Although he no longer gets paid for his advice, a 68-year-old man who played a vital role when the Chicago White Sox won their last pennant in 1959 may turn out to be a guiding light for this year's team as well.
The man's name is Ray Berres and he was the pitching coach of the White Sox until 1970, during which he tutored and helped develop such outstanding hurlers as Gary Peters, Tommy John, Joel Horlen and Wilbur Wood.
Berres no longer is a pitching coach, but he developed a close rapport with some of his former pupils and it is some recent advice he gave to Wood that may have revived the White Sox' sorrowful pitching staff.
Wood, attempting a comeback this year after missing practically the entire 1976 campaign with a fractured knee cap, seemed to have regained his old form in early July. But last month he began experiencing control problems and was relegated to the bullpen.
The paunchy knuckleballer sought advice from several people and one of the men he spoke to was Berres, who lives near Chicago in Twin Lakes, Wis. Berres pointed out a flaw in his delivery and, presto, Wood regained his control.
It all came together for Wood Friday night when he stopped the Milwaukee Brewers on five singles, 3-1, as the White Sox regained first place in the American League West by two percentage points.