The vote for National League Manager of the Year appears to be a choice among three men:
--Pete Rose, who has kept the Cincinnati Reds in contention in the West into the last week of the season.
--Whitey Herzog, who has the Cardinals atop the East even though, by his own admission, he became “45 games dumber” when St. Louis lost Bruce Sutter through free agency last winter.
--Tom Lasorda, whose team was close to self-destruction in May but wound up virtually unchallenged during the last eight weeks, comfortably sitting in first place.
When a newspaper recently polled San Diego players for their choice, only one Padre came out in favor of Lasorda. Nice of Steve Garvey putting in a good word for his former skipper, wasn’t it?
Only it wasn’t Garvey. The Padre who was pro-Lasorda was none other than Kurt Bevacqua, the same guy who once called the Dodger manager a “fat little Italian.”
Babe Ruth II?: While everyone else paid homage to Dwight Gooden’s club-record eighth shutout against the Chicago Cubs Thursday, which extended to 48 the number of innings he has pitched without allowing an earned run, the New York Mets right-hander was savoring another number: his batting average.
His single Thursday gave Gooden a .417 average in his last five games, with a home run and seven RBIs. Overall, Gooden is batting .231.
“I’m having more fun batting than pitching right now,” Gooden said. “I always told people I could hit.”
Add Gooden: His first big-league loss was to the Cubs, 11-2, a game in which Gooden got the feeling the Cubs were hot-dogging it. Soon after, he was quoted as saying: “From, now on and for the rest of my career, the Cubs are on my list.”
Gooden’s record vs. the Cubs in 1985: 5-0 record, 2 shutouts, 1.00 earned-run average.
Tudor tally: Only one left-hander in history has ever recorded more shutouts in a single season than the Cardinals’ John Tudor, who has 10. That was Sandy Koufax, who had 11 with the Dodgers in 1963.
Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants, who had 10 in 1933, is the only other big-league left-hander to reach double figures in shutouts.
When Tudor shut out the Philadelphia Phillies last Thursday, he joined teammate Joaquin Andujar as a 20-game winner, the first time the Cardinals have had two 20-game winners since 1942, when Mort Cooper was 22-7 and John Beazley 21-6.
The last time any National League team has had two 20-game winners was 1969, when Bill Singer (20) and Claude Osteen (20) of the Dodgers, and Ferguson Jenkins (21) and Bill Hands (20) of the Cubs all won 20 or more.
Tudor, who had a 1-7 record two months into the season, had never won more than 13 games in a season. “It’s beyond my imagination that I can continue to do this,” Tudor said.
Add Cardinals: With four players having stolen 30 or more bases and Ozzie Smith close behind with 27, the Cardinals should go over a total of 300 stolen bases this weekend. But before Friday night, they needed 53 steals in their last nine games to break the all-time record (since 1900) of 347 set by the 1911 Giants.
Still to be determined is whether rookie Vince Coleman will finish with more steals than strikeouts. As of Friday, he led the NL with 105 steals but had 109 strikeouts.
Last add Cardinals: Jack Clark hasn’t played since he beat the Montreal Expos with a home run eight days ago. Clark has a strained muscle in his rib cage.
Said Clark, who probably won’t play again before the playoffs: “These guys are going to win with or without me, anyway.”
Grounded Penguin?: The Cubs recently tried outfielder-first baseman Keith Moreland at third base for five games. Billy Hatcher played right field, while Ron Cey sat on the bench.
The reason for the experiment: Cub Manager Jim Frey would like to see more speed in Chicago’s lineup, which Hatcher would give them, while keeping Moreland’s prolific bat.
The Cub brass is scheduled to meet Monday to determine what direction they’ll take next season, which may affect Cey’s future, as well.