Lame-duck Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn has fined the Atlanta Braves $25,000 but ruled that they can keep lame-duck left fielder Brett Butler until season's end.
Remember how Kuhn suspended Atlanta owner Ted Turner in 1977 for "tampering" before Brave-to-be Gary Matthews was officially free of the Giants? Now, Turner raised another question of the integrity of a player performing for one team knowing he was bound to another. Turner had told Butler on the weekend that, yes, media reports are right, you're going to Cleveland (after the season) as one of the "players to be named later" in the Aug. 28 Len Barker trade.
Butler (.282, team-leading 34 steals, NL-leading 13 triples) had cornered Turner, asked for--and received--an "honest answer." Well, says Turner, "I couldn't lie to him."
So, the Braves were all but sure after talking with the commissioner's office yesterday that Butler's shift from Brave to Indian was "imminent."
But, last night, Kuhn ruled, "in fairness to the player and his teammates, who remain in the National League West race," Butler can stay, even through possible postseason play . . .
The Orioles have named a new manager at Rochester, whence Earl Weaver and Joe Altobelli moved up to the big job in Baltimore: Frank Verdi, 57, a veteran of 19 years (five pennants) managing in the minors, 12 years at AAA level before joining the organization this year at Class A San Jose. He replaces Lance Nichols, now Orioles' director of field operations and player development . . . Ex-Oriole Davey Johnson, who managed the Mets' Tidewater club to the International League championship, now adds the first Triple-A round-robin World Series title. The Tides were 3-1 to 2-2 for Portland (Pacific Coast) and 1-3 for Denver (American Association) in the event at Louisville. A. Ray Smith, Louisville owner who thought up the idea, berated White Sox brass for series-eve callup of Denver stars--and even Bears Manager Jim Mahoney-- to Chicago when the Sox had the AL West all but put away . . .
Still winning: Wild Bill Hagy, Orioles superfan, acquitted of a marijuana possession charge. District Court Judge Patricia Graham in Towson ruled there was no probable cause when Hagy and another fellow were arrested Aug. 7 outside a parked van outside a Lutherville restaurant, a corncob pipe and a tin of something or other nearby . . . Texas Rangers Mickey Rivers and Mike Richardt exchanged several punches before Manager Doug Rader broke it up on the plane home from California Sunday night. A "misunderstanding," said Richardt.