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INSIDE PITCH
Henry Hecht
October 08, 1984
Believe it or not, the Cubs' Ryne Sandberg isn't my choice for National League MVP (even though I'm rooting for Chicago to win the Series). Here are my choices for baseball's top awards:
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October 08, 1984

Inside Pitch

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Best Exec of the Year: Dallas Green traded for Gary Matthews, Bob Dernier and Tim Stoddard at the end of spring training and for Rick Sutcliffe and George Frazier just before the trading deadline, and the Cubs became winners—after 39 years.

Worst Exec of the Year: Pittsburgh's Harding Peterson never replaced free agent Dave Parker, traded Mike Easier, and started the season with too little hitting and too much starting pitching. In spring training he took a pass on Ruppert Jones, who went on to help the Tigers win the American League East, but he signed Amos Otis and Gene Tenace as free agents and then released them by midseason. That's how the Pirates became the first team to finish last while leading the league in ERA.

Injuries of the Year: April 8—The Astros' Dickie Thon was beaned by the Mets' Mike Torrez and missed the rest of the season because of impaired vision. The Astros never recovered from the loss of their best player and the best all-around shortstop in the National League.

May 29—Bob Horner broke a wrist for the second time, and the Braves' chances in the National League West disappeared. Without Horner, the Atlanta offense, which had led the league the past two seasons, slipped to 10th.

In Life, All Is Timing: Last year, after he was released by the Mets, Dave Kingman didn't know if he'd have a job in 1984. But he was invited to the A's spring training camp as a nonroster player and made the team. After hitting 35 homers, driving in 118 runs and batting .268, 33 points above his career average, he now can clean up in the free-agent market.

Luckiest Player of the Year: Until Aug. 28 Bill Scherrer was stranded at Wichita, the Reds' Triple A team, but then the Tigers decided they needed another lefty in their bullpen. Scherrer was their man. "I believe in miracles," he says of the delightful turn of fate that has made him eligible for a piece of the postseason pie.... Gutsiest Player of the Year: The Expos' Andre Dawson played the entire season with a very painful left knee, in which there was a partially detached bone spur.... Macho Man of the Year: Baltimore's Cal Ripken played every inning of every game for the second straight season. He hasn't missed an inning since June 4, 1982, 4,121 innings ago.... Comeback Player of the Year: After helping lead St. Louis to a World Series victory in 1982, Joaquin Andujar crashed to a 6-16 record last year. He rebounded to a 20-14 record in '84, with a 3.34 ERA.... Birth of an Ace: The Twins' Frank Viola, 7-15 last year, led the Twins' staff with an 18-12 record, winning 14 of his last 19 decisions. Viola is 24.... Countdown to Cobb: Pete Rose finished his 22nd season with 4,097 hits, 94 shy of Ty Cobb's record of 4,191.

Atlanta owner Ted Turner, who fired manager Joe Torre Monday, is likely to replace Torre with Phil Niekro, who'll be the player-manager. Talk about p.r. moves! You say Niekro is a Yankee? Well, Turner and Yankee owner George Steinbrenner are tight, and though Steinbrenner might not surrender Niekro for just any old body, the two should have no problem working out a deal. Torre may wind up in Montreal.

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