SAN FRANCISCO, OCT. 10 -- He promised revenge. Tonight after being hit by a pitch, Jeffrey Leonard, a k a Hac Man, said he contemplated "kicking somebody's butt." Instead, the Giants left fielder vowed to exact payment in Cardinal feathers.
"Some time, at some point, we will take care of that . . . somebody will pay," said Leonard.
Leonard made good his threat with a two-run, fifth inning home run that rescued a faltering Giants team.
The home run, his fourth in four consecutive games, set a major league record for Leonard, who is batting .538 in the championship series. Though no one, from Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog ("I thought it was a can of corn"), to Giants Manager Roger Craig and Leonard himself, thought the ball had the power to reach the fence.
"I knew I hit it real good, but I hit it real good up in the air. With the wind, see you later," said Leonard.
Leonard's home run was one of three hit by the Giants. Second baseman Robby Thompson, who had been hitless in 10 at-bats coming into tonight's game, gave the Giants their first run with a shot in the fourth. Catcher Bob Brenly finished the scoring with a home run in the eighth. There was no "one flap down" home run trot by Leonard tonight. The reason for the absence of his trademark trot was that it didn't fit his "mood at the moment" said the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder. "It wasn't because I was afraid of controversy."
Since the start of this championship series, Leonard has acted as a lightning rod for the Giants, bringing all of the hostility from the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis upon himself.
It began during the first game in St. Louis. After hitting home run No. 1, Leonard took about a week to round the bases, keeping his left arm straight and at his side in what he calls his "one flap trot." John Tudor, the pitcher who threw the change-up that Leonard made disappear, was not amused.
"I don't like him at all," said Tudor. "That's no secret to him or anybody else. Some guys you just don't like."
Leonard did little to endear himself to the rest of the Cardinals with his postgame comments. "The Cardinals didn't show me anything. We had one lousy inning. Other than that, they were a beaten team."
Every game, Leonard says or does something to further inflame the St. Louis team. His own teammates and Craig have reservations about Leonard's openly hostile stance. But no one wants to rein in a guy hitting a home run a day.
"I wouldn't dream of doing it," says Brenly. "But he feeds on that. The more people yell and scream, the better he likes it."
Asked if Leonard's slow motion home run trots bothered him, Craig said, "If it was somebody else I would be. Leonard's the type of guy who can handle himself. When he's hot, he can do what he wants to do."
Herzog said before Game 3 that Leonard's trot does not upset him.
"I get upset because he hit a home run, not because of the way he runs around the base."
Leonard was not scheduled to start this championship series until three hours before Game 1. Danny Cox' sore neck brought in left-handed pitcher Greg Mathews. That gave Leonard a chance to prove he'd been wronged.
"I was mad. Leave it at that," said the Leonard, 31.
The Giants' only all-star selection, Leonard batted .374 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI during the first 47 games this season. An injury to his right wrist and hamstring pushed his average down to .280 with 19 home runs at the end of the regular season.
Asked how he likes this October, Leonard said last night, "It's a lot better than the previous ones."
When Craig was asked what he'd been feeding Leonard for the last week, he said,
"I don't know but I'm gonna get it and feed it to the whole club."