If looking for a hidden advantage in today’s 59th baseball All-Star game, just pick up your Monday morning newspaper. Turn to the box scores.
Four of the 10 National League pitchers, all starters, worked Sunday. Only one American League pitcher worked, and that was Milwaukee Brewers reliever Dan Plesac, and that was only for one inning.
Said AL Manager Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins: “All my guys are ready, all my guys can pitch, which isn’t the case on the other side.”
Said NL Manager Whitey Herzog of the St. Louis Cardinals: “I may be getting into my bullpen guys pretty early (Todd Worrell of St. Louis, Mark Davis of San Diego). I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”
Essentially, Herzog doesn’t have full use of Dodger Orel Hershiser, New York Met David Cone, Chicago Cub Greg Maddux or Pittsburgh Pirate Bob Walk. All pitched Sunday.
Said Hershiser: “I’ll pitch if Whitey wants, but I wouldn’t mind a day of rest.”
Said Maddux: “I can maybe give him an inning. Maybe.”
Thus, Herzog is counting mainly on starter Dwight Gooden of the Mets and No. 2 man Bob Knepper of the Houston Astros, both of whom pitched Friday. He said after that he will go to the Cincinnati Reds’ Danny Jackson and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Kevin Gross, and finish with Worrell (a right-hander) and Davis (a left-hander).
“The last thing I want to do is hurt somebody’s arm for the rest of the season,” Herzog said.
All of which is fine with short reliever Davis, making his first All-Star appearance.
“Tell Whitey that I can go however long he needs me to go,” Davis said, pausing, then frowning. “Yeah, watch, I’ll end up having to go four innings or something.”
The Cubs’ decision to pitch Maddux Sunday in San Diego has caused part of the problem. With a 15-3 record and 2.14 earned-run average, Maddux could have been tonight’s starter had he not pitched Sunday. Maddux could have thrown Saturday with normal rest.
“I don’t care about not starting, why screw up a whole rotation just for a chance to start in an All-Star game,” said Maddux, 22, in defense of Cub Manager Don Zimmer. “I barely expected to make the team out of spring training, and here I am, sitting here in an All-Star clubhouse. I’ve got nothing to complain about.”
The final two players picked for the All-Star game appeared happier Monday than the ones picked before them. If nothing else, they’ll have better memories.
Walk, the Pirate veteran, was phoned at 8:30 a.m. Sunday and told he was replacing injured San Francisco Giants second baseman Robby Thompson. It will be Walk’s first All-Star appearance.
“I was planning on having a big barbecue at my house,” said Walk, who lives in the Tehachapi Mountains outside Los Angeles. “I was going to do what normal people do in July. Cincinnati is the last place I thought I’d be this week.
“But that’s OK. I canceled the barbecue. It’s hard for a guy like me to make the team. I’ve got to take advantage of it.”
For Kansas City Royals shortstop Kurt Stillwell, who replaced injured Chicago White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen, it was a bit more harried.
He was told in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game in New York.
“Duke (Royals Manager John Wathan) called me over and told me that I couldn’t go on this trip I had planned to the Ozark Mountains,” Stillwell said. “Told me I had to be ready for a Tuesday night workout. I said, ‘Fine,’ wondering what he had in mind.
“All of a sudden he says, ‘That workout is Tuesday in Cincinnati. You’re in the All-Star game.’ ”
Perhaps the happiest man on the field tonight won’t be completely on the field, but straddling the left-field foul line. He is umpire Randy Marsh, who lives just across the river in Edgewood, Ky.
Making his second All-Star appearance, but first one near home, he was so excited he purchased 42 tickets for friends and relatives.
“It was expensive, but no way was I going to let those people pay,” Marsh said. “Those are the people who have stood behind me all these years. I want them to enjoy it.”
Don’t worry about Paul Molitor, the Milwaukee designated hitter who will be starting at second base tonight because there was no other position for him on the all-star ballot.
He played second Saturday night for the first time this year, and said the skills all came back. Well, most of them.
“I took a few grounders, and got used to looking at the game from that perspective,” Molitor said, noting that he played 25 games at second base this spring, and played there for the last month of last season. “It felt kind of funny, but I’ve been working the last couple of days on taking pivots and things like that. I’m also glad this game is on turf, so I don’t have to learn the field.
“For a couple of innings or so, I should be fine.”
