AN INDIAN SUMMER NEXT YEAR?
So, now the Indians?
After six different winners in six years in the American League East, can the Indians make it seven out of seven next year? "It's not out of the realm of possibility," says Cleveland general manager Joe Klein with a smile. "We have to keep improving, but the core of talent is there."
There are few around the American League who would argue with the contention that the Indians and the Blue Jays put the most talent on the field night after night. Cleveland has the backbone star in Joe Carter, a blossoming Dale Murphy in Cory Snyder and offense up and down the lineup. Klein also feels that Greg Swindell, who has won four straight after his 24-5 debut loss, can be for this team what Roger Clemens is for the Red Sox. Klein now must decide what everyday player he will trade to get the 15- to 18-game winner and the one or two relievers he will need. Minor league pitchers John Farrell, Mike Murphy and Kent Murphy are close, but the Indians need a proven winner. After all, 14 of the 18 AL East winners have led the division in earned run average.
Snyder might be able to play shortstop as well as third or rightfield, so the choice for a trade seems to be between shortstop Julio Franco and third baseman Brook Jacoby. Rumors are already circulating about a Jacoby-for- Rick Rhoden deal with Pittsburgh, but Klein may try to judge the market value of the talented but erratic Franco, who generally plays when the feeling strikes him. The Indians in first place. Just the thought of them blaring the Michael Stanley Band's This Is My Team out across Lake Erie will make for a pleasant winter's dream.
THEY EXCLAIM, 'GREAT SCOTT!'
It was ironic that Giants manager Roger Craig had to sit in the opposing dugout and watch Mike Scott's historic division-clinching no-hitter in the Astrodome. Craig turned Scott's career around two winters ago by teaching him the split-fingered fastball. Scott was the only big league pitcher Craig worked with the winter after he retired from the Tigers. "Why did it have to be me who taught him the damn thing?" says Craig. "Now he throws it as well as anybody ever has. The really amazing thing is how hard he throws it. I was on the other side when Don Larsen pitched his perfect game, but this was the most overpowering no-hitter I've ever seen." The Red Sox cable station New England Sports Network carried the game live because Boston had an off day, and most of the Red Sox watched. "That's the most unhittable thing I have ever seen," marveled pitcher Bruce Hurst....
Giants players voted Candy Maldonado their MVP despite the fact he was a pinch hitter for much of the season. His 16 homers rank second on the team, and—take that, L.A.—his 75 RBIs are more than any Dodger's....
Now that he has hired former Indians farm director Bob Quinn as Woody Woodward's assistant, George Steinbrenner is expected to ax G.M. Clyde King as an excuse for his own poor judgment....
Sources close to the Orioles swear that at a meeting this month Baltimore owner Edward Bennett Williams asked manager Earl Weaver and general manager Hank Peters, "Do you think the commissioner would allow us to sign Lance Parrish?"