Philadelphia Daily News - April 16, 1980
Burden Lifted, Maddox Signs
By Tom Cushman
ST. LOUIS – Continuing their early-season proclivity for locating wildflowers even in games that otherwise had the look of weedfields, the Phillies last night emerged from the hailstorm of sliders dispensed by Pete Vuckovich waving a positive, and therefore rare, news item from the labor front.
Actually, hostilities had not yet begun when agent Jerry Kapstein jetted in from the papyrus fields of the west bearing a document that had zeroes running off the right-hand border, and Garry Maddox affixed his signature. Center field thus is in safe-keeping for six more years.
A poll of the accountants in the press box placed the terms, which include a no-trade clause for four of the six seasons, at approximately $700,000 per annum, or a total of $4.2 million.
"You wouldn't think it to see me play tonight," Maddox was to say later, "but I feel a great sense of relief. A heavy burden has been lifted."
Garry's clubhouse celebration was otherwise restrained by the fact that he had just finished playing billiards with the St Louis infield. In four trips to the plate he hammered two balls into Ken Oberkfell's glove pocket at second base, and another pair at Garry Templeton, but his was a fate shared by many in the Philadelphia lineup. On an evening when Vuckovich's slider would have sawed through granite, when the Cardinals were stroking line drives in bunches, when shortstop Templeton made six throws without wounding anyone in the box seats, the game was not the thing.
Resolution of the Maddox issue was a reasonable substitute for a team that – at least on the surface – is trying very hard to draw its alien components together. The Maddox question was first raised in the early spring of a year when the labor-management climate is chilly at best, and for a time it seemed that the Phillies would lose the man many believe is baseball's most accomplished centerfielder.
"WHEN THE WHOLE thing broke (in his free-agent year Maddox reportedly was asking for a contract that would approach seven figures annually), they started immediately to look for another centerfielder," Garry recalls. "I didn't play that much... I had only 24 at-bats in spring training. And a lot of the time that I normally would spend relaxing I was on the telephone. It was negotiations as opposed to preparation. It seemed inevitable that I would be going elsewhere."
General Manager Paul Owens insists that matters were never as desperate as pictured. "Publicly, it came out that we thought we'd trade Maddox," he says, "and after that I had three clubs, two of which were in our league, contact me. I told them I thought we eventually would get together. They all said, 'Well, if you don't, get back to us."
"I know they were serious. I'm sure there would have been others equally serious, but certain clubs couldn't handle the kind of money Garry was talking about.
"Garry is more than a ballplayer for us, he's an excellent representative for the organization out in the community. But as much as I admire him for his other attributes, when it comes down to the bottom line it's the field ability that counts.
"WHAT EVENTUALLY MADE this possible was them coming back into.a money area where we able to agree. Garry's got a helluva nice contract, but it hasn't destroyed the salary lines that Ruly (owner Ruly Carpenter) and I have set. That was our primary concern."
It turns out that in this game of sideline chess the Phillies had an unexpected ally, and were aware of it. "From the beginning, I told Jerry he should do everything he could to keep me in Philadelphia," Garry Maddox said when he, Kapstein and Owens met with the media in a room beneath Busch Stadium a half-hour before the Phillies had their meeting with Pete Vuckovich.
"Jerry handled the business part of it, and I handled the worrying," Maddox added. "I wanted to sign something I would be happy with, that would provide security for my family, and I feel that's been done. I was never looking to become the highest-paid even at my position (which he certainly is), and I don't care if others surpass me."
Garry Maddox was asked if he had an estimate as to what salary he might have commanded had he entered the free-agent derby. "I'm not really interested," he replied. "That's not as important as staying in Philly."
Yeah, and W.C. Fields should appear any day now and offer to catch Steve Carlton. I mean, Garry Maddox came to us from California, and other than Ronald Reagan who is the last Californian you've heard say he wanted to move to the East?
"MY WIFE AND I both grew up in that state and if we wanted to go back this would have been the perfect opportunity," Maddox pointed out. "The weather is better there, but there are things which outweigh the weather.
