Reading Eagle - August 14, 1980
Amalfitano Ad-Libs To Beat Phillies
Chicago (AP) – If necessity is the mother of invention, Chicago Cubs Manager Joey Amalfitano is convinced she spawned another daughter named improvisation.
Since the Cubs have played 100 innings during their eight-game homestand – an average of 12½ innings per day – Amalfitano was forced to do some improvising Wednesday as the Cubs completed their three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies before heading for St. Louis.
Those moves, plus some timely hits, earned the Cubs a 2-1 victory in a contest twice delayed by rain. Cubs starter Rick Reuschel and Phillies starter Dick Ruthven,10-8, dueled through seven innings, with Reuschel giving way to Bill Caudill in the eighth.
The Cubs finally scratched the game’s first run in the bottom of the eighth off Ruthven when Lenny Randle doubled, Tim Blackwell followed with an infield single, and Amalfitano came up with the first of a pair of moves.
RBI for Biittner
With Mike Tyson due up, Amalfitano brought in lefthanded-hitting Larry Biittner to face Ruthven.
“It’s about time I did something,” said Biittner, laughing, after his double brought home Randle for a 1-0 lead.
Everyone expected Amalfitano to turn to ace reliever Bruce Sutter, who leads both leagues with 24 saves. Enter Dick Tidrow, 5-3.
“Bruce had pitched five innings in the last two days. He went down to warm up but he couldn’t get ready,” said Amalfitano. “You know he’s a human being, too.”
Mike Schmidt, who has hit six home runs in six games this season in Wrigley Field, sent a 3-2 Tidrow delivery into the left-field seats to tie the game at 1-1 and increase his National League-leading total to 30.
However, Ivan DeJesus began the ninth by drawing a walk off Ruthven, and Bill Buckner stepped to the plate. Then came Amalfitano’s second move.
“That situation probably calls for a bunt, but with (Dave) Kingman out I wanted Bill to hit,” said Amalfitano. “He knows how to swing the bat.”
Buckner bore that fact out by lining a single to left, setting the stage for Steve Dillard to bunt DeJesus to third. But Ruthven foiled that plan by issuing a walk to Dillard, loading the bases.
Jerry Martin hit a sacrifice fly for the winning run.
Asked if there was any satisfaction in beating his former teammates, Martin said, “It doesn’t mean that much this year. It was a lot more important last season.”
N.L. Nixes DH
Rule Is Expected To Pass Eventually
Detroit (AP) – Baseball purists may recoil, but the designated hitter rule appears certain to be adopted by the National League within two years.
For the time being, however, the senior circuit will continue to let pitchers bat for themselves rather than allow another player to bat for him as the American League – and most of the rest of organized baseball – has done since 1973.
National League owners voted down the DH rule at the conclusion of the summer meetings Wednesday, leaving the NL and the Central League in Japan as virtually the only two leagues anywhere in organized baseball to eschew the DH.
But it’s coming. Larry Claiborne, the St. Louis Cardinals general manager who voted for it, and Bill Giles, a vice-president of the Philadelphia Phillies who abstained from voting, both are certain the rule will pass eventually.
“By the next year, I expect the National League will have the DH rule,” said Claiborne, who former worked for Boston and Oakland in the American League and who was responsible for placing the issue on the agenda this week. “I’m going to keep putting it on the agenda until they pass it.”
Claiborne said Atlanta, New York, St. Louis and San Diego voted in favor of the DH while Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Montreal and Cincinnati voted against it. Pittsburgh, Houston and Philadelphia abstained.
“You watch, we’ll be back and we’ll have the DH in the National League,” said Claiborne, who admitted he thought he had the simple majority needed to pass the DH before the meeting. “We had three key passes (abstentions) who we thought were going to vote for it. We were surprised.”
Phils in Favor
Giles said the Phillies would have voted for the measure if there was a chance it could have been put into play by next year.
“Basically, the Philadelphia club is in favor,” Giles said. “But we found out that it cannot be implemented until 1982, so we thought it was better to wait until the winter meetings.
“I didn’t think the issue would be as close as it was. I didn’t realize there was that much sentiment for it. We’re in favor of trying it for one year to see how Philadelphia fans like it.”
Giles said the Phillies also were influenced by a poll taken in Chicago where fans, who have an opportunity to see the game played both with and without a DH, indicated they liked it better without.
Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn said he had supported the DH because he is eager to see the two leagues using the same rules.
In other business, Lee MacPhail, president of the American League, said the majority of owners in the American League clearly favored a major reordering of the playoffs where three division winners plus a wild card entrant would meet prior to the league championship.
“I don’t envision anything before 1982 on three-divisional play,” MacPhail said. “We don’t want to do it until both leagues are ready.”
MacPhail said the aim was to continue playing the World Series in late October and that perhaps the regular season schedule would be cut to 156 or 158 games from the present 162.
MacPhail also said there was no support for expansion in the A.L.
11 Teams Profit
On team finances, Kuhn said only 11 clubs were profitable in 1979. That was up slightly from the eight clubs that were profitable in 1978.
“Baseball’s popularity, I think, has never been higher,” Kuhn said. “But when you look at the economic side, it’s another matter. The free agent situation is not entirely to blame, but it certainly has added to the problem.
“There are people in baseball who think there are some clubs on the verge of bankruptcy,” he said. He did not name the teams with financial difficulties.