Wilmington Morning News - March 3, 1980

Short in dark over Reds’ job


Compiled from dispatches


Chris Short can't really give any reason why the Cincinnati Reds picked him to tutor their left-handed pitchers this spring on pick-off moves to first base.


He had no real connection with the Reds during his 15-year major league career, most of which was spent with the Phillies.


And he admits he never had a particularly good pick-off move to first base himself.


But in January, the Reds wrote a letter to Short, now a successful 42-year-old insurance salesman in Wilmington, who has been out of baseball since 1973.


The National League team asked him to come to spring training for two weeks and teach their five left-handed pitchers: Dave Tomlin, Charlie Leibrandt, Sheldon Burnside, Angel Torres and Billy Scherer. Aside from Tomlin, the group has a total of only 29 major league innings.


Short can present good credentials for the job. He won 135 games during his major league career and fashioned a 20-10 mark for the Phillies in 1966. He also won 19 games in 1968, 18 games in 1965 and 17 games in 1964.


He underwent surgery for the removal of a spinal disc in 1969, but pitched three more seasons with the Phils before finishing his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973.


"I didn't have a great move (to first base), but I had a quick delivery," Short recalled. "And a pitcher with a quick delivery usually doesn't have much trouble holding guys on."


Short, who is also going to throw batting practice to the left-handed hitters during his two-week stint, certainly wasn't hired to conform to the Reds' "clean-cut" image.


He has shocks of hair sticking out both sides of his cap and he tips the scales at 232 pounds.


"I pitched better with what you might call a paunch," he said. "Two or three times I lost weight, but I didn't pitch as well. One time, I lost 10 or 12 pounds and got down to 206-208. I went 42 days without winning a game."


He put the paunch back and went on to win 19 games that season.