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March 23, 1998 | Volume 88, Issue 12

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Mark McGwire Cover - Sports Illustrated March 23, 1998

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
WHAT THEY NEEDED: They lost their ace when Andy Benes signed with Arizona, and the bullpen was a concern.

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
The Cardinals have been blessed with several impressive closers—Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, Dennis Eckersley-and all came to St. Louis as proven commodities. But even though Jeff Brantley was a...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Relievers with some hope of getting anybody out. Another proven starter. A leftfielder not named Rich Amaral. A first baseman to replace Paul Sorrento.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
Seattle got Heathcliff Slocumb in a trading deadline deal last year, hoping he'd stabilize a closer-by-committee bullpen that blew 27 saves in '97 While Slocumb did convert 10 of II save chances,...

March 23, 1998 | Stephen Cannella

March 23, 1998 | Stephen Cannella
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Pitching of every kind. A good second baseman. Infield depth.

March 23, 1998 | Stephen Cannella
By replacing a Rockies legend, Todd Helton is boldly going where no man has gone before—mainly because there had never been a Rockies legend to replace until first baseman Andres Galarraga went to...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A slugger to replace Joe Carter, an experienced closer, infield help.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
Although he was Toronto's starting pitcher on Opening Day just two years ago, Erik Hanson had to fight for the fourth or fifth spot in the Blue Jays rotation this spring. That's what happens when...

March 23, 1998 | Paul Gutierrez

March 23, 1998 | Paul Gutierrez
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Proven starters, a slugger at DH and a middle infielder.

March 23, 1998 | Paul Gutierrez
The last time Terry Collins and Phil Nevin hooked up, things got ugly. In 1995, Collins, then managing the Astros, informed Nevin, a rookie at the time, that he was being sent to Triple A. Nevin...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
WHAT THEY NEEDED: An ace to replace Darryl Kile. Pitching depth. A bit more pop in the outfield.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
Shane Reynolds is the Astros' ace, but for a team that once had the arms of Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard and Mike Scott," that doesn't mean quite what it used to. Now, with Darryl Kile gone to...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: The Padres haven't had a true ace in 18 years. Bullpen depth. A catcher.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
Greg Vaughn's middle name isn't "You Suck!" but Padres fans sure made it sound that way at Qualcomm Stadium, where the once potent slugger ran up Buddy Biancalana-sized numbers last season. At his...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
WHAT THEY NEEDED: With Todd Hundley expected to miss half the season, the Mets really wanted a starting catcher. They also went after bullpen help and an established starter.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
Last season, in just 471 plate appearances, Butch Huskey hit 24 homers and drove in 81 runs. That was nice, but the Mets are hoping for a lot more from their stocky rightfielder. The Marlins...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A closer to replace Rod Beck. A shortstop to replace Jose Vizcaino. More starting pitchers. A backup third baseman.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
When the Giants pulled off that late season "trade" with the White Sox for Roberto Hernandez, Wilson Alvarez and Danny Darwin, it seemed as if they'd landed two stars and a throw-in. Well, lo and...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
TERMINAL PATIENCE

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
WHAT THEY NEEDED: What they always need-pitching. A catcher would also be nice.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
Nobody was crying in Boston late last season when Steve Avery hinted that his return to Beantown was unlikely. The tears came in the off-season when the lefty decided to exercise his option for...

March 23, 1998
Women's Olympic hockey was an exciting example of how the game should be played.—J.M. Allard, Savannah

March 23, 1998
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer. They may be mailed to The Editor. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, New York,...

March 23, 1998
(www.cnnsi.com)SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and CNN team up on the Internet to offer complete coverage of the NCAA tournament. Catch the latest news and results, up-to-the-minute stats and expert analysis...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A steady shortstop. More starting pitching. A reserve catcher. Bullpen depth.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
Fernando Tatis has the biggest ears in major league baseball history (you could look it up). The only thing bigger than his lobes is his potential. This season Tatis, 23, will start at third for...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Starting pitching, as always. With Travis Fryman gone, a third baseman with some pop. A reliable veteran catcher and a second big outfield bat to go with Bobby Higginson's.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
In the majors, saying a pitcher has "great stuff" is a code for "why the hell doesn't he win more games?" Bruce Berenyi had great stuff. Remember him? Alas, should Scott Sanders again allow the 30...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: An ace, relievers, a leadoff hitter and a power hitter.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
He is the dean of the Brewers every-day players, which these days is about as significant as being the oldest former member of Menudo. Although John Jaha is starting his seventh season in...

