Held every fall, baseball's "winter" meeting rarely produces much real news anymore. Last week in San Diego there were 13 deals in five days, but without the interleague trading deadline to spur on heavy trading, most were of the small-potatoes variety like the one announced at a Wednesday press conference: "The Cleveland Indians trade infielder Mike Fischlin to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later."
A few teams seemed to have spent too much time out in what little sun there was in cold, gray San Diego. Seattle sent its much-coveted lefty reliever, Ed Vande Berg, to the Dodgers for 37-year-old backup catcher Steve Yeager. The Phillies stocked up on speedy outfielders but, like the Yankees, left themselves bereft of proven catchers. The Red Sox made a couple of minor deals but balked at two major ones that would have given them a pennant-contending pitching staff. They could have gotten Tom Seaver from the White Sox for Bob Stanley in a three-way deal involving Milwaukee, and could have landed 40% of the Cardinal staff—Joaquin Andujar (21 wins), Jeff Lahti (19 saves), Ricky Horton and Kurt Kepshire—for 11-game winner Bruce Hurst. "I was flabbergasted when they didn't do it," said Cards manager Whitey Herzog.
Instead, in the biggest trade of the week, Andujar went to the A's for catcher Mike Heath and pitcher Tim Conroy. Poor Joaquin: He has done the interior and exterior of his home in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic in Cardinal Red. Now he'll have to repaint his walls green and gold.
A bizarre highlight of the meetings was commissioner Peter Ueberroth's state-of-the-game speech. On the subject of drugs, the commissioner derided the " Tinkertoy equipment" used by our border patrols while "AWACS are sitting on the ground." AWACS?
Something else the commissioner said caused hearts to sink. Denying a popular rumor, he said, "There will always be a winter meeting."
A QUARTERBACK WHO'S PASSING
In a refreshing twist, North Carolina's junior quarterback, Kevin Anthony, who was named last week to the 1985 GTE Academic All-America football team, has decided to pass up his final year of football eligibility to pursue academic options. Anthony, who threw for 1,546 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Tar Heels this fall, carries a 3.73 GPA in economics; a senior academically (he red-shirted as a freshman), he is hoping for a scholarship to business school so he can start work on an MBA.
Anthony was benched late in the season and admits that may have contributed to his decision to forgo his final season. Nevertheless, it isn't every day that so accomplished a player says, "At this point the academic side of my life seems a little more promising than the athletic side." Last year's academic All-America quarterback, Miami's Bernie Kosar, also forsook his final year of collegiate eligibility. Diploma in hand, he left Miami to sign a million-dollar-a-year contract with the Cleveland Browns.
RAISE A GLASS TO THE GOBBLER