Forget Pete Rose. And George Steinbrenner. And Howard Spira. This has been one of the wildest, wackiest and most wonderful baseball seasons in recent memory. In March, who would have guessed that on Oct. 1, Cecil Fielder would be one blast away from breaking the 50 home runs barrier? That Whitey Herzog wouldn't be managing in the majors—and that Stump Merrill would? That Casey Candaele (.308) would have a higher batting average than Will Clark (.296)? That Carlton Fisk would have more stolen bases than Gerald Young (seven to six)? That Jeff Gray would have more saves than Mark Davis (nine to six)? That Bill Sampen would have more victories than Mark Langston (11 to 10)? That the National League batting leader, Willie McGee, would end up playing for the A's in the American League? Here's a salute to some of this season's most unusual achievements.
THE ROGERS HORNSBY AWARD
To Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs. In May he broke the major league record for most consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (123). And as of Sunday he had 39 homers and was on his way to becoming the first second baseman to lead the National League in that category since Hornsby did so with 42 in 1925. With three games to play, Sandberg had 64 more extra-base hits than errors (72 to eight), a better ratio than Rajah ever had. His best was 102 to 30 in '22.
HARD LUCK AWARD
To Andy Hawkins of the Yankees. Here's what happened to him in five consecutive starts: 1) On July 1 he pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox but lost 4-0; 2) on July 6 he threw 11 shutout innings (the longest outing by an American League pitcher in more than four years) but lost 2-0 to the Twins in the 12th; 3) on July 12 he was the losing pitcher in a rain-shortened, 8-0 no-hitter thrown by Chicago's Melido Perez; 4) on July 17 he gave up three home runs in six innings to the Royals' Bo Jackson in a 10-7 loss; and 5) on July 22, New York scored 10 unearned runs in a 10-6 victory over Minnesota, but Hawkins, who pitched 5? innings, didn't get the win.
THE MARQUIS DE SADE AWARD
To the National League schedule maker who put the Pirates through an April 19 to May 2 road trip that took them from St. Louis to Chicago to St. Louis to San Francisco to San Diego to Los Angeles. "Our next stop is Guam for two games," said Pittsburgh coach Rich Donnelly during the expedition. "On this trip alone, I've spent $1,200 on tips to the bellmen to take my luggage to my room."
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
?At week's end, neither Philadelphia's John Kruk nor Cincinnati's Herm Winningham had been hit by a pitch in five years in the majors.
? Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley had more saves (47) than hits and walks (45).
?The combined ERA of the eight every-day players who were used as pitchers was 7.71, or .77 lower than that of Royals pitcher Richard Dotson.
?On April 16 the Brewers beat the Red Sox in Fenway Park 18-0 without hitting a homer or knocking any of their nine doubles off the Green Monster.
IT AIN'T OVER TILL IT'S OVER AWARD
To George Brett of the Royals. After he hit .259 in April and May, observers pronounced him washed up. So what did Brett do? Through Sunday's games he was batting .388 since the All-Star break and was poised to become the only player to win batting titles in three different decades.