"Bobby Bonds was a terrific base-stealer. He just made a mistake in the number he stole," the head of the Miller Brewing Co. advertising account said yesterday in response to a minor flap over a Lite Beer commercial.
In it, Bonds, a former major league outfielder, tells cricket player Fred Truman he stole 681 bases during his 14-year career. In fact, he stole 461.
"Our staff asked him for the number, and we accepted it without checking," said Jeff Palmer, the executive in charge of the Miller account at Backer and Spielvogel, an advertising agency.
The commercial, which has been on the air for more than two months, will be pulled off, Bonds "will do a rerecording, dubbing in the right number, and it'll go back on the air, we hope in a matter of days," Palmer said.
Bonds, asked by the New York Times about the discrepancy, said the 681 also included steals in the minors and an instructional league. But that totaled 618.
"Well," he told the newspaper, "it was a typographical mixup. Instead of 618 it came out 681. I guess I messed up." . . .
Representatives of the umpires union and the major leagues agreed to meet Saturday with former president Richard M. Nixon, who will arbitrate the dispute over increased pay for baseball's expanded postseason playoffs.
Nixon will fly to Kansas City, where the World Series starts, for the session. Richie Phillips will represent the union and league presidents Bobby Brown (American) and Chub Feeney (National) will head management's side.