"Philadelphia's great for theater, for all the arts. And more than anything my feeling comes from the way we've been treated. I like to walk down the streets in Philly. I've met nothing but kindness, respect… I feel better there."
On a night when so much goodwill was spilled over the tattered canvas of the baseball game, when the Phillies and Maddox re-read their marriage vows in formal ceremony, it perhaps seems crude to elaborate on the plateau this event occupies in the economic spiral. Greg Luzinski, now earning in the area ($400,000-plus) of what Maddox did previously, runs out of contract next year. Mike Schmidt, in the $560,000 bracket, will be up for bids in 1982, the same year Larry Bowa comes due.
THE CARPENTER-OWENS accounting firm does not need to be reminded of these facts. "Considering the money that's being paid now, and that Garry's one of the people around whom this club is built, then I'm satisfied with what we've done," Paul Owens said last night, even as Maddox was flying toward the centerfield wall in futile pursuit of a rocket off the bat of Keith Hernandez.
"All the good organizations – the Cardinals, the Dodgers, the Phillies – have put out big contracts recently, but we've done it to sign our own. It was five or six owners who really set the pattern, by paying ridiculous sums to guys coming through the reentry draft. The ones we're signing from our own rosters are a helluva lot better players than the ones they've gotten through re-entry.
"The Cardinals are like us... because of the way the re-entry thing has been handled it cost them more to re-sign Templeton, Hernandez, (Ted) Simmons, but what could they do. That's the heart of a team they built. Ruly would be the first to tell you that his peers have cost him money, but in line with what has been created and considering his ability, Garry Maddox has a realistic contract."
LATER, WHILE STANDING in front of his locker, Maddox was asked if he was anticipating a night of peaceful slumber to accentuate his triumphant return from the economic ramparts. “I haven't had any trouble sleeping before, but maybe I will now," Garry replied. "The way human nature is, I'll find something else to worry about."
Maddox seemed to sense that the two writers he was visiting with were puzzled by the suggestion.
"You sign, then don't go out there and earn it, that makes for a long year," he added, an explanation that was an enormous relief to both of us. Considering the date, we were afraid he'd forgotten to pay bis income tax.
Talks Turn to Compensation Pitch
NEW YORK (UPI) Kenneth Moffett, the federal mediator in the dispute between the baseball players and owners, believes the negotiations will next turn to the crucial issue of player compensation.
Emerging yesterday from a meeting in which all three parties – Moffett, Marvin Miller, executive director of the Players Association, and Ray Grebey, negotiator for the owners – agreed that nothing of substance was discussed, Moffett predicted that the negotiations could become more interesting.
"It's a one-issue negotiation, let's face it," Moffett said. "We're going to address compensation tomorrow. We may have some excitement."
THE ISSUE OF compensation represents the most serious difference between the parties in trying to reach a new agreement. The owners are asking more compensation than is presently provided for a team that loses a free agent while players want to restrict any such compensation.
The players have said that they will strike beginning May 23 if a new agreement can not be reached.
When asked if he believed there would be a strike, Moffett refused to make a prediction.
"I think we're a long way from expiration," he said, referring to the period that still remains for negotiation.
But Miller said he believes that little serious discussion will take place until the last one or two weeks before the deadline which the players have set.
Vukovich Mows Down Phillies
By Bill Conlin
ST. LOUIS – Who says there is no room left in baseball for democracy? Last night. Cardinal righthander Pete Vuckovich made every hitter in the Phillies lineup look like a.200 hitter.
With justice for all, Vuckovich treated newly-minted millionaires and old established firms with equal disdain. Garry Lee Maddox, who will earn an estimated S4.2 million between now and 1985. grounded out four times. Pete Rose, the man the centerfielder replaces as Ruly Carpenter's fiscal heavyweight champion, also went 0-for-4.
It was much the same along the heart of Lifer's Row. Mike Schmidt. Greg Luzinski and Bob Boone were 1-for-l2.
