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Brother, They Can Still Play Baseball

As we pick up the play-by-play of a dramatic baseball moment, Canseco digs in against Hershiser. He swings and-- crack-- the ball sails out of sight.

“He hit a ball so far off me it landed in a potato patch,” Hershiser recalled. “It must have gone 450 feet. I didn’t even watch it. I just waited for the umpire to throw me a new ball.”

The Hershiser talking was Gordie, not Orel, and the Canseco swinging was Ozzie, not Jose. The confrontation between the less-famous brothers occurred in an Arizona Instructional League game a few years ago.

They still play in the same organizations as their brothers--Ozzie in the A’s system, Gordie in the Dodgers'--and will both be in the minor leagues this season.

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“Orel looks more like a Hershiser than I do,” Gordie said. “I’m more from my mother’s side of the family. But people tell me I look more like a major league pitcher. He doesn’t look like one when you see him off the field in his khaki pants and pink polo shirt.”

Besides, Gordie says, Orel isn’t the only pitching expert in the family. “I tell him he’s got a lousy changeup, that he gives it away. . . . He listens, too. I saw him a couple of days ago working on something I told him.”

Spring Fever: This is the day when hope ends and reality starts to set in. San Francisco Giants Manager Roger Craig remembers how it was with the expansion New York Mets of 1962.

“Everybody has a chance at this point and that’s how we felt,” Craig recalled. “We had assembled some pretty good position players and thought that if we got some pitching, we’d be OK.”

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Craig, the Mets’ best pitcher that year, won 10 and lost 24. The club won 40 and lost 120, the worst record in modern major league history.

Final Four trivia: Between 1964 and ’75, UCLA won 10 of 12 NCAA championships. Who won the other two?

Bay buffet: Giant fans also approach the ’89 season with new hopes--for better food at Candlestick Park.

Peanuts and Cracker Jack? Sure, but the park’s concession stands will also feature yogurt, meatless hot dogs, salads and mineral water. In addition, seats in the Family Pavilion, where drinking alcohol, smoking and profanity are prohibited, will be available for every game.

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Team spokesman Duffy Jennings said: “These changes are part of our overall goal to give people a different perception of what attending a game at Candlestick Park is all about.”

Trivia answers: Texas Western (now Texas El Paso) beat Kentucky, 72-65, in 1966, and North Carolina State beat Marquette, 76-64, in 1974.

Quotebook: Minnesota Twins pitcher Fred Toliver: “I’ve worked 8 to 5. I know what it’s like out there in the real world. I’ve laid concrete. I’ve worked in J.C. Penney’s stockroom. I’ve delivered packages for UPS during Christmas time. I’ve been a recreation instructor. If anybody appreciates baseball more than me, I’d like to meet him.”


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