Belle and Larkin: Put 'em Up
It is a situation played out again and again in backyards and daydreams: It's Game 7 of the World Series; your team is down a run with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. We asked big league managers to dream from another perspective and tell us whom among players still in the postseason they would least like to face with everything on the line. Six of 16 respondents named Cleveland Indian masher Albert Belle (above, left). "He's likely going to intimidate the guy on the mound," said Atlanta Brave manager Bobby Cox.
Five managers picked Seattle Mariner Edgar Martinez, even before he won the last two games of the Mariners' first-round series with RBIs in Seattle's final at bat. "There's no set way to pitch him," said the New York Yankees' Buck Showalter, perhaps foreseeing his own doom. "You find yourself hoping he hits it at somebody, because you know he'll hit it hard."
Among National Leaguers, Cincinnati Red slasher Barry Larkin (right) was chosen twice. "He's going to put the ball in play, and he's a rises-to-the-occasion-type player," said Chicago Cub manager Jim Riggleman.
But it was the prospect of facing Belle that made most managers cringe, and to one, even Belle's wardrobe inspired fear: Responded St. Louis Cardinal skipper Mike Jorgensen, "Anyone in a Cleveland Indian uniform."