Touching Home Before Making Rounds

Baseball players who stay in the guest room of Abe and Bertha Wapnick's Sepulveda home are often affected by the draft--the Major League draft.

The Wapnicks have had four college baseball players live with them over the past three years. Every one of them has later been picked in various rounds of the professional draft.

"It must be a pretty good bedroom, huh?" Bertha Wapnick said.

Wapnick's son, Steve, was a draft choice of both the Oakland A's and the San Diego Padres last season, but opted for a scholarship to Fresno State.

Steve Wapnick's Moorpark College teammate, Ray Young, was the first to stay with the Wapnicks, moving in for a couple of weeks during the 1984 season. Young also was the first of the baseball boarders to be selected by a professional team. He is now one of the Dodgers' top pitching prospects, playing in their farm system.

"Ray needed a place to stay while he looked for an apartment," Bertha Wapnick said. "I said, 'why not?' "

The following year, Tim Lichty, another Moorpark player, moved into the spare room. Lichty, who grew up in Reno, Nev., stayed for a year and a half before being drafted by the Montreal Expos.

The Wapnicks didn't mind.

"Are you kidding?" Bertha said. "As long as we have the space, it's all right with me."

They had the space again this season, so Moorpark pitcher Bob Ayrault, who is from Carson City, Nev., called for reservations and moved in at the end of last summer. He was picked by the San Diego Padres in the January draft.

"I get a big kick out of having the boys stay here," Bertha said. "It's like they're part of our family."

"It keeps my wife and I younger than we'd normally be, because there's always someone around to care for," Bertha's husband, Abe, said.

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