Philadelphia Inquirer - August 22, 1980
Carlton is great, but Wise endures
By Frank Dolson, Inquirer Sports Editor
At the time it was not the most popular trade of John Quinn's career. Rick Wise was a hero on a Phillies club sorely in need of heroes. One June night in 1971, he threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds and hit a pair of home runs in the bargain. They loved Rick Wise in Philadelphia... and when the tall, hard-throwing right-hander was swapped in February of ‘72 for a lefty named Carlton, the joy, you might say, was restrained.
Now, of course. Steve Carlton is the toast of Philadelphia... and the best pitcher in the National League. Since arriving here eight years ago, he's won 167 and lost 104.
Rick Wise? He's bounced around, from St. Louis to Boston to Cleveland to San Diego. He's been with some good clubs, including a pennant-winner in Boston in 75, and some bad ones, including his present employer. But quietly, almost unnoticed, he has kept taking his turn on the mound, kept inching up on 200 career victories in the big leagues. When Wise completes his current five-year contract with the Padres in '84, he'll be a 20-year man, in itself a gigantic accomplishment.
No doubt about it, the Phillies obtained a great pitcher when John Quinn made that controversial trade. But the one they got rid of is no donkey, either.
He took the mound yesterday at the Vet, and it wasn't just another ball game. For Rick Wise at 34, as at 18 there's no such thing as just another ball game. The excitement, the love of the game, the competitive drive is still there, hidden as before behind a calm, businesslike exterior.
"I love the camaraderie," he said. "I love to compete. I love to put on the uniform and go out there. That's my life. It's still a big thrill to me. When you become blase about that, it's time to move on. But I've never lost that, and I don't think anyone who's been in the game as long as I have the Jim Kaats, the Willie McCoveys, the Willie Stargells ever loses it, either."
But there have been times when Wise's zest for the game has been sorely tested. Yesterday, for example, when his leftfielder and centerfielder converged on Larry Bowa's soft, sixth-inning fly to left center, then stood there as the ball bounced to the fence and Bowa circled the bases. Wise stood there, too, his cap in his right hand, his competitive juices close to boiling over. But he kept his composure and retired the next two batters. After 16 years in the big leagues, a man learns to live with those things.
"It's tough (pitching for a losing club)," Wise said. "We've had a lot of guys that have worked hard and given major league efforts, but that gets lost – and that's the frustration, I guess. You lose and lose and lose, and you're not getting the recognition, the credit due when you play for a loser. It's demoralizing. You've really got to battle yourself, push yourself."
He battled through a 19-loss season with the Indians in 78, and now he's battling through the mental torment of pitching for this San Diego club, which recently went 32 straight innings at home without scoring a run. Wise may not have matched Carlton's 167 victories since The Trade, but his 107-94 record as an ex-Phillie is nothing to sneeze at.
Mostly, though, it's the 75 games he won before The Trade that have a special place in Rick Wise's heart. If he was once special to Philadelphia, Philadelphia is still special to him.
"I love it," he said. "It's like homecoming when I get in here. I often wonder what would have happened if Steve (Carlton) and I had gotten together – him with Busch (Cardinals owner Gussie Busch) and me with John Quinn. What would have happened?"
Carlton would have remained in St. Louis if not for his salary dispute. And Wise? He might have stayed with the Phillies long enough to enjoy the good years, the good teams.
"It was a weird trade to begin with," Wise said. "I've often thought what it would've been like to play with the guys they've got here now. I've always followed them. Even when I was in the American League I followed them.
"I like coming here. People say hi to me. They're friendly. I can't say anything bad about Philly. I can say only good things, have only good memories."
The guy the Phillies traded to get Steve Carlton has handled the demanding job of being a big league pitcher for an extraordinarily long time. So long that he's only 10 innings away from 3,000, 18 victories away from 200 and, best of all, only four seasons away from 20. That kind of durability is a rare quality in this game.
"That's one of the biggest things I'm proud of," the other half of John Quinn's biggest trade said. "There's not only physical strain playing this game, but mental strain. It isn't all gold and glory. It's a day in, day out, year-to-year thing. Each year is a chapter in a book, and none of those chapters is ever the same. You've got to roll with the punches when things aren't going well. You've got to keep your confidence in yourself, because a lot of times other people don't have it in you.
"It's a tough business. And that's exactly what it is, a business. But I like it because I've survived. I've never compromised myself.
"That's another thing I'm really proud of. I won't change. I did it my way – without showing anybody up."
He did it quietly. He did it professionally. And he plans to continuing doing it as long as he can.
Rick Wise is no Steve Carlton; not many are. But there aren't many Rick Wises around, either.
Phils take 5 hours, 17 innings to win
McBride hit locks it up, 9-8
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
The afternoon had been long and hard on everybody concerned, but nobody was feeling these five hours of baseball more than Bake McBride.
His knees were sore, of course. His wallet was $100 thinner because of a helmet-throwing incident in the 13th inning. His shoulder was bruised. His pride was hurt by a dash around the bases that ended in a rundown, and made him the second out, in the first inning. And basic fatigue had set in with the late-afternoon shadows at the Vet in the 17th inning.
"My bat only weighs 32 ounces," he said, "and it felt like it weighed a ton."
But McBride managed to pull himself together and lash the triple that scored Mike Schmidt with the winning run in the Phillies' 17-inning, 9-8 victory over the San Diego Padres yesterday. "It's good to be the home team in that type of game, believe me," Schmidt said later.
And, basically, the Phillies – finally in second place in the ever-tightening National League East – did win this marathon game, their longest of the season, more in the style of a fighter who is lucky to be on his feet at the end of 15 rounds.
