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Working for his walks

By JOHN ROMANO

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001


Rickey Henderson passed Babe Ruth last week as baseball's all-time leader in bases on balls. What makes his feat even more impressive is that Henderson is not a typical, middle-of-the-order slugger. Because he is a leadoff hitter, teams generally do not pitch around Henderson. That means he earned his walks with patience and a keen knowledge of the strike zone. Of the top 10 leaders all-time in walks, seven hit 400 or more home runs and four hit 500 or more. Here are baseball's career walks leaders and their home run totals:

(Player, walks, homers)

Rickey Henderson, 2,063, 283

Babe Ruth, 2,062, 714

Ted Williams, 2,019, 521

Joe Morgan, 1,865, 268

Carl Yastrzemski, 1,845, 452

Mickey Mantle, 1,733, 536

Mel Ott, 1,708, 511

Eddie Yost, 1,614, 139

Darrell Evans, 1,605, 414

Stan Musial, 1,599, 475

-- Compiled by John Romano.

@987$temp$ $STPT$

ID: + Paper: +

Date: 4/29/01 Page: 10C+

Section: SPORTS Byline: BRENT GASKILL +

Headline: Captain's corner Notes: +

The bay is full of toothy predators willing to make your drag sing.

Spanish mackerel, sharks, bluefish and a few kingfish have been pulling hard and running fast, providing plenty of action for recent charters. Wire leader is necessary to land these fish because of their sharp teeth.

For each of these species but kingfish, all that has been needed is 10-pound spinning gear with a short trace of wire leader. All it takes is 4-6 inches of No. 2 wire and a No. 1 hook. Eliminating a swivel streamlines the rig, resulting in more hookups. Live baits, such as scaled sardines and threadfin herring, have also been key.

Hard bottom with good currents have been productive. Anchoring over these areas and hanging a frozen chum block over the transom is generally all it takes to bring the fish to the boat. Try mixing up the presentation by free-lining a couple baits and drifting another under a float.

Light drags are a must so the small hooks don't pull out. Let the fish run and play them easy at the boat. The use of a dehooking tool has been handy when releasing these fish, as care must be taken around sharp teeth.

-- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at gaskill@tampabay.rr.com.

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