City Councilman Frank Smith Jr., chairman of the D.C. Commission on Baseball, headed a Touchdown Club rally of metropolitan-area civic leaders and sports enthusiasts that he concluded with: "We're heading out to Houston (the major league meetings) Dec. 2. It's likely they'll be making a decision to expand by at least two teams. We want to be one of them. We deserve to be one of them."
The thrust of the gathering of 300 yesterday was that the Nation's Capital can and will support the sport it lost in 1971, that American League Baltimore can live with a National League team 40-odd miles away, and now is the time for fans to put their pledges where their sentiments are.
Pledges for season tickets can be made, or information obtained, by calling or writing Smith or commission consultant Morris Siegel, D.C. Commission on Baseball, RFK Stadium, Room 418, 2001 E. Capitol St., Washington, D.C. 20003 . . .
Major league baseball's ninth annual re-entry draft will start at 11 a.m. today with Rick Sutcliffe, the National League's Cy Young Award winner, and Bruce Sutter, one of the game's top relief pitchers, headlining a list of 56 free agents.
The number of free agents is the highest since 1977 and includes six players ranked at the top of their positions for the last two seasons: designated hitters Andre Thornton and Cliff Johnson and outfielders Fred Lynn and Steve Henderson, in addition to Sutcliffe and Sutter . . .
The world champion Detroit Tigers voted 29 full shares of $51,381.36 and the San Diego Padres 31 full shares of $42,425.56 from the World Series players' pool of $5,472,233.22.
The players' pool -- from total net receipts of $6,776,564.10 from the World Series plus $4,371,918.95 from the playoffs -- is divided among the top three teams in each division.
The Kansas City Royals voted 32 full shares of $17,125.46 and the Chicago Cubs 32 full shares of $17,621.49 . . .
Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said baseball fans should have a say in whether the designated hitter remains in the game, and he'll conduct surveys next spring to get their opinions. He said results and a decision will be announced next summer . . .
The Baltimore Orioles slammed four home runs and salvaged a 5-5 tie yesterday in Hiroshima against a combined team of Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. Jim Traber, who got the Orioles started with a two-run homer in the first inning, homered in the eighth to overcome a 5-4 deficit. Gary Roenicke also homered.
The game, played in a light drizzle before 16,000, was called at the end of nine innings.