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TOO GOOD TO IGNORE
However one may feel about the drug problems that sent Dwight Gooden to a rehabilitation clinic for a month in the spring, the fact remains that Gooden's season began 11 starts late, and still he has pitched brilliantly enough that he must be considered for the Cy Young Award. Not only that, but his pitching has been the most important factor in the Mets' run at the Cardinals.
Through last weekend only four NL pitchers, Philadelphia's Shane Rawley, Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe, Atlanta's Zane Smith and Houston's Mike Scott, had more wins than Gooden's 13 (against 4 losses; New York is 14-4 in his starts), and only Orel Hershiser's and Nolan Ryan's ERAs (2.68 and 2.79. respectively) were lower than Gooden's 2.87. Considering the riffraff the Dodgers have lined up behind him, Hershiser has probably been the best pitcher in the league, but Gooden will prove he's better if he wins five or six more games down the stretch and pitches the Mets past the Cards.
Though the Cy Young is supposed to reward a pitcher's performance, some voters will no doubt consider Gooden's involvement with drugs before filling out their ballots. If they do, they should also consider the pressure that has been brought to bear on Gooden by the New York fans and media: An infamous New York Post headline before his first start urged fans to STAND UP AND BOO. That pressure makes Gooden's season all the more remarkable.
The Blue Jays made a terrific move when they sent pitching prospects Jose Mesa and Oswald Peraza to Baltimore for Mike Flanagan. At 35, Flanagan has rediscovered his old delivery; his fastball has been clocked at 90 mph in the last three weeks. He gives the Jays another left arm to throw at the tough lefthanded hitting lineups of Detroit and New York, and his presence will allow the Blue Jays' swingman supreme, John Cerutti (10-3), to spend more time in the bullpen to take some pressure off arm-weary Jeff Musselman....
Question: Who was the last player to sign a contract for more than three years? Answer: Ken Oberkfell of the Braves, who signed for four years in 1986. How else can one explain why a third baseman can stay in the majors for 10 seasons without ever knocking in 50 runs?
THE O'S DON'T HAVE IT
These are the most talked about minor leaguers not called up before Aug. 31, with comments drawn from major league scouting reports: