Manager Billy Martin of Oakland and pitcher Brian Kingman nearly came to blows last week, but it was Art Fowler, the team's pitching coach, who apparently threw the only real punch.
Apparently, all participants made up before news of the argument became public yesterday. Witnesses said the fracas started early Tuesday in Kansas City after Martin chewed out Kingman. The pitcher poked a finger at Martin's chest and Martin slapped Kingman's jaw.
Fowler followed the two into a parking lot and landed a light right on Kingman's chin, witnesses said.
Fowler, who turned 60 on Saturday, got a card from Kingman with the printed greeting: "You floor me." Kingman had added "with a right cross."
Fowler denied slugging Kingman: "I was holding him. I like him just like he's my son." Martin said no punches were thrown, but admitted the argument. Kingman wouldn't comment. Last winter Martin said he didn't want Kingman to pitch for the A's, tried to have him traded, and, when that failed, optioned him to the team's AAA farm. Kingman at first refused to report. He was recalled because sore arms have plagued the Oakland starting rotation . . .
Tom Gorman, a National League umpire until he retired in 1976, will speak at the Old-Timers baseball luncheon at the the Sheraton Washington Hotel Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. The luncheon will be sponsored by the Touchdown Club and Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and will benefit the Bob Addie Memorial Scholarship Fund. Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Frank Howard and Brooks Robinson are scheduled to attends.