Most young pitchers who make it to Double A start to think Big Time, and when they read about the latest contracts of Orel Hershiser and Frank Viola, they begin to think Big Money. Not Jim Chenevey, Harvard '87. He was regarded as one of Oakland's better pitching prospects after an 11-7 season in A ball at Madison ( Wis.) last year, but when he was assigned a bullpen role at Double A Huntsville ( Ala.) this spring, Chenevey retired at 24. "It was time to move on," he says.
Last winter, Chenevey worked in New York City at the investment banking company of Goldman Sachs, and he could have gotten a well-paid permanent position there but declined the job. Instead, the first week of June he will start a new job as economic development planner for the Omaha Indians. This is not a Cleveland farm club, but a tribe of some 4,000 with headquarters on a reservation in Macy, Neb. The Omaha Indians' gain is the Oakland Athletics' loss. Says Walt Jocketty, the A's director of baseball administration, "I couldn't guarantee a Cy Young Award for Jim, but he was a helluva prospect."
Manager Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers has lost 30 pounds since the beginning of spring training. In Los Angeles, television viewers can still see Lasorda in full paunch in a commercial, filmed last year, in which he is hawking bread. But another TV ad is due to hit the airwaves soon in which the new svelte Lasorda (or is that Marcello Mastroianni?) will be pitching a liquid diet product.
St. Louis reliever Dan Quisenberry, who has appeared in 616 games over 11 seasons, made only his third career hitting appearance on May 6. In a display of new batting style, Quisenberry lifted his left leg before he swung at the pitch. " Mel Ott did it, and it worked for him," said Quisenberry. "But I'm not sure if I'm lifting the right leg." His chopper to second was handled easily by San Francisco's Robby Thompson. Explained Quiz, "I thought they were in a zone, but they were playing man-to-man."
Baltimore p.r. director Rick Vaughn was perusing catching records last week and called the Elias Sports Bureau (the official major league statistician) to inquire about the active leader among catchers for consecutive errorless games. Elias discovered that Boston's Rick Cerone was not only the active leader but that his current mark of 158 was a major league record, eclipsing Yogi Berra's 148. Vaughn promptly notified the Red Sox, who notified Cerone. Two nights later, Cerone dropped a pop fly to end the streak at 159.
?Since he signed a four-year, $8.7 million contract with the Cardinals in 1985, shortstop Ozzie Smith has hit .276, .280, .303 and .270. He has driven in 54, 54, 75 and 51 runs and stolen 31, 31, 43 and 57 bases. He was re-rewarded Saturday with a two-year, $4.3 million extension.
?Outfielder Ben Oglivie, 40, is with the Brewers' extended spring program, trying a comeback after an aborted career in Japan and a February knee injury.
? Oakland's rightfielders, sans injured Jose Canseco, did not have a homer through last weekend.