Allentown Morning Call - August 24, 1980

Lonnie Smith:  Green’s baby


By Dan Shope, Call Sports Writer


Is Greg Luzinski exciting? 


Does he crash against fences to snag fly balls? Does he hit close to .360? Does he look like a real life version of the "Road Runner?" 


The answer may upset Phillies' fans who are given free seats in Greg's "Bull Ring" at Veterans Stadium. 


They might not like to admit that their great home run hitter is a bore when compared to the rookie presently residing in left field. 


But it's true. 


Just take for example, say, Thursday afternoon. Three times this kid was given standing ovations by the some 40.000 screaming Veterans Stadium fans.


Once, after he was revived from crashing against the left field fence. And each time after his hit successive doubles. 


Meanwhile, Greg Luzinski was scheduled to come off the disabled list and replace him. Fat chance if Manager Dallas Green is the fine executive he claims to be. 


After all, this is his kid. His baby. 


And as of last night, Green did not say just when Luzinski would return to force the kid out of the lineup. 


He's behind the little man. 


Two years ago, Phillies' President Ruly Carpenter forked out millions for Pete Rose to instill some excitement to his team. 


Until Luzinski injured his knee July 5, that cash might have better been used on the Brooklyn Bridge. 


All the time, Green, the Phils' farm director when Rose was hired, was ecstatic about a little, flea-sized black kid. His name... Lonnie Smith. 


Green's only problem was finding a way to break Smith into an outfield consisting of Luzinski, Garry Maddox and Bake McBride. 


On July 26, he had his chance. 


Back then, Lonnie wasn't even that sure of himself. 


"I can't replace Greg." Lonnie had said. "Not the power in his bat." 


That power seems of little importance now. 


The Phils have begun a steady climb toward first place. And as any pretzel-eating Philadelphian will tell you. Lonnie is the Messiah. The man made this team almost as exciting as a fistfight on Broad Street.


"Lonnie has created excitement and a good offensive threat." said Green as he pondered about Luzinski's return. "It's going to be a tough decision. " 


Rose especially enjoys batting second behind Lonnie. 


"Speed's a good weapon," Rose said. "He adds a lot of speed to the lineup. He adds a dimension to this team that it never had before." 


True. Lonnie has changed this team. They are no longer the "let's-wait-until-Schmidt-hits-a-home-run" Phillies. 


They fight and scrap for victories. After all, how can these million-dollar men allow a little rookie to show them up? 


"When Greg comes come back, he probably won't be able to to play nine," Green said. "It'll be a two-man situation with him as a pinchhitter first and, if he gets on, we'll need a pinch runner. That's pretty expensive." 


With Lonnie, it's nothing but cheep thrills... And the youthful drive to take the Phils further than they ever expected July 5. 


Green must present his post-season roster to the National League by Sept. 1. The fans in left field need not worry, the "Bull" will probably be on it. But unless Lonnie trips over his own feet and breaks his arm he'll be playing left field instead of Luzinski. Green would be lynched it he wasn't.

Giants’ Ripley tops Phils, 6-2


By Dan Shope, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – It was "Believe It or Not Night" at Veterans Stadium last night as the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 to knock them 3 Vi games behind National League East-leading Pittsburgh. 


Lonnie Smith was booed, then failed to talk after the game.


Manager Dallas Green said he'd "punch anyone" who asked about Greg Luzinski. 


And, of course, Allen Ripley pitched a seven-hitter to move his seasonal record against the Phillies to 3-0. 


"I've got nothing to say," stated Smith as he dressed.


He had good reason.


The normally jovial rookie had possibly the worst game of the season. 


He went 0-for-4. He struck out with the game tied and the bases loaded in the crucial fourth inning. And his woes reached their height in the sixth inning when he made a crucial fielding mistake to help the Giants score three insurance runs for a 6-2 lead. 


Green defended Smith but was less easy with the rest of the team.


"Lonnie didn't make a mistake," Green said. "It may not have been the smart thing to do, but at least he was diving to get the ball. 


"We made other mistakes. If we concentrate, we wouldn't make them. "I hope I don't have to start screaming and yelling any more. I don't want to have to go through that again." 


Smith's mistake came in the sixth with one run in and runners at the corners. He chased a sinking line drive by Ripley. The Phils' leftfielder valiantly tried to make a shoestring catch. 


He missed. The ball bounced him and dribbled to the wall. Both runners scored and Ripley smiled as he stood on third base. 


Bill North then followed with a RBI single to cap the inning. 


Earlier the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second inning thanks to Manny Trillo, who picked up a grounder by Jonnie LeMaster and tossed it over first baseman Pete Rose's head. Mike Ivie, who was on second base with a double, scored easily.


They made it 2-0 in the following inning when Larry Herndon doubled down the right-field line and Milt May singled to right. 


The Phils seemed to clean up their act in the fourth inning, when they tied the score 2-2. 


Bake McBride got on via an infield error. Garry Maddox singled and Larry Bowa hit a blooper down the left-field line, scoring McBride. 


After an intentional walk to Bob Boone, loser Larry Christenson hit an infield single to score Maddox and again load the bases.


But as a foreshadow, Smith struck out to end the inning as fans booed their hearts out.