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Now that George Steinbrenner has got the drop on the other owners, who will be the next manager to go? In Baltimore, Edward Bennett Williams wishes Joe Altobelli were Earl Weaver. On the South Side of Chicago, Jerry Reinsdorf has already said public opinion could be the death of Tony La Russa. With the season one month old, INSIDE PITCH is ready to reveal which managers are the best bets to be ex-managers before the season is over.
La Russa: 8-5. After last year's collapse, .500 won't do it and that's what the White Sox look like. Time isn't on his side, either: He's had the job since August '79.
Doug Rader: 9-5. The Rangers are 107-154 since the All-Star break in '83.
Whitey Herzog: 2-1. He's not a favorite with Lou Susman, who runs the Cardinals for Gussie Busch. If they put-put along at .500 for too long, he'll be gone, probably to be replaced by Joe Torre.
Billy Martin: 5-2. The players don't want him, and he doesn't get along with the G.M., Clyde King. Besides, the Yankees aren't good enough to win. In August, when they're 10 games out, Martin will be replaced by Lou Piniella.
Pat Corrales: 3-1. The Indians have new ownership and no pitching. So what if it isn't the manager's fault.
Bob Lillis: 4-1. John McMullen is one of the more impatient owners, and the Astros are only a .500 team.
Joe Altobelli: 5-1. Williams is infatuated with Weaver, and last year he called Altobelli a "journeyman" manager. Altobelli's only hope is for his team to stay close all season.
Eddie Haas: 6-1. He has already bunted over runners to take the bat out of Dale Murphy's hands in a game-winning situation. According to one Brave, "He doesn't talk to you. He doesn't act like you're on the same team."
What we have in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is a failure to communicate. The Phillies' rookie manager, John Felske, was aghast when he found out that owner Bill Giles had recently dangled the possibility of a pinch-hitting job in front of Greg Luzinski, who ate himself out of baseball. Felske's reaction? "One of shock." Was he interested in Luzinski, who retired after no one offered him a free-agent contract last winter? "Only if he was lefthanded."