Whitey Herzog was speaking with executives of the Colorado Rockies before accepting the Angels’ offer, but an eventual impediment in Denver may have been salary. Herzog was receiving $500,000 a year from the St. Louis Cardinals on a contract that ran through 1992, and he is believed to be getting at least that from the Angels.

In choosing the Angels over the expansion position, Herzog said: “This is just as good a challenge and I won’t have to start from scratch.”

The latest entry in the Denver derby that finds Mike Port still alive is Harry Dalton, who is expected to be fired as the Milwaukee Brewers’ general manager after the season and has been talking to representatives of the Rockies.

It may be of little solace to the Angels, but they have a wonderful chance to establish the best record for a last-place team since 1900. The record: 78-84 by the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians when they tied for last in the American League East in 1982.


Philadelphia Phillie Manager Jim Fregosi, having successfully lobbied for padding on the walls of Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium after Lenny Dykstra broke his collarbone in a collision with the wall, wants padding on the (gasp) brick and ivy of Wrigley Field.

“It’s a beautiful park and the vines are lovely, but the walls are still brick,” Fregosi said. “I know there’s a lot of tradition there, but people always said there was something sacred about having no lights there, too.”

While Scott Erickson and Jack Morris have received most of the publicity for the pitching turnaround of the Minnesota Twins, Kevin Tapani is 14-7 with nine consecutive victories and 12 in his past 13 decisions. Tapani was the American League’s pitcher of the month for August, making the Twins the first team to have three different pitchers win that monthly honor in the same year.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” General Manager Andy MacPhail said. “We used to be known as a pitching-thin organization. Now I’ve seen four Twins mentioned for the Cy Young award.”


The fourth is Rick Aguilera, who leads the majors with 38 saves and has given up one run in his past 18 innings.

Todd Stottlemyre, with eight victories in his past 12 decisions and a 13-6 record, has come of age for the Toronto Blue Jays, shelving a temper that sometimes prompted him to lose his concentration.

Part of his 1991 success, however, stems from continuing success against the Baltimore Orioles. Stottlemyre is 3-0 against the Orioles this year, giving up only three earned runs in 22 innings. He is 5-0 with a 1.31 earned-run average for his seven starts against Baltimore in his career.