BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJORS : Riggleman Signs Through 1997

Associated Press

Manager Jim Riggleman was rewarded Sunday for the Chicago Cubs' unexpected run at a playoff spot, when he received a contract extension through the 1997 season. The Cubs, who went 49-64 in 1994, were 73-71 this season. Chicago, which wasn't eliminated from the wild-card playoff race until Saturday, stayed alive with an eight-game winning streak.


Frustrated in trying to build a winner with little money, Kevin Malone is expected to resign today as general manager of the Montreal Expos. Malone, who was offered a two-year extension, wanted a commitment from the Expos to double the players' payroll of $10 million for next season. But club President Claude Brochu, hinting the increase might be to about $15 million, said the club's first priority remains the stability of the small-market franchise over winning.


Terry Bevington, who took over as Chicago White Sox manager June 2, will return as the club's manager in 1996. Bevington, 39, agreed to a multiyear contract, but details were not released.


Randy Johnson of Seattle won his fourth consecutive AL strikeout title, becoming the first player to lead the league for four years in a row since Nolan Ryan from 1976-79. Johnson had 282 going into today's playoff game against the Angels.

Edgar Martinez of Seattle, hitting .354, is assured the AL batting title going into today's playoff game against the Angels.

Albert Belle of Cleveland won his first AL home run title with 50. Dante Bichette of Colorado also won his first home run crown, hitting an NL-leading 40. He also led the majors with 128 RBIs. Belle and Boston's Mo Vaughn tied for the AL RBI title with 126.

Quilvio Veras of Florida led the NL in steals with 56, while Kenny Lofton of Cleveland had 54 and led the AL for the fourth year in a row.

Randy Myers of the Chicago Cubs led the NL with 38 saves, and Jose Mesa of Cleveland led the AL with 46.


Baseball fans like the expanded playoffs, but most have less interest in the sport than before the 7 1/2-month strike.

A majority of fans also like expansion and think the rise in player salaries has hurt the game, according to a poll by the Associated Press.

Nearly half the fans--46 percent--say that having wild-card teams in the playoffs is a change for the better, while 12 percent consider it a change for the worse.

In an AP poll in March, 28 percent of fans said they thought they would have less interest following the strike. In the latest poll, 60 percent of fans express less interest in baseball, as do 43 percent of all Americans.

Attendance at ballparks during the regular season that ended Sunday was down by more than 19 percent.

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