Philadelphia Inquirer - April 27, 1980
Carlton one-hits Cards
Triple by Unser keys Phils attack
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
Del Unser, the pinch hitter, considers himself "the robot who goes up there and does it or doesn't do it."
Steve Carlton, the pitcher, definitely works with the efficiency, effectiveness and lack of emotion of a robot.
And, together, they killed off the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-0, in just less than two hours last night at the Vet. After two losses in a row, the gears meshed for the Phillies.
First and foremost, they got one of those great pitching performances from Carlton, the silent stopper. He threw the sixth one-hitter of his career, setting a National League record. "Steve," said Dallas Green, mellow for a change, "was in command and control all the way."
Ted Simmons got the Cardinals' only hit, a single to open the second inning. He lined Carlton's first pitch, a fastball, into shallow left-center field. "I'm sure it's a pitch that Steve would like to have back," Green said. "Simmons has made a living out of hitting fastballs."
And Carlton was more than earning his keep with those wicked curves.
"His curveball was breaking so much," said catcher Bob Boone, who provided some needless insurance with a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth. "I'm sure those guys (the Cardinals) were looking for it, and they got some good swings at it. But it was just breaking out of range."
Bobby Bonds, who hits behind Simmons, certainly took some big waves at it. He was a three-time strikeout victim, swinging each time, as Carlton fanned five in this classic effort.
Simmons, in fact, was his only threat and baserunner. The St. Louis catcher hit a drive to the left-center alley in his second at-bat that Garry Maddox chased down, and he walked on five pitches in his third turn, with two out in the seventh. But Carlton did not allow another Cardinal on base.
The Phillies, who stranded a total of 25 runners in back-to-back losses to the Mets and Cardinals, hardly rocked St. Louis starter John Fulgham. But, thanks in large measure to Unser, they finally got some runs for Carlton in the seventh inning.
Fulgham was working on a two-hitter of his own at that point, when the Phils broke loose for three runs.
With one out, Greg Luzinski doubled, then Boone walked. Larry Bowa popped his first pitch to shortstop , Garry Templeton. And so, with two out and two on in a scoreless game, Green pulled Unser off the bench to hit for his No. 8 hitter, Luis Aguayo.
"My next hitter was Lefty, and there's no way I'm taking Lefty out of the game," Green said. "So, at that point, there's no way you can let Del Unser beat you."
But Unser did beat the Cardinals, hitting a 1-0 Fulgham slider over Tony Scott in right-center for a triple. Unser also scored when St. Louis second baseman Tom Herr put his peg to third into the stands.
"I thought Scott was gonna get that ball," Unser said. "It didn't feel all that good." Indeed, the ball sailed over Scott and bounced before it reached the wall. "It hung up there so long," Green said. "I guess he (Scott) thought he was closer to the fence than he was."
Nonetheless, Unser, one of those classy guys who sit and serve, has three straight pinch hits on a team that had an 0-for-10 pinch-hitting start but is on an 8-for-10 binge now.
Does all of this give Unser special satisfaction?
"If you're a pinch hitter, that's your only satisfaction," he said. "I'd like to play every day. But I know the situation: On this club, I can't play every day. It's a good club, and you just have to be positive about it."
The Phils added their final four runs in the eighth, first stringing together hits by Pete Rose, Greg Gross and Maddox (2-for-4). That outburst brought two runs in and chased Fulgham. Donnie Moore retired Mike Schmidt (0-for-4, 0-for-8 in this series) and Luzinski, but next Boone curled a drive just over the wall in left; and Maddox scored ahead of him.
Otherwise, the Phillies were not overwhelming at the plate. Fulgham retired the first 10 men he faced before working his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. Then, he put the Phillies down in order in the fifth and sixth.
"The first five innings," Green said, "he pitched well. But after that, we could see how to get to him. You know, guys were coming back to the bench and saying things."
And as the game, scoreless, rolled into the seventh, Unser was getting ready. "My wheels," he said, "started turning at the beginning of the inning. If we get somebody on – bingo – George (Vukovich) or I would hit because Dallas wouldn't go down to just one infielder."
So Unser did the job for Carlton, who pitched this 7:05 p.m. game as if he had a 9 p.m. appointment.
He set the tone quickly when he retired the Cardinals in order with just five pitches in the first inning. Between Simmons', hit in the second and walk in the seventh, he retired 17 men in order. And after the walk, he disposed of the last seven.
"Lefty," Green said of the 3-1 star, maybe savior, of his staff, "did not have the super breaking ball in his last two games. This time, he had an outstanding curveball, and his slider was excellent."
But Boone disagreed with the manager. "Lefty has had great stuff," he said, "every outing since Day One of spring training."