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
FREE AGENTS WELCOME!

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Everything.

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
When Jeff Suppan learned that Boston was leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft, he—and he alone—was shocked. Now the 23-year-old righty, who went 7-3 last season, finds himself in...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
DEFINITELY BETTER THAN LAST YEAR

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
WHAT THEY NEEDED: What didn't they need?

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
We've all seen once-great vets use expansion as a life-support system for their wallets (Dale Murphy, Rockies), and' it's not pretty. Which doesn't mean Wade Boggs, 39, can't find his lifetime...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
EARNEST & YOUNG

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A 200-inning starter. Two or three players capable of producing 20 home runs and 80 RBIs. An owner with a lot of money he wants to spend on baseball players.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
Here is what we know about Jon Lieber: His wife's name is Jessica. He is from Iowa. He wears a chain. He throws righthanded. He is a pretty boring guy, which is perfect for the pretty boring...

March 23, 1998 | Mark McClusky

March 23, 1998 | Mark McClusky
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A second baseman to replace the retired Ryne Sandberg, a top-of-the-line closer, another slugger to team with Sammy Sosa, more starting pitchers.

March 23, 1998 | Mark McClusky
After watching every other ambulatory free agent shortstop sign a lucrative contract this off-season, Jeff Blauser finally decided to take matters into his own mitts and had his agent call the...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: They lost first baseman Hal Morris, outfielder Mike Kelly, pitchers Pete Schourek, Mike Morgan and Jeff Brantley. What do they need? You name it.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
Lost amid the ashes of a heinous offensive season in '97 (.223, seven homers) was the fact that Bret Boone set a major league record for fielding percentage by a second baseman. But while his .997...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
AN EXERCISE IN PHUTILITY

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Pitching to go with ace Curt Schilling. A centerfielder. Middle infield help.

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
The Phillies front office isn't thrilled about the return of Lenny Dykstra, the onetime wall-banger who hasn't played a game since May 1996. In fact, the team, which has to pick up his $6 million...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
ROYAL BLUES

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A shortstop to replace Jay Bell, a slugger to replace Chili Davis, proven starting pitching and a closer so they can put a fork in slumpadelic Jeff Montgomery.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
In Florida last year he was known as Mr. Marlin. That said, Jeff Conine was a) Mr. Too Expensive and b) Mr. Mediocre in '97, which is why he was traded back to Kansas City, where he began his...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
WHAT THEY NEEDED: With the departure of fan favorite Ozzie Guillen, the team desperately sought a solid vet who can play shortstop until flashy rookie Mike Caruso is ready. A starting catcher,...

March 23, 1998 | Tim Crothers
Guillen spent the spring trying to win a back-up job in Baltimore, while the White Sox want to hand their shortstop job to Benji Gil. Are the planets out of whack, or what? Gil's a lifetime .215...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
WAIT TILL LAST YEAR

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A really, really rich owner who wants to win. Players over the age of six. Fans who don't mind paying major league prices for minor league players.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Bamberger
As a rookie with the Brewers, Gary Sheffield once threw a ball over his first baseman's head, then said he had done so to make a point. Nine years later, the Florida outfielder has matured quite a...

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
TOMORROW NEVER COMES

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Restocking after their annual clearance sale of quality players, the Expos are always looking for cheap, young talent.

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
Over the past three seasons, the Expos have felt blessed that F.P. Santangelo can play six positions, because they dumped so many players that Felipe Alou never knew which hole he was going to...

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
WHAT THEY NEEDED: A leadoff hitter to replace Chuck Knoblauch, young arms and lots of power.

March 23, 1998 | Michael Farber
Whenever a poor team unloads a pricey vet, you know what's coming next—a cheap fill-in. The Twins say, "Goodbye, Chuck Knoblauch. Hello, Otis Nixon!" At the age of 39, Nixon is being asked to do...

