The St. Louis Cardinals' Vince Coleman, injured in a freak run-in with the automatic tarpaulin machine at Busch Stadium last Sunday, said Thursday that he will be able to play in Saturday's World Series opener against the Royals at Kansas City.
Coleman suffered scrapes and bruises to his left leg when the tarpaulin machine rolled over him during warmups. He missed the next three games, all St. Louis victories.
Coleman had been on crutches after the accident, but soon discarded them and was leaping in joy with his teammates after Jack Clark's three-run, ninth-inning homer knocked the Dodgers out Wednesday.
Coleman was the second man to the plate, behind pitcher Joaquin Andujar, and was waiting to join in the high fives when Clark arrived. Coleman spent much of Thursday in the whirlpool and was due for another soaking today.
Coleman, who bats leadoff, stole 110 bases this season, setting a record for rookies and finishing with the third highest total in major league history.
Nevada bookmakers have established the Cardinals as 2-1 favorites to beat the Royals in the Series.
In June, the odds on the Royals winning the Series were 30-1.
Before the playoffs began, the Dodgers were listed as 8-5 favorites to win the Series, Toronto 2-1, the Cards 11-5 and the Royals 9-2.
An estimated 10,000 fans turned out at the St. Louis airport early Thursday when the Cardinals returned from Los Angeles in the middle of the night.
The players were greeted with choruses from "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and a banner saying "I-70 Series. Nobody beats the Cardinals."
The crowd was smaller--the estimates were up to 1,000--when the Royals returned to the Kansas City airport from Toronto in the middle of the afternoon Thursday while most people were at work.
But the crowd was enthusiastic, waving blue banners and chanting "Royals are No. 1."
The six-man umpiring crew that will work the World Series was announced by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth's office.
Bob Engel, Jim Quick and Billy Williams were named from the National League, and the American League umpires will be Don Denkinger, Jim McKean and John Shulock.
Bill Caudill, Toronto's million-dollar relief pitcher who was not called on once to stem the Kansas City Royals' bats during the American League playoffs, doesn't expect he'll be with the Blue Jays next season.
"Judging by the way things went this season, I honestly don't think I'll be back," Caudill said in the hushed Blue Jay dressing room following the 6-2 setback in the deciding seventh game for the American League pennant Wednesday night.
"I'm not a crybaby, I'm not one for making excuses and I'm not the kind of guy who can be happy with all his money while sitting back and watching," the right-hander said of his lack of activity throughout the playoffs. "If somebody had told me I could give back half the money and pitch, I'd probably have done it."
Even more disgruntled was designated hitter Al Oliver, a late-season acquisition from the Dodgers.
With left-handed starter Charlie Leibrandt still pitching for Kansas City Wednesday night, Oliver was replaced by Cliff Johnson in the fifth inning with Kansas City leading by only 2-1, two Blue Jays on and two out. Johnson struck out.
"You look at my career, look at the numbers," Oliver said after the game. "That tells it all. I did the job under the circumstances all year. . . . They used me the way they saw fit. It probably would have been my last at-bat on this team and I didn't get it."
Pat Gillick, Toronto's executive vice president, has said the team is looking for a new designated hitter next season.