It Isn't Always Better Second Time Around

Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda, explaining Eddie Murray's sub-par season last year, said it takes awhile for hitters to adjust to the pitchers in a different league. Also, he said players tend to try too hard, trying to justify the deal the club made for them.

"A guy's second year is always better," he said.

Sounds good, but look at the first-year accomplishments of the following players after switching leagues:

--Dick Stuart, Pittsburgh to Boston: In 1963, he hit a career-high 42 home runs and led the American League in runs batted in with 118.

--Frank Robinson, Cincinnati to Baltimore: In 1966, he won the American League triple crown and led the Orioles to the World Series championship.

--Al Oliver, Texas to Montreal: In 1982, he led the National League in hitting and RBIs.

--Dave Kingman, New York Mets to Oakland: In 1984, he had a career-high 118 RBIs.

--Kirk Gibson, Detroit to the Dodgers: In 1988, he was the National League MVP and hit a homer for the ages in the World Series.

And how did they do in their second seasons? Not as well.

Trivia time: Name the members of the all-switch-hitting infield for the Dodgers in 1965.

Signals over: If you think Morning Briefing sometimes makes bad mistakes, how about this one: "ALLENTOWN, Pa. AP--The Associated Press reported erroneously on April 11 that hummingbirds should be fed four parts sugar to one part water. The proportion should be reversed."

Add forgettable quotes: According to Tom Verducci of Newsday, after San Diego swept a series from San Francisco, Mark Parent of the Padres sent this message to the Giants: "You guys aren't ever going to be competing with us this year. And pretty soon we'll be sending the same message to the Reds."

Cincinnati took two out of two from San Diego. In the first game, Parent struck out in the ninth inning with the potential winning runs aboard.

Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: Jack Nicklaus was quoted by Tom Callahan in the Washington Post as saying: "I remember the first time I broke 70. I was 13, working in the drugstore with my father. We slipped away to play nine holes before dinner, and I had 35 on the front nine. I begged him to go on. No, he said, Mom had dinner cooking. But if we ate fast, and were careful of her feelings, we could be back in 35 minutes.

"Later, needing an eagle on the last hole for 69, I hit a driver and a 2- or 3-iron, and made a long rainbow putt. I think that's when my father decided I had a better future as a golfer than as a stock boy."

Same old story: From Phoenix Sun forward Tom Chambers, looking to the NBA playoffs: "As long as Magic (Johnson) is running the show, the Lakers are the team to beat for the whole thing. When it comes down to it, who would you rather have the ball (than him) down the stretch in a big game?"

Trivia answer: Wes Parker, 1b; Jim Lefebvre, 2b; Jim Gilliam, 3b; Maury Wills, ss.

Quotebook: Chuck Person of the Indiana Pacers, sending a message to the Philadelphia 76ers: "If we play them in the playoffs, Charles Barkley better call Michael Jordan and get a box of Wheaties."

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