter outside Dodger Stadium. "They were A's fans going to the airport to catch a plane back to Oakland," said Finlayson, who related his story to several writers who hailed him down two hours after the game. "I had the game on the radio. When we got to the terminal, Gibson was batting against Eckersley. The passengers debated whether to stay to listen to the at bat and miss the plane. Finally they decided they couldn't take the suspense anymore, so with the count 3 and 2 on Gibson, they left the cab. I like to think they didn't find out what happened till they got home, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk."
A TOUR OF SHAME
Because of its policy of apartheid, South Africa was booted from the Olympics after the 1960 Games and expelled from the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), the worldwide governing body of track and field, in 1976.
Thus 13 U.S. track and field athletes—six whites and seven blacks—who took part in a meet in South Africa last week and planned to compete in two more this week, will likely be suspended for life from sanctioned competition. They expect the suspensions. They chose to compete anyway.
The sponsoring Trek Petroleum company appears to be paying the outlaws handsomely. "Track doesn't have a retirement plan," says discus thrower John Powell, Olympic bronze medalist in 1976 and '84. Indeed several of the athletes, such as '76 Olympian James Robinson and '84 Olympian Ruth Wysocki, seem near the end of their careers. Just how much cash did the competitors receive? Jim Spivey, the bronze medalist in the 1,500 at last year's world championships, says that he was offered $200,000 in August to compete in the meets. Spivey said no.
Yet there is more to this than a mercenary last gasp. Many of these athletes suffered from the Olympic boycotts in 1980 and '84. They share the belief that, regardless of politics, they should be free to compete wherever they wish. Former javelin world-record holder Tom Petranoff questioned the boycott of South Africa when "terrorist" countries like Libya were allowed in the Olympics.
"We are a team without political motives," said tour organizer Dick Tomlin-son, an American coach and athletic equipment salesman. "We may by our example [because the tour is integrated] bring more pressure to bear on apartheid than all the sanctions in the world."
Sydney Maree, a South African-born black who competed for the U.S. in the 5,000 meters in Seoul, decries the tour, saying, "This will give the appearance of legitimacy to South Africa's position."
The fact is that the South African government has not altered the fundamental intent or practice of apartheid. The nation's 24.5 million blacks still have neither voice nor vote in a society run by a minority of six million whites. "Visiting track athletes may compete in front of mixed audiences," says Maree, "but those blacks will have to race back to black districts afterward. Dick Tomlinson has been sheltered."
The principle of politics-free competition is an important one. The question is simply whether that principle is so absolute that it requires setting aside for a time objections to the moral anathema that is apartheid.
The U.S. athletes may claim they went to South Africa on principle. When they return, on principle they will rightly be banned.
THEY SAID IT
•Tom Lasorda, Dodger manager, upon meeting A's slugger Jose Canseco during pre-Series workouts: "Jose, I just want you to know that if we can't win this thing, I hope you guys do."
•Ricky Horton, Dodger reliever, on his reaction in the bullpen after Kirk Gibson hit his dramatic Game 1 homer: "Jesse Orosco now knows how much I weigh."