NOTES: When he fanned Bonds in the second, Carlton got the 2,700th strikeout of his career. He is the 10th pitcher in baseball history to reach that plateau.... Carlton is still chasing the major league record for one-hitters 12 by Bob Feller. Carlton owns the Cardinals, however. He has a 25-8 lifetime record against his former team.... Rose played despite the hyper-extended left elbow he suffered on Friday.... Bake McBride stayed on the bench, with Gross in right field for the second straight game.... Dick Ruthven vs. Bob Forsch at 1:35 p.m. today.
Those calling the pitches will be hurt by strike, too
Allen Lewis on baseball
If the players go through with their threat to strike in the event, that no new basic agreement is hammered out before May 23, it won't be just the owners and players who will be hurting. Thousands who work on the fringes of the game will be without paychecks.
Among them will be the umpires. "We'll get 60 days pay if they walk out, but that's all," said National j League umpire Bruce Froemming, a "power in the Umpires Association. "After that, we're unemployed."
The umpires won't be too sympathetic to the cause of the players, even if they think the players are in the right. They haven't forgotten the weak support the players gave them last year, when they went on strike.
NOTES: In the season-opening series against the Reds, Braves outfielder Gary Matthews, now riding the bench, made three errors. Eight National League and eight American League outfielders, each of whom played in more than 115 games, didn't make any more than that all last season... If Rod Carew stays healthy, he may have a big year. He's the only lefthanded batter in the Angels' regular lineup, and rival clubs will try to use as many right-handed pitchers as possible against the defending AL West champs... You have to wonder at times about some players. After the Dodgers nipped the Astros in 17 innings, Dodgers outfielder Reggie Smith said, "If the game had gone another inning, I would have been rooting for the other guys."... Ron Luciano, who passed up $50,000 in. regular salary and $10,000 in scheduled postseason pay to move from AL umpiring to an NBC broadcasting booth at a hefty raise, says he now can wear the glasses he needs to read the newspapers, and he won't have to say his 300-pound body weighs only 240. "Baseball never tells you anything directly," he said, "like not wearing glasses. Two umpires now wear contact lenses because they have to." He also said, "Umpires take baseball more seriously than the players. Most of them treat it as a religion."... Outfielder Jerry Martin turned down the Cubs' offer of a three-year contract that would have paid him $165,000 this season, $185,000 in 1981 and $205,000 in 1982, In his last year with the Phillies, he made $90,000. He made $140,000 last season and is getting $165,000 this year. He's asked to be traded, but says, "I'm not saying I never could stay here. It's just that a whole lot has to happen to change things."... Carl Yastrzemski likes openers. After going 3-for-4 in this year's opener, the Red Sox star has a 13-game opening-day hitting streak going. In 20 openers, his batting average is .337 (28-for-83).... Angels general manager Buzzie Bavasi is worried. "I've been in baseball 40 years, and this is the first time I'm really worried about the future of the game," he said. "Baseball is habit. It's like going to the movies. I love movies. My wife and I used to go three or four times a week. But no more. I got out of the habit."... If you think going to a game at the Vet is expensive, and your seat location is poor, try Boston. The Red Sox converted former grandstand seats in right field into box seats at $6.25 each. And parking will run you around $3.50.
The answer to last week's Trivia Question: In 39 of their 79 seasons from 1901 through 1979, the Giants have had at least one pitcher who won 20 or more games, arid that's more than any other National League team. They have never gone more than six seasons in a row without one. The Cubs are second with 37, the Phillies eighth with 21. First with the correct answer Walter Dohse of Telford.
This week's question: What pitcher in this century won the most games for a pennant-winning team, without winning more games than he lost?
When playing defeats greed
By Frank Dolson, Sports Editor
They are playing baseball as usual. But, as May approaches, the dark cloud that has been hovering over the game gets closer.
The possibility still exists that the major league season will end with the games of May 22, that players will be carrying picket signs instead of bats this summer. And, not surprisingly, as the strike deadline approaches, public sentiment appears to be growing increasingly anti-player.
If the mail is any indication, there is a feeling in this country that big league ball players think only of themselves and their salaries.
"It's sad for me to hear a kid holler, 'Hey, you should've had that ball, the money you're making,"' Phillies outfielder Greg Luzinski said recently. "I never thought of that when I was a kid."
Today, more and more baseball fans, young and old, are thinking of that... and Luzinski is right. It is sad.
Certainly, there are selfish, greedy ballplayers, just as there are selfish, greedy bankers and accountants and salesmen and sportswriters. But to paint them all with the same brush, to judge them all by the actions, the remarks of a few is a terrible injustices
The fact is, big league rosters are well stocked with players who do care about the game and about others.
