VERO BEACH, Fla. — It is 1991. Pedro Guerrero, the first player-owner in major league history, announces that he intends to play third base for his club, the San Pedro de Macoris Sugar Kings.
"My jewelry slowed me down too much in the outfield," Guerrero says. "At third, a Gold Glove would go nice with my collection of necklaces."
Orel Hershiser IV, the nation's foremost labor negotiator, wins a $1,500-a-week raise for the United Auto Workers, bringing that union in line with the scale he had established as a pitcher five years earlier.
Mike Scioscia, the entrepreneur who marketed the first successful fast-food linguine chain, 'Sorda's, says he will return to baseball, not as a player but as "Caterer to the pros," promising fresh garlic bread in every clubhouse spread.
Fernando Valenzuela, whose "Stay in School" program led to his appointment as secretary of education, says he plans to challenge Steve Garvey in next fall's Senate elections. Valenzuela's campaign manager, Tony DeMarco, says Valenzuela will adopt Cheech and Chong's "Born in East L.A." as the theme of his campaign.
Impressionist Steve Sax is opening for Billy Crystal at Caesars Palace. Mike Marshall is playing tight end for the Chicago Bears. Bill Madlock, designated hitter for the New York Yankees, says he'll play until he gets 5,000 hits or Pete Rose retires, whichever comes first.
Ken Landreaux owns the biggest archery concession in Big Bear Lake. Jerry Reuss plays a surfer-turned-detective on NBC's "No One Shoots This J.R." Golfer Rick Honeycutt is 14th on the list of the PGA's leading money winners after winning the Doral Open.
Al Campanis is basking in the sun on the Greek island of Skorpios, where he retired after Kevin O'Malley, the teen-aged son of Dodger owner Peter O'Malley, was named general manager. Campanis writes to say that he has found a prospect who combines the strength of Hercules, the speed of Hermes and the batting eye of Ted Williams. "A kid like this comes around in a scout's eyes about once every 25 years," he writes.
And 63-year-old Tom Lasorda, entering his 15th season as Dodger manager, is predicting another pennant for his ballclub, even though Mariano Duncan is the only player remaining from the 1985 Western Division champions.
"Me and my coaches will keep the lights on at Holman Stadium every night if we have to, but these kids will learn how to win," Lasorda says.
Since it is three weeks before the start of the 1991 season, Lasorda refuses to disclose his opening-day lineup. "Why don't you come to the ballpark that day and you'll see," he says.
But The Times has learned, through an exclusive interview with scouting director Ben Wade five years earlier, just who might be the starting nine when pitcher-astronaut Bob Welch throws out the first ball.
The Dodgers of 1991:
2B--Mike Watters or Manny Francois
"Let's start with the kid at third base, Hamilton," Wade said on a spring afternoon in '86. "He and Gonzalez are two of our better young players.
"This kid's got a chance to do it all--hit, hit with power, good arm, runs all right. And he's only 22 years old. You've got to like him."
Hamilton hit .332 with 13 home runs, 59 runs batted in and a .488 slugging percentage. In one week in July, Hamilton had 14 hits in 22 at-bats.
"The shortstop is the same kid, Duncan, we've got out there right now," Wade said. "He could be a superstar by then."
Wade was undecided at second base, where the Dodgers have a choice between Mike Watters, an outfielder at Michigan before becoming another in the Dodgers' legion of players who have been converted to another position, and Francois, who with Duncan would give the Dodgers an All-San Pedro de Macoris double-play combination.
"Watters was the kid who was voted the most improved player in the instructional league," Wade said. "He had bone chips removed from his elbow this spring, but he has great potential."
The first baseman, Wade said, would have to be Stubbs. By 1991, Greg Brock will be 34, Stubbs just 30. Wade didn't address the question of what Stubbs will do in the meantime, however.
It's when you get to the outfield that Wade really gets excited. "Oh, God, we've got a flock of 'em out there," he says.
Start with the center fielder, Gonzalez, who, in potential at least, Dodger batting coach Manny Mota likens to Roberto Clemente. Mota played with Clemente for six years in Pittsburgh.
"There's also Reggie Williams in center, but he won't be the player Gonzalez has a chance to be," Wade said.
Gonzalez will be only 26 in 1991.
But whereas Campanis, in particular, extols the virtues of Gonzalez, Wade builds a strong case for Devereaux, who was selected the No. 1 major league prospect in the Pioneer Rookie League last season, his first in professional baseball.