At last, after a visit to the World Series, a vignette to clean up some unfinished FanFare business, vintage 1975. This was the story of Mike Easler, a very good AAA hitter for the Houston Astros' Iowa affiliate at the time. His pregnant wife was hospitalized in Houston with suspected cancer, and he couldn't get leave from the club in Des Moines -- they couldn't spare his hot bat. So he went on playing and, first thing, broke his nose. Then Mrs. E. lost the baby. And the Astros soured on him right about then and peddled him off to the Cardinals' Tulsa club, also in the American Association.

Well, it was a long and winding road, a brief shot with the Angels, an International League batting crown at Columbus, and here he is in Pirate black and gold at the Series -- reward for a season-long pinch-hitting job well done. So how did it all come out, Mike (Hit Man) Easler?

"Great. That year, I found myself in the Lord. My wife recovered, her female problem wasn't cancer after all. We have two beautiful girls, 7 and 3. Yes, the little one born since the troubles. We just bought a house in Leon Valley down in San Antonio . . ."

Just then Oriole infielder Billy Smith came by warmly greeting Easler, and exclaimed, "Leon Valley! We've been looking to but there too. All right!"

Anyway, when the Pittsburgh Family danced on the dugout at the NL playoff, when ABC-TV cameras zeroed in on the Pirate wives at the Serfeis, yessir, among their number was Brenda Easler.