This 5-hour, 7-minute game had a lot of diverse elements: a bad outing from Bob Walk, a good job of long relief from that pitcher in exile, Randy Lerch; two home runs from Schmidt, a game-tying, ninth-inning home run from the Padres' Dave Winfield, and a lot of Bake McBride.
There were 38 hits, 22 by the Phillies. There were 32 men left on base, 18 by the Phillies. "I'm one tired bleepity bleep," Pete Rose said as he walked out of the dressing room.
Across the room, Schmidt was asked about one of his home runs. "Was that today?" he replied.
Ultimately, the game boiled down to whether the Phillies could scrape together a run off Dennis Kinney. The Padres relief pitcher hadn't gone more than 4-1/3 innings during one stretch this year. But he turned into Wilbur Wood yesterday, coming in and shutting off the Phillies for 9-1/3 innings, until Schmidt and McBride rolled up their sleeves and ended the madness in the 17th.
First, with one out, Schmidt bounced a single through the left side of the infield. Then McBride, who already had contributed a triple and a two-run double, drove a ball into a wide gap in right-center. It looked catchable ("I thought it was an easy fly ball," McBride said), but, in the grand Padres tradition, center-fielder Jerry Mumphrey couldn't get it, and it went to the fence. Game over.
"I wanted to give him a fastball away, and I got it in," Kinney said. "Mumphrey was shaded toward left, and I got it (the pitch) in the wrong spot. But those things happen."
Well, usually to the Padres. A week ago, they lost a 20-inning game to the Houston Astros when Mumphrey dropped a fly in the 20th.
On this afternoon, at least, they were able to make a nice comeback to tie in the ninth, thanks to Winfield and the Phillies' Ron Reed.
Walk started for the Phils and only revived some bad habits. Ten of his first 11 pitches were balls. He needed 32 pitches and 25 minutes to get out of the first inning, and the Padres were spotted a 3-0 lead on two walks, two stolen bases and two hits – one a Gene Tenace triple that provided a scary moment when Lonnie Smith slammed into the left-field fence, dropped the ball and went down in a heap.
Smith sprang up delivered two doubles and a single and scored three runs. But the Phillies' other rookie standout, Walk, wasn't so lucky, and he was removed as the Padres began another rally in the third with nobody out.
Dallas Green called on Lerch to make his first relief effort of the season, and Lerch did a good job (6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run) while the Phillies – fueled by Schmidt's two-run homer, Larry Bowa's inside-the-park homer and McBride's two-run double – came back against Rick Wise.
In fact, they had given Lerch an 8-6 lead when, with a runner on second and nobody out, Green had Ramon Aviles hit for Lerch in the eighth. The move didn't net any more runs, and it only served to put Reed on the mound in the ninth.
"He (Lerch) had enough," said Green, who wanted to rest flu-plagued Tug McGraw. "He had warmed up the night before, and I felt I had a quality relief pitcher coming in who could hold a two-run lead."
Reed couldn't. He started by walking pinch-hitter Broderick Perkins on four straight pitches. He threw two more balls, then finally a strike, before Winfield sent the next pitch over the fence in right to tie the game.
Dickie Noles and, later, Kevin Saucier had to come in and keep the Phillies out of further trouble as this 12:45 p.m. "Businessperson's Special" became a long day's journey into night.
The Phillies' best chance to get out of it early came in the 13th inning, a stormy inning for McBride.
Rose opened with a double, and Schmidt was given an intentional walk. McBride wanted to bunt the runners up, but he thought Kinney's first pitch had hit him on the shoulder. So he headed for first. Plate umpire Ed Vargo said uh-uh, the ball hit his bat first, and he ordered McBride back.
An angry McBride went into an arm-waving tirade, throwing his helmet down for emphasis. "He (Vargo) put his hand up," McBride said, "and said, 'That's $100,' because I threw my helmet." He went into the dugout for a new helmet and returned with a bruise on his shoulder to get the bunt down and the runners over.
But Kinney got weak infield pop-ups from Garry Maddox and Bowa to keep the game hanging.
Finally, in the 17th, the guy with the sore knees, the aching shoulder and the ax to grind put the Phillies over the top. "I seldom get upset," McBride said later. "But when I do get upset, I'm able to control it so it doesn't mess up the way I play."
"Well," Green was saying, "with that home run in the ninth and us not scoring, it looked like one pf those games we just weren't meant to win. But we got some good pitching from Dickie and Sauce. And thank goodness for Schmitty and Bake."
NOTES: Dallas Green indicated that a decision on how the Phils would activate Greg Luzinski would come soon, possibly today.... Padres' Mumphrey had his string of consecutive stolen bases snapped at 27 (a Padres record) when Bob Boone threw him out at second with one away in the fifth inning. Mumphrey had last been caught on June 2 by Alan Ashby of the Houston Astros.... Lonnie Smith (11 games) and Manny Trillo (eight games) both extended their hitting streaks.
The Giants isn’t dead
Brooklyn led the National League by 13' games at about this stage of the 1951 season, and Dodgers manager Chuck Dressen could not keep himself from boasting, "The Giants is dead."
The Giants, under Leo Durocher, weren't dead and went on to win the pennant. The 1980 version of the Giants are in town tonight (8:05, Veterans Stadium) in a contender's role. While the Reds, Astros and Dodgers have been playing musical leaders with the West Division lead, the Giants have been slowly, quietly creeping into the race.
PHILLIES v. San Francisco at Veterans Stadium, 8:05 p.m. (Radlo-KYW-1080)