BASEBALL

October 08, 1989

THE SO-WHAT'S-NEW AWARD
To USA Today. On Sept. 26 the big story of the day was President George Bush's speech on chemical weapons, but the Page One lead story in McPaper bore the headline CUBS FANS CALL 27 MILLION TIMES FOR TICKETS.

THE JOE McGINNITY MEDAL
To former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee, who at age 42 will be the player-manager of the Winter Haven Super Sox of the Florida Senior League, the eight-team circuit for players 35 years old and older that will begin its inaugural season on Nov. 1. Mets scout Darrell Johnson, who managed Lee in Boston from 1974 to '76, observed him practicing in San Diego last month and reports, "Lee was throwing as well as he did when he pitched for me. He's got better stuff right now than a lot of successful lefthanders in the majors."

THE RINGO STARR TROPHY
To the Dodger batters, for knocking in only seven runs in Orel Hershiser's last nine outings. As a result of this little—very little—help from his friends, Hershiser, who had a 2.31 ERA, finished the season with a 15-15 record, including four 1-0 losses and four other defeats in which L.A. failed to score while he was in the game.

INSULT OF THE YEAR
The Red Sox brass feigned surprise when designated hitter Jim Rice refused to participate in a joint farewell day with reliever Bob Stanley, who is retiring, after being informed that Boston would not pick up Rice's option for 1990. Said one Red Sox player, "Rice gave Boston 15-plus years and hit more homers for the Sox than anyone but Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, and not only do they treat him like he's a utilityman, but they ask him to share a day with Bob Stanley—which is like asking Yaz to share his day with Mike Torrez."

NEEDLE OF THE YEAR
Toronto general manager Pat Gillick tells the following story: At the owners' meetings in September, Blue Jay president Paul Beeston thrust a list of names at Yankee owner George Steinbrenner and said, "You can have your choice of any of these four players." Steinbrenner—who in May had requested two players as compensation when Toronto wanted to hire New York's special adviser Lou Piniella as manager, thus opening the door for Cito Gaston to get the job full-time—asked Beeston what the Jays wanted in return. "Nothing," said Beeston. "It's for not making Piniella available. Thanks."

DUBIOUS PRACTICES TROPHY

To the Yankees, as usual, who lead both leagues. Witness the following:

•New York moved up one of its top prospects, third baseman Hensley (Bam Bam) Meulens, from Double A Albany to Triple A Columbus, despite his .257 average. Then the Yanks called him to New York for eight games, inadvertently making him ineligible for the Eastern League playoffs.

•The Yankees were the first team since the Seattle Pilots of 1969 to use 50 players in one season.

•After firing manager Dallas Green in August and replacing him with Bucky Dent, Steinbrenner told the press, "I think we may have rushed Bucky along a little too fast." Two weeks later he signed Dent to a one-year extension and announced that he would be back in 1990. Even worse, Steinbrenner pledged that he will take "a more active role" in personnel decisions in the future.

THE FUTURE BABE RUTH AWARD
To 21-year-old John Olerud of Bellevue, Wash., who will join the Blue Jays' Instructional League team this fall to pursue a career as both a designated hitter and a starting pitcher. "He's got as good a swing as there is," says Oriole scout Ed Farmer. "His stuff is good enough to win in the big leagues, especially since he's lefthanded," adds Toronto pitching coach Al Widmar. Stay tuned. Olerud, whose college career was interrupted briefly while he recovered from surgery for an aneurysm in his brain, may become the first major leaguer to double as a starter and an every-day player.

TRADE OF THE YEAR
Boston's dealing of first baseman Todd Benzinger and two minor league pitchers to the Reds for first baseman Nick Esasky and reliever Rob Murphy. Esasky, whom former Reds manager Pete Rose felt could never be an every-day player, hit 30 homers and knocked in 108 runs this season, while Murphy appeared in 74 games and had nine saves and a 2.74 ERA. Meanwhile, Benzinger hit .245 with 76 RBIs.

CHANT OF THE YEAR
A's catcher Terry Steinbach's image on the scoreboard at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum makes him look like Art Carney, costar of The Honeymooners. So whenever Steinbach comes to bat, opposing players holler, "Awwwww, Norton!"

THE BOB COSTAS GONFALON
To Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn Spiers unique. When asked what made shortstop Bill, Trebelhorn replied, "He's a shortstop who bats lefthanded, and there have been only five of them who played for 10 years in the big leagues." A check of the Baseball Encyclopedia shows that Professor Trebelhorn is right. Arky Vaughn, Craig Reynolds, Luke Sew-ell, Al Bridwell and Arthur Irwin are the only lefthand-hitting shortstops with 10 years or 1,000 games.

