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Law Takes Angels Into Own Hands : Ex-Dodger Helps White Sox Strengthen AL West Lead

June 16, 1985|GERALD SCOTT | Times Staff Writer

Although they might never admit it publicly, the Dodgers have done their best to make life as uncomfortable as possible for the Angels throughout the team's 25 years in both Los Angeles and Anaheim.

When the Dodgers traded Rudy Law to the Chicago White Sox in 1982, it was hardly the L.A. club's intention that he go on to become a thorn to its freeway rivals, the Angels.

But after Chicago's 3-2 victory over the Angels at Anaheim Stadium Saturday, that seems to be something at which Law excels.

What the Dodgers ultimately gave up--and what the Angels have been experiencing first hand--is an underrated leadoff hitter and speedster, one who has played a major role in the two White Sox wins this series against the Angels.

"This is my hometown, and it's always great to play here," said Law, 28, who played his high school ball in East Palo Alto but has made Inglewood his home ever since his Dodger days.

Friday night, Law turned in the defensive play of the game, squelching a potential Angel rally with the bases loaded and no outs by starting a double play off of a short fly to left.

Law caught Daryl Sconiers' fly ball for the first out and then threw out Juan Beniquez, who was trying to score from third base on the tag up, at home plate to complete the double play.

That eighth inning play effectively stifled the Angels' chances of rallying from a 4-2 deficit and helped preserve the win, which put the White Sox back in first place in the AL West.

Saturday, Law helped the White Sox win again by going 3 for 4 and scoring what proved to be the winning run in the seventh inning. And it was Law's speed that was directly responsible for that run.

With a runner at first and one out, Law hit a sharp grounder to Angel first baseman Beniquez, who threw to Dick Schofield covering second to start a potential double play.

Schofield made a good return throw to pitcher Kirk McCaskill covering first, but Law beat it by a step. One batter later, Harold Baines doubled to the left field gap and Law scored from first to give the White Sox the lead and, eventually, the game, 3-2.

"I got a jump because I was trying to steal the base," Law explained. "Harold hit the ball into the gap and everything worked out right."

The same might be said of Law's career with the White Sox. After spending much of his Dodger career in Albuquerque, he was traded for pitcher Burt Geiger and outfielder Cecil Espy in 1982.

Since then, he has averaged .280 and stolen 142 bases going into this season, including a team-record 77 steals in 1983, when the White Sox won the West by 20 games. Law doesn't dwell on his Dodger days because with Chicago he's averaged more than 400 at-bats the last three seasons and his talents have been much more appreciated.

"It's just great to wake up in the morning and see that your team is in first place," Law said.

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