WHEN IN NEW ENGLAND...
When the Maine Phillies, a Triple A team in the International League, decided to give away batting helmets as a promotion for an Aug. 18 game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, which helmets do you think they chose? That's right, Boston Red Sox helmets.
WILLIE AND THE BABE
The Yankees celebrated the 40th anniversary of Babe Ruth's death on Aug. 16 by hitting five home runs in a game against the Angels at Yankee Stadium. But California pitcher Willie Fraser stole the show by making a sliding catch of a pop foul that carried him into the Yankee dugout and by tagging out Yankee speedster Rickey Henderson after realizing that Henderson had missed the plate. Fraser pitched 6? innings, despite giving up the five dingers, and the Angels won 15-6. When reporters asked Angel pitching coach Marcel Lachemann why Fraser wasn't pulled out earlier, Lachemann said, "I'd go to the wall for Willie. Sometimes I even have to go over the wall."
WHY THEY'RE CALLED THE O'S
Anyone who thinks the Orioles are on the rebound should consider their 10-4 loss to the Athletics on Aug. 17. Not only did the O's pitchers give up Ruthian homers to A's sluggers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, but they also issued the same number of walks (10) as Baltimore hitters had picked up in their previous six games. Oriole manager Frank Robinson wasn't surprised by the length of the fiasco. "When you parade 10 batters down to first, and there are 15 hits and 5,000 errors, it's going to take about 3:35," he said. 'Then there were their moon shots. It takes time to clear the atmosphere."
NO ESCAPE FOR THE SCAPEGOAT
Royals rookie catcher Mike Macfarlane's luck has gone from bad to worse since he was optioned to Omaha in July. On Aug. 15 he broke his thumb trying to tag out a runner in the second inning of a game against the Indianapolis Indians and will be out for the season.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Former Angel manager Gene Mauch, on what he misses about the game: "I miss innings one through nine, but not Cleveland or Detroit."
THIS IS "PRO" BASEBALL!?!
On Aug. 17 the New Britain Red Sox and the Pittsfield Cubs were locked in a 1-1 stalemate in the top of the ninth, with one out and runners on first and third. Pittsfield's Bob Bafia tried a suicide squeeze but popped the ball up to New Britain pitcher Odie Abril, who caught it and threw to first for a double play and the end of the inning. Or so Abril thought. The problem was, the Cubs' Jackie Davidson took off from third as soon as the pitch was made and crossed the plate before Abril's throw reached first. Because New Britain failed to appeal the fact that Davidson had left too early, the run counted, and Pittsfield won 2-1.
?In his first 18 starts this season, Seattle's Scott Bankhead faced 95 batters with runners in scoring position and allowed 19 hits. In his Aug. 16 shutout of the Red Sox, Bank-head faced 15 batters with runners in scoring position and retired them all.
?For the first time in their history, the Pirates have sold more than two million tickets in a season. Through Aug. 14 fans had purchased 2,031,697 tickets.
?The Padres were the first National League team with four 10-game winners—Eric Show, Dennis Rasmussen, Andy Hawkins and Ed Whitson. The Padres are 12-1 in games Rasmussen has started since he was acquired on June 8 from Cincinnati for minor leaguer Candy Sierra.