One of the prime examples happens to be playing here this weekend. Ken Reitz is among the game's top hitters this young season, but the great thing about him is not his .375 average; it is the attitude the Cardinals third baseman brings to the ballpark every day, the way he cares about people and treats them.
It is the fact that anybody who knows him realizes he is serious when he talks about playing the game for the love of it, the fun of it. "If I wasn't married," Reitz said, "I wouldn't really care if I made $50,000 or $200,000."
Last year, Reitz signed a five-year, $1.4-million contract. He has a house with a swimming pool and a pool table, and he is proud of it. "Hell," he said, "I got more things now than I ever expected to have."
But those who know him best say he is still the same unspoiled kid who got picked almost as an afterthought by the Cardinals in the June 1969 draft.
"I think they picked 814 players in the country that year, and I was about 738th," Reitz said.
That is primarily because he cannot run very fast. But he can field, and he can swing the bat, and he plays the game with the enthusiasm you love to see.
Came to play Ken Reitz does not fit the stereotype of the modern big leaguer. He is neither selfish nor greedy. Like so many others in the game, he is getting a bum rap, and it bothers him.
“I figure, if anybody asks me what I do for a living, I'm going to tell him I sell cars until this thing clears up," he said, only half joking. "If you're a ballplayer nowadays, it's not as prestigious as it was before. People think everybody's greedy, but I'd say 90 percent of the guys would be willing to do anything for anybody most of the time. I mean charity work, things for kids....
“Like Pete Vuckovich. He comes off being real mean and ornery and stuff. But he's always helping people out. And Bobby Bonds. One of the groundskeepers (in Florida) had an epileptic fit during an intrasquad game. He falls off the truck. He turns blue. Bobby was sitting on the bench. He, ran over, put his finger in the guy's mouth to try to save him. The guy could've bitten his finger off."
Reitz prefers talking about all the nice things his teammates do. But he ranks up with the league leaders in helping others.
Short on cash?
When the strike was called in spring training, the players who continued to work out had to pay their own expenses. For the big names with the big contracts, that presented no great hardship. But not everybody in the big leagues is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Quietly, Reitz approached one of his teammates, Dane Iorg, and offered to pay for his hotel room. Dane would not let him, but it was the thought that counted... and Ken Reitz has lots of those thoughts.
"I figure if you've got a little extra money, why not try to help somebody?" he said.
Among those he helped were the clubhouse boys at the Cardinals' spring training camp. "Buddy and Jeff, they have to work their butts off all day long, from early in the morning to sometimes 2 o'clock the next morning," Reitz said.
So when the $250 check came in from the company that prints the bubblegum cards, he gave it to them. "I don't need it that much," Ken shrugged. "They can use it."
How much do those clubhouse boys think of Reitz? This much: When Ken exceeded the limit on his credit card in Florida, one of them got up early on getaway day and paid the hotel bill for him. Of course, he knew he would get it back, but as Reitz said, "Not too many guys would do that for you. So it works both ways."
It does if you treat people the way he does. Ask the batboys in St. Louis. Last season Reitz bought four Cardinals jackets – "just like ours with initials on the side and everything" – and presented them during the last home stand.
Something about making others happy turns on Reitz almost as much as playing baseball for the Cardinals.
If there was one season he did not enjoy playing, it was the one he spent in San Francisco.
"My family lives out there, my mother and father and everybody," he said. "They'd come to the ballpark and listen to people calling me names. There were only a couple of thousand at the games then, and you could hear everything. And then my mother had her purse snatched there during the season, and my sister had her purse snatched, too."
Reitz asked to be traded, and they wasted no time obliging him. First he appeared bound for the Pirates, along with Randy Moffitt, for Richie Zisk and Jim Rooker. But Zisk turned down the deal.
A couple hours later, the Giants' general manager called to tell him he had been traded to his old team, the Cardinals.
"I said, 'Aw c'mon, who is this?" " said Reitz. "I thought it was one of my friends screwing around."
It wasn't... and now here he is, one of the hottest hitters in baseball, and one of the happiest. But the cloud that hangs over the game this spring concerns him.
"It's the kids," Reitz said. "If I was a kid growing up, and baseball went out on strike, I'd have been heartbroken. I wouldn't have been able to understand. To a lot of kids; ballplayers are more than human beings. They're up in the clouds somewhere. That's the only thing that bothers me, that it would hurt the kids if we went on strike."
Coming from somebody else, that might sound like a load of corn. Not from Ken Reitz. He represents an attitude we do not hear enough about these days. But it exists.
There are guys in the big leagues who play baseball for the joy of it, as well as the money in it. There are players who are concerned about the game and their teammates and the fans and, above all, the kids. Somehow, it's comforting to think about those players as April runs into May, and the dark cloud that hangs over baseball gets closer.