Philadelphia Inquirer - April 10, 1980
Best and worst of spring training, or: Bring on Juan Eichelberger!
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. – It was a spring without a Pete Rose media carnival. It was a spring without a Paul Owens blockbuster trade.
It was a spring in which Warren Brusstar didn’t make it back. It was a spring in which Greg Luzinski apparently did.
It was a spring in which the word “strike” was not necessarily preceded by the word “ball.” It was a spring in which the most famous Miller in baseball no longer was named Dyar, Rick or Eddie.
It was another spring training, and it is over now. So it is time to examine the Best and Worst of Spring Training 1980.
BEST SHOW OF AMBITION IN A LOST CAUSE – Phillies clubhouse man Kennu Bush getting all 12 letters in Paul Thormodsgard’s last name to fit on the back of his uniform. Philadelphia Inquirer, who was known as “Thor” by his previous clubhouse man in Minnesota, got cut anyway.
BEST TRADE THAT NEVER WAS MADE – Orlando Isales and two other prospects for Baltimore’s Billy Smith. Three weeks later, Smith was released.
BEST BUY OF THE SPRING – Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter’s two-hour call to Larry Bowa, long distance from Delaware, According to telephone company estimates, the call cost Carpenter $29.89. However, it saved him the $300,000 a year Bowa wanted to have added to his contract for the next three seasons. Net gain $899,971.11. Don’t be surprised if the next thing you see on your TV screen is Ruly Carpenter singing, “Reach out, reach out and touch someone….”
BEST POTENTIAL BOOK TO COME OUT OF SPRING TRAINING – “The Greg Luzinski Quick Weight-Loss Diet.” The major component of Luzinski’s diet was pretty basic – don’t eat. The Bull says he ate only one meal a day all winter. And the only thing he drank, he says, was “iced tea. No alcoholic beverages…. Well, uh, maybe a beer once in a while.”
BEST PERCEPTION BY A PLAYER OF HIS SITUATION – The late Dave Rader, upon hearing an announcement directing all non-playing personnel to leave the clubhouse, started to leave.
WORST-LOOKING PITCHER – Jesus Hernaiz, a Phillies minor-league pitching coach, who suddenly found himself being inserted into the 11th inning of a Phillies-Blue Jays game when the Phillies ran out of pitchers. Hernaiz, called into protect a 5-4 lead, promptly gave up a two-run homer to J.J. Cannon. Oh well, back to Peninsula.
BEST NEW DALLAS GREEN EXPRESSION OF THE SPRING – “Catawampus.” As in, “The mound was bad, and that rubber was all catawampus.” Definition, according to the Webster’s Two-Feet Thick International Dictionary – “an imaginary fierce wild animal.”
SECOND-BEST NEW DALLAS GREEN EXPRESSION – Tie between “He was a little logy out there” (referring to a sluggish Steve Carlton outing) and “finger-putter-downer” (description of what Bob Boone is one of the best of).
BEST EXPLANATION OF HOW PLAYERS FEEL ABOUT STRIKING – Phil Garner, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ player rep: “Nobody wants to strike. I never heard anybody say, ‘Hey, it’s a great day for a ball game, but let’s strike.’”
BEST NAMES ON A SPRING TRAINING ROSTER THIS SEASON – Drungo Hazewood, Baltimore; Delrick Leatherwood, California; Creighton Tevlin, Milwaukee (since traded to Kansas City); Kent Cvejdik, Kansas City; Onix Concepcion, Kansas City; Mark Fujderburk, Minnesota; Rene Quinnes, Milwaukee; Wilhemus Remmerswaal, Boston.
BEST NAME EVER TO APPEAR ON A SPRING TRAINING ROSTER – Juan Tyrone Eichelberger, San Diego.
BEST STAT OF ANY SINGLE SPRING TRAINING PLAYER ANYWHERE – Baltimore’s Drungo Hazewood, who came to the plate 12 times – seven hits, five strikeouts.
BEST ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, “WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW?” – Doug Bird, when asked this in a questionnaire for the Phillies Yearbook, replied, “90 Minutes.”
BEST ANSSWER TO THE QUESTION, “IS JOHN VUKOVICH RELATED TO GEORGE VUKOVICH?” – “No.” – By John Vukovich. (“I’d better come up with something better,” John Vukovich said. “I’m gonna get asked this a thousand times.”)
WORST-LOOKING THIRD BASEMAN – Phillies coach Ruben Amaro, who was pressed into playing in an intrasquad game. On one pop-up, Amaro charged in, stopped, then scrunched up and covered his head with both hands. “They might get a few balls by Ruben today,” observed Paul Owens, astutely.
BEST REASON, IN ROUND NUMBERS, WHY THE PHILLIES MIGHT NOT WIN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST – 7.88 (Dick Ruthven’s spring training ERA), 7.36 (Randy Lerch’s spring training ERA), 5 2/3 (number of innings pitched by Larry Christenson in spring training games), 0 (number of innings pitched by Nino Espinosa in spring training games).
BEST REASON WHY YOU SHOULD IGNORE EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN SPRING TRAINING – Last year in spring training, Pete Rose hit .194 (12-for-62), Greg Gross hit .135 (5-for-37) and Steve Carlton was 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA. Last year during the regular season, Rose hit .331, Gross hit .333 and Carlton was 18-11, 3.62.
NOTES: Garry Maddox says he has reduced his asking price slightly in his salary dispute, and says if the Phillies come up to where they are (close enough where we could split the difference,” he would sign. But “that would require some movement on their part,” he says…. The Phillies arrived back in Philadelphia early last evening. Green banned jeans on the flight, but Mike Schmidt said an appeal for the acceptability of designer jeans was approved. “Basically, I like the whole idea (of a dress code),” Schmidt said. “It’s much more professional, I think. You’re a major league baseball team. This way everywhere you go people know who you are and what kind of team you are.”… The Phillies hold a free, open-to-the-public workout at the Vet tonight at 7.