The year was 1979, two decades before newscasters first
mispronounced androstenedione, and Fred Lynn was on a surprising
power surge that had sportswriters befuddled. Lynn, the Boston
Red Sox' centerfielder, was showering the bleachers with
baseballs at a pace that resulted in his nearly doubling his
career high of 22 home runs. After some thought, reporters
decided that Lynn's power had to be the product of his fancy new
off-season strength builder, a then unfamiliar machine called
Nautilus. "The media kind of took it and ran with it," says the
48-year-old Lynn, a part-time TV baseball analyst who still uses
the weight-and-pulley system, now seen in gyms everywhere. "I'd
never lifted before, so I felt a difference: I didn't have to hit
a ball right on the screws to hit it out."

Lynn went deep a career-high 39 times that year, winning the
batting title in the process, but it was the only time he
matched the unreal expectations wrought by his explosive 1975
rookie campaign, when he led the Sox to the World Series and
became the first player to win both the Rookie of the Year and
MVP awards in the same season. Despite winning four Gold Gloves
and making nine All-Star Game appearances (in '83 he hit the
only All-Star grand slam, a bomb that left first-time All-Star
pitcher Atlee Hammaker of the San Francisco Giants traumatized,
apparently for the rest of his career), Lynn never quite lived
up to his promise. He retired after the '90 season with 306 home
runs and a .283 lifetime average. The man once touted as Ted
Williams, Tris Speaker and Carl Yastrzemski rolled into one
ended up more like George Foster, an outstanding player stranded
a cab fare short of the Hall of Fame.

Not that this seems to bother Lynn. If easygoing were a
vocation, Lynn might just be employee of the decade. Since he
stopped playing, he has enjoyed the sunbaked life in La Costa,
Calif., where he lives with his wife, Natalie, and their cat,
Panther, a former stray who Fred says fills the role of "varmint
eradicator" at the Lynns' secluded four-bedroom house three
miles from the beach. To keep busy in retirement, Lynn has done
color commentary for ESPN, CBS and Fox and has played Mr. Mom to
his two children from a previous marriage, 22-year-old Jason and
21-year-old Jennifer. However, ask the self-effacing Lynn what
he has been up to, and he first mentions another source of
pride. "Well," he says after a moment's pause, "I lowered my
handicap from 13 to four."

Must be that fancy Stairmaster thing he's been using.

--Chris Ballard

COLOR PHOTO: DICK RAPHAEL (COVER) COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK

If easygoing were a vocation, Lynn might just be employee of the
decade.

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)