Monday, February 22, 1999

Limo aside, Vaughn's just one of the guys


New slugger shows up in style

BY TIM SULLIVAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SARASOTA, Fla. — Greg Vaughn arrived in a stretch limousine — a real tape-measure job — befitting his star status, but belying his personality.

        “I didn't come here to be The Man,” the Cincinnati Reds new slugger said Sunday evening. “I can't do it by myself. I don't know anyone who can do itby himself. I just want to be part of the a part of the Cincinnati Reds. It's "We.' It's "Us.' It's a team.”

        Transportation aside, Vaughn's first trip to the Reds training complex was decidedly understated. He appeared a few minutes before 6 p.m., a bat in one hand, but too late to take any useful cuts. The Reds complex had been cleared of players, top executives and television crews for hours, so Vaughn's welcoming committee consisted primarily of the clubhouse staff and the Reds medical team.

        “What color shoes do we wear?” he asked, combing through the equipmen t in his locker. “Black? Great. I don't have to change anything.”

        Having gained permission to keep his goatee, revising a Reds policy that had stood for three decades, Vaughn is now eager to fit in without minimal fuss. Like Roger Clemens, who joined the New York Yankees Saturday hoping to “slide in a side door,” the slugging left fielder aims to be unassuming, even after a 50-home run season.

        “I didn't try to hit 50 last year, and I don't want to put pressure on myself to start producing if it doesn't happen right away,” he said. “I think it will happen, but I'm not going to go in and try to carry the team. There are a lot of guys here who I think will come out and have great years. I'm going to be a part of it.”

        His only special request Sunday was that his bats be locked up because of the difficulty in getting replacement models. Like Pete Rose in his later years, Vaughn's bats are made by the Japanese manufacturer Mizuno, and shipping can be slow.

        “If you don't lock them up, Ruben Rivera and those guys were always getting into them,” Vaughn said, referring to his former teammate with the San Diego Padres.

        He was less possessive about the Padres duffel bag that bore some the bats from California.

        “You can throw that in the garbage,” he said.

       



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