Anderson's homers are record twice over His 3rd leadoff HR in row set mark even before 4th

Orioles Notebook

April 23, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- It's official: Brady Anderson's streak of leading off four consecutive games with a homer is a major-league record. David Vincent, a member of a society of baseball historians called SABR, provided the Orioles with a complete list yesterday of all the leadoff hitters who have homered in consecutive games.

In fact, Anderson set the record Saturday in Texas when he hit his third leadoff homer -- no one else had done it more than twice -- and broke his own mark when he homered again Sunday.

The streak ended last night when Anderson grounded out to second to open the game.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has requested the bat Anderson used to hit the homers, to display, which presents a bit of a dilemma for Anderson: Which bat will he send?

Anderson actually used two different bats in the four games, using one to hit the first three homers, and the other to hit the homer on Sunday. Seems that Anderson doesn't believe in superstitions, and before Sunday's game, he decided to use the second bat so as to confirm to himself he had more to do with the streak than the bat.

"I didn't want to get too attached to my bat," said Anderson, honored by the first request by the Hall of Fame for one of his items. "They can have it."

Thirty-one players before Anderson had homered in two consecutive games, starting with Jesse Burkett of St. Louis in 1901, then Sherry Robertson in 1946, and so forth. Al Bumbry is the only other Oriole to hit leadoff homers in consecutive games, in 1982.

"Al Bumbry did it twice?" Anderson said, in mock horror. "Man, that takes some of the starch out of it."

Reliever Armando Benitez yesterday was diagnosed with a recurrence of a flexor muscle strain in his right elbow, and the Orioles are estimating it may be as many as four weeks before he's ready to come off the disabled list.

Benitez, 23, strained his flexor muscle at the end of spring training, an injury that was nursed through the first two weeks of the season. Manager Davey Johnson said on April 9 that his instinct was to place Benitez on the disabled list then, so that he could fully recover.

However, Benitez, reluctant to be sidelined, convinced the manager he was in no pain and was given the go-ahead to pitch regularly about five days later. Last Friday, Benitez was three batters into a relief appearance when he dropped his glove and clutched at his elbow.

Johnson blames himself now for not following his initial instincts. "I assumed with Benitez, as much as he's used to throwing . . . and once they gave him a clean bill of health, I erroneously thought he would be OK," Johnson said.

Keeping count

Through the first 13 games of the season, the Orioles' starting pitchers were 7-2 with a 3.48 ERA. During the last four games going into last night, the Orioles starters were 0-4 with an 11.70 ERA. . . . Anderson is among the league leaders with eight homers and a .353 average, but he has only 14 RBIs. Anderson has batted with runners in scoring position only nine times this season, with one hit. . . . Roberto Alomar has hits in 10 of his last 11 games. . . . is batting .302, despite the fact that he hasn't had more than two hits in any single game.

Around the horn

Catcher Chris Hoiles is expecting his wife Dana to call his beeper any time, with the news that she is going into labor with their first child. As Hoiles talked to reporters before last night's game, a watch alarm went off in a locker next to his, and Hoiles jumped a little. "That scared me," Hoiles said. "I just talked to her on the phone." . . . Jim McKean, the plate umpire for the Orioles' loss in Texas on Saturday night, told a friend he was greatly impressed with the aggressiveness of Brian Sackinsky, who pitched four solid innings in his major-league debut that night. . . . Manny Alexander said yesterday that the reason the Orioles don't want to deal him is because they won't have a backup in case Cal Ripken gets hurt. However, there are some in the organization who believe that Eddie Zosky, the shortstop for Triple-A Rochester, who was a longtime prospect in the Toronto organization, could fill in for Ripken adequately on a short-term basis.

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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