SI Vault
Peter Gammons
June 26, 1989
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June 26, 1989


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Most of Sheppard's favorite names are Hispanic, and to celebrate them, he wrote this paean. "Poetic Tribute to Spanish Names":

There are certain names that go over well,
Like Pena, Ramos, Carrasquel,
With liquid sounds so panoramic.
And, strangely, they all are Hispanic.
Aurelio, Hipolito, Cecilio, Domingo
Have a lovelier sound than American lingo.
What native name could I ever tell so
Musically, as Valdivielso?
And no native name could ever show us
The splendor of Salome Barojas.


On Sunday, when Phillie general manager Lee Thomas traded reliever Steve Bedrosian to San Francisco and outfielder Juan Samuel to the Mets, he dramatically affected both National League division races and continued the razing of the underachieving team he inherited last September.

For their part, the Giants got the closer they so desperately needed. At week's end their staff had walked in the winning run six times and lost another game on a wild pitch. To get Bedrosian, a Cy Young Award winner in 1987, San Francisco gave Philadelphia two promising young lefthanders, Dennis Cook and Terry Mulholland, but they I shouldn't be a big loss, because the Giants' organization is loaded with lefties.

The Mets had been looking for an impact player since '88. "When you look at our lineup, you'd think we'd score better," says Mets vice-president Joe McIlvaine. "But except for April and September of last year, we haven't." In recent weeks McIlvaine had tried unsuccessfully to land Cleveland outfielder Joe Carter and Boston outfielder Ellis Burks.

Samuel, a dynamic player, has averaged 18 homers, 34 doubles, 14 triples and 47 steals a year since 1984. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but he plays with a passion that could help revive the Mets' moribund offense. The Mets' price for Samuel was reliever Roger McDowell and outfielder Lenny Dykstra.

In his brief tenure with the Phillies, Thomas has made six other major trades, unloading outfielders Chris James, Milt Thompson and Phil Bradley, pitchers Shane Rawley and Kevin Gross and catcher Lance Parrish. In return, Thomas has received second baseman Tom Herr, first baseman-outfielder John Kruk, catcher Steve Lake and young pitchers Ken Howell, Jeff Parrett, Floyd Youmans and Dave Holdridge.

Does this mean that the Phillies of the '90s will be any better than the Phillies Thomas inherited? Not necessarily. If first baseman Ricky Jordan and outfielder Ron Jones develop into frontline hitters and if Holdridge and the other minor league pitching prospects pan out, the club can only improve. However, Samuel and Bedrosian were the Phillies' toughest competitors, and the team still needs a shortstop. Years from now, Thomas may regret having given up such valuable assets for what could amount to a song.


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