There are several things about Dora Lee Holmes's son that make you sit up and take notice. For one thing, he's 6'7". For another, he's averaging 22.9 points a game for Memphis' Westwood High basketball team and is one of the top college prospects in the country. For yet another, last spring he did 7 feet in the high jump, a state high school record. And, oh yes, there's the matter of his name. Baskerville Holmes has quite a moniker.
It was only coincidence that the former Dora Lee Willis happened to marry David Holmes Jr. and also happened to have a weakness for the 1939 film The Hound of the Baskervilles, in which Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes. And it was sheer coincidence that, after having two children (prosaically named Tony and Mary), she saw the movie again while pregnant with her third child. "I told everyone, 'If it's a boy, I'm going to name him Baskerville,' " she recalls. "They'd say, 'What?' "
Folks at Memphis State, which has apparently won the recruiting battle for Dora Lee Holmes's son, had better take note, though. Their blue-chip recruit was christened Baskerville, but goes by the nickname of Bat, this in honor of yet another storied crime fighter. "He just loves Batman," explains his mother.
HE'S OUR SHORTSTOP, LORD LOVE HIM
It's part of the ritual of baseball salary arbitration that club management frequently belittles a player's talents at the hearing and then, when it's all over, slaps him on the back and says, "Hey, come to spring training and have a great year." Trouble is, players sometimes take the bad-mouthing personally. Dave Collins of the Reds was so miffed by what the club said about him during his 1981 arbitration battle—he lost, although he wangled a $100,000 raise that was $92,500 less than he wanted—that he hinted he wouldn't re-sign with the Reds in 1982. Indeed, as a free agent, he has moved over to the Yankees.
But it's unlikely that any player has been more slighted by his employer than was the White Sox' Bill Almon, who earned $100,000 as Chicago's regular shortstop last season, when he went before arbitrator Richard Mittenthal in quest of a $340,000 salary for 1982. The White Sox offered $220,000, and Mittenthal chose the Sox' figure after hearing a club attorney, Jack Noble, complain that Almon, who was on hand to take it all in, lacked leadership qualities, tended to choke in the field, was inexperienced, hadn't made the All-Star team and, ludicrously, had batted .158 during a particular 13-game stretch. When it was noted that 13 shortstops earned more than $280,000, Noble said the Sox would prefer any of them to Almon. He also said the Sox had attempted to trade Almon to the Phillies for Larry Bowa during the off-season only to have the Phillies veto the deal because they didn't consider Almon an "everyday shortstop."
The White Sox leave for training camp in Sarasota, Fla. next week. Go get 'em, Bill.
GOODBY COOP, HELLO COOPERSTOWN
It isn't enough that at major league baseball games mascots in birdlike costumes cavort in the stands, atop the dugouts and on the field. Nor that Donruss, one of the three companies that make baseball cards (Topps and Fleer are the others), has seen fit to put the progenitor of the species, the San Diego Chicken, on a card of its own. No, the situation is even worse than you imagined. Card Prices Update of Selden, N.Y. says that while the market value of most of the 2,000-plus cards issued for the 1982 season is a meager 2¢ apiece, a few choice ones are instantly worth more, and several of them might be expected to fetch from collectors the handsome sum of 75¢, including, yes, sir, the one on which The Chicken is shown.
Some of the other top-of-the-market cards are also unconventional, one being a Fleer card entitled "Pete & Repeat" that shows Pete Rose with his 12-year-old son, Petey. But 75¢ for The Chicken? By contrast, a 1982 Topps Tom Seaver card is worth only 50¢.