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
A COMMITMENT TO MEDIOCRITY

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
WHAT THEY NEEDED: Proven starting pitching. Power. A third starting outfielder. A backup catcher. Anybody with major league skills. Warm bodies until the kids are ready.

March 23, 1998 | Tom Verducci
Over the past two seasons, Kenny Rogers, a brittle sort, broke down under the pressure of constant Bronx jeers. The As—whose motto is: We can't win, so don't sweat it—offer the perfect environment...

March 23, 1998 | Richard Deutsch
March 2, 1981

March 23, 1998 | Rick Reilly
No salary caps. No $100 million contracts. No arbitrators. No agents. No lockouts. Just this: a buzzer blaring and a basketball spinning near the rafters and two kids, two teams, two towns about...

March 23, 1998 | Richard Hoffer
Increasingly, there's this ideology juggernaut. Some cause comes along that brooks no sensible opposition. In this case, it's moving kind of slowly (top speed in a Cushman golf cart, turbo and...

March 23, 1998 | Richard Hoffer
•That Nike acknowledge the truth made clear by Michael Jordan's 42-point game against the Knicks in 15-year-old footwear: It's Michael, not the shoes.

March 23, 1998
M

March 23, 1998
15Percent drop in peanut sales at Space Coast Stadium after the Marlins began selling only shell-less nuts this spring.

March 23, 1998
YESLast year's romp gave Tiger a blueprint to draw on for years. On Augusta's extra-wide fairways, Woods is the best driver by a mile. He never hits more than an eight-iron to any par-4 and hardly...

March 23, 1998
The flyers and the Islanders dumped their coaches last week, bringing to six the number of NHL teams that have brought out the firing squad this season. But fans in Philadelphia and New York had...

March 23, 1998
Tony Robertson, a 17-year-old basketball star at St. Andrew's School in Barrington, R.I., who's shopping for an AAU summer team, wants, in his high school coach's words, to "play for someone who's...

March 23, 1998
SID HARTMANVeteran Minneapolis Star Tribune sports columnist, asked on a sports talk show for his thoughts on Tara Lipinski: "All I know is that Mr. Clinton's ratings keep on going up, so maybe...

March 23, 1998 | John Walters
Isiah Thomas is not an NBA All-Star analyst—yet

March 23, 1998 | John Walters
One hundred twenty-six games will be played in 33 cities by the time the NCAA men's and women's basketball champs are crowned. These sites will guide you through all the action on the roads to San...

March 23, 1998 | Scott Lauber
BU coach Jack Parker may have mellowed, but he still craves victory

March 23, 1998 | Ron Fimrite
In the Ballpark: The Working Lives of Baseball Peopleby George Gmelch and J.J. WeinerSmithsonian Institution Press, $21.95

March 23, 1998 | William Nack
Bill Mott and Favorite Trick were the winning ticket in the Swale

March 23, 1998
With Titanic steaming toward what seems certain to be a boatload of Oscars on Monday, it's an appropriate time to dredge up some memorable sporting Titanics. All of the following teams or...

March 23, 1998 | Grant Wahl

March 23, 1998 | L. Jon Wertheim
The much ballyhooed fly-fishing boom seems to have caught a snag

March 23, 1998 | Leo W. Banks
Larry Walker drives one deep to right....It's going...going...into the swimming pool!

March 23, 1998
On March 24 an arbitrator will begin hearing a grievance filed by the Major League Baseball Players Association that could make J.D. Drew a free agent instead of sending him back into the June...

March 23, 1998
Garrett Miller, Erdenhiem, Pa.RowingMiller, a junior at Penn, won the collegiate men's division of the Charles River Association of Sculling Has Beens world indoor rowing championships, conducted...

March 23, 1998 | John Walters
Saturday 3/21

March 23, 1998 | John Walters
You be the judge. CBS says as much by airing The Great Skate Debate (Friday, 9 p.m.), in which a dozen former world champions, among them Scott Hamilton and Katerina Witt, can be scored on a...