Dave Johnson has this desire to manage a power hitting shortstop. As a second baseman Johnson once hit 42 home runs for Atlanta. He keeps looking for a shortstop who can hit that many.
So, the New York Met manager keeps moving players like HowardJohnson and muscular Kevin Mitchell into the position, but with little success.
Too bad. The Met skipper had a home run hitting shortstop and let him get away.
Hubie Brooks, who hit 16 home runs for the Mets in 1984, went to Montreal the next spring in the trade that sent catcher Gary Carter to the Mets.
The Expos are just delighted to have Brooks. He only hit 13 home runs last season, but as the club's cleanup hitter, he drove in 100 runs. He seems almost certain to do better in both departments this season.
Brooks hit a grand slam in a seven-run first inning Sunday at San Diego that carried the surprising Expos to an 8-3 victory over the Padres.
Brooks leads the National League with 10 home runs and 32 runs batted in. He is a key reason why the Expos are just three games behind the Mets in the East. He is also leading a home run barrage. The Expos, who hit 118 home runs last season, have hit 46 in 34 games this season.
Brooks is a hot hitter. In the three-game series with the Padres he was 5 for 11, hit 3 home runs and drove in 6 runs. He has raised his average to .354, second in the league.
"This is about as hot as I've ever been," Brooks told the Associated Press. "I'm just swinging the bat good and I want to keep up a steady pace."
Montreal Manager Bob Rodgers wants to alert the fans that there is more than one outstanding shortstop in the league.
"I hope some people will mention him instead of just Ozzie Smith," Rodgers said. "His defense is improving, he has become a far above average shortstop. On top of that he's driving in the big runs and getting the big hits."
Tim Raines, who tied a record by getting two doubles in the first inning, led off with, naturally, a double. Mitch Webster singled and Andre Dawson walked to fill the bases. Brooks hit Mark Thurmond's 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats.
The Expos were on their way to their 12th win in the last 15 games. They also made it easy for Floyd Youmans to even his record at 3-3. Youmans, after giving up two runs in the first inning, settled down and pitched five scoreless innings. Jeff Parrett finished up and yielded the last run.
Atlanta 5, St. Louis 2--Always a streak hitter, Bob Horner is on a hot one. He hit two home runs at Atlanta and drove in four runs to lead the Braves to a three-game sweep of the stumbling Cardinals.
Horner drove in the winning run in each of the first two games. In those games the Cardinals walked Dale Murphy ahead of him and Horner came through. In this one, with the score tied, 2-2, in the seventh, they pitched to Murphy and he drove in the tie-breaking run. Horner followed with his seventh home run and it was the 25th time he has hit two or more in a game.
"We didn't pitch him well at all," Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog said. "You pitch him up and he can hit it out."
The Cardinals are 13-20, in last place in the East and 10 1/2 games behind the Mets. Actually, they are not that far behind last season when they went on to win the pennant. After 33 games they were 16-17.
Cincinnati 7, Pittsburgh 3--When Tom Browning won his 20th game late last season to climax a sensational rookie year, he didn't dream it would be halfway through May before he won again.
In this game at Cincinnati, Browning, making his seventh start, survived a rocky first inning to gain his first victory after four defeats.
After getting the first two batters, he gave up two walks and a single to load the bases. But he reached out and snared Tony Pena's hot smash to get out of the inning. Dave Parker delivered a three-run home run in the bottom of the first to get Browning on his way.
Browning, the first rookie to win 20 games in the league since 1954, gave up two runs, only one earned, and six hits in six innings.
Chicago 5, Houston 2--Scott Sanderson became the fourth Cub pitcher to get a game-winning RBI, but in this game at Houston, it prevented him from getting the victory.
Sanderson was hit in the knee by a Bob Knepper pitch with the bases loaded in the second. Guy Hoffman came in to pitch 5 innings of four-hit relief to win.
San Francisco 4, Philadelphia 1--Five Philadelphia errors and some brilliant relief pitching by Jeff Robinson at San Francisco lifted the Giants into a virtual tie for first in the West.
Robinson gave up just one hit and struck out six in 3 innings for his fourth save. The Giants are five percentage points behind Houston.