Philadelphia Daily News - January 9, 1980

Luzinski’s Proud of Brother

 

By Bill Fleischman

 

By now Phillies fans know Greg Luzinski as well as any Philadelphia athlete. Greg Luzinski – the linebacker-sized outfielder who hits towering home runs and rarely displays any temper.

 

Now meet Luzinski's brother, Billy. At least the Chicago White Sox hope baseball fans will meet Billy Luzinski soon.

 

The White Sox chose Billy, a third baseman-outfielder from Miami-Dade Junior College, on the first round of yesterday's January free-agent draft. The 6-1, 185-pound Luzinski was the seventh player selected in the draft.

 

"The last time I saw him play was spring training last year," said Greg yesterday. "Larry (Bowa), Pete (Rose) and myself went over to see him play. They had him playing third base. It was funny the next day he took a guy out at second base, got 10 stitches and they moved him to the outfield."

 

The last time the brothers spoke was last month.

 

"HE CALLED ME," recalled Greg, "and said a lot of scouts were talking to him, trying to get a line on how much money it would take to sign him. I told him, 'Play it cool, don't say anything, let them draft you and then do your negotiating.'

 

"The last time I talked to him was Christmas. He didn't have any idea who would draft him, but he felt it would be pretty high. I'm happy for the kid. He worked hard for it."

 

Rollie Hemond, the White Sox vice president, said the club has been watching Billy, 20, since his high school days in Prospect Heights, Ill.

 

"He's got some filling out to do, but of course we would be very mucn pleased if he turns out like his brother," said Hemond.

 

Demie Maineri, in his 20th year as Miami-Dade coach, knows Billy isn't ready for the major leagues now. But Maineri, who coached Steve Carlton at the Florida school, likes Billy's determination.

 

"He came to usat mid-year last year and really struggled " Maineri said last night. "He had missed our fall program and just wasn't ready toi play. But he had a real good fall for us. He's doesn't have overpowering power like Greg, but he does have power. And it's to all fields. He lined one over the 400-foot fence here one day.

 

"He runs a little better than Greg. And defensively, he's an average major league prospect."

 

ALTHOUGH GREG has only seen his brother play three times at Miami-Dade, which includes Carlton, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers and Kurt Bevacqua among its many major leaguers, the Phillies slugger offered this scouting report:

 

"He surprised me with his power. He hit a couple of home runs in one of the games and appears to make good contact. Defensively, he plays a good third base, really handles himself well. But he has average-to-above average running speed and I think the White Sox are probably thinking of him as an outfielder."

 

Last fall, Luzinski hit .305 as a Miami-Dade outfielder. As a fresh-. man, he was a part-time third base man, bitting .210.

 

Greg thinks his brother will nan die the inevitable pressure that will accompany him trying to crack the major leagues.

 

"He's matured as a ballplayer and a person," Greg said. "He wanted to be drafted and worked hard at it. He's a funny kid – more emotional and outgoing than I am."

 

Billy is also mature enough to hire Greg's agent, Jack Sands, to negotiate a White Sox contract.

 

"He's a great kid," said Maineri. "It was tough for him when he first came, the way he was bombarded by the press, but he handled it pretty good. A lot of people here are pulling for him to make it."

 

 

The Phillies selected four pitchers in the draft. In order: Righthander Tony Chelfi, 18, LaCrosse, Wis.; Ron Richardson, a 6-5 righthander from Albany, Ore., who's also 18; lefthander Jim Harris, 64, a Brooklyn native who attends Ranger (Tex.) Junior College, and lefty Steve True, from Marlow, Okla.