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March 31, 1997 | Volume 86, Issue 13

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Randy Johnson Cover - Sports Illustrated March 31, 1997

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Cal Ripken Jr. was going to be asked to take about 30 baby steps to his right, but in this mother-may-I game of egos and diplomacy, the Orioles had to frame the request the right way. A...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
The Orioles have not finished first in their division in 13 years, the second-longest ongoing drought in the majors (the Brewers, who last won a division title in 1982, have gone longer). Not...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
"Don't do it," Steve Avery's friend told him. "I'm telling you, Don't do it." What sort of hazardous undertaking would prompt a buddy to issue that sort of warning? Skydiving? Bungee-jumping? No;...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
The Red Sox allowed the most unearned runs in the majors last year (114), the club's highest season total since 1934. In the expansion era, since 1961, only three American League teams have been...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Where have we seen this headline before? ASTROS TRADE YOUNG CENTERFIELDER, GET DEPENDABLE CATCHER. Think back to 1991 when Houston sent Kenny Lofton to the Indians and got Eddie Taubensee in a...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Tony Clark led all rookies with 27 home runs last season, but finished third in Rookie of the Year vote. In the 1990s only three rookies have hit at least 27 homers, and all won the award: Mike...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Revisionist history will state that Matt Williams was traded for Albert Belle. The truth is that Williams went to the Indians in a trade with the Giants on Nov. 13 and Belle left Cleveland as a...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Jose Mesa was one of 19 pitchers who finished with at least 25 saves last season, but he entered only three games with runners on base. That was the lowest total of games with inherited runners...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Just 48 hours after righthander Jaime Navarro arrived at the White Sox spring training headquarters in Sarasota, Fla., he was summoned into manager Terry Bevington's office. "You're my Number 1...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Over the last six seasons Albert Belle and Frank Thomas ranked 1-2 in the big leagues in total RBIs with 711 and 698, respectively. During the same span Belle led the major leagues with 234 home...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
O.K., so it isn't mythology on par with the story of Helen of Troy, but Todd Walker's baseball career got a big boost because of a cute girl. Eight years ago Walker, then a 5'10", 150-pound...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
The Twins scored only 22% of their runs last season on homers, the lowest percentage in the majors. (The average was 35%.) Oddly, Minnesota also ranked last with 20 sacrifice bunts, the...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Marc Newfield is the perfect Brewer: young, talented and not eligible for arbitration. The 24-year-old leftfielder is going to be an important player in Milwaukee for years to come, provided he...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Phil Garner, who has a 359-386 record as Brewers manager since taking over on Oct. 30, 1991, is fifth among active big league skippers in tenure, behind Tom Kelly (Twins), Cito Gaston (Blue Jays),...

March 31, 1997 | David Fleming
Jeff King was hunting pheasant just north of Pittsburgh in December when the call came. After several hours in the woods with former Pirates manager Jim Leyland, King returned home and found his...

March 31, 1997 | David Fleming
Mike Macfarlane has been hit by 86 pitches in 3,271 plate appearances, or once every 38 trips to the plate. Among players with at least 2,000 plate appearances, only Ron Hunt (one every 25) and...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
When lefthander Jeff Fassero was with the Expos last season, he lost 11 games in which the anemic Montreal offense produced a total of 20 runs. So it's no wonder that Fassero thought he'd died and...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Last season the Orioles set the single-season record for home runs, with 257, but the Mariners set the season mark for extra-base hits, with 607. In fact, four of the top five team totals for...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Now that free-agent righthander John Wetteland is in the fold, the 1997 Rangers will feature not only one of the finest closers in baseball but also a kinder, gentler bullpen. Wetteland brings to...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Juan Gonzalez has hit more homers (214) than anyone else in Rangers history, but the franchise leader is Frank Howard, who hit 237 from 1965 to '71 when the club played in Washington and nine...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Rick Nielsen, the sports editor of The Jamestown (N.Dak.) Sun, lost a lot of sleep last summer, pushing his deadline back on numerous nights until Angels games ended on the West Coast. Nielsen...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
With Tim Salmon, 28, in rightfield; Jim Edmonds, 26, in centerfield; and Garret Anderson, 24, in leftfield, the Angels have the youngest starting outfield in baseball. Last season the only other...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
When Mike Bordick left as a free agent in December, the A's didn't moan about having to replace the shortstop who had led the American League in assists in 1996 and who had played more games at...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Last year Mark McGwire led the majors with 52 home runs, becoming the 30th player to lead the big leagues in dingers in two or more seasons. Nine years ago he blasted 49, tying Andre Dawson for...

