On the Hit List
Phillie first baseman John Kruk got hit by a pitch for the first time in his major league career on Aug. 21, when the Pirates' Randy Tomlin plunked him on Kruk's 2,682nd plate appearance. "It didn't feel good," says Kruk. The new leader among active players for most plate appearances without being hit is Cincinnati's Herm Winningham, with 1,799. "Kruk got hit? That's great. I'm the lone one, right?" says Winningham, howling with laughter. "The two of us joked about it before. When we played in Philly this year, he almost got hit. He looked right in the dugout at me. Afterward I told him, 'John, you'll get it.' But who would want to hit me?"
It's hard to know for sure, but major league history may have been made in Kansas City on Aug. 23, when Texas's Juan Gonzalez scored on a four-base error—by an infielder. In the eighth inning of the Rangers' 6-1 win, Gonzalez hit a fly ball to short right. Royals second baseman Terry Shumpert drifted back and collided with rightfielder Danny Tartabull, sending the ball rolling to the warning track. Gonzalez and the two runners on base in front of him scored. Shumpert was charged with the error.
He's No Strikeout Pitcher
As of Sunday, Astro pitcher Mark Portugal had not struck out in 33 at bats this year. That's the most at bats by a player who has not yet fanned. "I just swing at the first thing I see," says Portugal. "Maybe I'll set some sort of record and get my name in the books. I've made my teammates aware of the streak. I have a fun side bet that I won't strike out this year. I just hope I don't have to face [ Montreal's] Dennis Martinez again."
Paul Postier, an infielder for the Rangers' Triple A farm team in Oklahoma City, has pitched In relief four times this season. He was even credited with a victory after going three innings on Aug. 6. "It's fun, but I can't lift my arm the next day," says Postier. In his latest outing, on Aug. 15 against the Omaha Royals, he went from shortstop to the mound and got only seven warmup pitches. " Jeffrey Leonard hit the longest home run I've ever seen in my life," says Postier. "I think it went 500 miles. I was hoping he'd do a one-flap down circle of the bases, but he didn't. I guess because he hit it off me."
Former major league third baseman Wayne Gross managed San Ramon Valley, Calif., which reached the final of last week's Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Before the game, Jim Palmer, who played on the Orioles with Gross and broadcast the game for ABC, said jokingly, "His kids can only hit in day games." In his last four full big league seasons, 1982 to '85, Gross batted .301, .298, .306 and .297, respectively, in day games, and .225, .192, .175 and .209 at night.
By the Numbers
?On Aug. 19, Oakland's Jose Canseco hit his 200th homer. It came on his 3,067th at bat. Only Ralph Kiner, Babe Ruth, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Rocky Colavito, Willie McCovey, Dave Kingman, Willie Mays and Jimmie Foxx got 200 home runs in fewer at bats.