Nolan Ryan, the Angel full of Ks; Bucky Dent, the Yankees' 1978 World Series MVP; Al Hrabosky, the Mad Hungarian of the Royal bullpen, and a bunch of other big-leaguers with expired contracts took the plunge yesterday:
Officially became free agents, up for draft by up to a dozen clubs apiece in baseball's reentry pool eight days hence -- for eventual self-delivery to the highest, or otherwise nicest, bidder.
Marvin Miller, Major League Players Association chief, issued a list of 33 (plus four thinking it over who have notified their teams they plan to go through the draft procedure. They have until Monday, meantime, to sign with their old clubs and withdraw.
Considering but undeclared: Bob Watson, Tony Perez Willie McCovey, Bruce Kison. See Scoreboard (D2) for list of declared -- Don Stanhouse included . . .
National League manager of the year, says Associated Press: Montreal's Dick Williams. A nationwide panel of media experts accorded the leader of the club that gave Pittsburgh the run for the Nl East money 113 votes to 95 for Bill Virdon, whose Houston Astros chased Cincinnati to the West laurels. That left division winners John McNamara, Reds, and Chuck Tanner, Priates, third and fourth in the balloting, respectively, 32 and 19. Only other cited: Cards' Ken Boyer, 2 . . .
Ed (Too Tall) Jones, the 6-9, 270-pound Dallas NFL dropout, is said to be set, truly to pick on somebody (probably not quite his size) on the Nov. 24 boxing card at Starplex Armory to be topped by the lightweight title match featuring Ernesto Espara and Sean OGrady, the anesthetic Bethany (Okla.) Nazarene pre-med student . . . Meantime, Derrik Holmes of here tosses his 9-0-1 record and No. 7 U.S. featherweight rank at Leo Lopez (16-6) of New York at the 10-round climax of a Baltimore Civic Center show tonight. Area boxers Odell Leonard, Bill Tuttle, Jeff Passero on the undercard . . . Careful, guys, Biff Cline got taken out in one round, last fights in the Civic Center, and maybe re-retired . . .
The Metros, Wash-Balt entry in the Women's Pro Basketball league, launch a three-exhibition preseason with a 7 o'clock tilt tonight, Fort Belvoir, against New Jersey and you're invited, free . . .
Bobby hull left the Winnipeg Jets in the lurch at the much-publicized practice session supposed to feature Hull yesterday -- he stayed on his Manitoba rance auctioning cattle. Never notified the club he wouldn't be there, and new life in the NHL hasn't begun at 40 for the Old Black Hawk yet . . .
The baseball light is kept burnning in the natin's capital.
Saturday on Capitol Hill, it's the sixth annual Baltimore-Washington regional meeting of Society for American Baseball Research. Steeve Ridzik, the combative Nat, Phillie, etc., pitcher, and Dick Bosman are expected, along with Cliff Kachline, historian of the Baseball Hall of Fame (he's current president of SABR). Through the good offices of Rep. Frank Horton, former Rochester Red Wing prez and International League v.p., SABRwill gather 12:30 p.m. to 5 or so in Rayburn House Office Bldg., Hearing Room 2203 . . . Billy Hunter, the old Oriole now coaching Towson State to glory, comes down to address the Alexandria Grandstand Managers this Thursday at their 6 p.m. meeting . . . Rich Dauer, the current Oriole whose seventh-game HR looked for a little while like the Series ball of wax, is set to help the 23rd annual Better Sports Club of Arlington salute Arlington youth at their banquet at the K. of C. Hall, Arlington, Nov. 14. Call Jim Puglisi about tickets . . .
But, first off, the backbone organization of sandlot ball here these many years has called a special meeting tonight and, oh-oh, the announcement says, "The future of the Home Plate Club is at stake, and this meeting wil in large measure determine the life or death of the organization." Home Platers, gather at 7 p.m. at the office of Wally Gramlich, 3402 Connecticut Avenue, NW . . .
Mark Lancaster, Wake Forest senior safety out of West Springfield High in NoVa, made Atlantic Coast Conference defensive secondary player of the week for his effort spearheading the smothering of Maryland . . . One reason that Billy Sims' yardage is down, according to Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer, is that the Heisman man has been playing with rib cartilage damage -- films showed him shying from contact after a hard hit against Kansas State . . .
Talk about free agents, but don't hold your breath for any rush for his services: Walt Frazier, the venerable Clyde of the NBA, yesterday cleared the waivers on which the Cleveland Cavs put him last week.
Welcome to the tube, as a regular, Bernie Smilovitz.Along about Thanksgiving week, WTOP Radio's sportstalker becomes WTTG-TV-5's sporting anchor. "Bernie Talks Turkey?"