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Wood a Victim of All-Star Formula

July 3, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Kerry Wood was a victim of the All-Star numbers game _ his numbers weren’t good enough for Jim Leyland’s computer.

``He would have been a great story,″ the NL manager said Thursday. ``If we had plugged in his numbers from yesterday, he probably would have moved up some.″

The manager of the World Series champion Florida Marlins said he used a computer formula to pick his pitchers. The computer took into account wins, losses, ERA, wins against teams over .500, quality starts, games averaging more than one strikeout per inning and games averaging less than one hit per inning.

``Even though Kerry Wood may have been the most exciting to take, according to everything I weighed, it wasn’t the right decision to make this particular year,″ Leyland said.

The Chicago Cubs rookie, who earlier this year tied the record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, is 8-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 93 1-3 innings.

``I wasn’t expecting to make it,″ Wood said. ``Maybe next year.″

Leyland’s computer had Atlanta’s Greg Maddux No. 1 with 34 points, following by Philadelphia’s Curt Schilling with 25. Not including Wednesday’s victory over Arizona _ in which he allowed just three hits and struck out 13 in eight innings _ Wood had 18 points, tied with Atlanta’s Denny Neagle and the Dodgers’ Ramon Martinez.

Five pitchers were tied at 19: Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cordova; Houston’s Mike Hampton, Jose Lima and Shane Reynolds; and the Cardinals’ Todd Stottlemyre. All missed the cut.

``I did not consider the marketing aspect,″ Leyland said. ``I tried to pick the guys I thought were most deserving, and that’s what I did.″

Leyland and AL manager Mike Hargrove said during a telephone conference call they had a difficult time and advocated an expansion of rosters from 28 to 40.

``People are talking about guys who got snubbed,″ Leyland said. ``I publicly apologize _ not apologize _ but I’m sorry everybody couldn’t make it, but that’s the way it goes.″

Leyland left off Brian Jordan of the Cardinals, the NL’s leading hitter, and Mark Grace, No. 2 entering Thursday.

Hargrove didn’t select a pair of top pitchers on the Yankees: 11-game winner David Cone and Hideki Irabu, the AL’s ERA leader. Also missing are Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra, Chicago’s Frank Thomas and Texas’ Rick Helling.

``There’s no way you can make everybody happy, and you try to be as fair as you can possibly be,″ Hargrove said. ``I don’t think people understand how difficult it is. I watched a couple of the shows and I kept wincing every time I heard the word `snub.′ There are guys who we left off that absolutely deserve to be on the team. They are All-Stars. If you had 50 spots on the roster, there would still be 10, 15 guys left off.″

Helling and teammate Aaron Sele both have 11 wins and Hargrove picked Sele, based on his 1-0 victory over Cleveland on May 16. He allowed five hits in eight innings and struck out nine.

``Any time you make decisions, I think personal experiences frame the decisions you have to make, to a a certain extent,″ Hargrove said. ``Sele was very good against us in Texas, and that stuck with me. That was probably the overriding factor between the two.″

Both managers predicted Roger Maris’ record of 61 homers will fall. Mark McGwire had 37 going into Thursday, Ken Griffey Jr. had 35 and Sammy Sosa 33.

``If they stay healthy, there is a very, very good chance it will happen,″ Hargrove said. ``One of the big things is the pressure and the attention a player receives. It gets bigger as the season goes along and more intense as the season goes along. And as you get down to crunch time, the pennant race, you’ll see those players pitched to a lot less often.″

They didn’t want to second-guess Griffey’s decision not to participate in Monday’s home run derby.

``Everybody has their own ideas on that. I’ve heard some of the reasons,″ Leyland said. ``That’s up to the player, and that’s their choice.″

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