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Herzog Has Eye on Coleman

September 22, 1993|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

While Angel General Manager Whitey Herzog is pessimistic about being able to retain free-agent leadoff hitter Luis Polonia, he has a possible replacement in mind.

New York Met outfielder Vince Coleman.

Coleman, who has been charged with one felony count of unlawful possession of an explosive device for throwing an M-80 on July 24 in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, injuring three bystanders, probably would be available. Met President Fred Wilpon publicly announced that Coleman would never play for the Mets again.

"I like Vince Coleman," said Herzog, who managed Coleman for 5 1/2 seasons in St. Louis, winning two National League pennants. "I know he's not a bad person. What he did was a foolish thing, and if he wasn't Vince Coleman, probably nothing would be said about it.

"Listen, that could have happened to anybody. We've all done foolish things."

But wouldn't the adverse publicity deter the Angels?

"That would not alter my decision," Herzog said. "Let's wait and see what happens. Is he going to be suspended by baseball? Will the Mets trade him or release him?

"I'll tell you one thing, the guy won a pennant for me, and he can still play."

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