Deion Sanders will be taking his show to Atlanta for the 1991 baseball season -- he hopes -- uniting his two sports careers in the same city.
Sanders, an outfielder who also plays cornerback for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, agreed yesterday to a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Braves' Class AAA Richmond club.
"Nobody comes to see the Richmond Braves," said Sanders, who hopes to win a job with Atlanta in spring training.
"I want to be on TBS or whatever it is." Meaning WTBS, the Braves' national cable channel.
"Richmond is not, like, my favorite place but I can go there and be happy," he allowed.
He hit .158 for the New York Yankees in 133 at-bats last season and was released after leaving in midsummer to rejoin the Falcons.
"That was very frustrating. It was my fault," said Sanders, who hit .321 at Columbus of the International League. "I haven't put forth the effort that I do in football."
"He has tremendous baseball potential that's about ready to bubble to the surface," Braves General Manager John Schuerholz said.
Sanders will play through July 31 and then report to the Falcons. He gets a $150,000 signing bonus and a $500,000 salary, whether he is in the majors or minors.
Meanwhile, Braves shortstop Andres Thomas was one of eight players in salary arbitration to agree yesterday to one-year contracts, leaving 104 in arbitration.
Thomas and the Braves settled at $650,000, a $100,000 raise. Left-hander Terry Mulholland agreed with the Phillies at $475,000, a $300,000 raise. The Kansas City Royals settled with pitcher Jeff Montgomery, more than tripling his salary to $1,085,000, and infielder Bill Pecota at $307,500, a raise of $192,500. Left-hander David Wells and the Toronto Blue Jays settled. The Los Angeles Dodgers compromised with pitcher Tim Crews, infielder Jeff Hamilton and outfielder Stan Javier, all in the $500,000-$600,000 range.
The Baltimore Orioles listed 13 nonroster players they've invited to spring training, none named Jim Palmer or Mike Flanagan -- although General Manager Roland Hemond wouldn't rule out either ex-Oriole if circumstances warrant.
Besides previously announced catcher Ernie Whitt, the most prominent invitees are pitching prospects Arthur Rhodes and Mike Mussina.
In New York, onetime Orioles staffer Al Harazin was promoted to executive vice president of the Mets, paving his way to run the team after Frank Cashen retires.