Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on June 17, 1976 · Page 77
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 77

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 17, 1976
Page 77
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DETROIT FREE PRESS Thursday. June 17, 76 1-F Timers Matched Yanks illion, But Vida Refused to Pitch Here M 1 f BY JIM HAWKINS j ; Free Press Sporte Writer The Tigers matched New York's winning bid of one million 1 bucks for Oakland A's pitcher Vida Blue, the Free Press i learned Wednesday but Blue apparently refused to pitch for Detroit. I Both the Tigers and Yankees met Oakland owner Charlie Finley's asking price of $1 million for Blue. And both demanded that Finley first sign Blue, before selling him, so the 26-year-old lefthander would not automatically become a free agent at the end of the current season. It is reasonable to assume Finley then went to Blue, informed him that he was about to be sold, and asked him to sign a 1976 contract. And Blue agreed to sign, provided Finley promised to sell him to the Yankees and not to the Tigers. TIGER GENERAL MANAGER Jim Campbell confirmed that the club did indeed offer a million dollars for one of the seven players Finley put up for sale though he refused to identify the individual the Tigers bid on. And he admitted money probably wasn't the reason the Tigers lost out. "There are a lot of other factors that figure in when you get in a situation where the player has his choice of where he wants to go," said Campbell. "For a real good ball player, the No. 1 attraction would be going to a ball club that's already a contender. You can't fault the player for that. He knows if he goes with a contender, he's got a chance of getting into that World Series money and if the club is winning and drawing well, his chances of getting a big raise would be a lot better. "A good ball player would be a horse's tail if he didn't take advantage of a situation like that. Every player wants to be on a contender. "The geographical location of the team is very important to certain players, too," continued Campbell. "The weather is sometimes a factor, and the opportunities a player might have to make extra money through commercials and endorsements. And some players want to be near their home towns. "OBVIOUSLY, A CITY like Los Angeles or New York is So the Tigers Aren't Such Skinflints, After All Even thoush it satisfies nothing, you will be delighted to , know, no doubt, that Jim Campbell had the door to the boss' vault wide open the other night. He thought he had a deal with Charlie Finley. Except for one vital element, a deal had been made to bring Vida Blue to the Tigers. So they have the dough available, Campbell and Tiger owner John Fetzer, and apparently would spend it given the right circumstances. j "We had agreed on a price with Finley," said Campbell, "but there was one stipulation. "We insisted the player (Campbell, ever coy, does not say it was Blue) have a signed contract before we would complete the deal." , Charlie Finley could not produce such a document for the Tigers, and so Vida Blue, the fireballing lefty of the Oakland A's, was sold later Tuesday evening to the New York Yankees. The purclrase price was an astounding $1 million. So you feel better about it, right, just knowing the chairmen of our local heroes are not really skinflinty? They were in the ball park dollar-wise, one might say, when a very good property was offered them. Not that it changes anything. Vida Blue, a very good pitcher, escaped the Tigers at the time they were showing such need for him, absorbing a 21-7 plastering. . Several questions persist, though. Competition's Dead in AL East Why would the Tigers insist Charlie Finley have a signed contract with Vida Blue, and if he did not have one, how or why could the Yankees then make the deal? Jim Campbell fairly seethes on matters like this. He sees the circumstances surrounding the peddling of Blue as typical of the damage to, and a signal of eventual catastrophe in, professional baseball. Understandably, he wanted Blue signed to a contract before he bought him because he did not want Blue walking out on the Tigers at the end of the year. There goes Blue; poof, there goes a million. "It's quite probable that Finley was able to produce a signed contract for the Yankees," says Campbell. It is possible