Camden Courier-Post - August 26, 1980
Dodgers outslug Phils in bench-clearing 9th
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – Ho hum. For the first five innings or so, last night's confrontation between the Phillies and Dodgers had all the appearances of a normal, everyday baseball game.
There was Dodger lefthander Jerry Reuss, he of the 15-4 record and 2.12 earned run average, cruising along with a 3-1 lead he helped create with his first major-league home run, a two-run shot to left field off Nino Espinosa.
But wait... The Phils and Dodgers seldom stage a just another ballgame. And, by the time this one had ended, the two clubs had, in order, twice exchanged the lead; gotten a two-run single off a pitch that was supposed to be ball two in an intentional walk; had a batter hit by a pitch and charge the mound, and staged a bench-clearing brawl.
DODGER CATCHER Joe Ferguson, pinch hitting for Rick Monday against lefthander Tug McGraw, became the catalyst of the fight when he reached across the plate and punched a McGraw pitch – intended to be part of an intentional walk – to right field for the final runs of a four-run ninth that gave Los Angeles an 8-4 victory.
"I always try to hit every pitch when they're walking me," Ferguson later said. "Unfortunately, in 13 years they've never thrown one close enough."
McGraw did, and was so upset with himself that he threw his next four pitches extremely close to the next hitter, righthander Bill Russell. McGraw missed with his first three, then nailed Russell on the buttocks with his fourth.
Russell immediately retaliated, charging the mound and going after McGraw, who gamely dropped his glove and held his ground. The incident touched off a wild, if short-lived, melee that did not officially end until Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda was ejected by second base umpire John McSherry.
LATER, A quietly distraught McGraw was quite willing to talk about Ferguson's embarrassing hit, but wouldn't discuss the circumstances that led to the melee.
"I just want to keep the thing in the proper perspective," McGraw said. "It's never happened to me before. He went out after it pretty good. I didn't even pay that much attention...
"I don't prefer to discuss the Monday night fights."
The Dodgers, however, were somewhat more vocal in their response to McGraw hitting Russell with a 3-0 pitch.
"THE HITTER'S hands are tied," said Russell, who was automatically ejected when he charged the mound. "I'm not proud of what I did, but I had to do it. He's throwing a ball 85-90 m.p.h. How do I protect myself? The only protection I have is my helmet. If I go out there with a bat, that's assault with a deadly weapon.
"Throwing at the hitter is part of the game, but something like that... I know he's upset with himself, but if you're going to take it out on somebody, take it out on Ferguson."
Said Lasorda, who was ejected after arguing with crew chief McSherry that McGraw should have joined Russell on the sidelines: "The thing that made me upset was the fact that Tug was allowed to stay in the game. If you brush back, that's a different thing, but he threw at the guy four pitches. That shouldn't be in baseball."
Second baseman Davey Lopes, who opened the eventful ninth with a walk off Dickie Noles and scored the go-ahead run on Dusty Baker's double off Warren Brusstar, was even more emphatic.
"THERE WILL be a day when McGraw hits and he'll be dead and you can put that in the newspapers," said Lopes. "That was bush. He's got his day coming. I don't care if it's eight years from now. I thought he had a little more class. I guess he doesn't."
Buried beneath all the goings-on was a game important to both teams. The Phillies, who remain 3½ games behind the Pirates in the National League East, put together a two-out, three-run rally in the sixth that gave them a 4-3 lead and sent Reuss to the showers.
Manny Trillo's two-run triple over the head of rightfielder Jay Johnstone was the big hit of the inning. But Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski, who went 3-for-3, set it up with singles and Garry Maddox followed it with an RBI double to right.
The Dodgers tied it in the eighth off Noles when Monday doubled, went to third on Russell's sacrifice and scored on a single by No. 8 hitter Steve Yeager. The Phillies might have intentionally walked Yeager to set up a possible double play, but decided to pitch to him rather than a pinch hitter.
Or, maybe Manager Dallas Green was playing it safe. After all, anything can happen during an intentional walk. Just ask Joe Ferguson... and Tug McGraw.
PHIL UPS – Crowd of 34,267 was on hand in Veterans Stadium to witness the wild happenings... Crew chief McSherry said that in his report to the league he would say that Tug McGraw definitely tried to hit the batter on the fourth pitch... McGraw draws a $50 fine for throwing at Russell... "He can pay that out of his piggy bank," snorted Lasorda... Trillo tied a club high by hitting in his 12th straight game... Pete Rose, who was 1-for-4, is now tied with Tris Speaker for fifth place on the all-time hits list with 3,515... Dodgers placed outfielder Reggie Smith on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder... Don Stanhouse, plagued all season with arm problems, picked up the. win with two innings of one-hit relief… Don Sutton, scheduled to pitch tonight for the Dodgers, was returned to Los Angeles because of a hairline fracture of his right big toe... Rick Sutcliffe will take his place against Bob Walk.
Sometimes it helps to be a little crazy
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies are beginning to look like the guy who discovered one day that his smoke alarm factory just burnt down, his wife skipped town in his rented car and his son had just been elected homecoming queen.
