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INSIDE PITCH (Statistics through June 17)
Henry Hecht
June 25, 1984
Baltimore leftfielder Gary Roenicke hit a grand slam home run with two out in the eighth inning against New York in Yankee Stadium on Sunday. The homer won a game for pitcher Mike Flanagan and $1 million for Anne M. Sommers of College Park, Md. Flanagan was grateful; Ms. Sommers was ecstatic.
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June 25, 1984

Inside Pitch (statistics Through June 17)

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BALL PARK FIGURES
Last season only three American League players were deemed worthy of Rookie of the Year votes—winner Ron Kittle of the White Sox, Julio Franco of the Indians and Mike Boddicker of the Orioles. Which goes to show you never know who'll come on strong in Year 2. Five who have:

Marty Barrett, Bos

(.295,1 HR, 6 RBI)

Bill Krueger, Oak

(4-2, 3.33)

Don Mattingly, N.Y

(.338, 10, 40)

Pete O'Brien, Tex

(.318, 5, 38)

Spike Owen, Seat

(.273, 1, 21)

Baltimore leftfielder Gary Roenicke hit a grand slam home run with two out in the eighth inning against New York in Yankee Stadium on Sunday. The homer won a game for pitcher Mike Flanagan and $1 million for Anne M. Sommers of College Park, Md. Flanagan was grateful; Ms. Sommers was ecstatic.

But wait. This gets better.

Ms. Sommers, a 45-year-old secretary, isn't a baseball fan. She has never been to an Orioles game. She had never heard of Gary Roenicke. She entered the team's Home Run Sweepstakes by accident. What does she think of Roenicke now? "He's a great guy," she says with a laugh. "I'd like to see him play." See him play? She can buy his contract.

This is how it happened. Ms. Sommers unwittingly entered the sweepstakes by using an automatic teller at a branch of the Equitable Bank. Every Oriole game this season has one sweepstakes inning, and each hitter in that inning bats for a contestant. The jackpot starts at $1,000 per sweepstakes inning and increases in $100 increments when the Orioles fail to hit one out. The pot was $3,000 last Sunday, but it jumped to $1 million when Eddie Murray walked to load the bases. Roenicke then hit a 1-0 pitch into the leftfield stands off Dennis Rasmussen.

Ms. Sommers probably never heard of Dennis Rasmussen, either.

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was in Italy last week when he heard about the Cubs-Indians trade snafu: Chicago got pitchers Rick Sutcliffe and George Frazier and catcher Ron Hassey, and Cleveland didn't get outfielder Mel Hall and top minor league outfielder Joe Carter. The commissioner should have blocked the deal "in the best interest of baseball"—just as he prevented Charlie Finley's 1976 closeout sale of Vida Blue to the Yankees and Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Red Sox. Instead, he did nothing. Pass the pasta.

Chicago G.M. Dallas Green made a dumb but honest mistake by neglecting to renew waivers on Hall and Carter. But it's the Indians who are suffering because Hall and Carter went into nonplaying limbo, while Sutcliffe, Frazier and Hassey were allowed to join the Cubs. Disgraceful. All players should have remained in place.

One of the arguments Kuhn made in 1976 might have been trotted out here. "Shorn of much of its finest talent," Bowie said in part, "the Oakland club has little chance to compete effectively in its division.... If, as contended by the participants, the commissioner lacks the power to prevent a development so harmful to baseball as this, then our system of self-regulation for the good of the game and the public is a virtual mirage."

On Sunday the Indians weren't sure when they might get Carter and Hall, or who the Cubs might have to substitute if there are waiver claims on them this week. There was even a chance the Cubs' competitors in the National League East could keep making waiver claims on any potential substitutes to sabotage the deal. If Hall and Carter cleared waivers, the stink would be even worse. The NL East may be the most balanced division in the game; if you were the G.M. of, say, the Phillies or Mets, would you let the Cubs backtrack and complete a deal that could make them the team to beat?

When A's catcher Mike Heath found out that Sutcliffe had changed leagues, he snorted, "Good riddance. Glad to get him out of the American League." In his final AL start last week, Sutcliffe had kept his alleged promise to knock Heath down by throwing a pitch behind his head. Sutcliffe was supposed to be retaliating for a 1982 incident in which Heath blocked the plate rather aggressively as Andre Thornton tried to score.

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