This is an article from the Aug. 6, 2007 issue
Nice month, man! All-Star game MVP, a $90 million contract extension, and now he's the third fastest ever to reach 1,500 hits. Oh, and Seattle's .343-hitting outfielder also got feted by the Mariners with an Ichiro Hydroplane Night.
Francisco at Home
No wonder the Brewers had put together a league-best 36-17 home record—you can't come back on 'em: Through Monday closer Francisco Cordero had an 0.33 ERA and 21 saves in 21 chances at Miller Park, delighting manager Ned Yost, who calls him "one of the best closers in baseball."
The $3.4 million-a-year NHL center (the Islanders just snapped him up) has even bigger joys off the ice: The heir to The Brick furniture stores (it's a megachain in Canada) has been dining out with Hilary Duff (right).
Wow, he's back. Three years since taking his last NFL snap (and that was in the preseason), the injury-plagued former Kentucky star and 1999 No. 1 overall pick signed with the Jaguars. If the 30-year-old QB makes the team, as a backup to Byron Leftwich, he'll earn about $600,000.
Tough months. Since June 3 the Marlins' beloved, high-kicking lefty is 0--7 with a 4.95 ERA, and gasp!, the faithful are jeering. "I'm leaving my heart on the field," said Willis after a loss last month. "I don't hear if they boo or not."
Francisco on the Road
He looks the same—the Brewers usually wear their navy unis home and away—but then, he looks different. Away from Miller Park, closer Cordero had an 8.62 ERA and five blown saves: a big reason Milwaukee is 21--32 outside its own friendly confines.
The $15.3 million-a-year Clippers forward (coming off a disappointing season) is getting bad returns: Despite strong reviews Rescue Dawn, the $10 million Werner Herzog film Brand produced, has grossed less than $3 million in four weeks.
Yep, the NFL is back. The Panthers suspended Bridges for the first two games of the season after the offensive lineman was arrested for allegedly brandishing a gun outside a strip joint. Said Carolina coach John Fox, "[That's] something we don't condone."
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Which big league coach should be a manager?
¬´ Joey Cora, White Sox (bench) 5%
Don Mattingly, Yankees (bench) 4% ¬ª
Tony Pe√±a, Yankees (first base) 4%
Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks (bench)...3%
Larry Bowa, Yankees (third base)........3%
Players could not vote for a coach on their own team.... Yankees manager Joe Torre's contract ends after this season.... The Rangers' Rudy Jaramillo (seventh, 2.6%) was the only hitting coach to draw more than 1% of the vote.... The Orioles' Leo Mazzone (11th, 2.3%) finished highest among the four pitching coaches who received multiple votes.... Seven of the top 10 vote-getters are bench coaches.
[Based on a survey of 464 MLB players]
For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.