EASY MONEY
Giants righthander Karl Best will receive a full World Series share if San Francisco wins the National League pennant, even though he made only one appearance this season—during spring training—before hurting his arm and having to undergo surgery. According to the Basic Agreement, players on the disabled list are entitled to a full World Series share. What that means is that if San Francisco wins the Fall Classic, Best could receive a bonus of $100,000 or more. Not bad for a nonroster spring training invitee whose salary is $105,000. When told of Best's good fortune, first baseman Will Clark said, "I don't even know the guy."

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PHOTOBRUCE L. SCHWARTZMANMitchell's 47 homers and 125 RBIs make him an indisputable MVP. PHOTODENIS BRODEUBSpaceman has landed once again. PHOTOBRUCE L. SCHWARTZMANPuckett hit righties better than any one else.

AND THE WINNERS ARE...
Who were the best and brightest performers of 1989? This is how SI's baseball expert casts his vote as the season ends

AMERICAN LEAGUE

NATIONAL LEAGUE

MVP

MVP

ROBIN YOUNT, BREWERS
Cy Young

KEVIN MITCHELL, GIANTS
Cy Young

BRET SABERHAGEN, ROYALS
Rookie of the Year

MIKE SCOTT, ASTROS
Rookie of the Year

GREGG OLSON, ORIOLES
Comeback of the Year

JEROME WALTON, CUBS
Comeback of the Year

BERT BLYLEVEN, ANGELS
Manager of the Year

LONNIE SMITH, BRAVES
Manager of the Year

TONY LA RUSSA, ATHLETICS

DON ZIMMER, CUBS

BY THE NUMBERS
Sometimes one stat is worth a thousand words. That's certainly true of the following highs and lows, which reveal more about what happened in 1989 than reams of game stories ever could.

CATEGORY

HIGHEST

LOWEST

Total Pitches Seen
(Minimum 502plale appearances)

WADE BOGGS, Red Sox 3,076

A. ESPINOZA, Yankees 1,499

Times First Pitch Put in Play
(502plate appearances)

KIRBY PUCKETT, Twins 178

WADE BOGGS, Red Sox 30

Pet. of Swings Missed
(502plate appearances)

BO JACKSON, Royals 38.6%
(452 misses in 1,170 swings)

WADE BOGGS, Red Sox SAX
(59 in 1,101)

Slugging Average, Cleanup
(150plate appearances in No. 4 spot)

KEVIN MITCHELL, Giants.636
(344 total bases in 541 at bats)

KEITH MORELAND, Orioles.199
(47 in 157)

Hitting vs. Lefthanded Pitchers
(125 plate appearances vs. lefties)

CARNEY LANSFORD, A's .389
(58 for 149)

JACK HOWELL, Angels. 140
(19for 136)

Hitting vs. Righthanded Pitchers
(377plate appearances vs. righties)

KIRBY PUCKETT, Twin-r.356 (159for 447)

ROB DEER, Brewers. 193
(64for 332)

Hitting with Runners in Scoring
Position (WOplate appearances)

LONNIE SMITH, Braves .418 (41 for 98)

ROBBIE THOMPSON, Giants. 175
(22for 126)

On-base Average, Leadoff Hitter
(150 plate appearances in No. 1 spot)

WADE BOGGS, Red Sox. 414

RON GANT, Braves .214

Stolen Base Percentage
(20 attempts)

BILL 00RM, Astros 88.0%
(22 steals in 25 attempts)

B.J. SURHOFF, Brewers 56.0% (14 in 26)

Pet. Throwing Out Would-be
Stealers (75 attempts)

BOB BOONE, Royals 42.3% (44 caught in 104 attempts)

M. LAVALLIERE, Pirates 16.7%
(13 in 78)

Total Pickoff Throws
(162 innings)

JIMDESHAIES, Astros 355

PASCUAL PEREZ, Expos 10

Strikeouts per 9 Innings
(162 innings)

NOLAN RYAN, Rangers 11.3
(301 whiff's in 239 innings)

MIKE FLANAGAN, Blue Jays 2.5 (47 in 172)

Batting Average Against, Starter
(162 innings)

D .LILLIQUIST, Braves, .310
(202for 671)

NOLAN RYAN, Rangers,187
(162for 867,)

First Batter's Average Against, Reliever (40 batters)

CHUCK CRIM, Brewers.377 (26 for 69)

GENE NELSON,A's .091
(4 for 44)

Save Percentage
(20 opportunities)

MARK DAVIS, Padres 91.7%
(44for 48)

DUANE WARD, Blue Jays 55.6% (15 for 27)

Total Pitches Thrown
(162 innings)

ROGER CLEMENS, Red Sox 4,243

D. LILLIQUIST, Breves 2,355

SOURCE: STATS, INC.

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)