OH, WHAT A DOLL!
Who says superstitions are bunk? Not the White Sox. Chicago pitcher Jerry Reuss bought a bobbing-head White Sox doll during the All-Star break and brought it to the second-half opener against the Brewers. Chicago won that game 5-4 and proceeded to go on an 11-1 tear. Now the toy, which Reuss dubbed Sammy Doll after pitching coach Sammy Ellis, whose neck twitches involuntarily when he gets excited, has become the White Sox' lucky totem. While the national anthem is being played at White Sox games, Sammy Doll is placed on the top step of the dugout, between Reuss and manager Jeff Torborg, and then is moved to an appropriate vantage point in the dugout for the game. On July 21, a batboy knocked Sammy Doll off a railing and broke its neck early on in a game in Fenway Park. Soon after the accident, the White Sox fell behind 6-4. But after Sammy returned from emergency surgery in the seventh, first baseman Ivan Calderon hit a three-run homer that clinched the game for Chicago, 10-6.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
For five years Toronto radio station CJCL has been running a promotion, sponsored by Miracle Food Mart stores, in which a selected listener wins money if a Blue Jay player hits a grand slam in a designated inning. In 1987 the prize was $10,000, and in '88, $25,000, but no one won in either year. So in '89 the station increased the booty to $50,000, and what happened? Three players—Lloyd Moseby, Pat Borders and Junior Felix—have hit homers with the bags full in the right innings. That's $150,000—a lot of groceries.
On July 26, Phillie first baseman Von Hayes came up in the ninth with his team trailing the Expos 3-2 and hit a towering fly to right. Outfielder Hubie Brooks went back, back, back to the wall, leapt into the air and...the ball vanished. Brooks checked his glove. It wasn't there. He checked the stands. It wasn't there, either. The umpire told him that if he couldn't find the ball, it must be a homer. But Brooks wasn't satisfied. Finally, he ripped down the sign on the rightfield fence that celebrated the Expos' 1981 National League East title, and the ball popped out—ground rule double. The Phillies went on to win, 4-3.
TORONTO'S K POWER
Though 18 Blue Jay batters struck out, Toronto still beat Texas 4-0 on July 25. In the first inning, outfielder George Bell whiffed, but the ball got away from Rangers catcher Chad Kreuter and Junior Felix scored from third. After the victory, Toronto pitcher Mike Flanagan said, "Our problem has been that we haven't been striking out enough. We've obviously been making too much contact. The strikeout RBI is something we've been working on."
How far have the Yankees fallen? Well, last week they couldn't get a hotel room in downtown Cleveland and were forced to stay at the Westlake Holiday Inn, 12 miles from Cleveland Stadium. Quipped pitcher Dave LaPoint, "One of the guys got in a cab and said, 'Take me to the ballpark.' And the cabbie said, 'Which one? Pittsburgh, Detroit or Cleveland? They're all the same distance.' "
IT'S A PRETTY GOOD BET
When reporters asked pitcher Walt Terrell how he felt about being traded from the Padres to the Yankees last week after only four months with San Diego, he replied, "My family just got here, and we'd only been to Sea World. The kids are pretty upset. We never had a chance to go anywhere else, like the San Diego Zoo. Maybe now we can go to the Bronx Zoo."
? San Francisco slugger Kevin Mitchell, who leads the majors in home runs with 33, hit one homer per 16 at bats in April, one per 10.89 in May, one per 8.9 in June and one per 8.88 in July.