The Oakland Athletics will open the 85th World Series today with their best, which means that Glenn Hubbard will be back at second base and Dave Parker will be in left field.
When Oakland Manager Tony La Russa announced his starting lineup late Friday, it was different than the one with which they started the playoffs--as well as the one with which they started most of their games this season.
Parker, who played just 34 of his 101 games in the outfield this season, was placed there because there is no designated hitter in the National League park, and La Russa wanted Parker’s bat in the lineup. In his only start in left field in the playoffs, Parker made an error before the game was an inning old. Still, during the regular season, he had 12 homers and 55 RBIs. He will replace the A’s regular left-handed-hitting left fielder, Luis Polonia.
Of the choice between Parker and Polonia, La Russa said: “It was a tough call. To have either one of them sit, I’m not happy. But with no designated hitter, this is not our team. I figured Dave would be the left-handed pop that could balance our right-handed power.”
Parker will bat cleanup between Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Leading off will be Carney Lansford, with Dave Henderson batting second. After McGwire will be catcher Terry Steinbach, Hubbard, shortstop Walt Weiss and pitcher Dave Stewart.
Hubbard missed the playoffs with a strained left hamstring, but he was judged healthy after Friday’s workout. He led the A’s into their pennant drive, hitting .308 in 34 games beginning Aug. 1. Mike Gallego, an outstanding fielder who nonetheless hit just .083 in the playoffs, will go to the bench.
Hubbard, who last appeared in a postseason game with the Atlanta Braves in 1982 at age 25, is more appreciative now.
“Back then, I was just happy to get into the playoffs,” he said. “But now it’s like I want to go beyond the playoffs, which we have done. I worked really hard to get a chance at this, and I’m glad I’m healthy.”
Said La Russa: “We watched him and talked to him, and he looks like he’s moving well and feeling good, which is enough for me.”
According to members of the Dodgers’ scouting staff, their first assignment Friday was to convince their players that the Oakland A’s really are human. Really.
According to special assignment scout Steve Boros, when the topic of Canseco came up: “We tried to get him off Mt. Olympus with the gods and compare him to a National League player. The only one we could think of was Eric Davis (of Cincinnati). We tried to give him some concrete human comparison, and that was all we could find.”
Another special assignment scout, Jerry Stephenson, tried to downplay the A’s sheer size.
“If you just look at how big they are, you are going to be intimidated,” he said. “Who has anyone bigger than Dave Parker, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Don Baylor?
“But this is not football. Size really doesn’t mean anything.”
The Dodgers’ team meeting lasted 1 hour 15 minutes, the longest of the year. Besides the scouting reports, former Oakland players Mike Davis and Alfredo Griffin spilled all they knew about Oakland pitching and hitting.
“I cleared my brain,” Davis said. “The book on them is basic--but I’m not going to tell you. The key is not to be scared of them. They have some great hitters, but you have to go right after them.”
Reliever Jay Howell, also a former Athletic, was not asked to talk, but he understood.
“Those guys (Davis and Griffin) have seen the hitters more than I have. I was out in the bullpen,” he said.
Asked if he thinks somebody in the Oakland clubhouse stood up and talked about him, Howell said, “I’m a different pitcher, but I’m not naive enough to think that they haven’t scouted me thoroughly.”
How did Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda spend Thursday, the day after his team stunned the baseball world by winning the National League championship series?
Catch your breath and follow along: He woke up and drove to Burbank from his Fullerton home to do an advertisement for NBC’s “Wonderful World of Disney.” He then drove to South Pasadena to do an interview at his restaurant.
He stopped by Dodger Stadium to do a little work. Then he drove back to Burbank to appear on the “Tonight Show,” sharing the monologue with Johnny Carson. He stayed in Burbank to do another television interview.
He drove home to Fullerton and, at 1:30 a.m. Friday, went to bed. He awoke 2 hours later to drive downtown to appear on “Good Morning America.”
“This is what it’s all about,” Lasorda said.
Backup shortstop Dave Anderson took batting practice Friday, felt good and was placed on the Dodger World Series roster, replacing Mike Sharperson.
Not that the last roster spot is any big deal, as Sharperson played in two only games and batted only once in the playoffs. But Anderson was pleased. When he was dropped from the roster before the playoffs because of a sprained back, he said he hoped his teammates would give him a chance to play in World Series.
‘And they did it for me,” a smiling Anderson said Thursday. “I know my role is very minor, but who knows? A lot of World Series are decided by players who, going is, not much is expected of them. I’m satisfied.”
Former Dodger pitcher Rick Honeycutt, now with the A’s: ‘They’re still missing the key guy offensively. But they have enough heart now to overcome it.”
Times staff writers Sam McManis and Ross Newhan contributed to this story.