In gloom, Anderson shines on with HR Ties big-league mark with 11th April homer

April 29, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

If April is the cruelest month, Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson is being extremely cruel not only to opposing pitchers but also to two of his former managers -- Frank Robinson and Johnny Oates.

Anderson tied a major-league record yesterday with his 11th April home run, sharing the mark with Gary Sheffield (1996), Mike Schmidt (1976), Graig Nettles (1974) and Willie Stargell (1971).

Anderson's 10th-inning, bases-empty homer off the Texas Rangers' Ed Vosberg broke the Orioles' club record of 10 April home runs held by Robinson.

Anderson, who was traded from the Boston Red Sox to Baltimore in 1988 along with Curt Schilling for Mike Boddicker, never produced for Robinson, his first Orioles manager.

As a part-time player who had never played a full season in the majors, Anderson hit .198 for the Orioles in 1988, .207 in 1989 and .231 in 1990.

But he proved himself to Robinson yesterday by breaking his team record. "Now I'm really going to get him," Anderson said. "He would probably have made some excuse if I just tied it, like he did it in 20-at bats or something."

Robinson has one excuse -- April is a long month this season, which started a week early. The Orioles will play their 25th game today, two more than they did in the year Robinson set the record.

The long month also helped Roberto Alomar to break the club hit record for April. His three hits yesterday gave Alomar 34 for the month, breaking the record of 32 shared by Robinson (1969), Paul Blair (1969) and Cal Ripken (1994).

But Anderson is the one who clearly relishes the bragging rights over Robinson, who currently is out of baseball and living in California.

After Anderson crushed a bases-empty home run Saturday onto Eutaw Street to tie Robinson's home run record, he crowed about what he would say to his former manager.

"I'm just going to stand there and stare at him until he acknowledges my record," Anderson joked after Saturday's game. "In fact, I may be calling Frank tonight."

Anderson hasn't been much kinder to another former manager and Robinson's Orioles successor -- Oates.

Six of Anderson's 11 home runs have come against Oates' Rangers.

"He just missed another in the eighth [inning yesterday]," said Oates, who forgot about one of the homers Anderson hit against Texas this season. "He has five home runs against us, and usually it's when he's ahead in the count."

Anderson hit three of those six home runs against Texas while leading off the game and set another major-league record this season with four straight leadoff homers.

That's no way to treat Oates, who put Anderson in the lineup every day in 1992 and allowed Anderson to become a productive major-league outfielder.

Oates was the one who "let Brady be Brady," and Anderson responded with a monster season in 1992 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and 53 stolen bases.

Anderson, who has expressed his gratitude to Oates many times, is now thanking him by hitting home runs.

But the manager Anderson is pleasing most is Davey Johnson.

Anderson, who also walked twice, struck out and flew out to right field yesterday, is hitting .341. He has 31 hits, 23 runs scored, 71 total bases, a .780 slugging percentage, 21 RBIs, 15 walks and five stolen bases.

What is depressing to Anderson is that his 11 home runs have come mostly during Orioles losses -- the Orioles are 3-6 when Anderson homers. But yesterday's homer off Vosberg, which barely cleared the right-field scoreboard, started a 10th-inning rally.

Johnson said he hopes Anderson keeps on swinging this way.

"He's in an awfully good groove right now," Johnson said. "When he centers on the ball, it goes out. When he doesn't, it's a line drive."

Pub Date: 4/29/96

April power

Brady Anderson yesterday tied a major-league record for home runs in April by hitting his 11th. Here are the players who have done it and how many they finished with:

Yr. ... ... ... Player ... ... ... April ... ... Tot.

'71 ... ... ... Willie Stargell .. 11 ... ... .. 48

'74 ... ... ... Graig Nettles .... 11 ... ... .. 22

'76 ... ... ... Mike Schmidt ..... 11 ... ... .. 38

'96 ... ... ... Gary Sheffield ... 11 ... ... ...

'96 ... ... ... Anderson .... .... 11 ... ... ...

... and hits shower

April hits shower Roberto Alomar yesterday set an Orioles record for hits in April with 34. Here are the Orioles' April hits leaders and how they finished the season:

Yr. ... ... ... Player ... ... ... April ... ... Tot.

'96 ... ... ... Alomar ... ... ... 34 .... ... ..

'94 ... ... ... Cal Ripken ... ... 32 .... ... .. 140

'69 ... ... ... Paul Blair ... ... 32 .... ... .. 178

'69 ... ... ... Frank Robinson ... 32 .... ... .. 166

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