- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
So now Wathan, who had 26 stolen bases when he went down, can continue his chase of the alltime record for catchers, held since 1916 by Ray Schalk, who had 30. The Wathan Watch isn't quite the same as the Henderson Watch, but it has its moments. The other night a reporter asked the Duke, "John, you had two chances to steal a base tonight but didn't. Are you feeling the pressure?"
In alphabetical order, here are the other 1982 Royal injuries:
Willie Aikens suffered severe contusions to the dorsum of his right hand diving into second while being picked off and was disabled from April 13 to May 7. The hand still bothers him, which is why he has only eight home runs. His eighth, however, came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth Saturday to beat Chicago 4-3. He may finally be coming out of his batting syncope, because the night before he tripled for the first time in 1,717 regular-season at bats.
Before Saturday, Blue had missed five starts because of shoulder stiffness and pulled adductor muscles in his left leg. Brett missed five games in May when his right knee caught the lip of the turf in Toronto. Onix Concepcion sprained the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpal joint in his right thumb and missed the first 39 games. Righthander Dave Frost missed eight starts between June 13 and July 25 with a sore elbow, the result of synovitis, which, as everyone knows, is the inflammation of the synovium lining of the elbow joint. Cesar Geronimo fractured the tip of his 10th rib making a throw on June 26 and was lost for 21 games. Earlier in the season, Gura twisted his right ankle catching a spike in the turf while pivoting to begin a double play, and he missed a start.
Jerry Martin twisted his right knee making a leaping catch in Cleveland on July 28, causing an effusion that had to be drained. That cost him two games. Lee May was out for nine games with a bad knee and a pulled groin. At different times, Amos Otis has missed three, four and six games aggravating a pull in the lower abdominal muscles. "That was just one of many injuries this year I'd never seen before," says Dr. Paul Meyer, who has been a K.C. team physician since 1961, when he looked after the A's.
Paul Splittorff, who's been in the Royals' organization since its inception in 1968 and who has had a bad back almost as long, has missed two starts and came out early in two other games because of spasms in the lumbar area. U.L. Washington suffered similar spasms and missed 23 games. A pulled buttocks muscle cost him two more games, and a pulled hamstring sidelined him Sunday. Frank White was lost for seven games after A's Catcher Mike Heath spiked him on his left knee June 23. White also suffers from turf toe on his right foot and a spur on the top of the foot.
The scariest moment of all came on Aug. 4 when the Tigers' Dan Petry hit Wilson in the head with a pitch. Fortunately, the ball struck the right earflap of his helmet, cracking it but leaving Wilson with only a slightly bruised, swelled cheekbone. Petry sent a telegram of apology, and Wilson has felt no ill effects.
The irony in all this pain and suffering is that an injury is in large part responsible for McRae's great season. He twisted his left knee severely in the very first game of the Japanese tour and had to go home. Back home in Bradenton, Fla., McRae embarked on a strenuous rehabilitation program and lost 20 pounds to ease the strain on his knee. He has kept the weight off and now has a chance to become the first MVP to enter the free-agent market. He had the game-winning RBI in the Royals' 8-4 victory over the Yankees on Aug. 17, a three-run homer in the rout of Chicago Friday and two RBIs in Saturday's triumph. He's conducting one of the great salary drives in the history of the game.
As big a role as McRae has played, the Royals wouldn't be near first without extras Pryor, May, Geronimo and Concepcion, middle relievers Mike Armstrong, Bill Castro and Don Hood and two rookies, Catcher Don Slaught and Outfielder Steve Hammond. General Manager John Schuerholz picked Hammond up for $100 from the Braves' organization, which gives you some idea of how the team was patched together. Howser has refused to make excuses; he only wonders why fate has been so unkind to the Royals. "Maybe we're in too good a shape," he says. "In the old days, guys would roll off the train 15 pounds overweight and start spring training."
Of the Royals' last 32 games, 20 will be at home, which is good because they're playing .721 ball on the Tartan Turf there this year. "The turf is like a security blanket for a hitter," says White Sox Batting Coach Charley Lau, who tutored many of the Royals as their batting coach in 1971-78. "You know you won't go 0 for 10 because sooner or later a ground ball will skip through. And where else can you find a team with speed like that?" The paradox is that the artificial turf, which is so good to the Royals, exacts its physical toll. "That's got to have something to do with all our injuries," says Howser.