MIDEAST TRADE TALKS
During the Orioles' opener against the Red Sox, which was attended by Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, it was suggested to Baltimore general manager Roland Hemond that as a gesture of international goodwill, he should make a trade for Pittsburgh's Triple A shortstop Sammy Khalifa, who is of Egyptian descent, and broadcast the deal on the message board during the seventh-inning stretch. Hemond rushed back to his box and called Pirate general manager Larry Doughty but couldn't make a deal. "He wanted too much," said a disappointed Hemond. Did Doughty ask for Israel Frias, an Oriole minor league catcher?
When Detroit's Jack Morris and Texas's Charlie Hough started against each other April 4, it was the meeting of two veterans who are first and second in the American League over the past seven seasons in wins (126 for Morris, 111 for Hough), complete games (97-84) and strikeouts (1,305-1,128). The Rangers won 4-0, and Hough is now 3-1 against the Tiger ace.
San Diego rightfielder John Kruk, who is 5'10" and weighs 200 pounds, refers to himself and his outfield partners, Carmelo Martinez (211 pounds) and Tony Gwynn (205 pounds), as the Three Gorditos. Gorditos is Spanish for Fat Boys. Says Padres pitcher Greg Booker. " John Kruk is the luckiest man in baseball. He not only has his number on the back of his uniform, but his picture, too." Kruk wears number 8.
STUPID PET TRICK
The Athletics' promotions department, in its continuing effort to revive Connie Mack's symbol for the team, hired an elephant to throw out the first ball for the home opener. During practice the pachyderm had shown some decent stuff, but because of the noise from the capacity crowd in Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, it was unable to hear its trainer's commands and dropped the ball after a long windup with its trunk.
? Kansas City's Mark Gubicza may have an Opening Day jinx. After losing his first major league opener, 4-3, to Toronto on April 3, he revealed that his only three losses in high school came in opening games.
?Former Dodger pitchers Hough, Jerry Reuss, Rick Sutcliffe, Dave Stewart, Brian Holton and Tommy John all posted opening game victories, while Tim Belcher lost L.A.'s opener to the Reds, 6-4.
?The American League scores on Opening Day, April 3, were 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4.
?The cover of the Braves' media guide features pitchers Tom Glavine and Pete Smith. They were 14-32 last season. But then, Atlanta's starters were a combined 32-80.
?Despite the Mets' reputation for having a deep farm system, only one of their starters, two relievers and five position players were developed in their organization.