it has even happened already for players in their newly won contract freedom to nix their sale or trans fer from one team to another. So the suspicion is that Vida Blue killed his sale to Detroit, where he would have been greatly appreciated, but acquiesced once the Yankees entered the bidding. Probably he has not heard New York is a lousy place to live, and maybe nobody told him about RenCen, so there he goes. "That's the very thing I've been talking about since last winter," says Campbell. "Unless something is done, we will have a couple teams loading up with all the top talent in the game." In race vnn miscprl it Charlie Finlev Jim Campbell m companion strokes sold outfielder Joe Rudie and reliever Rollies Fingers to the Boston Red Sox for another $2 million. "Most of the owners," moaned Minnesota president Calvin Griffth, "can't compete with people like Tom Yawkey (Boston) and the Yankee owners. This type of dealing will ruin baseball." - Campbell for his part is not at all sure what can be done to prevent such disaster for the have-nots or will-nots of the game. Certainly the American League East competition has been destroyed for this season, and perhaps for some seasons ahead, by the sales engineered by Finley during the last 24 hours. Iff the Red Sox and Yankees now, with no one close. If you have been listening, you know that club managements blame their plight on loss of standard contract restrictions which for years bound players to their teams, like it or not. In the last few years, the courts have pecked away at those restrictions in all sports, proclaiming them illegal and thus , opening the way for players to roam. Owners Are Treacherous Ones At the moment, 53 major leaguers are without contract, suggesting the season's end could bring about the heaviest shifting of talent in the game's history. Finley, unable or unwilling to settle contracts with Vida Blue, Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers, solved his predicament by peddling them for big cash. It was a slick move, for he faced the danger of losing them all eventually, with nothing in return. Some say Finley is ready to depart baseball. If so, there is ! real genius involved in his stripping of his team. . He now has ready for the market a franchise equipped with uniforms, players, etc., for a fairly reasonable price of, say, $7 million. Further, the purchaser will be immediately eligible for a , share of the league's television revenue, a considerable sum. Be aware that it costs new owners far more than that simply for a franchise, the right to do business, and no immediate cut of TV revenue is available to them. l So Charlie, you see, stands to make his sale and get his $7 million or more for the stripped Oakland A's and do not forget that $3 million he pocketed just last night. Obviously, the sort of crapshooting done by Charlie Finley is a threat to the stability, integrity, etc., of our national pastime, just as Jim Campbell and others say. At that point, though, we part. Like other sports management types, Campbell figures something must be done to restrain the players, return the rules to what they once were. What has been forgotten, though, is that the reserve clause was initiated in baseball nearly 60 years ago not to restrain the players particularly, but to restrict the owners in their raids on each other's talent. You see, they didn't trust each other even then. Rather than complaining of ungrateful players who would leave their employ, let the club owners consider their own motives and actions. They can be devils, as we have seen. So I give them little sympathy, overall and as a class, and I leave it to them to produce solutions to the problems they created. going to be able to offer more in that respect than, say, Minneapolis or Cleveland. Or Detroit. "This is what we run into when we have to satisfy the player in order to be able to make a trade. If the player doesn't like you, or your location, or your place in the standings, you can't make a deal. The player can pick his own spot." Which apparently is what happened with Blue. The fact that the Yankees are out in front in the American League East while the Tigers are struggling to stay out of the cellar, and the fact that there obviously is a lot more money to be made off the field in New York than in Detroit, determined the deal. Of course, the Tigers might have been able to buy one of Finley's other "bargains." In addition to Blue, and Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers, who were both sold to the Boston Red Sox, Finley offered his fellow owners in the American League their choice of shortstop Campy Campaneris, third baseman Sal Bando, catcher-first baseman Gene Tenace, and outfielder Don Baylor. The price-tag on each was $1,000,000. But at that price, the Tigers only were interested in Blue, figuring he would give them the additional solid starting pitcher they so sorely lack. "TO BE HONEST with you, we really couldn't afford the Please turn to Page 12F, Column 1 MaaMLi.