Derrel Thomas, traded from Montreal to California last week, was treated shabbily by the Expos because of his race, the veteran utility player alleges in an interview published in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Thomas said he was told of the trade last Thursday during batting practice. "I just could not believe that they'd trade me during batting practice, but when I looked in the mirror in the clubhouse I realized why they did it that way," he said. "They'd never trade a white player like that."

First baseman Dan Driessen and coach Felipe Alou supported Thomas' suspicions of racism; General Manager Murray Cook and Expos President John McHale said other considerations prompted the trade.

"Black players on the team have to wonder about their future here," said Driessen, acquired from Cincinnati in midseason. "Color seems to be a big issue in Montreal . . ."

Alou expressed bitterness at not being given a shot at managing the Expos . . .

California Angels Juan Beniquez and Daryl Sconiers and New York Yankees pitcher Ray Fontenot have been suspended three games each for their actions in a melee over "head-hunting" pitches Sept. 2. The Angels did not appeal and their suspensions begin tonight. Fontenot appealed and requested a hearing; so his suspension is in abeyance . . .

Dignitaries from inside and outside baseball filled a Roman Catholic church in Hyannis, Mass., to say goodbye to Joe Cronin, the Hall of Famer who died Friday at 77. The Rev. Joseph Scannell told about 150 mourners, "The doc said Joe's heart failed. Joe's heart never failed -- never."