A Method to His Madness
One of the real flakes in minor league baseball is pitcher Turk Wendell, who was 8-2 in the season's first half for the Braves' farm club in Greenville, S.C., and started the Double A all-star game for the National League team. Wendell often runs from the hotel to the stadium on road trips as part of his 10-mile-a-day running regimen. He also doesn't wear sanitary socks when he pitches; he stuffs his stirrup socks into his shoes so that no skin shows. "I don't like socks," says Wendell. "When I wear them, I get blisters."
He has a chaw in his cheek when he pitches, but it's not tobacco, it's black licorice. "Makes me look more intimidating," he says. But the licorice stains his teeth, so he brushes after every inning. "I'm into dental hygiene," says Wendell. "Guys say I'm a lunatic, but I don't care. It gives me a psychological edge."
?A Family Affair
The Jacksonville Suns, Seattle's Double A team, have two all-stars who have a chance to become the first third-generation big leaguers: catcher Jim Campanis (son of Jim, grandson of Al) and second baseman Bret Boone (son of Bob, grandson of Ray). Campanis and Boone have been friends since the age of 13, when they played against each other in high school and would work out together at Anaheim Stadium. On June 30, Campanis was married to Lisa Barsonti at home plate at Wolfson Park in Jacksonville before a game against the Huntsville ( Ala.) Stars. His best man, Huntsville's Dave Latter, was the losing pitcher, and he walked Campanis the only time he faced him. Boone, who also was a member of the wedding, drove in the winning run.
?The Case of the Mistaken Cecil Espy
The Dodgers invited one of their former outfielders, Cecil Espy, 28, to their Old-Timers' game last month, but they didn't realize that he's still playing for the Buffalo Bisons, the Pirates' Triple A team. The invitation was mistakenly sent to Espy's father, Cecil, 51, a scout for the Cardinals who lives in San Diego. "I called and told 'em that they'd made a mistake, that Cecil is still playing," says the elder Espy. "They said, 'No, it's you we want.' I thought it must be a Dodgers-Cardinals Old-Timers' game." He went to the game in L.A., but "when I got there, it was all ex-Dodgers, so I didn't play. Man, they had it all screwed up."
?The Next Ron Hunt
Outfielder Terrel Hansen of the Tidewater (Va.) Tides, the Mets' Triple A team, has been hit by a pitch 14 times this year, tops in the International League. He was hit 24 times last year in Double A. "In college I got hit a lot," says Hansen, who attended Washington State, "but in my junior year, we had a guy who got hit 25 times. He got hit four times in one game. We all just learned how to turn your shoulder into the ball."
Hansen, though, asks for no sympathy for his many bruises. "I signed [with the Expos] as a pitcher," he says. "I hit guys. And I had no sympathy for them."
?By the Numbers
>On July 2, the Mariners' rookie league team in Tempe, Ariz., pulled a rare triple steal in the eighth inning of a game against the Scottsdale Giants. Renaldo Bullock, who had six steals in the game, scored the winning run by swiping home on the front end of the triple steal.