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Arming For A New Season
Frank Deford
April 18, 1983
Pitch or perish is a baseball law. In Part I of a series on the inner workings of one staff, the White Sox show their spring stuff
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April 18, 1983

Arming For A New Season

Pitch or perish is a baseball law. In Part I of a series on the inner workings of one staff, the White Sox show their spring stuff

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A DOSSIER ON THE 11 WHO MADE IT

FLOYD FRANKLIN BANNISTER
Age 27. Height 6.01. Weight 195.
Throws and bats lefthanded.

YEAR

CLUB

LEAGUE

G.

IP.

W.

L.

SO.

BB.

ERA.

1982

Seattle

American

35

247

12

13

209

77

3.43

Major League Totals

170

1,021

51

68

770

381

3.90

SALOME BAROJAS
Age 25. Height 5.09. Weight 160.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

61

106⅔

6

6

56

46

3.54

Major League Totals

61

106⅔

6

6

56

46

3.54

ROBERT BRITT BURNS
Age 23. Height 6.05. Weight 218.
Throws left and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

28

169⅓

13

5

116

67

4.04

Major League Totals

94

577⅓

38

26

362

183

3.29

RICHARD ELLIOTT DOTSON
Age 24. Height 6.00. Weight 196.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

34

196⅔

11

15

109

73

3.84

Major League Totals

96

559⅔

34

33

304

215

3.97

KEVIN JOHN HICKEY
Age 27. Height 6.01. Weight 170.
Throws and bats lefthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

60

78

4

4

38

30

3.00

Major League Totals

101

122

4

6

55

48

3.24

DEWEY LaMARR HOYT
Age 28. Height 6.01. Weight 222.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

39

239⅔

19

15

124

48

3.53

Major League Totals

108

445⅔

37

21

239

117

3.78

JAMES LESTER KERN
Age 34. Height 6.05. Weight 205.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

Cincinnati

National

50

76

3

5

43

48

2.84

Chicago

American

13

28

2

1

23

12

5.14

Major League Totals

380

736

51

54

625

403

3.01

JEROME MARTIN KOOSMAN
Age 39. Height 6.02. Weight 225.
Throws left and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

42

173⅓

11

7

88

38

3.84

Major League Totals

520

3,346⅓

191

183

2,269

1,051

3.26

DENNIS PATRICK LAMP
Age 30. Height 6.03. Weight 210.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

American

44

189⅔

11

8

78

59

3.99

Major League Totals

198

973⅔

46

55

403

294

3.85

STEPHEN ANDREW MURA
Age 28. Height 6.02. Weight 190.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

St. Louis

National

35

184⅓

12

11

84

80

4.05

Major League Totals

138

573⅓

29

38

327

258

3.97

RICHARD WILLIAM TIDROW
Age 35. Height 6.04. Weight 213.
Throws and bats righthanded.

1982

Chicago

National

65

103⅔

8

3

62

29

3.39

Major League Totals

559

1,639⅔

98

90

901

538

3.60

THE END OF FEBRUARY

It's only the pitchers now. Well, the pitchers and catchers. But the latter are only along because someone has to catch the pitchers, and that's the catchers. They don't really count, though. For example, have you ever heard anyone say in spring training that the catchers are ahead of the hitters? Of course not. No, the pitchers are brought down early because they're different from other athletes. They're arms. Other athletes are bodies. Pitchers are also the closest thing we have in any of our sports to being individuals in a team game. They're integral, and yet they're apart. In baseball now, people other than pitchers are referred to as "position players"—the implication being clear that pitcher isn't really a genuine position. Just an arm.

Pitchers themselves accept this, perhaps especially in the American League, where they don't bat anymore. "Even in college I still played position," Dick Tidrow says about another Dick Tidrow, who roamed the gardens long ago. Tidrow is now a reliever with the Chicago Americans, and this is where we are, in spring training with the White Sox, with the pitchers (and catchers).

But we could be most anywhere, with any staff. Observing the chemistry of the White Sox pitching staff through the season will be particularly interesting, however, because Chicago is an up-and-coming team that's counting heavily on a disparate group of pitchers. A staff is a team unto itself—a team within a team, if you will—with almost as many roles to be filled as the position players have positions. For starters: starters. Lefthanders and righthanders. Relievers. Long, middle and short men. Ground-ball pitchers. Keep it in the park. It has even come down to this: Tidrow, for example, is "early short," as Chisox Manager Tony La Russa says, which means he is the penultimate reliever, whose specialty it is to stop things before the certified stopper comes in and slams the door. Firemen, submariners (rare), junk men, throwers, spot starters and (best of all) live arms. Eventually, cutting it finer all the time, you get this type of thing:

Jim Kern (veteran righthander, late relief): Wouldn't you say Jon Matlack is a lefthander who really thinks righthanded?

Jerry Koosman (aging lefthander, spot starter): No, no, you got it all wrong. Matlack is a lefthander who thinks he thinks righthanded.

Kern: Which is his trouble.

Koosman: Of course.

And here it is February, and there are 15 pitchers, more or less, competing for the 10 openings on the staff. This is the way it was at the beginning of the White Sox training camp in Sarasota, Fla.

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