When Eldred made his first trip to Toronto's SkyDome in late August, he looked around the stadium and said, "There are more things to do in here than in my hometown." That would be Urbana, Iowa. "About 600 people live there, a real metropolis," says Eldred. "There's no stoplight. Half the town is family. The other half you're related to somehow. When I go back in the off-season, I won't be Cal Eldred, big league player. I'll be Cal Eldred, the little kid who grew up here. Just ordinary Cal."
Given his success, you have to wonder where the Brewers, who at week's end were in second place in the American League East, four games behind the Blue Jays, would be if Eldred had been with them all season.
Olson Gets Bounced Again
The Braves suffered a big blow last Friday when catcher Greg Olson was lost for the year with a fractured right fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle. He suffered the injury in a crushing but clean collision at the plate with Ken Caminiti of the Astros. "It was a catcher's nightmare," said Olson, who did the Tomahawk Chop to let the fans know he was O.K. as he was carried off on a stretcher. "I knew there was going to be a play. I had an eighth of a second. I turned around and got smoked."
Olson, you might remember, was knocked head-over-heels on a hard slide by the Twins' Dan Gladden in the 1991 World Series. "He slid into me and I went over," says Olson, "but it made the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. That's fun. But this one was tough."
Olson was an important factor in Atlanta's pennant drive last year, catching 32 straight regular-season games from Sept. 1 to Oct. 5 and then all but one inning in the postseason. He is a team leader and a terrific handler of pitchers. His replacement is Damon Berryhill, who went 4 for 4 in his first start after Olson's injury. Berryhill is a decent player, but he's not Olson. Worse yet, Atlanta now doesn't have an experienced backup.
How bad have things been going for the pitiful Mariners, losers of 14 straight until they finally won last Saturday? In nine innings of work on Sept. 16, Randy Johnson allowed only one hit and one walk and struck out 15 but still didn't win. Seattle lost 2-1 to the Angels in 13 innings.... The Yankees' Triple A Columbus team finished the season with International League leaders in six major categories: batting ( J.T. Snow, .313), homers (Hensley Meulens, 26), RBIs (Meulens, 100), stolen bases (Mike Humphreys, 37), ERA (Sam Militello, 2.29) and saves (Mike Draper, a Triple A-record 37).