Umpires are supposed to be models of integrity. So it came as a surprise when National League ump Bob Engel was arrested on April 21 for shoplifting in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. A major league umpire since 1965, Engel was allegedly caught in the act of stealing seven boxes of Score baseball cards (valued at $143.98) by the store's security officer, according to Bakersfield police. If convicted, Engel could face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He also could lose his job. Last week National League president Bill White gave Engel a leave of absence "so that he can direct his energy toward the charges that have been leveled against him." Engel has refused to comment publicly on the situation, though he told police that he took the cards to "collect and trade them." One collector's item that wasn't among the cards the umpire is charged with stealing was a Bob Engel card issued by T & M Sports of Spring Valley, Calif., last year. It is noteworthy for the answers Engel gave to questions that appeared on the back.
HOMER OF THE WEEK
On April 25, Boston's Bill Buckner, not exactly a speedster, hit an inside-the-park home run at Fenway Park against the Angels when rightfielder Claudell Washington, who has since been traded to the Yankees, fell into the stands trying to catch the ball. Said Buckner, "I don't know what's a better story—the inside-the-park homer, or that it kept me on the roster and made me the every-day first baseman."
Phillie pitcher Don Carman, a .047 career hitter entering the season, was batting 1.000 after getting a line drive single off the Cardinals' Frank DiPino on April 21. Carman, who can't remember ever having hit a ball in the air to an outfielder, said that even Ted Williams never hit 1.000, or .500, for that matter. "Although if he had those five years he lost [to service in the Marine Corps], he might have done it one of those years." Carman was nonchalant about the attention his belt received. "Yes, Peter Jennings called," he said. "He wanted the clip."
BY THE NUMBERS
?Last Thursday, Texas's Nolan Ryan got his 12th career one-hitter and struck out 16 batters—a club record for a nine-inning game—in a 1-0 win over the White Sox. Since turning 40 in 1987, Ryan has fanned 16 twice. The only American League pitcher in this century to strike out 16 in a game after age 30 was Rube Waddell in 1908. He was 32.
?Since Cub second baseman Ryne Sandberg's last error—on June 20, 1989—Ryan has struck out 219 batters, Bo Jackson has whiffed 117 times and Bobby Bonilla has committed 21 errors.
?As of Sunday, St. Louis pitcher John Tudor, who missed virtually all of 1989 with shoulder injuries, was 54-22 as a Cardinal. With the Red Sox, Pirates and Dodgers he was 55-46.
? Philadelphia won four straight games before losing 12-7 to the Reds on April 25. The Phillies haven't won five consecutive games since Aug. 22, 1987. Every other major league team has had at least one five-game victory streak since then. The A's have had 11.
? Detroit pitchers went 28 innings in a row without a 1-2-3 inning.