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Hatcher Has the Name of His Life

That guy hit a home run, Hatcher What’s-his-name.

--DAVE PARKER, reliving a nightmare.

Exactly as predicted and advertised, one World Series team bashed the ball over the fences game after game and the other team went down meekly, its dejected fans leaving the ballpark early to beat the traffic.

The A’s were beaten by the Jayvees, 4 games to 1, in the World Series shocker of at least the last 2 decades.

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Naturally, the Dodgers did it unnaturally, completely outplaying the A’s with a lineup only Tom Lasorda could love.

And Mickey Hatcher, the unknown soldier, supplied the inspiration Thursday night with a first-inning, 2-run homer.

That’s the same Mickey Hatcher who hit a first-inning, 2-run homer in Game 1 of this Series.

“Luckily, they didn’t check my bat,” Hatcher said.

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If they did, they would have found it filled with Tinkerbell’s fairy dust. Or, knowing Mickey the prankster, a sign would have popped out that said, “BANG!”

Or “BASH!”

Who would’ve thought Mickey Hatcher would emerge as the offensive star of the World Series?

Who would’ve imagined any of this nonsense? The Amazin’ A’s, a team of already legendary power, beaten by a cartoon gang--Mickey, Bulldog, Moose, Gibby, Saxy, Tommy. . . .

With a lineup that looked and sounded more like a Mousketeer roll call, the Dodgers cruelly mugged the A’s.

The A’s were an emerging dynasty. The Dodgers were a ballclub held together with bubble gum, paper clips, pride, paranoia, pitching, pine tar and Manager Tom Lasorda’s I.Q. and B.S.

And standing alone as the symbol of the whole crazy scene was Mickey Hatcher. So amazing was his league playoffs and World Series performance that there are rumors Mickey Mantle will now ask people to call him by his middle name, Charles, so as not to be thought of as The Other Mickey.

For the A’s, it was a worst-case scenario, beaten by bombs off the bat of a plodding, gray-haired journeyman who hit one home run all season.

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“The pitchers hit my bat and the balls went out of the park,” Hatcher said.

He couldn’t explain what he was thinking during his home run sprint, or what possessed him to try a forearm bash with trainer Charlie Strasser in the dugout.

“He ‘bout broke my arm,” Hatcher said. “From now on I’m going to leave the bashing to (Jose) Canseco and (Mark) McGwire.”

Actually Hatcher’s dugout celebration Thursday was more tame than his Game 1 celebration.

“He was happier after the first one,” Mike Marshall said. “With the first one, it was like he won the World Series. Maybe he knew what was coming.”

Along with all his home runs, Mickey managed to hit .368 (7 for 19) and get extremely dirty.

Thursday night, he led off the fourth inning with a chopper to third base. In order to avoid a possible swipe tag by first baseman McGwire, Hatcher dived ungracefully into the dirt and sort of burrowed his way to the bag. He was safe and he later scored.

“I’m known for falling down on a lot of occasions,” Hatcher said.

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That’s the way he plays the game.

“Mickey’s an excitable boy,” Mike Scioscia said. “He does everything with the gusto of a 10-year-old kid on Christmas morning. That’s Mickey.”

By next Christmas morning, Hatcher should have his pulse rate down to a normal level.

“I haven’t been sleeping since the Series started,” Hatcher said. “When you win, you leave the ground, you’re so excited.”

Over Hatcher’s head, on a clubhouse TV monitor, a replay of his homer off Storm Davis was being shown. Mickey turned his head just in time to see the ball clear the left-field wall and settle into a subdued group of fans.

“Hey, somebody told me it barely cleared,” he said.

A reporter remarked that the homers in Game 1 and Game 5 were hit off nearly identical pitches.

“I’m glad someone saw those pitches,” Hatcher said. “I didn’t. I was just swingin’.”

If Hatcher seems a bit self-deprecating, it should be mentioned that he hasn’t done a lot in his career that would cause him to act otherwise.

He is a career fringe-type player, known for solid hitting and hustle but otherwise unremarkable achievement.

Earlier this season, he mentioned to a friend that he hoped the Dodgers would keep him around one more year, to make him eligible for a 10-year pension.

Now they’re liable to erect a statue of Mickey at Dodger Stadium.

“That (insecurity) has been my whole life,” Hatcher said. “I’ve never been in a sure situation my whole career. I just go out and try to make it hard on them (club management) to make a decision (to cut him).”

Soon his story will be legend: How he was cut by the Minnesota Twins in spring training 1987. Back home in Arizona, he swiped his neighbor’s newspaper and read that the Dodgers had lost Bill Madlock to injury.

Hatcher phoned his agent and told him to call and beg the Dodgers to let him drive to Albuquerque and try out for the triple-A farm team. Instead, the Dodgers told him to get his wide butt to Los Angeles.

Once he got there, he started hitting the ball and didn’t stop long enough for the Dodgers to let him go.

The legend picks up steam in Game 2 of the National League playoffs, after first baseman Franklin Stubbs had a terrible non-hitting night in Game 1 and Lasorda stuck Hatcher into the starting lineup at first base.

He wouldn’t leave. Lasorda moved him to left field, where he even made two outstanding plays on base hits that caromed off the wall.

With a .293 season average, Mickey was supposed to hit, but home runs?

While the Bashers were bashing the occasional single off Orel Hershiser, Mickey Hatcher was hitting home runs, as many as Bash Brothers McGwire and Canseco put together, and running them out like he was being clocked in a semi-pro tryout camp.

“Ten or 15 years from now, they’ll probably shake their heads and say, ‘Who the hell are those guys?’ ” Hatcher said of his world championship team. “I hope they remember my name.”

Hatcher What’s-his-name. Or, to the Oakland Bashers, Mr. What’s-his-name.


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