It was just four years ago that Robin Yount, already a veteran at 26, embarked on a season in which he was acclaimed as the best player in the American League and, possibly, in baseball.
In his ninth season with the Milwaukee Brewers, the former boy wonder hit .331 and had 46 doubles, 29 home runs and 114 runs batted in. He was also a brilliant fielding shortstop who led the Brewers to their only pennant, and earned the Most Valuable Player award.
Beginning with the defeat by St. Louis in the World Series, there haven’t been many good times since for either Yount or the Brewers. Two major operations on his right shoulder have forced him to become a center fielder.
Despite his problems, Yount has no regrets. After his performance Wednesday at Chicago, the Brewers don’t either. Yount had four hits, drove in a run and scored another in a 4-3 victory over the White Sox.
Tim Leary held the White Sox to two runs and five hits in seven innings to gain the victory. Ray Searage finished, giving up a home run to Chicago rookie John Cangelosi in the ninth.
It was a little more than 12 years ago that as an awkward 18-year-old out of Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Yount broke into the Brewers’ lineup. That was two operations and six managers ago.
“I’ve had a bittersweet career in many ways,” Yount recently told UPI. “But there’s not one minute I would want to change. I feel that I’ve experienced a lot of what life has to offer.
“The hardest thing for me wasn’t the surgery. It was adjusting to the fact that I wasn’t going to play shortstop anymore. Unfortunately, after shifting to the outfield last year, I still didn’t remain healthy.”
After more surgery, he wound up in center field this season.
“I honestly think I will have a good year,” he said. “We may surprise some people. We will score runs and, if we get the pitching from our youngsters, we’ll be tough. Already Teddy (Higuera, winner of the opener) and Tim have given us solid pitching.”
Richard Dotson, making his first start since June 7, gave up six hits and all four runs in six innings. Dotson, recovering from shoulder surgery, threw hard and said he was encouraged despite the loss.
Kansas City 7, New York 4--George Brett feels comfortable at the plate in Yankee Stadium. Too comfortable to suit the Yankees.
The batting star of the defending World Series champions hit two solo home runs to help the Royals chase Ed Whitson and even their record at 1-1.
Steve Farr held the Yankees to one hit in 4 innings of relief to gain the victory in relief of Charlie Leibrandt, a 17-game winner last season.
Brett also had two errors, but they didn’t figure in the scoring.
When Whitson departed after giving up 6 hits and 4 runs in 2 innings, he was booed by the New York fans.
Toronto 3, Texas 1--Doyle Alexander held the Rangers scoreless through eight innings at Arlington, Tex., and won his 150th major league victory.
Alexander had a five-hitter until the ninth, when the Rangers scored their runs.
The Blue Jays spoiled the Ranger debut of Edwin Corea, 19. He was struck in the leg by a line drive in the fourth and left after five innings, trailing, 2-0.
Detroit 6, Boston 5--It took Wade Boggs, the top hitter in the majors last season, just two games to get back into the swing. After striking out three times and leaving four runners stranded in Monday’s opener at Detroit, Boggs had four hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs in the second game of the season.
His fourth hit, in the top of the 10th gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. But then Kirk Gibson, with his seventh hit of the young season, singled to start the Tigers’ winning rally in the bottom of the inning. Darrell Evans, who also had four hits, including two home runs, drove in the tying run and scored the winner on a two-out single by Dave Bergman.
The rally made a winner out of Willie Hernandez.
Baltimore 4, Cleveland 3--The Indians were holding a 3-2 lead at Baltimore with two on and nobody out in the ninth inning. It was an ideal spot for bullpen ace Ernie Camacho.
But Camacho is recovering from elbow surgery and is being brought along slowly. So, the assignment went to Scott Bailes. In his debut as a major leaguer, Bailes struck out John Shelby and got Rick Dempsey on a fly. But pinch-hitter Juan Bonilla ripped a double into the right-field corner, and the Orioles had their first victory of the season.
Minnesota 5, Oakland 4--Kent Hrbek doubled off ace relief pitcher Jay Howell in the eighth inning at Oakland to break a 3-3 tie, and the Twins went on to win their second in a row.
Mike Smithson went the distance for the Twins, giving up eight hits but only two earned runs.