The San Diego Padres, seven years since their sale and oops, no sale, to Washington, become ever more unrecognizable -- even to San Diego '79 fandom.
Even before today's legitimate reopening of interleague baseball trading (through March 15), the NL West also-rans declared that today is the day they ship venerable Gaylord Perry and two minor-leaguers to Texas for Ranger first base surplus Willie Montanez; the day southpaw Bob Owchinko shifts to Cleveland along with outfield prospect Jim Wilhelm for outfielder Jerry Mumphrey (who hit .295 for St. Louis last year and went to the Indians in the Bobby Bonds trade of December). Previous Padre acquisitions this offseason: Dave Cash, Aurelio Rodriguez, Rick Wise, John Curtis.
Second time around as a Ranger (talk about revamped would-be Washington teams) for Perry. The 1972 AL Cy Young Award winner (for Cleveland) reeled off his 1978 NL Cy Young campaign (21-6) for the Padres after 15-14, 15-12 seasons in Texas. Now Geezer Gaylord, 12-11 when he quit the Padres early last September, is back in the hunt for the magic number; win No. 300. Just 21 to go -- and, shoot, he won't be 42 years old until Sept. 15. . .
Money talks, and never mind the spare tire so evident in the pictures from Africa, Muhammad Ali back in the States (before hopping off to Saudi Arabia to film commercials for a foreign auto) brashly declares, "It's 75 percent sure I'm going for the crown again. I'm going to whip John Tate first and the Larry Holmes. I've been offered $18 million for the two fights." And he's only going on 39. . .
Madison, Wis., promoter Greg Campbell says Ali evinces interest in his plan to put together a $14 million Ali-Holmes title bout in Taiwan. That would pit principals in both the Fights of the Decade just selected by World Boxing Council: Holmes-Ken Norton last June and the Ali-Joe Frazier 1975 Thrilla in Manila. . .
Sugar Ray Leonard and Larry Holmes (he recently was further honored as one of the Jaycees' 10 outstanding young men) are the World Boxing Council's co-fighters of the year -- and Angelo Dundee, who works with Leonard (9-0 and a title winner in 1979), is WBC's manager of the year . . . Now that trainer Dave Jocobs has settled differences with protege Leonard (and one of the coaches of a U.S. touring amateur team boxing in three Swedish cities through Feb. 27. Jacobs developed Mike Johnson, 178 pounds, and Willie Sanders, 125, are on the squad as Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission representatives. . .
"Kermit Honored again!" trumpets American University. Now Kermit Washington makes it as the capital man on the 12-player all-decade team of Eastern College Athletic Conference (a whole lot of colleges) basketball. The dazzling dozen, to be highlighted at halftime of Saturday's St. John's-Syracuse telecast (WRC-TV-4, 2:30 p.m.): Marvin Barnes and Ernie DiGregorio, Providence; Phil Sellers and James Bailey, Rutgers; Bob Lanier, St. Bonaventure; Ronnie Perry, Holy Cross; Julius Erving, Massachusetts; Michael Brooks, La Salle; Jim McMillian, Columbia; Calvin Murphy, Niagara, and Howard Porter, Villanova. . .
A current good one up East; Chris Gedney, 5-9 Connecticut forward -- averging 18.5 points a game as a junior, up from 14.0 then 17.2. That's Gaithersburg's Gedney of the UConn women's varsity. . .
New England's baseball team is pursuing plans to put 7,000 more customers in the park per sellout date (1979 draw totaled a record 2,353,114). It's full speed ahead with Fenway Park seating expansion, Red Sox veep Buddy LeRoux announced yesterday. Maybe they can get it done by 1981 season, he said -- it'll still be "cozy" Fenway at 40,500 capacity. . .
Tennis: For the WCT Invitational at Salisbury on Maryland's Eastern Shore next week, John Alexander and Jose Higueras have been tabbed to round out the six-man field (with Borg, Connors, Dibbs, Nastase). . . Early publicity on the Volvo Classic March 2-9 at GW's Smith Center focuses on Vince Van Patten, 21. Son of TV star Dick Van Patten ("Eight Is Enough"), he made of Tom Okkar, Bob Lutz and Pat DuPre. . .
A foot ball breakthrough for Grambling: Southern Methodist has scheduled the first SWC-SWAC engagement, Mustangs-Tigers, in 1981 season; return match probably in '83.