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There is an unusually large number of job openings in baseball right now, with four managerial positions, two general managerships and one league presidency vacant. So rumors were flying at the World Series. Lou Piniella, recently deposed as the Yankee manager, was being mentioned for that post with the Astros, the Mariners and the White Sox. Hal Lanier, canned by Houston, is very much available, as is Jim Fregosi, late of the White Sox, who may be headed to the Angels, whose owner, Gene Autry, is fond of him. One scenario has Fregosi taking a front office position with California and bringing in Pat Corrales, who has managed the Rangers, Phillies and Indians, to be skipper of the team.
There's a front office spot open in San Diego, where the plot got as thick as Falcon Crests last week when agent Jerry Kapstein married Linda Smith, daughter of owner Joan Kroc and former wife of Padre ex-president Ballard Smith. Not only does this union bring up all sorts of conflict-of-interest questions—Kapstein represents four Padres, including pitcher Greg Booker, who is the son-in-law of manager Jack McKeon—but it also raises the possibility that Kapstein client Steve Garvey will return to the Padres as general manager.
As for the soon-to-be vacant National League presidency, the names of Dick Wagner, Al Rosen and Syd Thrift are being batted around, while the obvious choice, longtime league executive Phyllis Collins, is considered only a remote possibility. It says much about baseball that not one black candidate is being prominently mentioned for any of those open jobs.
THE RUMOR MILL
The best of the trade rumors floating around the Series was the one that had the Blue Jays sending George Bell, shortstop Manny Lee and lefthander John Cerutti to the Phillies for Von Hayes and a package of prospects. Philadelphia is also likely to trade lefthander Shane Rawley to the Twins for second baseman Tommy Herr, which would mean the Phils' Juan Samuel would be moved to centerfield.
The Dodgers, though they're in the World Series, are desperate for offense, and would gladly trade pitching for the Indians' Joe Carter, the Expos' Tim Wallach, the Yankees' Jack Clark or the Orioles' Eddie Murray.
THE GOOD-LUCK CHARM
After missing out on the World Series through his first 14 seasons, Don Baylor of the A's is now making an unprecedented third straight Series appearance with a third different team. Baylor has long been acknowledged as a strong leader, and his presence, not to mention his bat, was essential to the success of the 1986 Red Sox and '87 Twins as well as the '88 A's. One might think that the Series is getting to be old hat for Baylor, but he seems more determined than ever to beat the hated National League, as his widely publicized outbursts about Dodger reliever Jay Howell suggest (page 36).
"They [NL players] never miss a chance to put you down," Baylor said before the start of the Series. "They always regard yours as a lesser team, a lesser league. I remember taking this all-star tour to Japan in 1979. Now, we're all major leaguers. But you'd be talking to National League players, and they'd just blow you off. It's always been that way. Any American Leaguer who has ever played in an All-Star or World Series game feels exactly the same way I do.