2004-10-06 04:22:55 UTC
San Jose Mercury
March 1, 1975
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Dave Kingman got his wish Friday and the Giants had their third base aspirants sliced by one.
Kingman, who had asked general--manager Jerry Donovan to trade him, instead was sold to the, New York Mets for something above the $20,000 waiver price, perhaps as much as $100,000.
"The deal wasn't made for money," said owner Horace Stoneham. "He wasn't happy here and we don't want him if he doesn't' have a complete desire to be with us."
Manager Wes Westrum had figured on giving Kingman first crack at the third base job this spring, but now, the starter probably will come from a list that includes Mike Phillips, Bruce Miller, Glen Redmon and Tom Heintzelman.
The latter was obtained in the deal with St. Louis during the off- season.
There also is talk of moving All-Star shortstop Chris Speier to third and trading for a shortstop. But if the Giants couldn't get a third baseman, how can they expect to get a shortstop where there seem to be few good ones around?
Speier has volunteered to play third, but that would just mess up shortstop, so little would be gained.
The Giants, according to Stoneham, tried to get a pitcher from the Mets in the Kingman deal. "But they said they couldn't afford to disrupt their pitching staff" said Horace. That makes sense.
The Giants' boss, in announcing the deal, also said his club had a four- player swap all worked out with an American League club but the recent rejection of an extra inter-league trading period, which would have been from March 15-31, killed that deal.
So, for the 6-6, 210-pound Kingman the Mets had to give up only money, something the Mets are deep in and something the Giants are known to be in need of.
New York general manager Joe McDonald said the Mets were willing, two seasons ago, to trade southpaw pitcher Jerry Koosman for Kingman even up.
"But they wanted Jon Matlack instead," McDonald said. "so we turned down the deal." The $100.000 figure was not confirmed by McDonald.
"That's not the exact figure." he advised. "But you won't be embarrassed using it.
Kingman. who whacked 77 homers but fanned more than nine times for every one he hit in 3 ½ years as a Giant, obviously was happy to be sold.
Met manager Yogi Berra has seen Kingman plan, third (Dave also played, the outfield and first base and even pitched a bit for the Giants). "What I saw of him at third." said Berra emphatically. "I didn't like.
"But he gives us a pretty good guy on the bench and he's insurance in the outfield if Cleon Jones can't do the job." Jones will be coming, back after a knee operation.
Kingman, 26, hit 18 home runs and drove in. 55 runs last season, also striking out 125 times in 121 games while batting .223, a point under his career average. Those 125 strikeouts came in only 350 official times at bat.
Kingman, who had said he doesn't want to play any position except first base, will not wrest that position from Met regular John Milner. Although the fact Kingman hits right-handed might lead to Berra using him for the left-handed swinging Milner against superior left-handed pitching.
Of his uncertain stature with the Mets, Kingman said, "That's okay. I'm aware of the competition. Nothing should be handed to anybody. You have to earn it."
Why didn't he feel that way with the Giants?
"The Mets have some very fine veteran players on their club. The Giants do not."
One of those Met veterans, the sole original Met on the club Ed Kranepoo1, said what many felt, perhaps.
"I can't believe they didn't have to give up something besides cash. I guess the Giants really need the money