Reading Eagle - April 16, 1980

Load Off Maddox


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Gold Glove center fielder Garry Maddox says his signing of a reported $4.2 million dollar contract with the Philadelphia Phillies has taken a load off his mind.


“There’s no question.  But you wouldn’t think it to see me play tonight,” Maddox said after going hitless in four at-bats Tuesday night as the Phillies bowed 7-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals.


Maddox, his agent and the Phils’ publicity director Larry Shenk had confirmed earlier Tuesday that the player had signed a contract.


Terms of the six-year agreement were not disclosed but there were published reports Maddox would receive $700,000 annually, making his salary second only to Pete Rose on the contract-rich Phillies’ roster.


Negotiations between the Phils and agent Jerry Kapstein had been going on since January 1979.  An impasse was disclosed during spring training and Maddox said he would play out his option and enter baseball’s free-agent pool after this season.

Oberkfell’s Triple Jolts Phils


ST. LOUIS (AP) – If lefthanded hitting Ken Oberkfell sticks around Keith Hernandez long enough, he may yet establish the lineup of the St. Louis Cardinals as “southpaw killers.”


Oberkfell, a young infielder, confronted Randy Lerch of the Philadelphia Phillies in a key spot Tuesday night and came through with a telling blow to key a 7-2 St. Louis triumph.


Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green, it must be said, had a chance to order an intentional walk for Oberkfell with the Cards holding a 3-1 edge in the sixth inning.


Instead, he let the left-handed Lerch try to escape a two-out jam with two on.  The result was an Oberkfell triple which broke open a tight contest.


Oberkfell said the tips he has received from Hernandez, the National League’s defending batting champion, have been helpful.


“It’s paid off, listening to what Keith has to say,” he said.  “He’s taught me to hang in there against left-handed pitchers.  It’s mainly a matter of keeping my body in tight.  It requires concentration, but it works.”


St. Louis Manager Ken Boyer said Oberkfell’s .333 early batting pace against southpaws will earn him a regular place as the Cards’ No. 2 hitter.


“There are a lot of ways we could go.  I like his hitting,” said Boyer.  “I’d still like to bat (Garry) Templeton third, but Hernandez is just about your perfect No. 3 hitter.”


Against Lerch, who was making his first start of the campaign, St. Louis unloaded nine of its 12 hits and grabbed a 2-0 lead after five innings.


Hernandez started the sixth with a single, his second of three hits.  Ted Simmons struck out, but Bobby Bonds singled.  George Hendrick was intentionally walked and Ken Reitz drove a sacrifice fly before Oberkfell stepped in to make connections.


Green, asked if he second-guessed his decision to let Lerch face Oberkfell with winning pitcher Pete Vuckovich, 2-0, on deck, replied that he did not.


“If Randy Lerch can’t get a left-hander out I’m in trouble, aren’t I?” Green mused.  “They (Cards) got the hits at the right time.  Otherwise, it’s a close ball game.”


Following Oberkfell’s blast, Vuckovich added insurance to his own margin of victory by pounding a two-run double in the eighth off Phils reliever Ron Reed.


The St. Louis right-hander, despite finishing with a five-hitter to go with a three-hitter he registered on the season’s opening day, was not boastful.


“I closed my eyes and it hit my bat,” Vuckovich said of his double.  “On opening day, I ranked probably 8 or 9 on a 10 scale for pitching.  Tonight I was probably 7 or 6½.