In a play destined for highlight film immortality, outfielder Rodney McCray of the Triple A Vancouver Canadians ran headlong through the plywood outfield wall at Civic Stadium in Portland, Ore., on May 27. Amazingly, all he suffered was a bloody nose and some cuts on his forehead, and he was able to finish the inning. "The first thing I thought was, Man, I just ran through the wall," McCray says. "Then I thought about two movies, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars, with the guy who ran through the wall and never came back, and The Natural, where the guy ran through the wall and died. I'm not dead, though. I'm built pretty good. I've got three-percent body fat and a really hard head. I only stayed down for a minute behind the fence because I fell in a mud puddle back there."
?Sleepy Little Valle
Mariners catcher Dave Valle missed Seattle's flight to Texas last Wednesday evening because he fell asleep in the back of the team bus on the way to the airport and didn't wake up as the other Mariners piled off. "I woke up, saw we were back at the Kingdome and screamed," said Valle. "The bus driver almost ran off the road. He thought the bus was empty." Teammate Harold Reynolds said, "The amazing part is that he was awake and guys were talking to him three minutes before the bus got to the airport." Valle got to spend an extra night at home with his family, then flew to Texas the next morning, caught six innings against the Rangers that night and broke a 3-for-58 batting slump with a home run.
?Working on Those Fundamentals
In a week of firsts, Padres outfielder Darrin Jackson pitched two innings in relief, second basemen Jerry Browne of the Indians and Tommy Herr of the Mets played the outfield for a whole game and for two innings, respectively, and A's centerfielder Dave Henderson played second base for an inning. Henderson almost had to make a tag play at second on a steal attempt by the Blue Jays' Pat Borders, but the pitch was fouled off. Henderson was ready, though. "I can catch the ball, you know," he said. "Then all you have to do is smack the guy on the side of the head."
?Born to Bun
Pirate catcher Mike (Spanky) LaValliere, perhaps the slowest runner in the National League, hit a triple on May 28, his first since 1986 and only the third of his six-year career. "It was a flare, the centerfielder dove for it, the leftfielder tripped over him, and the ball rolled to the wall," says LaValliere. "That's what it took for me to get one." Says Pittsburgh bullpen coach Rich Donnelly, "Spanky told [third base coach] Gene Lamont that if he had waved him home, he would have punched him right in the mouth."
?By the Numbers
?The Braves' 17-9 record in May ended a miserable streak of 23 straight losing months dating back to June 1987. To put that in perspective, the longest current streak of losing months is now three, belonging to the Royals.
?Twins rookie second baseman Chuck Knoblauch has been awarded first base twice this season on catcher's interference—both times with Texas's Geno Petralli behind the plate.
?When the Phillies' Tommy Greene shut out the Expos on May 28, he became the first Philadelphia pitcher to throw shutouts in consecutive starts since Steve Carlton did it in 1972. Through May 13, the Phillies had gone 41 straight games without a shutout; they threw four in 13 games after that.