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The main thing to know about San Diego pitcher Andy Hawkins—apart from his perfect record, of course—is that he's Texas to his teeth, a blue-jeans-and-boots Lone Star State boy "through and through," says his wife, Jackie, a Texas belle who looks and sounds like Phyllis George. Hawkins was born in Waco, married Jackie there and lives part-time in Bruceville now. "Five thousand population," Hawkins says, "counting the pigs and the cows."
Hawkins's record, since you asked, is 10-0, counting last Thursday's 5-4 victory over Montreal. The main thing to know about that is that he's the first National League starter to go 10-0 since Juan Marichal of the 1966 San Francisco Giants.
Like nearly everything else in his home state, Andy comes in the large, economy size—6'3" and 205 pounds—and like any good Texan, Hawkins likes his burritos hot, his bellywashers cold and his Ford Bronco kept warm for the hunting season. He once shot a bobcat while perched in a tree and never broke a sweat. He's morally opposed to ties, but on Mother's Day he did put on his creased jeans and a button-down shirt for Jackie. ("He spoils me," she says.) Yes, Andy Hawkins is as Texan as Southfork, and that's why Padres manager Dick Williams oughtn't have said what he went and said.
Williams called Hawkins "timid" last season. Right in the papers, called him a "timid Texan." To Texans, those two words are mutually exclusive, sort of like "too rich." To a Texan, timid is cousin to "scared," and "scared" comes out awful close to "gutless." Next to calling Andy by his real first name, which is Melton, there is practically nothing in this world that gets his Texas dander up more than being called gutless. "He pissed me off," Hawkins says, "and that's why he said it."
Ever since then, Hawkins has been as hot as a jalape�o. He was magnificent coming out of the bullpen for the Padres in the playoffs and the World Series, giving up only one run in 15? innings—the best pitcher you never knew—and he hasn't stopped to reload yet. This season, with the Padres comfortably ensconced in first in the National League West, Hawkins is trying to succeed Dave McNally (15-0 with Baltimore in 1969) as the fastest man out of the chute in modern times.
But Hawkins is not just 10-0. He's 10 for 10, which is another thing entirely. He has had 10 starts and 10 wins, and nobody can remember the last time that happened. Ron Guidry went 13-0 in '78, but his first 10 wins came in 13 starts. It took Marichal 11 games to go 10-0. Nobody ranks with Hanks.
"Hanks" is Hawkins's handle. He got it one day last year in Atlanta, when a herd of young females, hanging around the bullpen, commenced to screaming for Dave Dravecky's autograph. Dravecky was busy throwing and couldn't get away, so Hawkins volunteered to go over and sign some. What the heck, the phone was never for him anyway. The only trouble was, like most people in the country, the girls had never heard of Andy Hawkins. Two of them looked at their autographs and scrunched up their noses.
"What's it say?" said the first girl to the second girl.
"I don't know," said the second. "I think it says 'Andy Hanks.' "
Hawkins has been Hanks ever since, which might make sense, when you get to thinking about it. After all, besides the name, there seems to be little resemblance between Hawkins past and Hawkins present perfect. Going into this season, he was an exceedingly ignorable 15-21 lifetime (3.94 ERA), with a previous high-water mark of 8-9 ('84) and an express check-in reservation in Dick Williams's doghouse the last two seasons. He also spent a lot of time with the Padres' Triple A clubs in Hawaii and Las Vegas, making three trips in three years.