NEW YORK THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE. — NEW YORK -- While New York Yankees fans reveled in their club's amazing World Series comeback yesterday, manager Joe Torre had something far more important to celebrate.
His older brother Frank, who has been following the Yankees from a hospital room since mid-August, finally received a new heart during a four-hour transplant operation yesterday morning at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
"Joe Torre said this afternoon that this was the best news he could have possibly gotten," said Dr. Eric Rose, who performed the surgery after a donor heart became available at about 4: 30 a.m.
Frank Torre, 64, had suffered three heart attacks in the past year and had been waiting for a new heart for 4 1/2 months. Doctors had given him about a year to live without a transplant, but say the prognosis now is very positive -- 90 percent of heart recipients survive more than one year and 50 percent survive at least 10 years.
The donor was a 28-year-old Bronx resident who died of a sudden increase of pressure to the brain. Doctors stressed that Torre had gotten no preferential treatment and he was not designated as the recipient by the donor's family.
Torre will be allowed to watch his brother manage the Yankees in Game 6 tonight on television. Rose said yesterday that it will be safer for him to watch the game with his new heart than it was for him to watch the first five games of the World Series with the old one.
Labor pains subsiding
The long-awaited labor deal is all but in place, leaving only the question of when it will be announced and ratified by the owners. Negotiators met again yesterday in New York to work out a few minor compromises, but the basic framework that was agreed upon in August remained in place.
The only major disagreement was when to announce it. The Major League Baseball Players Association would like to make it official this weekend, but interim commissioner Bud Selig wants to put it to a vote of the full ownership before calling a news conference to say the labor war is over.
The owners apparently have the 21 votes necessary for approval, but Selig said he would insist on an in-person meeting of the 28 major-league ownership entities to vote on ratification.
The new agreement calls for a steep luxury tax on excess payroll over a graduating threshold the next three years, a payroll tax on players to fund an industry growth program, and graduating increases in the minimum major-league salary.
Ownership will restore full service time to all players as part of the final compromise, but teams losing any of the free-agent players who met their eligibility requirement with strike service will get an extra draft choice in June.
No doubt, the union would like to go public with the agreement and put extra pressure on the full ownership to approve it, but Selig so far has been adamant in requiring the vote before the announcement. No ownership meeting has been scheduled, but one is likely to take place next week in Chicago.
Torre supports Watson
Joe Torre has not been afraid to voice his opinion on the tenuous job security of Yankees general manager Bob Watson, who has been under fire since the much-criticized deal that left the Yankees with two injured players.
Watson, who traded Bob Wickman and Gerald Williams for Graeme Lloyd (elbow tendinitis) and Pat Listach (broken foot), figured to pay for the mistake with his job, but Lloyd has bounced back to be one of the postseason's most effective relievers.
"With all the abuse he [Watson] has taken," Torre said, "he should get credit when things do work."
Braves general manager John Schuerholz told the Atlanta Journal and Constitution that he's ready to sit down with pitcher Tom Glavine and talk about a contract extension. Glavine and Greg Maddux both will be eligible for free agency after next season.
The Braves have to re-sign 24-game winner John Smoltz this winter and have a year to try to work things out with Glavine and Maddux. Obviously, they hope to save some money by signing Glavine a year before he can use free agency as leverage, but eventually figure to commit more than $80 million to keep all three.
Army of blue is ready
Look out, Jeffrey Maier. If Yankees fans try to interfere with play in Game 6 of the Series, there will be more than 500 New York police officers ready to apprehend them.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani complained when he learned that seven fans who came on the field in Game 2 had been given $50 tickets and released.
"The minute you go over that wall and you go onto that field, you have committed a Class B misdemeanor called criminal trespass, and that's what you will now be charged with," the mayor said Thursday, "and we'll ask the district attorneys and judges to give the maximum penalty of 90 days."
Police commissioner Howard Safir said anyone who runs onto the field "will go to jail and will probably spend the night in jail."
TV ratings still down
The Braves and Yankees got the second-lowest rating ever for a World Series Game 5 in prime time, but the rating jumped 12 percent from the previous night.
The Yankees' 1-0 victory Thursday night got a 20.2 rating and 32 share on Fox, the highest viewership of this Series thus far.
Even if ratings increase from the 17.1 after five games, it appears the Series may get its third-lowest rating ever, ahead of only the earthquake-interrupted 1989 Series between San Francisco and Oakland (16.4) and the '93 Toronto-Philadelphia matchup (17.3)
Around the horn
Fred McGriff turned an unassisted double play in Game 5, the first by a first baseman since Steve Garvey in 1984. Smoltz has been the starting pitcher in two of the last three 1-0 Series games. He got a no-decision in a 1-0, 10-inning loss to Minnesota in Game 7 in 1991. Atlanta's pinch hitters (0-for-20 in the postseason) haven't come through since Mike Devereaux had a hit in Game 3 of the 1995 Series.
Pub Date: 10/26/96