March 31, 1997 | Gerry Callahan

March 31, 1997 | Jackie MacMullan
Who's responsible for Milwaukee's disappointing season?, Mourning, Kukoc and now Mason: the latest in foot injuries

March 31, 1997 | David Fleming
A dose of spring training fever changes the author's tune about the national pastime

March 31, 1997
Corrine CarsonWASHINGTON

March 31, 1997
The pictures of some of major league baseball's hot young shortstops were enough to thrill any female fan.ALLISON S. WILLIAMS, BRIDGETON, N.J.

March 31, 1997
After a long off-season, we deliver relief: our annual preview issue.

March 31, 1997
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED offers current and past articles, photos and special multimedia features on CompuServe (GO SPORTS) and on the Internet (www.sportsillustrated.com). To subscribe to CompuServe,...

March 31, 1997 | John Walters
Saturday 3/29

March 31, 1997 | John Walters
The McDonald's All-American Game (CBS, Saturday, 2 p.m.) is as close as the Golden Arches ever comes to serving hot dogs. Two dozen of the nation's most gifted high school seniors will provide a...

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
36-1This season's record for Harvard-Westlake, a Los Angeles private school ranked No. 5 among scholastic boys' basketball teams in USA Today.

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
Excising Baseball's Exemption

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
Soccer is a sport in which every part of the body except the hands comes into play—unless you're a goalie or Italian artist Mario Mariotti. Here, from Mariotti's book Hands Off!, are a few of his...

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
Two-time middleweight champ Tony Zale, who died last week at 83, had 87 fights, but he'll be best remembered for his three classics with Rocky Graziano. Here's a look at the series Red Smith...

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
Ring announcer Michael Buffer is suing Columbia and Sony because the film Booty Call uses his trademark catchphrase, "Let's get ready to rumble!"

March 31, 1997 | Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
Kelly BuchbergerEdmonton Oilers winger, after the Edmonton Coliseum P.A. announcer informed fans during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning that Buchberger had just scored his 200th career...

March 31, 1997 | John Garrity
Even on his custom crutches, Gable, Iowa's native son, doesn't disappoint

March 31, 1997 | Alexander Wolff
No one but Kansas was shocked by the teams—all survivors of regular-season traumas—that seized spots in the Final Four

March 31, 1997 | Ron Fimrite
JUNE 6, 1977

March 31, 1997 | Rick Reilly
The public course has become a refuge for O.J. Simpson, though many golfers wish he would take his game elsewhere

March 31, 1997 | E.M. Swift
With whirling athleticism, Elvis Stojko and Tara Lipinski shone at a world championships beset by sadness

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Where are the pitchers who will curb the proliferation of offense? Ball clubs involved in the arms race think the answers are coming from outside North America, which explains the fierce bidding...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Raise the mound? Call the high strike? Hold on! Not all pitchers need help in this era of the slugger. One law of baseball hasn't changed, despite all the home runs that are being hit: A pitcher...

March 31, 1997
The only current major league team never to reach the postseason (the Marlins) bought its way into contention; another club (the Astros) named a broadcaster as its manager; and as baseball's...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
As the yellow Mustang convertible inched its way through the streets of Willemstad, in Curaçao, the greatest baseball player in the history of this island in the Netherlands Antilles sat on the...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Over the last six seasons the Braves have had a .607 winning percentage (550-356), the highest by any major league team over that long a stretch since Cincinnati's Big Red Machine had a .612...

