Tommy Hawkins, a former Notre Dame and NBA basketball star and network broadcaster with no baseball experience, becomes one of the major leagues' highest-ranking black executives -- vice president/communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hawkins, currently of KHJ-TV in Los Angeles, inherits many of the duties of Fred Claire, who became Dodgers vice president of player personnel in April after Al Campanis was forced to resign following his disparaging remarks about blacks made during an interview on national television. . . .

The Baltimore Orioles will open the 1988 season as they have for the past eight years -- playing at home. The Orioles will face the Milwaukee Brewers on April 4 at 2:05 p.m.

The Orioles announced the starting times for all Sunday afternoon home games will be 30 minutes earlier than last season. The games will begin at 1:35 p.m. Friday games will begin at 8:05, the others at 7:35.

The Orioles will complete their home schedule Sept. 29 against the New York Yankees. Their last game will come in Toronto, against the Blue Jays, Oct. 2.

Complete home schedule for Orioles, Page D8. . . .

New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly has received the first perfect mark in the history of the Elias Sports Bureau's player rankings.

Elias Sports Bureau, using a formula developed by the players association and baseball owners, has ranked players for seven years to determine proper compensation for teams that lose free agents. Mattingly earned a perfect 1.000 ranking based on the five categories used to judge non-pitchers: batting average, plate appearances, homers, RBI and on-base percentage. Previous tops was 1.4, by Mattingly last year and Baltimore's Eddie Murray, also a first baseman, in 1984. . . .

For the first time in its 63-year history, the company that makes Wheaties cereal is going to put an entire team on the front of its packages: the world champion Minnesota Twins.

General Mills Corp., based in Minneapolis, said that 500,000 special Twins commemorative packages will be available beginning Friday only in stores in the Upper Midwest.