A Hasty Conversion
Cub reliever Jim Bullinger, who had four saves last week, was a shortstop for four years in the Chicago system before becoming a pitcher in 1990. "I had to pitch in a game in July '89, and I struck out four guys in two innings," he says. "They wanted to switch me right there." In his first major league at bat, on June 8, Bullinger hit a homer to become the 10th pitcher to do that. "As I ran around the bases," he says, "I thought, How ironic, I was switched because I couldn't hit."
Kids, Do Not Try This at Home
Indians relief pitchers Kevin Wickander and Steve Olin engaged in a major league gum-chewing contest last week. On June 8, Wickander put 42 pieces of Bazooka bubble gum in his mouth at the same time, breaking pitcher Jesse Orosco's team record of 32. He bragged incessantly about it, so the next day Olin chewed 50. "It was like in Cool Hand Luke," said Olin, referring to the film scene in which Paul Newman ate 50 hard-boiled eggs. "I could barely close my lips. My cheeks were puffed out like a chipmunk's. I had to do it in four minutes, and I gagged a little bit." The next day Wickander chewed 55, and on Sunday the two chewed their way to a 71-all tie.
Feed Him with the Fork
Because of injuries, the Angels had only 23 players available against the White Sox on June 10, so pitcher Mark Langston, who had pinch-run for designated hitter Hubie Brooks in the ninth inning, had to bat twice in the final three innings of a 3-2 loss. He was the first Angels pitcher to bat since the DH rule was adopted in 1973. He struck out twice, each time with two runners on. Chicago pitcher Donn Pall threw Langston nothing but forkballs. "I'd never seen a forkball before," said Langston. Added White Sox announcer Ed Farmer, "He still hasn't. But he had some good hacks, better than some of the other Angels."
An Impact Player
Tiger outfielder Dan Gladden came off the disabled list on June 13, entered a game against Baltimore that night as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning and promptly was involved in the game's next five outs. He grounded into a double play for the first two outs of the inning. The Tigers then batted around, scoring seven runs and again bringing up Gladden, who made the third out on a fly ball to rightfield. In the top of the ninth the Orioles' David Segui singled and Chito Martinez tripled, but Gladden caught a fly ball hit by Chris Hoiles and threw out Martinez at the plate to complete a double play.
By the Numbers
? Padre Tony Gwynn didn't strike out from April 30 until June 10. During that period Tiger outfielder Rob Deer struck out 42 times.