March 31, 1997 | Dave Fleming
In an empty stadium under a perfect Florida sky one day this spring, new Marlins manager Jim Leyland walked out of the dugout in his stocking feet with a full bag of baseballs in his hand and his...

March 31, 1997 | Dave Fleming
In 1993 the Marlins and the Rockies became the 11th and 12th expansion franchises in the major leagues. Colorado reached the playoffs two years later, but Florida became the first expansion team...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Three weeks into spring training, Vladimir Guerrero showed up in Montreal manager Felipe Alou's office with his luggage. Apparently a hotel employee had been questioning him about his bill, and...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Shortstop Mark Grudzielanek was one of nine leadoff hitters in the majors to bat .300 or better last season (minimum 50 games hitting first in the order). However, Grudzielanek drew only one walk...

March 31, 1997 | Dave Fleming
It was mid-June 1993 and John Olerud was still hitting above .400, well on his way to winning the American League batting title, when former Blue Jays teammate and future Hall of Famer Dave...

March 31, 1997 | Dave Fleming
The Mets had a losing record each of the past six years, the longest current streak in the majors. Five other clubs had a sub-.500 record each of the past four seasons: Florida, Milwaukee,...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Despite the two hoops in his Jasper, Ind., backyard, the basketball scholarship to Georgia and the gravitational pull exerted on his generation by the Magic-Bird-Michael era of the NBA, Scott...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
In three seasons the Phillies went from National League champions (1993) to the team with the worst record in the league (67-95 last year). In league history, only one club has had a swifter...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
There is perhaps no other active player more appreciative of Jackie Robinson's breaking of the major league color barrier 50 years ago than Delino DeShields. He is a dedicated student of...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
The Cardinals were the most improved team in the major leagues last season, raising their winning percentage by more than 100 points (from .434 to .543) over 1995. Since 1900, 160 teams have...

March 31, 1997 | Dave Fleming
Some mornings when he's driving to the ballpark Larry Dierker catches himself practicing his batting signs in the rearview mirror, and he chuckles at the sight. But then everything about his...

March 31, 1997 | Dave Fleming
Second baseman Craig Biggio and first baseman Jeff Bagwell played in every game for the Astros last season, just as they did in 1992. They were only the third pair of teammates in 60 years to play...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Reds lefthander Pete Schourek was walking along the beach in Clearwater, Fla., this spring when he realized that someone was staring at him. Schourek, the 1995 National League Cy Young Award...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Last season Cincinnati was the only major league team that did not lose a game when it had the lead entering the ninth inning, going 76-0 in that situation. (Overall, the teams taking a lead into...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Mel Rojas is the most recent graduate of Expos U, a splendid Canadian institution that graduates free agents into the baseball job market, where they can earn real money. In Rojas's case the Cubs...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
The Cubs haven't used a lefthander as a starter in the 421 games since Greg Hibbard started on Sept. 23, 1993. During the 1990s, in fact, Hibbard is the only southpaw to start as many as 20 games...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
A career year is usually defined as a player's finest statistical season. Kevin Elster, the Pirates' new shortstop, introduced a new interpretation of that term in '96 when he crammed what seemed...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Gene Lamont is the third manager the Pirates have had in 20 years, following Chuck Tanner (1977 to '85) and Jim Leyland (1986 to '96). Since the start of the '77 season, there have been 216...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
A few weeks before the 1995 season Todd Zeile and the Cardinals agreed in principle on a contract that would keep him in St. Louis for three more years. Zeile, who had played in the organization...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Last season Mike Piazza led the majors with 79 opposite-field hits, which was 42.9% of his hit total. Among players with at least 100 hits in '96, only Boston's Reggie Jefferson (44.0%) and...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Padres general manager Kevin Towers doesn't usually receive telephone calls from his players in the off-season, but this winter Ken Caminiti, Tony Gwynn and Wally Joyner all phoned Towers and...