And, as he stood on the ledge of a building screaming at the sky, "Why me?", a voice from the crowd below yelled, "What's the matter? Can't you take a joke?"
Pity the poor Phils. They have run out of the ways and means to laugh at a brand of luck that must have originated from a doll, a handful of needles and a strange incantation by Woody Allen.
Stumbling over invisible rocks in the outfield, watching opposing pitchers bit their first major league home run and having the most basic of baseball maneuvers, such as the changing of relief pitchers or the intentional walking of a batter, turn into the center ring of Monty Python's Flying Circus finally took its toll on the Phillies.
You can only take so many cream pies in the kisser before you come up grumbling the kind of high-caloried suggestions that Manager Dallas Green made to umpire Paul Pryor in the ninth inning of last night's 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That was just before the Dodgers scored four runs to break a 4-4 tie. It was also before the retaliation pitch, the fight, the lockerroom scream scene and all the rest, which we will get to in due time.
First there was Green trudging out of the dugout after watching reliever Dickie Noles walk the leadoff batter, who in turned reached second base on the mishandling of a Dodger sacrifice bunt.
Green told borne plate umpire Lanny Harris that he wanted Warren Brusstar to come in out of the bullpen. Harris told first base umpire Paul Pryor, who waved Tug McGraw to the mound.
Now, although it is true that all those relief pitchers look alike, it is possible to distinguish righthanders from the lefthanders.
"Wake up!" Green screamed at Pryor, the Phils' top candidate for the annual Rip Van Winkle Award.
"Maybe I should have stuck with Tug," the manager would say later, after Brusstar yielded a two-run double, an intentional walk and another double before passing in review on the way to the showers and giving one Veterans Stadium heckler an Italian salute. Either that or he got a cramp in his bicep muscle.
Back for a return engagement on the mound, McGraw tried to intentionally walk Dodger pinchhitter Joe Ferguson. Only Ferguson decided to fulfill a lifelong dream by reaching out and poking Tug's toss to catcher Bob Boone into a two-run single to right field.
"This is not a court of law," Tug would say later, when cross examination by the press went into the matter of baseball justice, which he dispensed upon the next batter, Bill Russell.
Justice may be blind, but Russell saw the light when he danced away from three pitches before getting tattooed in the county seat.
Russell charged Tug. Tug charged Russell. Everyone charged everyone else. And, when the dust cleared, Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda's speaking engagement at home plate was cut short by the umpires, who objected to either Tommy's language or not being invited to Frank Sinatra's softball game later that night.
That's the way it goes. Lasorda gets to tell his side of the story to Old Blue Eyes and Green gets to sing the blues to the writers, one of whom demanded to know, "Do you condone that type of baseball?"
What the Phillies manager doesn't condone is having one more guy throw a banana peel in his path. So, he sang the 1812 Overture, complete with booming cannons and the order to evacuate all civilians from his office.
Yet, even as he fumed behind closed doors, Green's refuge was threatened as pacifist-clubhouseman Kenny Bush clashed verbally with several Los Angeles writers looking to pay their respects.
"Is everyone around here crazy?" asked pitcher Dick Ruthven, who happened to be walking by.
The answer is no. But, if they were, it would certainly help explain an awful lot.
McCarver set for action in fourth decade
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies announced yesterday they will activate Tim McCarver Sept. 1 so that the retired catcher can become the 11th player in modern major league baseball history to play in four decades.
McCarver would be the first catcher ever to accomplish the feat. He retired after last season with the Phillies and became a part of their club's radio and television crew.
The Phillies also will bring up eight minor league players next month.
Joining the club from Oklahoma City will be pitcher Marty Bystrom (5-5), second baseman Jay Loviglio (.285), catcher Don McCormack (.268), shortstop Luis Aguayo (.249), and outfielder Orlando Isales (.272).
Players coming from Reading will be 19-year-old lefthander Mark Davis (18-6, 181 strikeouts in 183 innings), outfielder Bob Dernier (.298) and catcher Ozzie Virgil (-270, 26 home runs, 94 RBIs).
The Oklahoma City season ends Friday and their players will join the Phillies in San Francisco Aug. 25. Reading, however, leads the second half of the Eastern League by a game and could become involved in playoffs. In that event, their players would join the Phillies Sept. 8.
Rose best in decade?
NEW YORK – Bjorn Borg, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pete Rose, and Pele were among 10 athletes selected yesterday as the leading performers in their respective sports, ending the first phase of the election of the Athlete of the Decade, 1970-80.
Selected as contenders for the award were: Abdul-Jabbar (basketball), Borg (men's tennis), Roberto Duran (boxing), Chris Evert Lloyd (women's tennis), Guy Lafleur (hockey), Nancy Lopez Melton (women's golf), Pele (soccer), Rose (baseball), O.J. Simpson (football) and Tom Watson (men's golf).
The winners were selected by a panel of 150 sportswriters and broadcasters. One performer will be elected Athlete of the Decade, and will receive the award at a dinner here in November.
The award is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.