Mr. Bargain Basement himself, Wally Joyner, may have clicked off that blue-light special for good Saturday at Anaheim Stadium.
Three more home runs (Nos. 32, 33 and 34), three more runs batted in (Nos. 115, 116 and 117) and a batting average that crept happily to .288 should soothe the memory of an Angel season long since gone stale. And what fun it will be for Joyner, who is signed only through the remainder of this year, to start picking out his winter salary demands.
Think about it. On Saturday, as the Angels defeated the Cleveland Indians, 12-5, it was Indian right fielder Cory Snyder's turn to climb walls. This off-season, Angel General Manager Mike Port will do the same as Joyner asks for a deserved raise from $165,000 to something heavy with zeroes and commas, light on decimal points.
Five times Joyner stepped to the plate Saturday. Three times he returned via a snappy home run trot. He's had plenty of practice, though.
In 1986, during his memorable rookie season, Joyner hit 22 homers and was credited with 100 RBIs. This season, he has added an unexpected 12 more home runs and 17 more RBIs. He become the first Angel to record two 100-plus RBI seasons.
"That's my job," Joyner said. "My job's not to hit home runs. My job is to score runs, to produce runs."
Maybe an altered job description is in order. Or maybe the Indian pitching staff and its 5-plus earned-run average can stay a little longer. In the last two games against Cleveland, Joyner has four homers.
Joyner had company. In the first inning alone, Brian Downing, Joyner and Howell homered. "After we hit three home runs . . . (Angel trainer) Rick Smith said, 'Anybody who hits four home runs, I'll take to dinner,' " Joyner said.
"So I had him scared a little bit."
Joyner hit his second home run in the third inning and also reached base on a walk as the Angels batted around.
In the sixth, he homered again over a leaping Snyder.
When Joyner arrived for his fifth and last at-bat in the seventh inning, Indian Manager Doc Edwards replaced the right-handed Sammy Stewart with left-hander Ed Vande Berg. With the count 3 and 2 and an Anaheim Stadium audience of 22,750 rooting for history, Vande Berg left a pitch outside for ball four.
Joyner, also left-handed, didn't take the move personally.
"I don't think (the pitching move) was because of me," he said. "There was one out and we had three left-handers coming up. I don't think (Edwards) went out there and said, 'I'm taking you out because I don't want Wally Joyner to hit his fourth home run.'
"(Four home runs) would have been nice to have. It would have been nice to do, to accomplish, but I'll take my three home runs today and come back tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Angel management might be wishing it could have yesterday back.
Not entirely convinced that Joyner could surpass or even match his numbers of a season ago, Port offered $160,000 for 1987. Joyner wanted $200,000. After a spirited and occasionally bitter negotiating session, they settled on $165,000, with assorted incentive bonuses.
Your 1988 Joyner won't come as cheap.
Asked if he will enter negotiations with apprehension or glee, Joyner said, "I haven't decided yet.
"I'll go back home Monday and relax, figure out what I did last year during the off-season and try to copy that," he said.
Everything except the paycheck.
Starter Jack Lazorko (5-6) earned the victory and, he said, a roster spot in 1988. "I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be here next year," he said. . . . Jack Howell has hit home runs in his last four games. One more and he ties a club record. . . . Manager Gene Mauch, on who he likes in the Detroit-Toronto series: "I'd like to be there. You know what I mean. I'd like to be there doing what they're doing . . . and that was the plan." . . . Wally Joyner's third homer of the day gave him 100 runs for the season. The Angels become one of only four teams (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers) since 1980 to have three players (Brian Downing, Devon White and Joyner) with 100 or more runs scored. . . . Joyner's No. 1 baseball thrill: "Winning the AL West last year." No. 2? "Playing in the All-Star game." Uh, how about three homers? "We might be here all night before we get to three home runs." . . . Joyner, who received a $15,000 bonus for appearing in 140 games, will just miss another $15,000 bonus for 150 games. If he plays today, he'll have appeared in 148. . . . Brian Downing's 29th home run is a career high. . . . The Angels' Mike Witt (16-13) will pitch against Cleveland's John Farrell (4-1) in the season finale today at 12:10 p.m.