Wilmington Morning News - April 10, 1980

Bake not shaking with trade rumors


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


CLEARWATER, Fla. - Don't look now, but that athlete occupying right field for the Phillies is none other than Arnold Ray McBride.


Yep, Bake McBride is still with the Phils and couldn't be happier.


McBride, you'll remember was traded to San Diego last December. Or was it Texas?


Every time somebody mentioned a trade during the winter meetings in Toronto, McBride's name came up. It got to the point he was afraid to pick up his telephone.


But the dust has settled and the man with a lifetime batting average of .298 is still with the Phillies.


In fact, Manager Dallas Green has planted him in the No. 2 batting slot behind Pete Rose and plans to let him hit against left-handers until he proves he cannot handle them.


When Danny Ozark was managing the Phillies he felt the left-handed McBride could not handle all southpaws, so Bake spent a lot of days on the bench. Last year, however, McBride hit .343 against lefties en route to his final .280. He hit .371 in September.


“I was concerned during the winter because I kept hearing on television and reading in the papers I was going to be traded," he said. "I didn t want it to happen."


It was just about this time last year McBride signed a four-year contract estimated at $1.6 million.


When his name was mentioned in a possible deal with Texas for reliever Sparky Lyle, one report stated it was not made because Bake has a clause in his contract that gives him the power to void such a deal.


Player Personnel Director Paul Owens vows that is not true, but negotiations never went far enough for such a clause to be tested.


"The Pope (Owens' nickname) has been good to me," said McBride, who turned 31 in February. "When I came to spring training, we had a nice talk. He told me my name was passed around during the winter meetings just so he could see what might happen. He said you never can tell what some other, team might offer.


"There was really nothing I could do about my situation. I had to sit back and wait. It's been like that ever since I came to the Phillies (June 15, 1977 in a trade with St. Louis). I want to remain with them. If I didn't Want to play here, I would not have signed a four-year contract. I could have asked for a no-trade clause, but what's the sense of doing that if the club doesn't want you.”


McBride, who was hitting .333 before the exhibition games came to an abrupt halt because of the players' strike, spent much of the offseason working around his home near St. Louis. He chopped a lot of wood and raked tons of leaves.


"I think my arms and wrists are stronger because of that," he said. "In January and February, I worked at a Nautilus center."


There was a report during the offseason that McBride and Green did not see eye-to-eye when the former farm director took over the team for the month al September.


"I read one story that was not accurate," said McBride. "I think Dallas is OK. Do I like playing for him? I really don't know yet. Time will tell. During the 30 days he handled the club last fall, I thought he was fair. I don't know him well enough yet and he does not know me well, out I think we get along.


"I didn't come up in the Phillies organization and that could make a ference. But the couple of times I made mistakes on the field last fall, I went into his office after the games and told him it was my fault. Things like that don't get put in the paper. Really, I think Dallas and I are going to get along."


McBride was hampered by little, nagging injuries last year, but did not complain.


"Bake played hurt a lot," said Pete Rose. I think he has been given a bad rap in the past, people saying he can't play when he's hurt. I know for a fact that he went out there last year and played when he was aching. He showed me an awful lot."


"It looks like they (Phillies) are going to give the starting eight one more chance," said McBride, a quiet, sensitive type. "To me, this is the best starting eight in the National League."


Some people insist It is impossible to get close to McBride, that be keeps his distance and refuses to form close friendships.


Maybe there is a reason for that.


When he was growing up in St Louis his father died and he moved in with his grandmother. She died and he moved in with an aunt. Then, she died. All three passed away in the course of 18 months.


"It hurts too much to be close to people and then one day they're gone," he said. "I don't ever want to have a close friend in this game. You get traded and then it's pain all over again."


But for now Bake McBride is with the Phillies and to borrow a tired cliche the future for him is now.


EXTRA POINTS – The Phillies caught a late-afternoon flight to Philadelphia yesterday after having their planned 1 p.m. workout curtailed by a heavy downpour... Several of the players were given permission to drive to Philadelphia... The Phillies asked waivers on Rawly Eastwick and Doug Bird for the purpose of giving them their unconditional releases.