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The game-winning home runs in the Series by No. 9 hitter Greg Gagne and No. 8 hitter Scott Leius revealed a season-long secret of the Twins' success—the great balance of the Minnesota baiting order. Here are the regular-season RBI totals from each spot in the Minnesota lineup, one through nine, respectively: 73, 66, 104, 116, 95, 84, 80, 58, 57. Every spot in the order hit at least .250, but only the No. 3 spot (.315) surpassed .300. Talk about a team effort: There's a good chance that not one member of the American League champs will finish in the top five in the MVP voting.
The Major League Baseball Players Association received 3,173 claims from 843 current or former players in connection with collusion cases in which the owners were found to have constricted the free-agent market for the 1986, '87 and '88 seasons. There were 2,319 claims for lost salary and 854 for lost jobs or other damages, including emotional distress. The MLBPA has a $280 million damage land—the settlement sum paid by the owners—but the claims total $1.3 billion. An agent says one player made claims totaling $26.7 million; 58 players filed claims of $5 million or more.
The next step by the MLBPA is to review each claim and propose settlements. A player can then take his case to an arbitrator for a decision. Most players probably won't get any money in their hands for at least 18 months. "The players are in for a big surprise," says the agent. "They think there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There won't be."
The Braves' success has created at least one off-season roster dilemma: what to do with late-season bullpen savior Alejandro Pena, who can become a free agent. Pena had 14 saves in 14 opportunities for Atlanta after arriving in August from the Mets, and will undoubtedly seek a two-or three-year contract worth from $5 million to $7 million. But the Braves also have short relievers Juan Berenguer, Kent Mercker, Mike Stanton and Mark Wohlers for 1992. Says G.M. John Schuerholz, "[ Pena] has done such a great job. The only question is whether there's room. We've got Berenguer signed for another year, and he was impeccable before he got hurt."
...One AL executive says the most significant off-season move made by the Twins was not the signing of DH Chili Davis or pitcher Jack Morris, but the hiring of batting coach Terry Crowley out of the Boston system....
The Orioles have moved deep into negotiations with free-agent first baseman Glenn Davis without offering him more than a one-year contract—an indication that the free-agent market won't be nearly as lucrative for players as it was last winter. Many teams are feeling financial pressure: The As and Giants, for instance, both lost money in 1991....
An Eric Davis for Benito Santiago deal is beginning to gain steam. Davis and Santiago can both be free agents after the '92 season. Santiago was booed heavily in San Diego; a change of scenery would be good for him and for the Padres....
The real tip-off on Steve Avery, Atlanta's 21-year-old lefty pitching sensation, came after he had singled with one out in the third inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in Pittsburgh. The temperature was in the 40's, but Avery, after shooing away the kid who brought out his warmup jacket, slid hard into second base to break up a double play.