* Bernie Miklasz (St. Louis Post Dispatch) remembers Bob Forsch—who died at 61, a week after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game Seven of the World Series—as a straight shooter who was an underrated pitcher . . . and maybe one of the few Cardinals who went out like a professional when the rest of the team was too busy imploding in Game Seven of the 1985 Series . . .
* When Harry Walker convinced Matty Alou** to try a heavier bat, the freshly-minted, slap-hitting Pirate—once part of the first and only all-sibling starting outfield for the San Francisco Giants—went from nothing much special to nothing much to trifle with at the plate. He won the National League batting title that first Pittsburgh season. Neil Tarpey of the Eureka (CA) Times- Standard, remembers the hard-working outfielder who wasn’t a power or scandal threat, and who died last week at 72, from complications of diabetes . . .
* Hall of Fame baseball writer Murray Chass has some interesting recollections of Tony La Russa . . .
* Allen Barra, usually one of baseball’s most prescient and acute analysts, still hasn’t acknowledged that baseball season didn’t quite end before 19 October . . .
* Nobody could save the Minnesota Twins from dead last in the American League Central in 2011. That didn’t save general manager Bill Smith from a date with the guillotine . . .
* Dan Duquette has a job again—eight years after his dour reign as the Red Sox general manager (where he built the next-to-last pieces of the cursebusting Idiots but alienated one and all before and while he was doing it), he’s been hired as the Baltimore Orioles’ general manager. Some think that’s getting back into baseball the hard way. Gordon Edes, who saw it from the inside during his years on the Boston Globe, is more than slightly amused . . .
* Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post—whose latest collection of baseball writings is way overdue, by the way—is thrilled to death that Davey Johnson will return as the Washington Nationals’ manager. I can’t disagree with him . . . .
* Ken Rosenthal doesn’t think the Phillies should be thinking that seriously about pursuing Michael Cuddyer, even if Jim Thome thinks they should . . .
* Melky Cabrera is going to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez. It’s win-win for the Kansas City Royals: they upgrade the rotation and leave room for a live center field prospect to make his bones . . . while the Giants may not be getting quite what they think no matter that the ex-Yankee finally had a breakout season in 2011, says Sports Illustrated‘s Cliff Corcoran . . .
* The New York Daily News thinks the Empire Emeritus has stronger eyes for C.J. Wilson that Roy Oswalt, most likely because of Oswalt’s back issues . . .
* Yu (The Whirling) Darvish could attract posting and contract dollars comparable to Daisuke Matsuzaka but with one major advantage, says the Boston Herald . . .
** DO YOU REMEMBER . . . the old graffiti gag: “JESUS IS THE ANSWER! What was the question? Who’s Felipe and Matty’s kid brother?”