Rick Sutcliffe, L.A. Dodger right-hander, is the National League baseball rookie of the year . . . Jim Palmer is $22,114 richer by way of his share of the Baltimore Orioles' World Series booty -- but is pressing his longtime American League employer for big, long-term bucks . . . The Oakland stadium authorities evidently are ready to let the A's go, for " $4 million cash on the barrelhead" . . .
That's baseball today. A closer look:
The Rook is one No. 1 draft choice who panned out. Sutcliffe was the Dodgers' first pick in 1974 and blossomed this year to lead an otherwise disaster-area staff with 17 victories, losing only 10 while posting a 3.46 ERA. Sutcliffe, 23, was an easy winner in the Baseball Writers Association balloting, over outfielders Jeff Leonard (.290) of Houston and Scot Thompson (.289) of Chicago . . .
Gentleman Jim Palmer has plenty of walking-around money assured by his television performers' pay -- to grow by leaps and bounds when he begins showing on your sceens as a cohost, or whatever, of ABC's "Incredible Sunday's" that begin airing in January. But his long-festering resentment at gross underpayment ($260,000 a year in a contract with two years left) in comparison with lesser lights around the majors is still there -- his agent, Ed Keating, says a report that Palmer is seeking a $3.5 million, six-year contract from the Orioles is not too far from the truth. What say, new owner E. B. Williams?
The World Series loot: The champion Pittsburgh Pirates divided total winnings of $1,027,736 into 31 full shares of $28,237 plus partials including three-quarters ($21,177) to part-time infielder Dale Berra and one-half ($14,118) to ex-Nat Joe Coleman, who made 10 pitching appearances but was kept around for batting practice and moral support. Footnote on first-time collector Berra: his dad, Yogi, has cashed 20 W.S. checks as a catcher, coach and manager with Yankees and Mets . . . The O's split their $770,802 pool also into 31 full shares . . . The NL West champion Reds draw $10,004 each and the A L West Kingpin Angels $9,073, according to the figures released by the commissioner's officer . . .
In Oakland, the incoming (Jan. 1) president of the Coliseum board, Jack Maltester -- who was adamant a month ago that the A's stay -- now says: "I've changed my position for a couple of reasons. First, there are just no signs of any local buyers who would keep the A's in Oakland. Secondly, I don't want (Charlie) Finley staying." Maltester said he wants to see a guarantee of "the $4 million up front" and, also in writing, "the offer would also have to take care of any problems that might arise" . . .