"Mark told me," Wally says, " 'This year is it, Dad. My big year.' I said, 'Gee, Mark, you had a great season in '86,' and he said, 'Yeah, but this year....' "
A couple of months ago, while sitting in the restaurant at the Sheraton with Susie, Bavaro tried to put things in perspective, the money, the adulation, his life now and in the future. "I try not to worry about money," he says. "I mean, how many pairs of pants can you wear at one time? As far as this legend stuff is concerned, as far as all the cheers I'm getting, well, it wasn't too long ago that I was at Notre Dame getting booed. It was only a year and a half ago that people were scratching their heads and saying, 'Who's this guy?' And it won't be too long before the same people will say, 'He's old. Get him out of there.'
"One thing my religion does for me is help me understand that five years, 10 years, whatever your career is, is a drop in the bucket. Your life itself is a drop in the bucket, compared to what's waiting for you afterward.
"So right now I'll take the risks because I have to. But trying to be realistic, I know it's not going to last forever. Someday it's going to end."
There was a pause. Finally, Susie said, "What if you get hurt?"
"Then," said Mark, a legend at 24, "I'll get a job, like everyone else."