Young Outfielders Got 'Moxie'

VERO BEACH, Fla.-- Anthony Raglani would have been perfect as a subject of one of those old baseball movies that pop up on your TV screen every so often. You know, the kind made in the 30's or 40's in which a rumpled old scout (scouts were always rumped and old in those flicks, played, maybe, by William Frawley is his pre-Fred Mertz days).

He goes to watch a kid on the sandlot somewhere, a kid he knows has a broken hand. And, of course, the kid is playing -- broken hand and all. And he hits, anyway. Old Bill exclaims, "That kid's got moxie! (They used 'moxie' a lot in those old movies). I'm going to sign him!" And does.

Not all that far from the truth, really. Okay, so it wasn't a sandlot; it was a college -- George Washington University, to be exact. But it's true, Raglani did have a broken hammate bone in a hand and played on anyway amd hit .322 with 12 home runs and a .450 on-base percentage. Dodger scout Clair Rierson saw him and his judgment was confirmed by Logan White, the scouting director. Logan probably didn't use the word 'moxie' but liking the way Raglani played injured was one of the reasons why he was selected in the fifth round of last June's draft.

He was signed, even though an operation on the hand was necessary. That took him out most of last summer though he finally made his pro debut to get in six games for the Gulf Coast Dodgers, batting .300 (6-for-20.)

This spring he showed enough to skip up to high A making the Vero Beach outfield as, essentially, a rookie. That swift ascension came as something of a shock. "I think they wanted to make sure my hand was sound, which it is," he says. "I thought, 'Maybe Columbus', so, yeah, it did surprise me a little to be here."

Not only 'here' at Vero but more than holding his own. For that, he believes, he can thank playing in the Cape Cod League before his junior year. It's a summer circuit stocked with topflight prospects, of which he notes, " You faced good pitching all the time -- guys who knew what they are doing."

What the 6-2, 215-pound lefthanded hitter does himself is, ' Look basically to hit the ball the other way -- to left. I'm a gap-type hitter although I think the power will come with experience."

A native of Indiana, Pa.,where he was a scholastic All-American, he's batting a commendable .270-2-14 playing against teams with far more pro experience. He can turn on a ball on occasion as he did the other night when he led off the 10th inning of a tie game and muscled a shot over the rightfield fence at Holman Stadium.

"That's the first walk-off home run I've ever hit any time in my life," he said later. "It has to be one of the highlights of my baseball career -- at least, so far."

Which would be a nice way to fade out with "The End" displayed on the screen over Bill Frawley's smiling face. Only for Raglani, it's just the beginning.