"His location was good, his change of speeds super; he got us off stride," said Dallas Green, who was roasted in Wilmington Monday night and saw his club quick-frozen in 1:57 last night, 7-2. "He didn’t exactly pitch bad against the Pirates. If he pitches like that he'll beat anybody around."
VUCKOVICH SHUT out Pittsburgh on opening day. He was 4-0 against the Phillies last season and has been accepted for membership in a club of pitchers who pick up a "W" against them just by throwing their gloves out on the field. Phil Niekro is the president.
"I threw better tonight than at any time last season," Vuckovich, a former Toronto Blue Jay, said. "I had good stuff against the Pirates, but my location tonight was outstanding. I've got to keep the ball down to be successful and I was down with everything tonight. You've got to change speeds against the Phillies. You can't just go out there and challenge them."
Randy Lerch challenged Ken Boyer's line drive-smokers with three hitless innings. But the puzzling lefthander followed them with a trio of three-hit innings worth four runs.
Keith Hernandez, the batting champion who cranked out a 3-for-4, scored Garry Templeton with a fourth-inning single to give the Cards a 1-0 lead. Tony Scott made it 2-0 with a two-out infield single in the fifth and the Phillies bounced back with a run in the sixth on back- to-back doubles with nobody out by Manny Trillo and Lerch. But that promising rally died when Vuckovich waded through Rose, Bake McBride and Maddox.
Lerch's game fell apart in the sixth.
WITH TWO OUTS, runners on second and third and a run home on a sacrifice fly by Ken Reitz, Green let Randy challenge left-handed-swinging second baseman Ken Oberkfell.
Oberkfell slashed a triple off the fence in right and the Phillies were looking up at a three-run deficit.
Obviously, a writer suggested. Green passed up the option of pitching to Vuckovich with the bases loaded because he was confident Lerch could handle the Cardinals' outstanding young infielder. The manager's hackles raised a little at the onset of the first second-guess of the young season.
"If Randy Lerch can't get a left-handed hitter out I'm in trouble, aren't I?" the Jowly Green Giant grumbled. "He made a bad pitch. He knows he made a bad pitch. He didn’t have to v be told."
It is nice to have the crutch of the exhibition season disruption to limp on in the early going. Soon, however, it will be time lor the pitching staff to take up its crutches and walk.
Give Dick Ruthven an A for effort, but the defense pulled him through a scuffling five-walk debut. Larry Christenson had excellent stuff until Andre Dawson took him deep for two runs Sunday. There are a lot of starting pitchers around capable of going a strong three.
ADD RON REED to the list of April suspects.
With the Phillies still theoretically in the hunt, down 5-2 in the eighth. Reed faced Vuckovich, a.153 hitter last season, with two outs and runners on first and second. The pitcher gapped a double to left-center and it was out of sight at 7-2, gasohol on the fire.
"If we don’t make a bad pitch to Oberkfell and a bad pitch to Vuckovich, we're in the game; it's 3-2," Green said. "Reed? I've got to worry about it a little bit. Ronnie doesn't look like he has his act together yet, that's why I wanted him to get an inning tonight. He had not thrown for quite a few days. He went home early from spring training and missed some game action we had. I figured because he's a veteran he could handle it."
Green is taking the "it's early" line so far, and he's right. In four games, this was the Phillies' first drab performance and you can chalk a lot of the drabness up to Mr. Vuckovich.
"We started hacking at him pretty good," Green said. "What we needed was some pitching to keep us in the game."
"... What we needed was some pitching to keep us in the game..."
Hopefully, this will not be a recording. Or a litany for the 1980 season.
By the time you read this, Steve Carlton will be dueling righthander Bob Forsch on the second anniversary of his no-hitter against the Phillies.
3 Win Tix
There were three winners yesterday in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest. In the seventh inning of the Phillies-Cardinals game. Mrs. DiBattista of Philadelphia, J.H. Bornheimer of Camden, and Fred Seiwell of Clifton Heights, each won four tickets to a Phillies game.
So far the Daily News has paid out $335.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 63.