SI Vault
Ron Fimrite
April 12, 1976
As manager of the A's, Chuck Tanner at last may have found a focus for his Panglossian view of life. Tanner is a man who sees the best in everything and everyone, including Dick Allen, whom he once more or less managed in Chicago. So what happens when he confronts something as genuinely good as the A's, winners of the American League's Western Division five years in succession and world champions from 1972 through 1974? "I have never been so excited in my life," he says, predictably.
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April 12, 1976

The West

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The Rangers will try a shortstop, 23-year-old Roy Smalley, at second base and permanently return their acknowledged star, Toby Harrah (.293, 20 homers), to short, where he belongs. Jeff Burroughs, who hit only .226 in 1975, will seek to regain his MVP form of 1974, and newcomer Juan Beniquez (.291 with the Red Sox) will add punch, but no defense, in center field.

With five different trouser styles, nine new players, a new manager who is old and a new owner who is the game's most entertaining personality, the White Sox will be both dapper and arresting. They may even be quaint, especially when they are wearing their clam-digger pants, but they will not be big winners. Manager Paul Richards, 67, who last managed the Sox in 1954, will have enough speed to suggest the go-go Chicago teams of the late '50s. New arrivals Ralph Garr and Morris Nettles can fly. Garr also used to be able to hit .350. He slumped to .278 last year, perhaps because he tried too hard to justify the whopping pay increase he had earned from the Braves through arbitration.

The Sox are nothing if not progressive. In one of his first official acts, new Owner Bill Veeck ordered the artificial infield replaced with grass and the centerfield fence moved back to 440 feet from home plate. Progressive? That is downright revolutionary.

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