Granny nodded briskly.
"That's great," she said. "I'll play the 6-7 at the fronton tonight."
THE SIXTO KID
Although the Milwaukee Brewers finished last in the American League East in 1976 things could be a little brighter for them this year, partly because they have, among other bright hopes, Sixto Lezcano. Lezcano, who batted .285 last year, so far has not been a mover and a shaker in his two seasons in the American League, but he has just won the Puerto Rican Winter League batting title with a neat .366. Puerto Rico? you ask, with an amused smile. Big deal.
Well, you might check over the names of some former Puerto Rican Winter League batting champs and rethink your position on Sixto Lezcano. For instance, in 1955 a fellow named Willie Mays won the title. A couple of years later it was Roberto Clemente. Orlando Cepeda won it in 1959, Tony Oliva in 1964 and Tony Perez in 1967. More recent winners include Don Baylor (1972), Ken Griffey (1975) and Dan Driessen (1976). And Lezcano's league-leading average was the highest in 20 years, since Clemente batted .396.
The special quality of Puerto Rican batting champions goes back a long way. In 1942 the winner was a catcher named Josh Gibson, who hit a cool .480. Gibson, best of all black catchers, never played in the major leagues because of the color bar, but he has a plaque in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown now.
Not that Sixto Lezcano has a confirmed reservation to Cooperstown. But it looks as though he's worth keeping an eye on.
IN THE ROUGH
Life had been going smoothly on the professional golf circuit for Spain's Severiano Ballesteros. After a burst to fame as runner-up to Johnny Miller in the British Open last July, the 19-year-old won the Dutch Open, the Troph�es Perrier in Belgium and France's Lanc�m�. Ballesteros' wallet was fattened by $70,000. In December he and teammate Manuel Pi�ero won the World Cup title, a triumph which caused the Spanish daily El Pa�s to proclaim, "With this win has arisen a serious problem for national golf. It has to be made popular."
That will have to wait. Ballesteros has been inducted into the Spanish Air Force. His neatly flowing locks have been shorn to meet military standards. For six weeks he will endure the rigors of basic training instead of sand traps and bushes. His stint will last 15 months, but Ballesteros will not keep his clubs idle. "I have received no promises from the Air Force, but I think they will be understanding," he says. Ballesteros hopes to compete in the Masters in April and in the British Open this summer. Perhaps most understanding will be his commanding officer, a golf buff.