BASEBALL; Fisk bids Boston adieu

If there's one image Boston baseball fans will always cherish it's that of Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk jumping out of his uniform in the 1975 World Series. TV replay cameras captured the moment: Fisk waving his dramatic 12 th-inning home run fair, then leaping joyously along the first base line after the hit won Game No. 6.

The image lives on, but after 13 years in the Red Sox organization, Fisk is gone, gone to Chicago. He changed his Sox, from Red to White, after Boston all but ignored him at signing time. The Red Sox first failed to send him a new contract by the prescribed deadline, then underbid the White Sox for his services after an arbitrator declared him a free agent. Simmering differences between Fisk and general manager Haywood Sullivan, some reports speculate, may have led to the team's lackadaisical negotiations.

A measure of just how distraught Boston fans may be over Fisk's loss will come quickly. The White Sox open their season in Fenway Park on April 10.

For a while, it appeared that Fisk might be one of those rarities in today's baseball world -- a player who stayed put throughout his career. From what he's said, he wanted it that way. A native New Englander who was born in Vermont and raised in New Hampshire, Carlton, or Pudge as he's often called, felt at home in Boston. Oddly enough, he's leaving town just when his brother-in-law, outfielder Rick Miller, is returning to the club after several seasons with the California Angels.

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