--. Free Press Pnoio Vida Blue, who chose New York Fidrych Cools Off Royals, 4-3 BY JIM HAWKINS Fret Press Sports Writer Who needs Vida Blue? The Tigers have Mark Fidrych. The unbelievable Bird did it again Wednesday night, conquering the Kansas City Royals, 4-3. For the fourth game in a row the Tigers somehow managed to manufacture the runs Fidrych needed in their final turn at bat. It's almost uncanny, the way the zany 21-year-old rookie seems to inspire his teammates. But it keeps happening. FIDRYCH APPEARED doomed on Wednesday, for example, as the Tigers came to bat, one run down in the bottom of the ninth, despite a pair of earlier home runs by rookie first baseman Jason Thompson. Danny Meyer singled off the chest of Royals' shortstop George Brett, to keep their hopes alive. But Kansas City reliever Tom Hall quickly got rid of both Rusty Staub and Thompson. Then Royals' manager Whi-tey Herzog, playing the percentages right to the end, brought in righthander Marty Pattin. And the next thing Kansas City knew, Alex Johnson had singled to right to tie the score and pinch-hitter Mickey Stanley had bounced a KANSAS CITY ab r h bi DNelson 2b 3 12 1 Otis cl 4 110 GBrell ss 4 0 0 1 Mavberrv lb 3 0 0 0 McRae If 3 0 0 0 Wnhlfnrri II (1 fl I) n bonus on Poquelle rf Quirk 3b JMrtinez c Bird p Lillell p Hall p Pattin p DETROIT ab r h bi 4 0 3 0 4 0 0 0 4 110 4 0 0 0 4 2 2 2 3 0 0 0 3 0 10 3 110 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 leFlore ct PGarcia 2b Mever If Staub rf JThmsn lb AJohnson dh 4 1 1 1 ARodrgez 3b 3 0 0 0 Kimm c 3 0 0 0 MStanlev ph 10 11 Scrivener Si 3 0 0 0 Fidrych p 0 0 0 0 Total 28 3 5 2 Total 34 4 I 4 Two out when winning run scored. Kansas City 100 001 010- 3 Detroit 010 100 002- 4 E J.Thompson, Quirk. DP Detroit 2. LOB Kansas City 2, Detroit 5. 2B Otis, Quirk. HR J.Thompson 2 (6). SB LeF-lore, A.Johnson. S J.Marlinei. SF D.Nelson. IP Bird Lillell Hall Pattin (L.l-7) Fidrych (W.5-1) T-2:0. A-2U59. 5 3 2-3 0 9 R ER BB SO 2 2 0 3 base hit between first and second to bring Johnson home with the winning run. It was the fifth win this season for the flakey Fidrych, and his fifth complete game. But what's amazing is the fact that in the last four of those wins, victory has not occured until the final inning. All the Tigers need are a few more pitchers like Fidrych. Asked if he felt destined to win each time he walked out on the mound, The Bird re- Finley's Deals Rock Baseball Fret Press Wire Service Like a giant-sized exploding firecracker, the fast and furious dealing of Oakland owner Charles O. Finley and Gabe Paul, president of the New York Yankees, echoed through baseball Wednesday. Finley all but completed a clean sweep of his club in his Tuesday Night Massacre, peddling three of his top name stars for $3.5 million just hours before the trading deadline to complete the most sweeping changes in a once champion club since Connie Mack peddled the stars of the Philadelphia A's super clubs of 1929-31. Outfielder-first baseman Joe Rudi and reliever Rollie Fingers carried price tags of $1 million each, paid by the Boston Red Sox. And left-hander Vida Blue, 26, the only rookie ever to win a Cy Young Award, went for $1 million. With Paul grabbing him for the Yankees to join a pitching staff headed by Catfish Hunter, another alumnus of Finley Tech. Then Paul turned around and completed a 10-player trade with Baltimore that gave the Yankees with, among others, lefthander Ken Holtzman (5-4), the third member of the pitching staff that hurled the A's to three straight world championships (1972-74) and five consecutive American League West Division titles (1970-74). Besides Holtzman, the Yankees acquired pitchers Grant Jackson (1-1) and Doyle Alexander (3-4), catcher Ellie Hendricks and minor league pitcher Jim Freeman. In return, Baltimore got pitchers Rudy May (4-3), Dave Pagan (1-1) and Tippy Martinez (2-0), catcher Rick Dempsey and minor league hurler Scott MacGregor. Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired outfielder Reggie Smith from St. Louis, sending outfielder-catcher Joe Ferguson and minor leaguers Bobby Dethrage and Fred Tins-dale to the Cardinals. The Texas Rangers purchased outfielder Please turn to Page 10F, Column 1 Arizona Hands EMU 1st World Series Loss, 11-6 OMAHA Eastern Michigan absorbed its first loss of the College World Series here Wednesday night, bowing to Arizona, 11-6, and setting up a showdown title game on Friday. The Hurons (45-15) will be idle Thursday while Arizona (55-17) and No. 1-ranked Arizona State (65-9) battle for the right to advance to the championship clash. Eastern collected only six hits Wednesday but managed to pull into a 6-6 tie after seven innings. Then Arizona exploded for five runs in the eighth off EMU reliever Bud Yanus (5-3) and two successors. The winning blow proved to be a solo home run by desig nated hitter Steve Powers. EASTERN WENT ahead, 2-1, in the first on a two-run single by Glenn Ambrose and tied it at 3-3 in the third on Ted Dasen's homer. Arizona's Les Pearcy poled a three-run HR in the fifth to make it 6-3 before Brian Pe-troff hit a two-run shot in the same inning for Eastern. The Hufons deadlocked it for the last time in the seventh when Tom Bouton walked, was sacrificed to second, stole third and scored on Doug Car-rieri's suicide squeeze. - Reliever Bob Chalk (11-2) held the Hurons at bay for the final two frames. EMU second baseman Dan Please turn to Page 10F, Col. 1 plied, "What's 'destined' mean?' Fidrych spent Tuesday night on the top step of the Tiger dugout, charting each pitch of the Tigers' pitiful 21-7 loss to the Royals. But it didn't seem to bother him. "I didn't quite have four full pages but I finished it," he said. "Ray Bare told me their bats might be slow after all that hitting," laughed Fidrych. "I know they tried to jump out of the batter's box to disturb me. Most teams jump Into the box to get at me." RALPH HOUR was so impressed with Fidrych's performance that he immediately announced that the Tigers are going back to a four-man starting rotation, which means The Bird will pitch again Sunday in Minnesota, instead of Monday as originally scheduled. Dave Roberts, Frank Mac-Cormack and Vern Ruhle will complete the Tiger rotation at least for the time being. Fidrych allowed the Royals just five hits and only seven balls beyond the infield all night. Kansas City got one run as soon as they stepped up to the plate as Amos Otis doubled Please turn to Page 12F, Col. 1 iHi ' " ' ' fvJr irv HKTi MXi tiki's f .KT3ith 1 14 IWIIBlii 1 V'J ( Free Press Photo by CRAIG PORTER Tiger pitcher Mark Fidrych, who won Wednesday night on another late rally by his teammates. Baseball's Big Deals A total of 20 players were traded or sold Tuesday on the final day of the major league trading pe-riod: 9 Oakland sold pitcher Vida Blue to New York for $1 million. Oakland A's sold pitcher Roflie Fingers and outfielder Joe Rudi to Boston for $1 million apiece, it California sold outfielder Joe Lahoud to Texas for slightly more than the waiver price. Chicago White Sox sold catcher Pete Varney to Atlanta and purchased pitcher John (Blue Moon) Odom from the Braves' system. Baltimore traded pitchers Ken Holtzman, Doyle Alexander, Grant Jackson, catcher Eirod Hendricks and minor leaguer Jim Freeman to the Yankees for catcher Rick Dempsey and pitchers May, Dave P a g a s and Tippy Martinez, Rudy Scott McGregor. Los Angeles traded catcher-outfielder Joe Ferguson plus minor leaguers Bobby Detherage and Fred Tisdal to St. Louis for outfielder Reggie Smith. Munsingwear knits: so nice and easy, you'll forget you have anything on. Soft, light, body-following knits that are so comfortable and move so easily with you, they're like second skin. And they're equally easy to care for, because they're blended of no-iron Dacroncotton. Musingwear serves them up a couple of ways: in a mesh knit (left) in light blue, maize or light green ... and in a solid knit (right) in navy, white, red or light blue. Each is an easy-to-take $10. - ' "fir. W; ... &i !' Tf fi'...:K- WAS- fcl Fl ? 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