Although Molitor’s problems will be relieved beginning next season when the designated hitter will be used in every All-Star game, he wishes baseball could settle the overall DH problem as well.
“We should either get the DH in both leagues, or eliminate it completely,” Molitor said. “It’s gone on too long like this, and just doesn’t make any sense.”
Will Clark of the San Francisco Giants, who have won 10 of 12 games to pull to within 2 1/2 games of the Dodgers, says the All-Star game couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“The way we’re playing, you never just want to stop,” said Clark, the NL starting first baseman. “We’ve been sort of establishing momentum, and you don’t want that to stop. We want to play every day. We’re ready to play every day.
“We’re chasing the Dodgers, sure, but as much as that, they are trying to stay away from us.”
The only rookie on either team tonight, Cincinnati third baseman Chris Sabo, could easily have been a rookie in a different sport.
Just a few years ago, he was a goalie on the Niagara Falls Flyers of the Ontario Junior League, one of hockey’s top minor leagues.
“Nine guys off that team have made the NHL,” Sabo said Monday. “We had some guys who could play.”
Sabo could easily pass for a hockey player.
“Goalie, third base, they’re a lot alike,” he said. “It’s all reactions.”
Same amount of fighting involved, too.
“Yeah, as a goalie you never get in fights,” he said. “It’s too tough to move around and get away from the other guy.”
As one of three Reds on the team, along with shortstop Barry Larkin and pitcher Danny Jackson, Sabo is ensured one of three standing ovations tonight.
“Goose bumps, I’m going to get goose bumps,” he predicted. “It will be like opening day here, when I’ve never been higher in my life.”
Pirate center fielder Andy Van Slyke knew he had the statistics to be chosen for the All-Star team--.293, 13 homers, 56 runs batted in--but he wasn’t sure he had the pull.
After all, the man who traded him away just before the 1987 season, Herzog, would be doing the selecting.
“The way I played for him, he probably looked at this year’s stats and said, ‘What the heck is going on?” said Van Slyke, who hit .270 with 13 homers with 61 RBIs in his last year for the Cardinals in 1986. “He probably wondered if my name was Andy or Sybil. He probably thought I had a split personality.
“I’m just glad he made his calls and talked to other people about me.”
Atlanta Braves outfielder Dale Murphy was named Monday as the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, presented annually by major league baseball to the player who best exemplifies the game both on and off the field.
“It’s been an interesting year for both the Braves and me,” Murphy said. “This is the highlight.”
Darryl Strawberry’s All-Star locker is normally occupied by his longtime friend from Los Angeles, Eric Davis, the Reds’ struggling center fielder.
“I think the Reds put me here for luck,” Strawberry said with a smile. “They were hoping some of it rubs off.”
Strawberry is batting .284 with 21 homers and 55 runs batted in. Davis is batting .245 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs.
On the dismal first half of his Phillies, catcher Lance Parrish said: “It’s a real letdown. We’ve been a big disappointment offensively. We still had a chance of winning a lot of games if we had executed like we’re supposed to, but we didn’t. It’s going to take a big effort to turn it around. The guys are going to have to want to do it. They’re going to have to want to win.”
Parrish was named the National League’s backup catcher despite a .229 batting average. His 12 homers and 47 RBIs indicate he will improve on his 1987 NL debut, when he hit 17 homers and had 67 RBIs. “It’s a great thrill,” he said of his selection. “I feel like I’ve driven over a few potholes to get here.”
Kevin Gross’ mother, Margo, obviously had a driving passion to see her son make his All-Star debut. The Philadelphia pitcher said she drove to Cincinnati from her Oxnard home, leaving Friday morning. “She won’t fly. You can’t get her on a plane,” he said.
What does Dwight Gooden, tonight’s National League starter, remember about his 1986 All-Star start in the Houston Astrodome?
“Lou Whitaker,” Gooden said.
Whitaker hit a two-run homer off Gooden, and the American League won, 3-2.
Met pitcher David Cone, who hit Pedro Guerrero with the pitch that prompted Guerrero to throw his bat in retaliation, said of the incident: “I’d like to say it’s over, but I don’t think he’s forgotten it, and I know I haven’t. Hopefully, we can put it behind us and it won’t affect play. I certainly didn’t mean to hit him. If I had, I wouldn’t have done it with a curve.”
Times staff writer Ross Newhan contributed to this story.