Nixon had painful view of last World SeriesATLANTA...

World Series Notebook

October 25, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Nixon had painful view of last World Series

ATLANTA -- Braves outfielder Otis Nixon watched last year's World Series on television, but he does not look back in anger.

Nixon was serving a 60-day suspension because he tested positive for an illegal substance. He watched the Series from a drug treatment center. He said it was the toughest thing he ever went through in his life. But yesterday -- two days after teammate Lonnie Smith bitterly charged that baseball turned on him after the Pittsburgh drug scandal -- Nixon said that baseball did him a favor by forcing him to face his drug problem.

"The game didn't turn on me," Nixon said. "It helped me take care of a problem I had. I feel I had a lot of support."

Smith may see things differently, but he was one of the first to come to the aid of a friend in trouble. Nixon said Smith and Deion Sanders both went out of their way to help him through a life and career crisis.

"I had a lot of support from my teammates, my organization, my family. These guys took the time out while they were going through the playoffs and the World Series to come out and see what I needed, what I was doing, where I was going. Lonnie Smith and Deion Sanders were the two that really helped. I was asked to go through a 30-day program, but I went through a 90-day program.

"That was a tough decision, whether I could stay 30 days and get the job done or go through the 90-day program. Lonnie and Deion and some other guys helped me deal with the situation," he said.

Nixon still remembers how difficult it was to watch the Braves go through the postseason without him.

"It wasn't any fun. Some of the games I couldn't stand to watch. Some of them I could. I basically did what I had to do. It was very tough. That's why I think that this playoff and this World Series mean more to me than probably any fan, any media and anybody else out there on the field."

Cone deal in review

Braves general manager John Schuerholz was asked for the thousandth time to reflect on the deal that sent David Cone to the New York Mets for catcher Ed Hearn. Schuerholz, the Kansas City Royals GM at the time, made the deal because the Royals had a surplus of young pitching talent and a shortage of JTC catching. But Hearn suffered a rotator cuff injury in his first year with the club and never made a significant contribution.

Schuerholz has never lived down that deal, but he has learned to live with it. "David Cone has done one thing for me," Schuerholz said. "He allowed me to very easily answer the question, 'What was the worst deal I ever made in my life.' "

This one's for you, Cal Sr.

Assuming he was watching Game 6 last night, Cal Ripken Sr. must have gotten a feeling of vindication in the second inning.

With runners on first and third and one out, Atlanta second baseman Mark Lemke hit a fly ball to Devon White in medium center field. Braves third base coach Jimy Williams held Sid Bream at third base.

The play was virtually identical to the one for which Ripken was criticized during the Orioles' final series against the Blue Jays. Tim Hulett was held at third with the tying run in the ninth when Mark McLemore hit a fly ball about the exact distance that Lemke did last night.

Last night, two innings later, Toronto third base coach Rich Hacker gambled and sent Pat Borders home from second base on a two-out single by White, with Roberto Alomar the next scheduled hitter. Borders was thrown out on a good throw by left fielder Deion Sanders.

Borders ties Brooks Robinson

Borders had a single and double in batting 2-for-4 last night, extending his postseason hitting streak to 14 games, dating to the 1991 AL playoffs.

That ties Brooks Robinson for the third longest postseason streak in history. Former Oriole manager Hank Bauer, who hit in 17 straight World Series games for the Yankees in 1956-57-58, has the longest, followed by Rickey Henderson, who hit in 15 straight games during the playoffs and World Series in 1989-90. Robinson hit in 14 straight games during the playoffs and World Series in 1970- 71.

Blue Jays share HR mark

Candy Maldonado's fourth-inning home run was the 16th for the Blue Jays in postseason play this year (10 playoffs, 6 World Series) tying an all-time record.

The Orioles hit 16 in 1970 and Oakland matched that in 1989. The Blue Jays have homered in 11 of their past 12 postseason games.

Lonnie's lament revisited

Blue Jays outfielder Dave Winfield chose not to comment on Smith's recent charge that he has been the target of disproportionate media criticism because he's "black and a mediocre player."

"I don't want to get into that," Winfield said recently. "It's apparent that he's black, but he's not a mediocre ballplayer. . . . It's the World Series. I don't think I have to get off track and get into that stuff."

Manager Cito Gaston was more supportive. Racial prejudice was much more visible when he broke into baseball and played minor-league ball in Georgia in 1964.

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