Major league managers disagreed with nine of the fans’ 16 picks to start in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, according to a survey by The Associated Press.
In the American League, Mark McGwire would replace Frank Thomas at first base, Roberto Alomar would bump Carlos Baerga at second, Jim Thome would bounce Wade Boggs at third, and Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez would start in the outfield instead of Ken Griffey Jr. and Kirby Puckett.
Griffey, who finished first in the fan voting, has been sidelined since May 26 and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Lofton, who finished fourth in fan voting.
In the National League, Mark Grace would be at first instead of Fred McGriff, Barry Larkin would start at shortstop instead of Ozzie Smith, and Reggie Sanders and Raul Mondesi would be in the outfield instead of Lenny Dykstra and Tony Gwynn.
Larkin will start at shortstop because Smith has been on the disabled list since May 24. Cal Ripken, voted to start at shortstop by A.L. fans, tied in the managers’ voting with Gary DiSarcina.
Managers picked Greg Maddux to be the starting pitcher for the N.L. and Kevin Appier for the A.L.. Maddux has a slight groin pull and won’t pitch and was replaced Saturday by John Smiley (9-1) of Cincinnati.
Belliard’s power outage
Rey Sanchez of the Cubs hit just the second home run of his major-league career against the Mets last week. He went 911 at-bats and nearly three years between homers.
But Sanchez looks like the Bambino compared with Atlanta’s Rafael Belliard. His last home run came when he was with the Pirates in 1987 off the late San Diego Padres pitcher Eric Show.
There have been nearly 29,000 home runs in the major leagues since Belliard hit his latest, and only, one.
Twice last year, Belliard came within a few feet of home runs, and he figures those were his best shots.
“I think that’s the closest I can come,” he said. “Somebody has got to hang a breaking ball one time. They’re pitching me like Frank Thomas.”
Belliard never has seen a replay of his home run. His wife set their VCR to record the game, but when they went to play it back, the tape was blank.
Fall classic classics?
Previewing some possible matchups in the 1995 World Series, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press has this to offer:
Indians-Rockies: The record for most runs by both clubs in a World Series is 82, by the Yankees and Pirates in 1960.
Red Sox-Reds: Rematch of the ‘75 classic.
Indians-Reds: In 1983, the Phillies and Orioles played the I-95 World Series. In ‘85, the Cardinals and Royals played the I-70 World Series. This would be the I-71 World Series.
Dodgers-Angels: The Freeway Series.
Indians-Braves: Protests by Native American groups. Greg Maddux against that Cleveland lineup. And the last time the Indians won the World Series was two relocations ago by the Braves; they beat the Boston Braves in ‘48 and never got to play the Milwaukee Braves.
Red Sox-Dodgers: Boston skipper Kevin Kennedy takes on the organization he grew up in.
Angels-Phillies: Philadelphia manager Jim Fregosi was an original Angel and managed the club to its first division title.
Athletics-Giants: Rematch of the earthquake series, and this time Barry Bonds makes the Fall Classic for the first time.
Dodgers-Yankees: For the 12th time.
Tigers-Reds: Sparky goes back to Cincinnati.
July 15 will mark the one-year anniversary of Batgate, the still unsolved mystery centering on Albert Belle’s magically disappearing corked bat. Many questions remain unanswered: Who corked the bat? Who climbed through the ceiling ducts at Comiskey Park to remove it from the locked umpires’ room? How did former White Sox manager Gene Lamont know it was corked?
Only Columbo could solve this one. But according to sources close to the Indians, the man who actually performed the corking of Belle’s bat died last winter. Belle isn’t talking, but Cleveland pitcher Dennis Martinez is still upset that someone from the Sox allegedly entered the visitors’ locker room the night before the incident, supposedly to get Belle’s bats and put them through an X-ray machine.
“We found out there were people down here that went through our clubhouse, and we didn’t enjoy that,” Martinez said. “We didn’t like that at all. Under the law, they did the wrong thing. That’s why I really get mad when I think about that.”
How could Martinez be so sure someone was in the Indians’ locker room? Because a Sox player told several Indians that after hearing the story from a Comiskey Park security guard.
“People talk,” Martinez said.
And sometimes they don’t.
A Texas welcome
The fans in Houston already have their calendars marked for Aug. 8-10. That’s the next time Felipe Alou and his Montreal Expos will be in the Astrodome. Alou is manager of the National League All-Star team this year and is less popular than a Democratic presidential candidate in Texas these days after Astros outfielder Derek Bell was left off the All-Star team.
Bell has a shot at the N.L. batting crown. “I was told he said it was because I didn’t have enough homers,” Bell said. “I’m frustrated by this, but there’s nothing I can do about it except go out and keep playing hard. I didn’t make the All-Star team, but I can still help this team win and maybe, if things go good for us, I can win an MVP. That’s my goal now, to help this team make the playoffs and become the MVP.”
This from Cal’s countdown corner
Cal Ripken note of the week:
The Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles in 1982.
Ripken began his consecutive-game streak in 1982.
The Raiders have moved back to Oakland.
Ripken’s streak is still going.
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