March 31, 1997 | Tim Crothers
Last season the Padres' bullpen had the best ERA (3.30) and the lowest opponents' batting average (.212) of any relief corps in the majors. In the last 20 years only three bullpens have held...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
Clint Hurdle is the new Colorado batting coach, which, of course, is a parttime job. "He can work with us 81 games a year," rightfielder Larry Walker says. "When we're at home, he might as well...

March 31, 1997 | Michael Farber
After hitting for a combined .254 average with the Angels and the Brewers from 1988 through '92, outfielder Dante Bichette batted .317 over the past four seasons with the Rockies. That 63-point...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
When the Giants traded cleanup man Matt Williams to the Indians over the winter, San Francisco fans fretted about who would protect Barry Bonds in the batting order. The Giants' front office,...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Last year Barry Bonds broke the National League record for walks in a season, with 151, bringing his career average to one free pass every 6.204 plate appearances. Among National League players...

March 31, 1997 | Tony La Russa
Two experienced managers came down on different sides of the fence when asked if interleague play, which debuts this season, will be good for the game

March 31, 1997
Despite the many new faces in new places profiled on the following pages, no one looms larger in the American League pennant race than the Mariners' 6'10" lefthander Randy Johnson, who is...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Lefthander Graeme Lloyd was the only member of the Yankees to celebrate the team's world championship by renting a beach house on the west coast of Australia and jumping into the Indian Ocean—a...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
All five pitchers in the rotation have had at least one season in which they led their team in victories. Andy Pettitte was the Yankees' top winner last year with 21 victories. David Cone was the...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
The biggest trade in Blue Jays history began with a simple objective: Find a second baseman. In attempting to replace departed free agent Robbie Alomar last season, Toronto tried Tomas Perez,...

March 31, 1997 | Tom Verducci
Last season righthanders Juan Guzman and Pat Hentgen ranked one-two in the American League in ERA. Since 1969 only one other pair of teammates has done that—Ron Guidry and Tommy John of the '79...

March 31, 1997 | Matthew Rudy
Trainer Randy Myers will help your back; your game is another matter

March 31, 1997 | Tim Kurkjian
Kenny Anderson has a new set of priorities, and the Trail Blazers are reaping the benefits

March 31, 1997 | Tim Kurkjian
FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 17-23

March 31, 1997 | Tim Kurkjian
Prepare the gumbo, alert Bourbon Street and call 7-foot Rich Kelley to see if he wants to make a comeback. When asked to pick the best site for a new NBA team, our panel of voters favored the Big...

March 31, 1997 | Marty Burns
When the Timberwolves signed swingman Reggie Jordan of the Continental Basketball Association's Sioux Falls Skyforce to a 10-day contract on March 19, the move marked a record 39th time this...

March 31, 1997 | Marty Burns
Raptors Executive VP Isiah Thomas hung up his Pistons uniform in '94, but the future Hall of Fame guard is still wheeling and dealing. Thomas, who owns 9% of the Toronto franchise, has put...

March 31, 1997 | Marty Burns
Spurs forward Sean Elliott has been sidelined since Feb. 6 with tendinitis in his right quadriceps, so he has had plenty of time to pursue his favorite leisure activity: watching movies. Here are...

March 31, 1997
Playing Golf in The Fast Lane

March 31, 1997
84, 105PGA Tour events Sam Snead won in his career, and the total victories of the other 15 players in the Demaret division of last week's Legends of Golf.

March 31, 1997 | Gary B. Smith
ANOTHER TAKE ON THE HEADLINES

March 31, 1997 | Tommy Tolles
I received the invitation to play in my first Masters about a month ago. What made it special was what came with it: a ticket request form. I have to pay $100 apiece for tickets, which was a...

March 31, 1997 | Austin Murphy
AT 84, THE LIFE OF THE LEGENDS, SAM SNEAD, MAKES EVERY SHOT COUNT

March 31, 1997 | Gary Van Sickle
In the tradition of the tournament host, Phil Mickelson made a back-nine charge to victory at Bay Hill