From his vantage point on a small farm outside Cincinnati, Richard Dotson likes what he sees in the ’93 White Sox. But the retired right-hander, who won 22 games for the division-winning Sox in 1983, isn’t about to try to offer any detailed advice to the young Sox staff, especially Alex Fernandez as he prepares to pitch his team’s biggest game of the season Tuesday.

“Just play your game,” Dotson said. “Go about your normal business-and have fun.”

The ’83 and ’93 squads share a common strength that Dotson knows something about-starting pitching. The makeup of manager Gene Lamont’s young guns-Jack McDowell, Fernandez, Wilson Alvarez and Jason Bere-has been well-documented in the Sox’s stretch run to the playoffs. But it pays to remember that the ’83 staff also had a star rotation.

LaMarr Hoyt led the American League with 24 victories and notched the Cy Young Award. Dotson’s 22-7 mark translated to a league-leading .759 winning percentage. Lefty Floyd Bannister’s 193 strikeouts averaged out to 7.99 per nine innings, also tops in the AL. And 40-year-old Jerry Koosman (11) and young Britt Burns (10) also posted double-digit victories for the Sox that year.

“When you have success,” noted Bannister, who now lives near Scottsdale, Ariz., “it’s contagious. You kind of compete with each other. You want to outdo the next guy.”

That kind of friendly rivalry pushed the current Sox to the heights of the AL West this year. Like Hoyt, McDowell (22-10) seems headed for the Cy Young. Like Hoyt, McDowell is a control pitcher who puts the ball in play.

“LaMarr had great control,” said Dotson. “He had an excellent slider. He could throw it at different speeds and move it inside and outside.”

Fernandez (18-9, 169 strikeouts) and Bannister aren’t power pitchers, like a Nolan Ryan or a Randy Johnson, but both led their squads in strikeouts, also relying on good control to keep the walks down.

“Banny had a lot of pitches he could use effectively,” Dotson said. “He had a real good curveball.”

Walks were a bit of problem for Dotson in ’83, something Alvarez (15-8) knows a lot about. Both allowed more than 100 walks, but knew how to pitch out of jams-they also led their respective rotations in ERA-Dotson at 3.23, Alvarez at 2.95 during the regular season.

And while Kirk McCaskill and Tim Belcher didn’t come close collectively to matching the wily Koosman’s 11 victories, Bannister cautions the contributions the pair made shouldn’t be discounted.

“They gave them some innings, they gave the other starters an extra day’s rest,” he said. “You probably don’t need five starters down the stretch. But for the other guys on the staff, you watch the way a veteran carries himself. Unless you’ve been out in the trenches (of a pennant race), you don’t know what it’s like.”

At 36 in 1983, reliever Dick Tidrow was nearing the end of a solid playing career-he’s now a major-league scout for the Yankees. His best days may have been behind him, but both Bannister and Dotson mentioned him as a key ingredient in the Sox’s ’83 success.

“During the year, I remember Dick Tidrow giving me some great insights,” said Dotson. “I really admired him for the way he approached the game, and his experience. He had been there before, and he was one of the keys to the chemistry on the staff. I think he’d make a great pitching coach.”

Today, Dotson, 34, lives on the farm he just bought. He recently gave up a career in real estate to go back to college, and plans a return to his roots.

“I’m going to be the assistant baseball coach at my old high school (Anderson) and the freshman basketball coach at a rival high school,” he said. “It’s going to be fun.”

Bannister formed his own company to manage his real-estate properties and also works one-on-one tutoring players from high school, college and the minor leagues. He doesn’t miss life on the road, prefering the company of wife Jana and three sons, ages 12, 10, and 6. The travel, he says, is what keeps him from pursuing a comeback at 38.

“Being on the road all the time is a big commitment,” he said, “and I have a pretty big commitment right here raising three boys.”

Burns, 34, just completed his rookie season as the pitching coach of the Florida Marlins’ Rookie League team. And Hoyt, 38, whose departure from baseball was hastened by drug problems, is nowhere to be found.

“Even Marc Hill, one of his closest friends on the team, doesn’t know where he is,” Bannister said.

Of the current division winners, Dotson says he’s happiest for the behind-the-scenes friends he has known since the early days-GM Ron Schueler, trainer Herm Schneider, vice president Larry Monroe and scouting director Duane Shaffer-who have a rare second chance at postseason play.

In ’83, the White Sox’s powerful bats fell silent in the playoffs against Baltimore, keeping the team short of a World Series berth. Ten years later, Dotson is rooting for his successors to finish the job and bring a World Series title back to Chicago.

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