Thirteen days after he was fired by Philadelphia, Pat Corrales became Cleveland's fifth manager in seven years. One hundred games into a two-season contract, Mike Ferraro had replaced Corrales among the unemployed.
"This has been a very tough year for me," said Ferraro after he was canned last Sunday. "It started with the [cancer] operation. Then came the losing. Right now, I feel like I am in the gutter. I gave up a pretty good thing [as coach for the Yankees the last four years] to come to Cleveland, and I feel like I was shot in the back."
The men who pulled the trigger, President Gabe Paul and General Manager Phil Seghi, had been under heavy fire themselves for the team's disappointing showing. Sixth-place finishers in each of the last five seasons, the Indians had dropped to dead last in the American League East, 19 games out of first, when the change was made.
Paul and Seghi wanted a tougher manager than Ferraro, who admits he was mellowed by his preseason battle with cancer of the kidney. "We are low, and I'm not just talking about the standings," said First Baseman Mike Hargrove.
Ironically, the man who is supposed to provide new inspiration was out of work because the Philadelphia management didn't think he was getting the most from his talent, even though the team was in first place. Corrales will be surrounded by familiar faces in Cleveland, six of the Indians having played for him before in either Philadelphia or Texas.
"I view the Indians as a challenge," Corrales said. He had better, because, as Cleveland Pitcher Dan Spillner said of Ferraro, "He found himself in the driver's seat of a car going nowhere."
After taking an 0-for-3 collar recently against Baltimore's Mike Boddicker, California's Rod Carew described the rookie's pitches as "worse garbage than what I take out at night." Last week, after again going 0 for 3 against Boddicker, Carew tried to clear the air by saying, "I'm going to apologize to him because I don't want the kid to think I have any malice toward him. We all express frustrations at times, and it's nothing personal."
Boston's Carl Yastrzemski, who was batting .298, admitted he was reconsidering retiring at the end of the season. "I'll make up my mind in September," said Yaz. Bosox officials are not happy about that; they've planned a September farewell for Yaz at Fenway Park, and they feel his lack of speed and reduced power hurt more than his hitting helps.... San Diego First Baseman Steve Garvey's National League record for consecutive games played ended at 1,207 after he dislocated his left thumb while sliding into home plate.
As he had done several times in the past when his split-fingered fastball went awry, Cardinal Reliever Bruce Sutter sought advice from Mike Roarke, who used to be his pitching coach with the Cubs. Roarke went from his home in Rhode Island to St. Louis to observe Sutter, and in Sutter's next three games he picked up two saves and a win and looked like his old self. Sutter explained that Roarke had noticed he was throwing the pitch too hard. "The ideal speed is about 78 or 79 miles an hour," Sutter said. "I was throwing it over 80. When I throw it hard, it just won't break." ...After the Cardinals traded Keith Hernandez to the Mets, the first baseman said, "There's going to be a lot more pressure on George Hendrick without me batting ahead of him in the lineup. Now they won't have another experienced RBI man in the lineup to take some of the heat off George." Hernandez was right. Hendrick had 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 186 at bats when Hernandez was traded June 15. Since then, he's had one homer and 19 RBIs in 159 at bats.
Houston Centerfielder Omar Moreno demanded that he be played or traded after Manager Bob Lillis decided to bench him against certain lefty pitchers. ( Moreno was hitting .186 against southpaws at the time.) During Moreno's first start after his blowup—against Philly righthander John Denny—he got late jumps on several balls hit his way. One fell for a single that helped cost Joe Niekro a 3-1 loss. "I'm hacked," said Niekro. "On that ball, your centerfielder has got to take charge. That ball had to be caught."