Braves manager Eddie Haas, who was finally fired early last week and replaced by coach Bobby Wine, is only the first to go in a major housecleaning by Ted Turner. According to a variety of sources, G.M. John Mullen, VP Al Thornwell and scouting director Paul Snyder are ticketed to join Haas on the unemployment line. They deserve the ax, not only for hiring Haas, a disaster as a manager, but also for a series of personnel moves that have turned the Braves from a winner to a punching bag in three years. Henry Aaron, the farm director, will stay only because he's the resident legend.
But don't expect Phil Niekro to return as the knuckleballer-manager, even though Niekro wants to come home and do just that. Turner wants Niekro but he also thinks Wine deserves a chance to manage the team. Wine, who was bitterly disappointed when he didn't succeed Paul Owens in Philadelphia, didn't hurt his chances by leading the Braves to five straight wins before Saturday's loss to the Cubs.