Doylestown Daily Intelligencer - August 26, 1980
Dodger Ninth Dooms Phils; Players Brawl
by Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer
PHILADELPHIA - Bill Russell dropped his bat and started for the mound. Tug McGraw
dropped his glove and waited. Russell advanced and threw a high left hand. McGraw ducked. Bob Boone and Pete Rose caught Russell from behind and wrestled him to the ground. Both benches and
emptied, a free-for-all brawl.
After all was said and swung, Russell was ejected from the game for charging the mound and McGraw was fined $50.00.
"He can pay that out of his piggy bank," Dodgers' Tom Lasorda said after the game. To stop retaliation like that a pitcher should be fined $1,000.00 and thrown out of the game. There's no place in baseball for that."
What started the ruckus and what prompted McGraw to hit Russell in the back with a pitch after three straight balls very inside, if it was indeed intentional, was previous Dodgers' pinch-hitter Joe Ferguson. Ferguson was called on to hit for Rick Monday, with runners on first and second and the Dodgers holding a 6-4 lead with one out. McGraw had just been brought in to replace relief pitcher Warren Brusstar.
McGraw was instructed to walk Ferguson, intentionally. After McGraw's first pitch, which wasn't all that outside, Ferguson stretched over the plate and hit the next intentional ball into right field for a two run double, as the Dodgers went on to defeat the Phils, 8-4, Monday night.
"He didn't throw the first one that far away from me," Ferguson said, "so I was ready for the next one."
Then came Russell, then came McGraw's biting pitch, then came the brawl.
"I thought it was pretty obvious Tug wasn't in the groove," Dallas Green said. "He was very wild. He hasn't been out there in six days. There was no intent, but Russell thought there was. If he was going to hit him, he would have hit him with one of those pitches before. Tug has better control than that.
"I'm certainly not very happy. Obviously Tug's not very happy, either. Those things (pitch too close so Ferguson could hit it) just can't happen. But he's been on the mound long enough, ho knows better than that. It certainly contributed to this loss."
"We all know throwing at hitters is part of the game." Russell said. "But a hitter's hands are tied. I'm not very proud of what I did, but when a ball's coming at you 85 miles-per hour, there's no telling what's going to happen. At the legs is OK. but he threw a couple at my head.
"I can understand why he did it (Ferguson's hit), he was upset with himself. But it doesn't have anything to do with winning. I can understand why he did it, but I'm not going to take it. I know I won't have as much respect for him as I did before."
I don't want to sit here and comment on the Monday night fights." McGraw said "There was more to the baseball game than that."
And so there was. Phils starter Nino Espinosa proved once again he is not back, fully recovered from his shoulder injury The only things he threw all night were hard hit balls by the Dodgers. The Dodgers jumped on Espinosa for three runs in the second inning on a two out triple by Rick Monday, and RBI single by Russell and pitcher Jerry Reuss's first major league home run, a two-run shot to the opposite field, just Inside the foul pole.
The Phillies made it a 3-1 ballgame in the fifth on singles by Greg Luzinski, Manny Trillo and Boone's RBI single. Then, in the fourth, the Phils took a 4-3 lead on two-out singles by Mike Schmidt and Luzinski, Trillo's two-run triple and Garry Maddox' RBI double.
Los Angeles tied the score at four-all in the eighth off relief pitcher Dickie Notes on Monday's double, Russell's sacrifice bunt and Steve Yeager's RBI single.
EXTRA BASES-Trillo extended his hitting streak to 12 games to tie the Phils high for the season. Andre Dawson has NL high, at 19. Rick Sutcllffe replaces Don Sutton as Dodgers' pitcher tonight against Bob Walk. Sutton has a hairline fracture of the right toe. Phils lead league In hitting and runs scored. Steve Carlton goes against Bob Welch in Wednesday night's series finale.
Knockdown: Was Tug Right or Wrong?
by Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer
PHILADELPHIA - I'm not going to say Tug McGraw was right when he threw and hit Dodgers' Bill Russell with a pitch that ignited a ninth-inning bench-clearing brawl in Monday night's game.
Nor am I going to say he was totally wrong, either.
But.... Before the current age of the pampered and primadonna ballplayer, there were certain, clear and unwritten rules of baseball, especially pertaining to the day-to-day wars between pitcher and hitter. In fact, the entire game was played on a daily battlefield.
Unlike today, opposing players never socialized before or after a ballgame. Each considered the other as the enemy. After hitting a home run or making a spectacular defensive play, a player would never respond to cheering crowds, standing ovations, tip his cap.
He knew better. Show up the pitcher and you knew you were going to eat dust, take one in the legs or ribs. Former pitchers Don Drysdale of the Dodgers and Bob Gibson of the Cardinals made their livings and earned respect by throwing the knockdown pitch. Sal "The Barber" Maglie didn't his knickname for sporting a clean shave
In fact, Richie Ashburn tells a pretty good story about Maglie. Years back, Maglie was on the mound, warming up to start the next inning. Ashburn was the first scheduled hitter and stood in the on-deck circle watching. Maglie didn't like Ashburn's looking at what he was throwing and threw one at Ashburn.
So it went, part of the game Hard-nosed baseball, win at any cost.
Tug McGraw is cut from that mold. And when Joe Ferguson reached out and stroked McGraw's intentional walk second pitch into right field for a tworun single, someone had to pay. Russsell was the next hitter, and after three pitches inside, letter high, McGraw plunked him on the lower back. No, not at his head.
The Dodgers called it bush and were fighting mad.
"We're going to nail his butt," Davey Lopes said. "I don't care if it takes eight years. He has to come to bat sooner or later. We're going to get him He's dead."
"If that wasn't blatant, I don't know what was," Tom Lasorda roared "There's no place in baseball for that. It was chicken droppings. I'm surprised at Tug for doing something like that. I've lost a lot of respect for him."
Yet, there's another story about knock-down pitches, this one told by Lasorda. Back when Lasorda was a kid, he used to spend a lot of time around ballparks. One day, outside of the players' exit, he waited, like most kids do, for an autograph.
A player walked out and Lasorda asked, pushing forth his pad and pencil. The player pushed Lasorda aside, "Outta" my way, kid!" Lasorda
Years later, when Lasorda was laboring in the Dodgers minor league chain, and pitching winter ball, he came face to face with the same player, who at the end of his career was playing in the bushes.
When said player came to bat, not once, twice, but three times Lasorda knocked him down. After the game the player asked Lasorda why and Lasorda related the story that he was a kid years back who was pushed aside, just asking for an autograph.
So be it. And so not be it to point the finger at McGraw.
"I don't care what the Dodgers say," McGraw said after last night's game "I'm not going to answer that (threw at Russell intentionally). This is not a court of law here. They know as much about baseball as I do."
And when you show the pitcher up, whether It was the pitcher's fault or not, someone's gotta' pay. That's McGraw's unwritten law.
Unfortunately, in today's game of baseball, a law not abided by by the new breed primadonnas... right or wrong.